Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Capitol Peaks 50 Mile

These things usually take a couple days to write. And I'm learning that if I want to gleam as much as I can from each distance I need to write as much as I can remember. This may be a bit lengthy, but no one really reads this crap anyway. Hell, my parents hardly even read this junk. On to the Capitol Forest 50…

With promises of horrible traffic due to construction I decided to leave extra early. Glen got a hotel near the race start, which would have been nice, but I knew I wouldn't see the kids much on race day, and I didn't want to not see them basically 2 days in a row. His kids are teenagers - a little easier to get away from with less guilt. My goal was to bed Saturday night at 715; I figured I'd be reading the kindle for at least an hour or so before I fell asleep, but I was hoping to get 5 hours of shuteye. Of course, if you have kids you know things don't every go to plan when they are for yourself. That's just part of the adventure of having kids. I ended up getting to bed at about 815. Not really too bad as I planned on getting up at 230. But instead I woke up at 12:40, laid there for a long time, decided to start reading some more in the hope it would tire the eyes enough to get another hour or so of sleep. Next thing I know I'm another 15% through the book and it's 2:10. I might as well get up. So I jumped in the shower, checked some things on the web quickly, ate some pancakes, read some more, and the next thing I know it's almost 3:00. Crap I better go.

Turns out traffic is nonexistent all the way down. For once the on again off again rain was a benefit. I rolled into the Mima Campground at around 4:35 and as I see all the headlights walking around think to myself, "That would be smart to bring a light as it's pitch black." Oh well, I fumble through the dark like a bat chasing a firefly (or whatever eats those damn things). Then I round a corner and a tent is in full glow, so on I ventured toward the light. I got my shirt (another technical shirt, I have so many of those it would actually be nice to get a plain old cotton t-shirt), number, another free Ultrarunning magazine (sure am glad I subscribed since I get them at every race), and a couple other goodies. I sent Glen a text so we could actually see one another before the race starts. Yes, we have a crush on one another! It's puppy love. Actually, he is the only other idiot I know that will run through the mountains with me just about every weekend.

The sun came up. The race started. Off we go. 50 miles to go. 6000+ feet to climb. No hurry. Take your time. Lots of mud on the trails.
Here's my shoes after the run.

Glen's GPS said we were averaging 10:30 per mile after a couple miles, I wanted to take it easy in the beginning but that was a little slow. I didn't let it worry me too much, with all day to run I'm sure 10:30 per mile would be hard to maintain eventually. Especially with the "grunt" coming up to the top of Capitol Peak. The first few hours were pretty mellow. I just kept an easy pace, and tried to maintain my calories and fluid intake. It was a little cool so I wanted to enjoy the comfortable weather as long as it lasted. I have no idea how far into the race we were (maybe 19 or so) we pop out of this little single-track, cross a road and I see a sign that says, "Grunt trail." I heard about this. It rises about 1000 feet in less than a mile. I usually suck at power walking the climbs, but maybe it’s the company I last did it with (2 guys that have finished top 5 in mountainous 100 milers), but today I "mall walked" up it like nothing and probably passed 10 people without exerting myself. Got to the top and still felt good - which is always a relief.

I ended up running with Pam Smith, who ran 7:14 to finish 2nd at American River 50 miler 2 weeks ago, for a little bit, but after running away from her on the descent and next climb I had to get myself in check as she probably would have killed me. I ran into aid station (whatever number it was - about mile 25.5) in 4:17, let Pam go ahead of me, happy to still be feeling really good and on pace for a conservative sub 9 hour finish. Ran another mile and then hooked up with Tia Gabralita. This is perhaps one of the coolest runner chicks I ever met. I ran with her for about 7 miles or so, found out she ran with Glen earlier in the race, and just talked to her about nothing too important (different 100's mostly) as the miles floated by. I could tell by her jovial mood she was feeling good though. Each time we go to an aid station she got excited and started whoopin' it up. I let her go and all I could hear was, "C'mon Mike, get going! C'mon Mike!" And maybe at about mile 40 or so I had to bid her Adieu. Yes, she is a girl, yes, a couple years older, but this is another seriously tough and strong runner that would have me hurting in a bad way if tried to hang on too long. long. My pride is not something that I worry about 40 miles into a trail run. I'm used to getting beat by the fast chicks anyway.

I knew once I started getting close to the finish I would start seeing mile markers on the trails. Downhill and flats my turnover was still pretty good, but by mile 45 the climbs were starting to piss me off. I was walking climbs that I didn't even notice earlier in the race. I got caught by one more girl just for the helluvit. Saw someone running and he said something like 3/4 of a mile to go. I looked at my watch and it said 8:29. I knew sub 9:00 was going to be pretty easy, but thought I was going to end up 8:36. He must have been off in his estimate as I crossed the line in 8:34:20. Not too bad. I think ultrarunning is a lot like racing bikes where it takes a while to build the strength you need to complete the longer distances. I'm seeing lots of improvement so it's pretty cool when incrementally feel the the positive changes.

Next up is 12 hours at Redmond. I planned to take it easy for a week or 2, but it's hard to go from 60+ miles a week down to 30. I feel like I'm being lazy. 2 days after the 50 my legs were barely sore; I think the slower pace and softer surface is a lot easier on the limbs. 50 miles is a great distance to run; you don't really have to worry about DNF-ing and you can pretty much run the whole thing confortably. 50 miles is my new farvorite distance.

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