Saturday, August 21, 2010

Stormy Aug 2010

Stormy Trail Race
Aug 7,8 2010
Stormy is trail race run in the mountains of BC in the town of Squamish BC. I entered the 100 mile race event. I had an idea on what to expect as this was my second 100 mile running race. Stormy has 12,000 ft of elevation gain and loss over the course. Most of the course was on mt bike trails with small parts of paved roads and larger uphill sections on dirt roads.

We arrived on Friday evening camping out at the campgrounds by the start of the race. It was raining on Saturday morning when we woke up. Rain was forecasted all day. With a 10:00 start time all the runners had time to gather under the tents and work out the per race jitters. The temperature was warm enough with the rain that I could wear a tee shirt and shorts. I carried my jacket and stocking cap for the chance that I might get cold. There were 25 people running the 100 mile event.

A little before 10:00 we were all lined up at the start ready to go. No one wanted to be in front so I ended up in the first few. At 10:00 we all took of at a reasonable pace. I was running in second place. I have never run this course before and wondered if this was a good idea. I am running third place after a few miles. The first two people are out of site and treating this like a real race. I am running with Alex with the pack behind us. We miss a turn and everyone follows us for an extra one hundred yards. I hear a whistle as I stop realizing something is wrong. We all turn around and go back to the left turn I missed. I am passing people in the pack getting myself back toward the front. Aid station one comes up and I see familiar faces working this station. This would be one of my favorite stations (Good Food). I fill up and am off. As I approach Alice Lake I see a large party going on with lots of tents keeping everyone dry. They happen to be right on the race course. It took a bit of thinking to realize this. Your mind can play tricks on you during a 100 mile run. Not usually after 6 miles. Past Alice Lake, left down the road and into the woods. I come out the woods and almost go past the second aid station. The course goes right the aid station was on the left. I did not even look that way. Fill up and move on. Up hill walking, single track and some fun down hill running takes me to aid station three. I see two more people I know working this station. Fill up and move on for some more single track and one interesting down hill mt bike trail. I might be crazy for running 100 miles. These people who ride this trail and farther out there than I am. I come into the last little down hill a little to fast having a little too much fun. Luckily I stay on my feet as I approach the aid station four (this is the old aid station one). Grab some ravioli’s, soup, pb & j and other good food as I start walking down the road. Right turn after bridge, down trail, left up to aid station four. More good food and up the road I go. Down some fun single track back to aid station four that is now aid station five. Fuel up and off to Power House (aid station 7 and 9). At PH I fill up and start up the nine mile hill road. It is two climbs with down hill running after each section. There is a water stop in the middle of this section which I use. It takes me 1:45 to get to aid station 8. Load up and more up hill walking before a great down hill running section that leads to more interesting down hill mt bike trail. Once back at PH and loaded up I get some easier trail that takes me to the last aid station (10) before the start/finish 50 mile mark. My glasses are quite dirty and seeing is not as sharp as I would like. I get help from the guy running aid station 10 to clean my glasses. I have nothing clean or dry on me. I get to the S/F in 10:30. I saw Laurie, changed my shirt and filled back up on supplies. It has stopped raining now. It is still light as I leave there hoping to make as many miles as I can before it gets dark. It is dark when I get into aid station one with my head lamp going strong. They have the lights on and more good food for me. As I approach Alice Lake I see many lights. These are from a group playing around in the dark. I have to do a mind check here. I see the three people in front of me coming up the road as I am running down toward more fun in the woods at night. Each aid station I pass now I know is one more thing checked off toward the finish of this race. More soup, pb & j and I are walking up the road. The dark slows me down as I can not see as well. Coming into aid station three there is a tree across the trail. This is new scene the first time through. They conform that they heard the tree fall. At aid station three, they have extra Nuun for me. I am thankful as I did not bring enough for this event. This next section is a slow part for me in the dark. Finally I am at aid stations four. More good food and walking down the road. I do the loop between aid station five and six. I am out of it a little now. Keeping the mind sharp at three in the morning and having run 70 miles is tough. I get through PH and I can walk the road as I eat with out my head lamp. Last big hill to climb before the finish. It is light when I get to aid station eight. The people are sleeping there as I approach. One wakes and I tell her I am fine and just to relax. Back to PH and life is getting good. Seven more miles and I am done. There are yellow balloons leading into the last aid station. I have to do another mind check to realize that they are real. I run across the finish line 24:34 after starting. I sit down, have some food and cheer the other people coming in. In a little while it is time for a shower and a nap. After my nap I hang out at the finish and mingle with the crowd. Laurie goes and gets me some chi at the local Starbucks. Nothing ever tasted so good. There is some great chicken bbq for us to eat. I get a prize for coming in third in my age group and the awards ceremony. As you can tell from this, I do not need sleep just good food to keep going.

Capital Peak Race

Capital Peak Race
April 25, 2009

For me running this run comes to close to the end of ski season. We had late snows this year in March and April. With the late snow, I was not doing the hill work I should have been doing. (I do not enjoy running down hill on snowy trails) I had come down with a cold two weeks before the run. This is how I was going into my first 50 mile trail run for the season.

