Monday, November 17, 2008

Last Saturday I had one of those days where everything just fell into place. It started with our morning run at Capitol Forest. Dave and I went up to Falls Creek for an easy 2hr run. Shortly after starting up the hill, we entered a temperature inversion and suddenly it was sunny and 60 degrees! The trail was in great shape, and we ran at an easy pace for a most enjoyable run. To top it off, when we got back to Top Foods, they were having a free breakfast in the parking lot with eggs, sausage, pancakes, juice, and starbucks coffee. We were in heaven! After cleaning up and doing some yard work, it was off to my next adventure, razor clam digging! I haven't gone clamming for 20 years so I was really excited that Kathy and Dan invited me along. Low tide was at 8pm, so we arrived at Aberdeen around 5:30. Not really knowing where to go, we decided on Grayland. It was dark when we turned down the main access to the beach. We didn't want to park on the sand, so we parked in the lot and hoofed out to the beach. There was a steady stream of cars, but we were shocked when we looked up and down the beach in the darkness, there were hundreds of lantern lights as far as the eye could see in both directions. Though it seemed really crowded, we just walked straight down to the water and started digging. We got our limits of 15 clams apiece within an hour, then took pause and noticed that it was just an incredible night. Warm, no wind, clear with almost a full moon, and that surreal scene of glittering lanterns. We were so amazed, we didn't want to leave. I'm now hooked on clamming, but I don't know if it can get any better then that.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Today, Kris and I ran up to Capitol Peak and back. It felt great! It was the first time either one of us had been up there since August which is pretty bad since it's in our backyard!
After Cascade Crest, I decided to take a couple of months off. I did get a couple of long runs in, and a couple of great hikes, one to High Rock(see photo) and also up to Tolmie Peak. Both hikes were in beautiful weather with outstanding views of Mt Rainier. I also finally went Tuna fishing and brought home 8 Albacore! But now comes November and it's time to start training for next year and a Christmas ski trip at Whistler. Of course, last Sunday I managed to strain something in my right foot as I was trail blazing a new trail from the Waddell Creek loop to the Capitol Forest wilderness. This is a new trail area that James introduced to us a few weeks ago. The only access was through private property so we needed to bushwack a new route. Anyway, now my foot is hurt so I won't start November up with a bang, more of a limp. My goals for next year are a sub 3:30 Capitol City Marathon, run some awesome 100 miler that I haven't picked yet, and run Waldo again.

Monday, August 25, 2008

First, one can't ever do an event like this without alot of help. I would like to thank my crew extrodinaire Harvey Hall who kept me fueled and on track, John Pearch for his help and enthusiasm on the course, James and Alison for your support and aid station,Kris for training with me, and Glen for running with me through the night section.

Cascade Crest is ranked as one of the harder 100 milers with 20,000 ft of climb and every type of running surface you can imagine including a 2 mile tunnel. As it was my first 100 miler, the goal was to finish under the 32 hour time limit and to have fun.

Kris and I showed up at 7:30 for the breakfast before the 10:00 start. It was hard to hold back on all the great food, but I had a blueberry pancake and a spot of scrambled eggs. After getting organized with Harvey, the pre-race meeting and the traditional singing of the national athem, it was time for the start. John led us out on a mountain bike and I settled in to a comfortable pace. My plan was to start slow, take the first long climb easy and drink a lot. The Goat Peak climb was long but the view was worth it. By the time I reached Tacoma Pass at mile 23, I was running with Glen and Kris had just caught us.

It was here I made my first mistake, Anna Bates suggested I split a bologna and avocado sandwich with Kris. I probably haven't eaten bologna for 30 years and it hit my stomach like a rock. Shortly after the aid station I wasn't feeling too good and Kris took off. I now just stuck to gels and no solid food except for an occasional fruit. Stampede Pass at mile 33 and now an hour behind Kris, I grabbed my pack and light and Glen and I slogged through a tough section of the PCT trail and the dark until we finally reached Olallie Meadows at mile47. We left the aid station ready to take on the ropes section but after running for about 10 minutes, Glen discovered that he had left without his water bottles! He was going to go back when I offered him one of mine since this was a short section and we could get by with one bottle and we would sort this all out at the next aid station. Then we ran into John, he was heading back after checking the marking at the rope section and he offered to grab Glen's water bottles and meet us at the next aid station at Hyak. The rope section was fun except that I wear my light on my waist so if I rappelled, my light went out, so I did most of it facing down. Then we entered the two mile tunnel. I was still wearing a short sleeve shirt and the tunnel was cold so I picked up the pace to stay warm and then it got a little scary so I picked up the pace more and hauled out of there, passing everyone in the tunnel! I was feeling great so I continued the pace for the next mile to the Hyak aid station at mile 53, met Harvey and John and sat down and had pizza and chicken soup.

