Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Note to self, don't drive to a race on I-5 on a late friday afternoon! The longness of my weekend started with sitting by the tacoma dome for a half hour waiting for traffic to clear so I could make to HWY 18. Kris missed the delay by taking the Puallyup shortcut, what was I thinking? Wayne, Kris, and I all car camped together at the start/finish. John was there helping out James organizing the aid stations and making a late night trip into town to pick up more supplies. Of course James waited until about 10:30pm to head out and mark the whole course! I slept great and woke up early to help get the registration table organized since James was still out marking the course. James showed up just in time to give the pre-race talk and get us started. The course starts with a two mile uphill on a gravel road which was marginally runnable. I managed to keep up with Kris, and Wayne even caught up to us, all that Rock Candy Mt training was paying off! Once on single track trail, it kept going up and I couldn't keep up with Kris anymore so off she went. My goal was to finish 1st in my age group so I started looking for old farts to pass. I was feeling good and it was great to see John making p-nut butter sandwiches at the first aid station. After 10 miles of constant up, it was great to be on the ridges, but the trail always seemed to have more ups then downs. I decided to take it easy, not knowing if there would be any relief further down the trail. I managed to pass what I figured was the last old guy and ended up running alone for a couple of hours. The weather was great at the start, but now there were rain showers and wind blowing on the exposed ridges, so I threw on my jacket and enjoyed the peekaboo views. I finally caught up to a couple of runners as we ascended the big switchbacks up the exposed grassy hillside. A couple of miles later, we made it to the aid station. It seemed that the distance between aid stations was always more than expected and the trail continued to have more up than down! Finally there was a good downhill section and I took off, leave the other runners in the dust. One of the aid station workers told me that Kris was about 8 min ahead, but I didn't think I would catch her since she is always faster on the downhills. But the down was short lived and I was back to an upward slog when I ran into Kris, who was just standing there, frustrated about where the next aid station was. We ran together to the last aid station, but shortly after leaving, Kris decided to slow down since she was doing hundred in the hood next week and only needed to finish. I told her only six more miles, should only take an hour and a half. But the trail was still going up and it took forever to reach the water drop with 2 miles to go, before the final downhill and Kris went blowing by me cussing and swearing about it taking too long to finish. I just kept plodding along at an easy pace and got passed for the first time by the woman I passed back at the windy pass aid station. I figured I would finish around 7:30, but that time went and passed and I still wasn't close to the finish. So ten minutes later, I finally saw the line. Kris beat me by over 3 minutes, but I was happy, I won my age group and James gave me a couple pairs of socks as a prize! The best part was waiting for Wayne to show up. He was concerned about finishing this hard race and we had even talked about taking the early start, but in the morning, he toed the line with the rest of us. We were getting nervous as the cutoff time was approaching when here comes Wayne, hauling down the trail with 5 min. to spare! It was a great accomplishment for him, just starting trailrunning a year ago. This course was exceptionally agrivating because it always seemed to go up and come to find out, it was probably 34 miles so it was long and it felt long. I hung out afterwards to help break down the finish and since I had room in my van, hauled some tables to Easton for storage. I ended up very tired and the next day felt that even though I had a good race, I was just burned out on the whole process and decided this was my last race for the season. I would miss hundred in the hood, but I had a good season, finishing in the top three of my age group in every race but one. It's now time to regroup, rest, then start training for next year!

Monday, September 07, 2009

I was looking forward to this race for many reasons, in '06 I only made it half way, in '07, I took a 6 mile detour. So this time I was ready to hit it hard. This is one of my favorite races, but now it conflicts with my new favorite race, the Cascade Crest 100. So I guess I'll be alternating races each year. After missing out on the hardware at White River 50 because I wasn't a member of USATF, I joined for this race since it was the 100K championship and I had a chance for the podium in my age group. Kris and I drove down together and stayed in a little cabin just down the road from the start. We both skiped the early start this time, we felt we should be able to finish under the 16 hours and win a hat doing the regular start. I have to admit it was alot better starting at 5:30am rather than 3:30. At the start, there is a mile hike up a ski run to get warmed up before running on single track started. I was feeling realy good and stuck behind Wendy as she passed through little groups of runners. After a while, I let her go, she's alot faster than me and I settled into a comfortable pace to the first aid station where I took a potty break and took off for Mt Fuji. It was great on the out-n-back to see the leaders and on the way down, I saw Kris not too far behind me. I felt great from Fuji to Mt Ray then halfway to the Twins, things started to unravel. My stomach started to go and I started to slow down. By the time I got to the Twins aid station, I wasn't feeling very good and couldn't figure out why. Unfortunatly, Kris showed up at the aid station feeling the same way, so we limped out of there together and headed to Charlton Lk, the halfway point at a slow pace. I had a brief moment of thought at Charlton lake about dropping, but we were way ahead of our split time and Kris and I decided to take off hoping we would feel better later. I figured out I was dehydrated and at road 4290 aid station took some time to drink alot. From there, I felt better and better and left Kris to go off on my own. I had a good run back to the Twins and figured I was still an hour ahead of my projected split. I took it easy on the climb to Maiden Peak and also on the steep downhill because last time I got shin splints and had to limp into the finish. This time I felt great and ran well on the last leg, passing a few runners until Ben Blessing went flying past me with two miles to go, hoot'n and hoolering. He also passed me near the end of Cascade Crest so it was actually fun to see him go by. I finished at 14:35, a great time for me and ended up getting a USATF medal for 2nd in my age group!

