Friday, August 6, 2010

White River 50

Scratch another one off the list on my admittedly retarded quest to finish a 100. When I get to the end of this run I seriously wish today was the day I ran my hundred. I had all the bases covered. Stomach was good. Pace was perfect. But again, like a teenager's first time I'm getting ahead of myself. Here's how it all went down, and up.

Saturday morning rolls around and I look at the clock. It's 1:20 am. WTF? I flip and flop, repeat, lie still, roll, fluff pillows, lie still, flip, stretch, flop, look at clock, 1:35 am. Turn on the light. Start reading. Damn this book is good. I'm 75% of the way through an 1100 page book, I'm thoroughly engrossed in the story. Look at clock again, 3:05 am. Crap. I might as well get up. Eat some food. Load truck. Music on. Drive. Holy Crap it is taking forever to get there. I used to love taking road trips - I looked forward to them every weekend when I was racing motocross, then running X-C in college, then racing various forms of bicycles. But the older I get the less I enjoy driving down a road for hours at a time with the music up loud and my thoughts on autopilot. Maybe it's because I have so little free time and I'm always in a rush to move from one task to the next that now I forgot to enjoy the freedom of driving. Who knows? Maybe it's because the clock is always ticking. Examples, " Mike what time are you going to get home from this run?" "What time are you going to be here?" "How long are you running?" "Are you going to be able to do this?" And on and on and on. Everything is scheduled nowadays. I never used to schedule anything outside of work or school. I hate schedules. Schedules suck. How much fun is it to constantly plan your life? What ever happened to spontaneity? I used to live by that all the time. Now I long for the days of years past.

I show up at the race site at about 530, and find a place to park, get my number and then hang out. What else is there to do before the race starts? Not much. I walk around, go for a little run to loosen the body up, all the joints seem to be working OK. Nothing else to do but wait.
Race time and I'm ready to go. I decided not to use the GPS as it probably wouldn't be working all that great in the mountains and switchbacks. I'm going old school. 50 milers are pretty easy to figure out on pacing anyway, just start easy and keep going. Not too bad of a plan. The race starts pretty mellow, we run down a gravel road for a short while before we get into the trails. I recognize the area from racing the mountain bike here the year before, or 2 years ago. It must have been 2008. Yep, that's it. I won too. First place was beer. Gotta love mountain bike races. We cruise along, chatting about nothing, no sense of hurry really, it's going to be a long day even on the best of days. After the aid station we turn and slowly the trail starts heading up…I knew this was supposed to be a 9 mile climb, so I would run the easy stuff and if it got real steep switch to power walking as it's pretty much the same speed as running anyway. Although this climb was long, it was really pretty mellow and enjoyable - not steep and brutal like the Tiger Mountain climbs of training.

Finally I get to the top of the ridge, only a couple miles to go before the turnaround, and I start to see the leaders hauling ass the other way. Dakota Jones and Anton Kupricka are setting the early pace, and are already out front by a good amount. As I get closer to the turnaround I see more people I recognize from most of the other local ultras. I see Glen at the turnaround and after filling the camelback I quickly catch up to him. Every time I try to get a drink though nothing is coming out. I stop and squeeze the bladder and I get a mouthful, so I start going again and when I try to drink again…nothing. I squeeze again and get another mouthful. WTF? I don't really want to mess around with this too much, so I get back to running again. The trail is starting to fall away in a gentle descent with a few ups to mix things up…perfect for covering distance with minimal effort. When I go to drink again…Fuck! Nothing. So I pop the end cap off…and when I hold the tube down water is flowing nicely…when I put it to my mouth the flow stops. Being the Po-LOCK that I am I can't figure it out until someone runs by me and says that my hose is kinked. Duh! That makes perfect sense. What an idiot I am. Oh well, I fix it and onward I run.

Heading back against traffic is annoying as hell. I was under the impression that people running downhill, or ones that are ahead in the race have the right of way. Whenever someone came running at me I got off the trail and made sure I didn't impede their progress. But as I was running down I think maybe 3 people moved out of the 100+ runners I passed. I was seriously getting pissed. Does the running etiquette not extend past the 6000 foot mark? I don't get it.
Eventually I make it to the 22 mile aid station and know I have about 5 miles of mostly downhill to the next one, so it's time to move and cover some ground. I'm guessing I'm averaging about 7 minutes a mile here, the trail is technical in places and there are quite a few switch backs so you can't really let the legs out all the way.

Mile 27 aid station and I stop and get some food and notice Justin Angle is working there - I haven't seen him since I ran with him @ Tiger in early April. I say a quick hi and hurry and take off, and then about a mile later realize I forgot to fill my camelbak. Another dumbass move and it's starting to get hot. Oh well, it must have about 50 ounces in it and I didn't' drink much on the descent. But I am getting thirsty so I start to drink and a couple miles later wonder if I'll have enough water on the climb to the next aid station. Luckily we pass a stream of running water and I scoop some up in the camelback. I don't have my filter with me but figure I'll be fine through the race anyway before anything hits me if it does at all. Climbing Sun Top is a lot steeper than the climb to Corral Pass. It's harder to run up this one so I just try to cover ground as best as I can. Finally I make it to the next aid station, dump the water out of the camelback and fill up on some more - also pop some more S Caps and continue the climb. The next part of the climb isn't too bad as there is some downhill mixed in, my legs feel great on the downhill and I'm flying on that stuff, I try and carry my momentum up as best as I can and then switch to power walking. The views here are simply amazing - and I'm glad it is such a clear day to take it all in. I love this trail stuff. There really isn't any other way to experience the Cascade Mountains.

Finally - I see Glen Tachiyama snapping pictures and realize I made it to the top. Whew. I venture into the aid station, suck down a bunch of mountain dew, fill the camelbak, pop an S!cap and I'm off once again. This is by far the easiest and fast section of the course. I quickly up the pace and start flying by people. If the mile markers on the side of the road are correct I'm running about 6:30 per mile. But after 3 miles there is some rumbly in my tummy. I stop and puke up all the mountain dew and then ease back into 6:30 per mile. Even with stopping to puke and going to the bathroom I still cover the 6.4 miles in 48:00 minutes, but that only leaves me with 56 minutes or so to break 9 hours.

When I get to the last aid station I try not to waste too much time…I probably take about 60-90 seconds at the most and get out of there. I'm still running pretty decent, but I'm not real sure that I can cover the last 6.6 or so miles in 55 minutes or less. I'm probably running about 9:30's or so at this point, not horrible, but this definitely isn't going to get the job done. The leg turnover is good on the flat technical parts of the trail, but once the trail tilts skyward I slow or power walk again. I run up a couple of the smaller hills, but I'm not exactly flying over them now. Oh well, compared to the last 50 I ran I'm still moving pretty well. Eventually I make it out of the single-track and see a sign that says the finish is only 4/10ths of a mile away. My watch just turned to 9:06 so that leaves me with a little bit of breathing room to at least go sub-9:10. This wasn't my primary goal, but overall I covered ground pretty well for the day. I know I'm still gaining strength and experience, and next year's goal time will be quite a bit more ambitious.

Once I got to the finish line Scott the RD gave me a bottle of ice cold water and made sure I was OK. Then I sat under a tree for a bit and drank some water. I didn't feel too bad but I wasn't quite ready to run around yet. Eventually I made my way to my truck, changed my shirt and then went and had some BBQ. This really hit the spot as I was pretty darn hungry. Afterwards I talked with Glen and his wife and then drove on home. I can't wait to run this race again.

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