Glen and I had a good 7 mile hike up to Kachess ridge on the road and a comfortable 7 mile back down to Kachess Lake aid station at mile 68. I was excited for the grilled cheese sandwich and to start the infamous "Trail from Hell" section which is only five miles along the lake but with lots of little ups and downs and logs to crawl over. What I didn't expect was the horrible bushwack trail that we had to crawl through brush and over downed trees just to get to the trail head. Glen lead the way as we agreed to take it slow and worked our way methodically towards Mineral Creek and daylight.

I was planning on changing my shoes after fording the calf deep creek, but when we got there, there was a log bridge and we entered the aid station at mile 73 with dry feet. My feet felt great but I decided to change my shoes anyway, I checked and no blisters or hot spots and it felt good to have new socks on. I was feeling strong and needed to meet Harvey up the gravel climb 2 miles to change back into short sleeves and ditch my light so I started powering up the road while Glen who was feeling low on energy lagged behind. After meeting Harvey for the last time till mile 95, I was ready to race. Glen was still lagging behind so I decided it was time for me to go and finish this thing. I was also super excited to see James and Alison at the next aid station so I powered up the gravel road for the next 5 miles passing everyone I saw. James grilled up a most excellent ham and cheese sandwich for me at No Name Ridge mile 80 and I left the aid station ready to attack the Cardiac Needles with 4 hard climbs in the next 9 miles. I had thought I would be walking this whole section, but here I was, full of energy, running this section like our training run. It was great fun, still passing runners, had a great up and back on Thorp Mt at mile 84, saw Glen who took this great picture.

I suddenly realized that I could have a great finish time, possibly in the 28 hr range if I kept the gas on. Right after the French Cabin aid station at mile 88 is the last steep climb and right at the top were two mountain bikers getting ready to head down. The first couple of miles are technical downhill so we kept passing each other to their amazement until the trail flattened out and they were gone. The next couple of miles were flat and runable but I was starting to slow and feel like the party was over. I was hoping to get to the Silver Creek aid station before 2:00 to give me time to finish before 3, but it wasn't looking good. I struggled through the trail reroute around the big avalanche as my legs started to stiffen up so I knew I needed more electrolytes, so after popping a couple of e-caps, I started to loosen up just as a runner and her pacer were catching up to me. It was game on again as I charged down the steep downhill to Silver Creek aid station at mile 95. I bombed into the aid station an hour before I told Harvey I would be there. I was afraid he wouldn't be there, but there he was, ready to get me going. I dropped my pack, grabbed a water bottle and took off at 2:10. Five miles in less than 50 minutes was a definite possibility. I followed a kid down the dirt road, running as hard as I could. After about a mile, the kid pointed to a red flag on a dirt road to the left and I followed him down the road for a couple tenths of a mile when I noticed there were no shoe tracks in the dirt and I hadn't seen anymore flagging. I yelled at the kid and we turned around and ran back to the turn and sure nough, there were more flags straight ahead. I was so pissed and disappointed, I stopped and drank some water knowing I had blown my chance for a sub 29 hr finish. I started up again and Harvey drove by encouraging me and I slowly got back up to speed once I hit the pavement with about 3 miles to go. It felt like the end of a successful marathon, I was chugging along the pavement at a good clip but after crossing the freeway overpass, it looked like I had 14 minutes to cover 2 miles, not good. But as I popped up to the final section along the tracks, I could see the finish and I had 8 minutes to go. I put my head down and started to sprint because you never know how far your watch is off the official clock. As I rounded the last turn, I saw the clock at 28.55 and blasted across the finish line in pure joy!