Monday, July 27, 2009

This was going to be an interesting race. I was feeling good but the weather was going to be hot. I did ok with hot weather at the Grey Rock 50K so I thought I still had a good chance to get a good time. I was especially happy that my new trail shoes showed up at the running store 20min before I was leaving town, they had been back-ordered for 3 weeks and I was afraid I would have to run in my beat up road shoes. Got up to Buck creek and set up my tent by the start line then up to Crystal Mountain for the spagetti feed. Met Kris up there and we ran into Glen and heard his great story of finishing Western States just under the time limit. After a great nights sleep, woke up in time to watch the Eric and TJ take off with the early starters. I decided to where my pack for the first half of the race so I could carry all my fuel, then ditch it when it got hot. I ran the first leg too fast again, even with a minor fall, it was good to see John there to cheer us on and I was feeling great. Charged up the climb and did the stairs without anyone passing me which has never happened before. A quick potty break and I met up with Kris and and actually beat her to Corral Pass. At the aid station, there was John cheering us on and after grabbing some eats, Kris and I left together. On the way back, we saw Heidi and Harvey both doing well. When we got to Ranger creek, I knew Kris would crush me on the downhill, but I actualy stayed with her half the way down until I started not to feel good. I got to Buck creek almost on 10hr time and by far the fastest I'd done that first loop. I tried to fuel up as best I could, but couldn't get up to speed on the 2 mile flat before the climb to Fawn ridge. Things got worse during the climb, I was hiking slow and couldn't run the runable sections. It was warm, but I had screwed up my fueling and was low on energy. To top it off, I couldn't choke down a gel so it wouldn't be till I stumbled into the Fawn ridge aid station before I could fix my situtation. I spent some time recovering at the aid station and getting refueled and by the time I made it to Sun Top I was feeling better, but still spent too much time there before heading down the 6.5 mile road section. The downhill went great! I just took off at a steady fast pace and stayed consistant all the way to the bottom, passing about 10 runners. At skookum flats aid station, I had to sit in a chair for a couple of minutes though, with John reminding me that the finish line was that a way! So I headed off down the trail, feeling ok, plodding along until about the last three miles I ran out of energy and had difficulty running for any length of time. I think almost all the runners I passed on the downhill went by me in this last section. It was hot and depressing and I was mad about screwing up my finish time. I eventually made it to the finish at 10:46, not a bad time for the conditions but I knew I should have done much better. Kris struggled also but still beat me by at least 20 min. Heidi came in an hour later, very tired, and Harvey kept us all anxious by finishing 2 min. before the cutoff, the last official finisher! I was very happy with my performance on the first loop and the road downhill. I think I needed to eat more atfter the ranger creek aid station to not fall behind before I reached buck creek. Well I should be able to go under 10 hours next year!

Friday, July 17, 2009

"The toughest 50K in Washington" With a boast like that, I couldn't wait to check this race out in Yakima. After a successful Rock n Roll marathon, Harvey signed up and we car pooled over with his 2 year old daughter and brother-in-law Gil as the babysitter. After checking into our hotel in Yakima, Harvey had the good idea to drive out to the trail head so we could time it correctly in the morning. Lucky we went out there since it ended up taking about an hour to get up to the campground. The next morning, we arrived right on time, it was a small mostly local crowd doing either the 50k, 25k or 12k. King Arthur showed up on his harley after waking up at 2am and charging over the pass. The RD gave his pre race talk emphasing that it would get hot out there and to take lots of water. He also warned us about lighting strikes and forest fires. At the start, we went up the first 2 mile climb, I took it comfortably and in no time was cruising down the 5 mile downhill to the middle aid station. Then came the 7 mile up to the turnaround aid station. I spead up to pass the guy in my age group ahead of me. It was starting to warm up and I could feel alittle elevation (5-6,000ft) but the climb wasn't that bad. I got to the aid station, did the mile out n back and checked my watch. 3:10! this was going much better than I thought. Instead of trying to beat 7 hrs, I was closer to a 6 hr finish! On the way back, I heard a helicopter and a couple miles down the ridge was a new forest fire. It looked like it was far enough away not to effect our race, but I caught myself interrupting my downhill run stopping to look at the fire from time to time. It was getting hot so when I left the middle aid station, I decided that instead of going all out to finish under 6 hours, I would take it easy on the last 5 mile climb since I had my age group in the bag. So I walked most of the climb, got passed by a couple of runners, then I even took it easy on the last 2 mile downhill because it was rocky and I didn't want to fall. I finished in 6:10 and felt pretty good about how I managed the race. I stayed well hydrated and felt good most of the time. I even got a little medal for winning my age group. But all that went out the door when I locked Harvey's keys in his van. It ended up taking Harvey 31/2 hours to catch a ride into town, get hold of AAA, and ride with the locksmith back out to the campground. In the meantime, I helped the volunters break down the finish line. It was a great event, but a long day...

