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...