This was by far my hardest and best ultra yet. I had no idea I would feel so good the second half. Next year I'm doing Waldo, but I'll be doing another hundred for sure!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

While everyone's been doing hard training and events, I've been tapering in Maui for the last week, swimming, snorkeling, and surfing. We're staying at a condo at Kahana Sunset, just south of Napili. I found a good running route a mile from our place that is a vacated golf course with steep asphalt trails with up to 600 ft of elevation gain. But my eye has always been on the 10,000ft volcano Haleakala. The logistics of running most of the mountain was out of the question, but when my wife's cousins decided to drive up to view the sunset, I had a plan. They would drop me off at the 8,000 ft about 5 miles to the top and I would either meet them at the top or they would pick up the road kill on the way down. It's a two hour drive so we left at 3:00 am to catch the 5:37am sunset. The road is in great shape and gently ascends the mountain with many switch backs. The nearly full moon was just setting so it was very dark out but the view of lower Maui was incredible. The mountain only has some sparce scrub brush so you can see all over the place with out those pesky trees being in the way. We reached the 8,000 ft mark at 4:45am and there I started my run with a windbreaker, my hydration pack, and a couple of water bottles. The wind was blowing and it was a little under 40 degrees with clear skies. Quite a change from the 85 degrees I was now used to. It was dark but I could run without a flashlight and there was an occasional car to light the next switch back.
I trotted along (I'm on vacation after all) and really didn't feel any effect from the altitude. The run was surprisingly easy with the moderate grade and the wind even died down. It started to lighten up and I realized I might make it to the top before the sunrise. I stepped it up a bit and the clouds on the horizon delayed the sunrise a bit and I bounded into the summit parking lot just as the sunrise was starting. I was so happy to get there mostly because there are a ton of tourist bikers that coast down the road after the sunrise and I didn't want to try to dodge them! The sunrise was beautiful and I added another conquered mountain peak to my list. Next stop White River 50.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Had a back to back weekend with Lake Youngs on Saturday and a Rock Candy run on Sunday. Ran Lake Youngs with Matt, his first ultra. It was alot of fun since he had a garmin so I could constantly ask how fast we were going and our average pace. We've run Capitol City marathon together and he is faster, but usually runs the same pace that I do. We started off a little fast but got into a comfortable pace and did the first lap in 1:20, just a little faster than planned. Matt had to go to the bathroom so we spent about4 mins at the aid station. The second lap felt good, Matt had to stop a couple of times to get rocks out of his shoes, and Van Phan and Steve Stoyles caught us just before the end of the lap and we finished in 1:26. We both started to feel the pain on the third lap and couldn't keep the pace up, but I wasn't suffering, and felt pretty good. In the last mile, I started to smell the barn and surged ahead of Matt, who figured he would catch me on the steep hill at the end. But I decided to charge up the hill instead of hiking it, so Matt couldn't catch up. We finished at 4:18, I was hoping for 4 - 4:15, but was happy with the result, I could always blame it on Matt's breaks. We were surprised to see Kris at the finish, she dropped after trying a third lap and deciding to turn back due to stiffening up. But Kris recovered quickly and wanted to run the next day as a start for our Cascade Crest training, so we decided to do Rock Candy Mountain, about an 11 mile run with a couple of thousand feet of gain. We got up there at 11:00 when all the motorbikers were there, but few were on the trail. However, there was alot of big mud puddles on the lower part rimed with devil's club, that made it slow going to start off. We took it easy going up, and were disappointed it wasn't sunny and warm at the peak, but the view was great. Had a good run going down, talked to a couple of bikers on the way down and just before the parking lot, Kris slipped on the mud and landed on her butt, caking her handhelds in mud and of course her backside. If felt good, it wasn't that long ago I wouldn't do any running for a week after a marathon. I plan to do Rock Candy at least once a week and will start doubling up long runs on the weekends more.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Wow, it's been over a month since I've posted. Near the end of April, I helped out with our local Capitol Peak 50 miler. I really wiped myself out flagging the second half of the course the day before the race. Between post holeing in the snow along the ridge and tossing branches I was exhausted by the end of the day. The next morning I was up early, stocking the aid stations, then I swept the last 15 miles. It was a great sunny day and I felt great by the end.
My next adventure was running the MacDonald forest 50K. Had a good trip down, spent the night at Jim Lofgren's house (he and his wife are incredible!). At the start, I hooked up with Todd Temple who I had started with at Waldo last year. He was going slow, so we ran together for the first 9 miles. However, when I got to Lovely Rita, the first uphill in the maze, I started to struggle and tried every combination of electrolytes and gels and aid station food, but nothing seemed to help till about the last 6 miles when I felt great. I guess I got dehydrated on the long downhill before the maze and took awhile to recover. I was really sore for the next couple of days, but after reading Eric Barnes blog about his Tacoma Marathon, I thought I might as well sign up for the Capitol City marathon the next weekend.
My next adventure, the marathon. I've never run two long races a week apart, but I was just sore, not injured, so I thought I'd give it a try. The plan was to try and qualify for Boston with a 3:35. The course is hilly so I just figured out my goal time to reach 18 miles and then decide what to do. It was a sunny day, but not too hot, so I started out slow then cranked it up doing 7:45s -8:10s on the flats and faster or slower on the hills. When I got to mile 18, I was right on the mark! I did two more miles on pace, then started to fade. I finished strong but with a time of 3:39, missed qualifying for Boston, but I beat my last year's time by 8mins. I also ended up with a third place age group trophy! Then afterwards, my mind fog cleared, and I realized I turn 55 this August and I easily qualified for Boston for the 55+ age group!
I'm getting excited for Cascade Crest, I'm finally up to training speed and not injured. Will be concentrating on hill work between now and Lake Youngs.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

