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!