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!