It was time for my annual checkup with my cardiologist. It's been two years since my last stress test so I was excited to battle the treadmill again and hopefully get the thumbs up for another season of ultra running. The test starts with attaching about 8 electrodes around my chest and back(some shaving req.) and wrapped a blood pressure strap around my arm. Then I laid on my side for an echocardiogram. Using an small ultrasound wand, the technician targeted different areas of my heart, creating a series of colorful short videos that showed the blood flowing through the chambers and valves. It was very interesting to watch the old heart work away. Then it was time to start the treadmill. The test is call the Bruce treadmill test, you start out at a walking pace 1.7 mph and incline of 10%, then every 3 minutes, it speeds up and elevates. Our treadmill was set for 7 sessions that ended with 3 mins at 6.0 mph at a 20% incline. I did the same test a couple of years ago and hold the distinction of being his only patient that completed the whole 21 minutes. You have to understand that most of his patients are 20 or more years older and have trouble walking fast and I'm the only one that shows up in running shorts. While I was plugging away, in the other room, they ran a couple of other patients through their complete tests. They thought that was funny. The nice thing about this test, is that it allows me to check out my maximum heart rate under medical supervision. When I got to the last of my 21 minutes, I was at my maximum heart rate 174, (my resting is 38). I was ready to stop, but they wanted to see what the machine would do after 21 minutes. Would it stop? would it keep speeding up? no one knew since they never went that long. So they said hang in there so we can see what happens. The treadmill just stayed at the same pace and incline, fortunately after another minute they stopped the machine and laid me down for a post run echocardiogram. My heart was really pumping away but settled down very quickly. My cardiologist told me I didn't have any issues, sent me for a blood test and I was done. So I'm good for another year, a little adjustment on my chlolesterol medication, and I'm on the trails again!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