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Lake Youngs is an urban 3 lap trail race around Lake Youngs with not much elevation gain so it's all runnable. Each lap is just under 10 miles so the course is about 29 miles. Last year, I ran it pretty hard with Matt with a time of 4:19. This year, due to my hamstring and heel injury, my goal was to not get hurt and finish under 4:30. This is a low key race, and King Aurthur, the RD, was running it also, so at the start he just said "Let's Go!" and off we went. The weather was great, cloudy a chance of clearing, and I started off with a comfortable pace. Steve Stoyls caught me, and we ran together until about mile 6 when I had to make a dodge into the bushes for a bathroom break. I ended up running the first lap a couple of minutes faster than last year without really working at all. I guess I'm in better shape, the hills on the backside of the loop didn't seem bad at all. I did slow down the second lap, I didn't want to push it, but when I got to mile 17 in the hill section, my hamstring started to tighten up and I slowed more and started to wonder if I should do the third lap. As I got closer to the finish, I thought how great it would be to stop now, with a good 19 mile training run in, and not hurt myself some more. But it was important that I get a long run in and I knew I could hobble around the loop one more time. I ended up charging into the aid station, handing Tony C. my bottle for a refill, and charging back out on the course. I knew if I stopped, I would sit down and not leave. I suddenly felt better and chuckled that this was another example of my motto, "It doesn't always get worse!". Then suddenly, I had another impending diarrhea attack. I was in a bad spot with no access to woods for another mile and a half, so I toughed it out and made a dash for the bushes at the first opportunity. I had to sit there for a long time, probably 5 minutes and when I finally got back out on the trail, I noticed the thirteen year old kid was ahead of me by a couple of hundred yards. I ran the rest of the loop at a comfortable pace, no problems on the hills and I caught the kid on the last hill just before the finish. This was his first ultra and he ran each lap without a water bottle! I let him finish in front of me so he could hear the praises from the crowd first hand, plus it was kinda neat getting punked by a kid! I finished in 4:27 and change with factoring in the potty breaks, was about the same that I ran it last year but with much less effort. It was a good day and I'm glad I decided at the last minute to make the trip.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Since my surgery, I've been running capitol city marathon for the last 5 years with finish times from 3:36 to 3:46. Before surgery, I usually ran 3:20's. So again this year the plan was to run a sub 3:30. Previously, I've either had an injury or ran Mac Forest the weekend before so I couldn't go full speed. This year I planned to skip Mac Forest so I would be rested for the marathon, but ended up injuring myself anyway. When I got laid off from work, I decided to take that opportunity to lift some weights. So of course, I started out 3 times a week and promptly strained my hamstring! So I started the marathon with a nagging injury but I thought I would give it a try anyway. At the start I got together with Rachael and Terry(in pink-he lost a bet!). Kris was there for moral support and she would check on us out on the course. Also running was Ulrike-paced by Dave, Heidi, Ted, and Israel. After the first mile, Rachael decided to drop back while Terry and I pushed on at a 8+- minute/mile pace. The first 16 miles has some rolling hills so I wrote my goal time for mile 16 on my hand to check my pace then. After about 10 miles, I surged ahead of Terry (to get away from his pinkness)and when I reached mile 16, I was right on the mark! But, same as last year, in the next two miles, the hammy tightened up and my 3:30 finish was out the door. Terry went by me like a shot as I settled down to a slower pace to get home without hurting anything. I ended up finishing at 3:40 which actually gave me a second place age group award! It was a great day and everyone finished, Ulrike with second overall, Dave had alot of fun pacing and providing strategy, Heidi won an age group award, and Terry finished under 3:30!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