well it's a week late, but here's last weeks adventure...
My family took our spring break down at Sunriver the week before Peterson Ridge 60K. It was alot of fun, spring skiing and biking each day. My muscles were sore from the skiing, but I was having too much fun. Tried to run the Dechutes river trail, only made it about 2 miles in, too much snow and I couldn't always spot the trail. Saturday nite, Alexa, Dave, and Kris showed up at our rental house to crash for the night. Dave showed his prowness with ping pong before we hit the hay for an early wake up for the drive to Sisters. The temp was cold, but with the forcast for 70 degree weather, I started with short sleeves, skull cap, and gloves. I started the race running with Eric Barnes and we clipped along at a good pace on the flat first section, but after reaching the first aid station a few minutes earlier than I have in the past, I slowed down. But after another mile, there was Eric, taking pictures of runners. I guess he wanted to slow down also, since he ran a marathon the weekend before. He dropped in behind me and managed to take a header at a road crossing. I started to feel heavy legs and by the time we got to the grunt climb, Eric was way ahead of me. After the grunt is a long gentile downhill where you can really cook. I could barely make 9 min miles! The trail was also part of an out and back so there was alot of traffic going both ways from both the long course and short course runners. Every one on the downhill was passing me, how depressing. I felt terrible but managed a smile when I spotted Alexa charging up the hill past me. Then Dave came cruising by and when I said hi, he stopped and ran(shuffled) with me. He got his fast workout in and wanted to run in with someone. When we got to the next aid station, I thought I would have a seat and wait for Kris to show up. Didn't have to wait long, but Kris was cruising and there was no way I was going to keep up with her. So Dave hung with me almost to the turn for the second loop. I really wanted to just finish with him, I was going soo slow, but it was a nice day and I figured I need to practice running in pain for a few hours, so when Maureen showed up, she and Dave continued to the finish while I made the turn for another 3 hours of fun. On the second loop, I tried every combination of fluids, gels, and electrolytes with limited success. At the top of the hill at the 25 mile aid station, I had a nice chat with Kurt, RD for Waldo, then actually ran part of the downhill at a pretty good clip. But by the time I reached the last aid station, I was back to shuffling. I finally finished about an hour later than I expected. It was great coming in late, more people to cheer! I didn't feel that bad, and the shower in the gym was invigorating. But my legs were sore for a couple of days. I'm glad I stuck it out, good mental training, however, I know I need to take it easier before a race, not start out too fast, and wear a hat!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Yesterday, James and I were going to run the trail from Wedekind to Hell's Creek since we couldn't make it all the way last week due to snow. It was great to drive all the way to Wedekind with no snow. Since I as usual was under time constraints, we skipped the first section of trail and ran down the road to catch the trail where the 50 miler usually does. The trail was in good shape until we got about a 1/2 mile from the C line road intersection. There was a group of 8 to 10 fir trees, some large, laying across the trail. More than my chainsaw could handle. We decided to continue on a couple more miles and scope out the slide at Hell's Creek that wiped out the trail. Wow!, the slide started from the top of the switch backs all the way to the Creek. Totally wiped out everything. We could see the Greenline trail leaving the Creek from the log jam at the bottom and decided to head down there and run the the Greenline back to Wedekind. We went about straight down on a old log skid slide, (the same place John hurt his knee) cut over onto the slide, walked a log across the creek, and forged our way through the log jam to the trail on the other side. We thought this could still work for the 50 miler but I'm sure there would be alot of complaints, DNR wouldn't approve, and John would never do it. But we had a good little adventure and the Greenline trail going back up had been scoured and was rocky but not as muddy as it usually was. We made the shortened loop in 2 1/2 hours. Another great day in the Capitol Forest!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Had a couple of good trips up to Capitol Forest over the last couple of weeks. First, I went up to meet John and Henry the mountain biker to clean up fallen trees by Wedekind. I went up early and was happy to find the main road freshly graded and free of snow all the way to Wedekind for the first time in weeks. I worked for about an hour with the chainsaw until getting it stuck just as Henry and John arrived. Henry has a big saw and made quick work of the rest of the trees while I caught up to John at the washout and built a ramp down to the creek crossing. I had to leave early, but Henry gave John a tour of his proposed new trail west of Wedekind. It was alot of fun running the chain saw. I'm sure I'll have more opportunities as we prepare for the 50miler.

This Sat, Kris, Dave, James, and I planned to run from Wedekind to the slide at Hell's Creek. Unfortunately, the snow gods had re-appeared and there was a new foot of snow on the road and we had to park at Trail 50 and run from there. We ran the road ruts past Wedekind down to the 50 mile turn off into the trail. There was only about 3-4 inches of snow on the trail at this point so Dave talked us into trying it out. We went for about a mile with easy running until we hit a road crossing. It was time to turn around, but there was Dave, feverishly building a snowman. So James and I each rolled a ball as Dave fashioned the snowman into a bunny! What a goof ball!
I managed to snap a couple of pictures with my phone camera and recorded a short video which my phone won't let me send anywhere so right now it's my wallpaper on my phone. It started to warm up on the way back so on the trail, we were pelted with snow balls falling from the tree limbs. I took a direct hit on the top of my head and another big one on the shoulder. Now, everytime we took a break, Dave would make another bunny snowman. I felt great on the long uphill climb up the road and cruised on the downhill to the car. All in all, another great day in the forest, and I didn't even get my car stuck in the snow thanks to Dave and James pushing me out of my parking spot.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Today's plan was to run down Green-line from C-line to Falls Creek and back up Mima Porter to Wedekind where I would meet John as he surveyed the bridge damage just out of Wedekind. It was sunny and the trails were in great shape on both the down and up. Just before the intersection with trail 50 I ran into patches of snow. After the intersection, the trail was covered with soggy untracted snow 1-2' deep and I started slogging through the crap up to my shins. I didn't think John should hike in this stuff and was hoping on meeting him at the first washout out of Wedekind and tell him not to go any further. But after taking over 45 min. to cover 2 miles, I arrived at Wedekind to find the road unpassible with over 2' of snow on it and just some snow cat tracks. I had told John I would be really pissed if he wasn't there, so my first thought was why he didn't meet me at trail 50 since he couldn't drive down here, so it was time for plan B, I figured I would hoof it up the road which was a longer distance but at least it was semi runnable. I actually had a nice run up to the Capitol peak junction and started down the road which was still not driveable. Right after the rock quarry, there was John with two other pickup trucks. It seems that after dropping me off, he drove about 2 miles up the road and got stuck and been there the 2 hrs it took me to run around. My timing was great, everyone was unstuck, and we were able to take off. Of course John was a wreck, and as usual, he was in worse shape even though I'd been running and slogging all this time. He hadn't eaten and didn't have anything to drink and thought he'd be spending the night out there, so we had a good laugh and chaulked it up to another great adventure in Capitol Forest.