I've done alot of running and hiking, but never have learned to use an ice axe until today. With a possible climb of Rainier in the future, my wife's father's very experienced climbing buddy Fred Griesman invited me to tag along on a climb up the snow chutes of Mt Eleanore. 
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We arrived at the lower trailhead at 8:30 in the morning, the road to the main trailhead was impassible due to snow. I was surprised that there was only one other car there, must be because of mother's day, but the weather was sunny and warm. It took us about a half hour to hike up to the main trailhead and after another 20 minutes, we were in snow for the rest of the way. Fred loaned me some really good plastic climbing boots,snow gaitors, and an ice axe. So I was ready for anything! we soon took the turn to the chutes and started plodding up the steep snowy slope. I felt like I was climbing Mt Everest, planting my ice axe, taking two steps, plant the ice axe, take two steps. We worked our way, to the left, taking the most direct route up. It was alittle steeper and at the top, the chute narrowed to a short techincal rock move that took a little time to figure out. The climbers below us thought better of it and took a different route. Another short climbing session and we were on the top! After a good look around and lunch, we put on our rain pants for the glissade descent. What a hoot, sliding on your ass down a steep slope. I had some control problems in the beginning but once I got the hang of it, it was way fun. I'm now more comfortable with an ice axe and looking forward to some more mountain climbing!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

I was excited for this year's Chuckanut since I missed last year's at the last minute due to my dog having a seizure. Now the dog is fine and Kris and I are cruizing up the freeway to Fairhaven runners to pick up our race stuff. We met Anna and Dugan Bates there (Anna tried to poison me at Cascade Crest)and went out to the Boundry Bay tavern for some great pre-race food. There we were joined with our hotel room mates, James and Warren from Winthrop. The Bates kept up their poisoning tradition with Dugan sending over a bedtime beer for me. I slept well and woke to sunny skies. I started the first flat 6 miles too fast as usual, but after 15 min, slowed down and recovered then sped back up and started passing people. On the first climb, all the people I passed went by me,I'm so slow on the ups! After the second aid station there is a long road uphill where even more passed me and Glen caught up to me. I managed to stay with him to the ridge and actually was spot on the time I was shooting for. But mother ultra raised her ugly head and my stomach started going south. I was real disappointed since the ridge trail is the funnest part of the race. I stayed with Glen till chin scraper but Kris went charging past, drats, chicked again! I hurried down the downhill as best I could, not knowing which end was going to cut loose first and hoping I would make it to the last aid station bathroom in time. After a satisfying 10 min. break at the last aid station, the last flat 6 miles were slow with more stomach pains so when I finally crossed the line, I headed straight for the bathroom. Sounds worse then it was, I actually had a good time and the weather was great.

Monday, February 09, 2009

What another great event! It started friday morning with a shopping trip to Costco to pick up supplies for the pre-race continetal breakfast, then pick up Kris for a ride up. We drove in the rain until Mt.Vernon when the clouds parted and cleared by the time we got to the ferry. On the ferry we ran into Clem and Ken Ward from Corvalis. It was great catching up with Clem and Ken showed me how to work my new camera. Glen was there also, hadn't seen him since Cascade Crest. It was still daylight when we reached Moran State Park. Several runners had already signed up and when I brought in the race shirts, pandimonium! James scrounged up recycled shirts, zip tops, sweatshirts, and hoodies and printed them up. They were fantastic and it was first come, first serve to choose the one you wanted. It was just like a 50% off sale at Walmart. Everyone just dove in and shirts went flying. I of course got the best one. We spent a relaxing evening waiting for the late ferry with the rest of the oly folks, on it. By the time they showed up, it was about 10:00 and time to go to bed.
In the morning, Kris and I chopped bagels, muffins, bananas, and melons for the breakfast. It all went well,there was plenty of food and enough time to get ready for the start. For some reason, Dave decided to run the 50K instead of the 25K, so after the start, he ran with me for a couple of miles to keep from going out too fast, then as we approached the first climb, he took off. I felt good on the first climb, and after reaching the summit, I blasted the downhill passing alot of runners. Just before reaching the 10 mile aid station, I caught up with Wendy. I knew I was going too fast, I shouldn't be anywhere near her. Just before the aid station, Dave passed me on the out'n back. I think we were both surprised to see each other. Wendy and Dave would end up beating me by more than 45 minutes. I had a hard time getting back up to speed before hitting the infamous powerline trail. As usual on a hard climb, I got passed by all the runners I blitzed on the downhill on the first loop. I ended up running with Randy, an Orcas local, and Glen till we got to the aid station at the top of Mt Constitution at mile 22. It was great to see John, Clem, and James up there. I grabbed a cup of coke, and left just as Kris reached the summit. I started down the steep switch backs with Glen and Randy, but
started to fade and lost touch with them as I slowed to eat a gel. I wish I would have eaten that peanut butter sandwich at the top. I started to feel better as the trail flattened out and was about 2 miles out with less than 20min to go. For a moment, I thought I could finish under 7 hours, but decided to walk the little ups and cruise into the Lodge.
James pulled off a great post race party with tons of black bean chili, 2 kegs of beer and great live music. We all had a great time and after cleaning up in the morning, even caught our ferry on time. It was another great event, but I sure felt it with sore quads for 3 days after.