Monday, February 18, 2008

I have to admit, I wasn't looking forward to Orcas this year due to my tender hamstring and lack of training so far this year, but sunny weather was to be had, and a new, lower course which should make for an easy double loop brightened my spirits. I helped out this year by hauling all the aid station stuff that John took out of his car so he could pack his bike. Fortunately, at the last minute, Dave decided to go with and run the 25K. We had an easy drive up to the ferry and caught the same one as John even though he left an hour before us. James put all us Oly people in the same cabin so we also had Kris and Dan bunking with us. It wasn't terribly cold in the morning so I stuffed some gels in my shorts, wore my patagonia zip tee and light gloves and grabbed a water bottle and headed to the start. I stashed a short sleeve shirt in my drop bag in case it got warmer on the second loop. I was a little worried about covering the last 9 mile section with just one water bottle but thought it could work out. I started too fast as usual but after the first hard climb up the powerline, I took it easy on the downhill remembering my goal not to hurt myself any more. My water bottle leaked all over my glove so my hand was frozen till the first aid station. While I was there I didn't drink but ate a gel and took off. The rest of the 9 mile loop I started to slow down and feel tight. Just before the end of the first loop, Kris caught up with me and we decided to run the second loop together(at a slower pace) On the second loop I wore my short sleeved shirt but kept the gloves, it was still cool but it worked well. I still didn't feel good until we got to the aid station and I figured out that I needed some electrolytes, drink more and eat more. After that I felt great, and we plugged along at a comfortable pace enjoying the sunny day and the great views. Unfortunately, just before the last major climb with about 4 miles to go, I ran out of water. So I stayed behind Glen who was slow up the hill and conserved myself. With about 2 miles to go, Kris smelled the barn and took off. I just hung with Glen since I know the easiest way to aggravate my hamstring is to be dehydrated. I felt great at the finish (over 7 hrs!) and especially enjoyed taking a hot shower right after finishing. Later, John, Kris, Kent, and I went up to Mt.Constitution to catch the sunset. The views from there were stunning. It was a very good weekend hanging with the ultra crowd, listening to live bluegrass music, and getting great advice about Cascade Crest. James managed to still get almost 7,000 vertical in this race so it truely did kick my fat ass. But everyone loved the course so next year the fat ass label will be gone. This is now a classic NW ultra!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Earlier in the week, I thought that this was going to be a nice dry trail run, but of coarse, it started raining with mixed sleet at 5:30 in the morning, so here we go with another miserable day in the forest. The plan was for Kris and I help with the parking and do the sweep. I decided to also run the first loop so I wouldn't have to stand around for 4 hours. I left shortly after the start and was immediately stuck behind a slow pace line which actually felt good at the time. I still managed to catch up with Alexa and ran with her for about the first 1/2 hour until Mat showed up(he got a late start waiting for the bathroom). Mat and I picked up the pace and stuck with a couple other runners for the rest of the first loop. We did the first loop in about a hour and a half which was a good time for all the dinking around we did. It felt great stopping after that first loop and hanging out by the super warm burn barrel. Other runners started dropping like flies after the first loop but most that completed the second loop were especially happy to be done. I noticed that a lot of runners indicated at the start that they were doing the 34 miler, but many had a change of heart after 17 due to the cold rain and muddy footing. It was great watching Mat and Rob finishing their first Capitol Forest Ultra in good times and good spirits, but we had to leave before Alexa finished. Kris and I started the sweep at noon, right after three runners left the camp. We quickly caught up with them and continued on a comfortable pace. However, after 100+ runners, the bottom loop trail was a muddy mess. It took about 2 hours to complete the loop and I was pooped and had a blister on my heel. Fortunately, Dave was tired from timekeeping and offered sweep the second loop with Kris, so I got to change my cloths, get some food and hang out at my favorite burn barrel. It really didn't stop raining until the last of the runners finished, and when the sweeps arrived, we had half the camp packed up. We managed to clean everything up and get out of there by 5:10 and it was still light out! All in all a good run and a good day.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Today was to be a quick training run up in Capitol Forest. Kris and I would run a short loop while John surveyed the damaged bridge by Trail 50. Of course there was snow on the trail and it was raining hard at the start, but we decided to take it easy and power hike the ups. Soon, the snow deepened and the power hike turned into a slog up the steep switch backs. I felt like we were climbing Mt. Rainier as I broke trail in the deep slushy snow, one laborous step after another. I began thinking about my spin class the previous night. Rachael, our instructor, threw in a 15 min. "Time Trial" in the middle of our workout. During the workout, she talked about the importance of maintaining consistant effort and that this was about mental toughness. So as I climbed the switch backs, I developed a steady cadence and concentrated on maintaining steady effort. When we reached the top, I was pooped! We decided to run back down on the roads. A 4 wheeler had made it up there so there were some tracks in the deep snow to run down on. The tracks were just a little bit too narrow, I had a hard time keeping my balance, so most of the time, I ran down the middle, which was semi compact. About 2/3 the way down, the road finally cleared of snow and we ended up with a good 2.5 hour workout. Hopefully the Fat Ass course will melt a bit before next weekend's race.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

This last saturday, Kris and I did trail work with the Friends Of Capitol Forest.(the others were all mountain bikers) The goal was to clear the down trees on a bad section of the Fat Ass course and try to figure out what to do with a couple of bridge washouts. The weather was a mess on the drive up, but at Falls Creek, it was dry and balmy. The organizer, Dave Snyder, set up teams to work on different sections, and gave me about 9 people to work our section. I lead the car caravan out of Falls Creek to the Trail 50 intersection, and it began to snow heavily! About a third of the way there, I slid into the ditch, I sent everyone ahead as I put chains on and waited for a tow out. Lenny dragged me out of the ditch with his 4WD and by the time I reached the first washed out bridge, Kris had already come up with a bypass plan and everyone was working on clearing a new path around the creek. I went ahead with my chainsaw to work on the down trees in a slide area another 1/4 mile down the trail. Henry was already there with his saw stuck in a log. We spent the next couple of hours cleaning up the down trees and rebuilding the trail in this winter wonderland. I had to leave, but the crew moved to the next washout and created a nice boulder walk through the falls. Thanks to all the work of FOCF, the trails are now ready for the Fat Ass. Those mountain bikers rule!