Drove down to the start on Friday night and hung out with the other people there. My car made a good place to sleep in for the night. Up at 5:00 and the start the race at 6:00. I started out running with Glen for awhile. He was holding a good pace I liked. There are two aid stations on the lower 19 mile loop that bring you back to the start/finish. There is some mud, clear cuts and nice forest you run through. I was feeling good so far, yo-yoing with different runner as the miles rolled along. Leaving the 19 mile start finish the trail starts its climb up to Capital peak. The running is again nice trail through clear cuts and forest. At the Capital peak aid station you do a 2.5 mile loop up to the peak. At the Capital peak aid station the 55k runners head back to the start/finish for the end of their day. The 50 mile runners work there way over to the wedekind aid station at mile 31. I picked up some soup as I headed that direction. This is a nice run through the forest with a lot of down hill running, I really enjoy it. Once at wedekind aid station I pick up another cup of soup as I headed out on the out and back. I found that soup that day really hit the spot. This was a six mile out and six mile back leg. I did not liking parts of this as I was running at times on an old road and too much down hill to get to the turn around. The turn around came none to soon and off I went on tired legs back up out of this valley. The good part was it was only 12.5 miles back to the finish. Stopped in at wedekind and picked up some more soup. It is down hill for the most part to the finish from wedekind. The trail is clear cuts and nice forest. As I was getting closer I thought I might be able to break the 10 hour mark. I ran a little faster to see if I was possible. It is so much fun to run down a good trail in the woods, I loved it. You forget about all else and enjoy the moment. The 10 hour mark came and went and I crossed the finish line in 10:04. The weather was cool and perfect for running. I wore shorts, long sleeve top and gloves. Once at the finish I hung out, ate and socialized with the other runner. I can not think of a better way to spend the day.

Trail Running in the Grand Canyon. Oct 09

Trail Running in the Grand Canyon. Oct 09
Four of us started at the South Kaibab trail head at 4:15 am for our descent into the GC. At the trail head was two vans full of people getting ready to cross the GC to the North rim. Down we go jogging along staring at the ground in the beam of our head lamp. As we descend the three other pull away. I see rock on one side and nothing on the other. After a bit, they are waiting as I catch up. I let them know that my night vision is not very good and not to worry, I will be along. As we run again I am eating there dust so I do not mind them being a little faster. I see their head lamps ahead as I run down the trail. The only other thing that changes as I descend is, once I am close to the bottom, I hear the river. I can not see it until I am on the Black bridge that crosses to the North side. The sky is starting to get lighter now and before I know it I am at Phantom ranch. I meet the group again, refill water. We are now running on the North Kaibab trail toward the North rim. It is light enough for running with out our head lamp. We pass through box canyon, a steep wall canyon with five bridges across the creek. We come to Cottonwood camp ground next. Most of the gang fills up water; I grab my pb&j and start walking with Seattle Dave. The other catches up after awhile as the terrain opens up. We are slowly climbing toward the N rim. Roaring springs is the next water stop. Mike takes the lead from here as we follow along. We are in the switch backs now as we rise upward. This starts the section of walking for us from here on out. Phoenix Dave and I pull ahead and work our way upward. One last water stop two miles before the N rim. I like this section the best. We arrive at the N rim at 10:15. Take a photo and start the long run back down to Phantom ranch. We are retracing the route we came up. I run most of the descent to PR arriving at 1:00. This is great trail running. There are great views and perfect trail conditions. I pass many people hiking in this section. There are a few groups of rim 2 rim runners and hikers. Highlights of this N Kaibab trail were, I was running along and caught up with a mule deer on the trail. He started running in front of me for a little while. It was incredible to run through layers of different type of rock. You realize how deep the GC is after going from the top to bottom and back up. I eat my last pb&j as I walk out of PR. The temp in the shade is 86. Running over the silver bridge leads me to the S side of the canyon and up the Bright Angel trail. I have to wait once over the bridge for two groups of people on burros. The burros leave a lovely odor on the trail. I hit a sandy beach like section of trail that I am able to run. The trail is in rough condition due to the burro traffic. I walk most of the trail from here on out to the S rim. The trail follows Bright Angel creek. This is very convenient as I can dip my hat in the creek for an easy cool off. My stomach is giving me some problems as I ascend. I think it is the heat. I am able to force a gel down as a walk along. I know my body needs the fuel to get up this hill. At Indian Garden there is a rest/water stop. I get one more gel down with lots of fresh water. It is 4.5 miles to the top from here. There are two more rest/water stops at 1.5 miles distances till the top. This section of trail is like hiking Mt Si. There are lots of people. This is the second most visited national park, what did I expect. I make the top out at 4:40. I get a hamburger while I chat with other waiting at the rim. Mike and the two Dave are on top a little while latter. What a great experience for my first visit to the Grand Canyon.

Western States Lottery, An Emotional Rollercoaster

Dec 2009
The first time I heard of Western States I was training for my first ultra, Cle Elum Ridge Run, a 50k. I was carpooling to a training run for White River, a 50m run. It was a 24 mile run on the first half of the course. Talking running in the car, one of the people noted he ran WS the year before. I had no idea what he was talking about. He told me about the run. I thought he was crazy for wanting to do something like that. Little did I know I was on the same path. That was in 2004. I completed Cle Elum Ridge Run and learned some hard lessons. I completed White River the next year. I learned some more hard lessons. WS was still not in my list of runs I wanted to do, even though by now I was hearing lots of talk about it. I still thought those people were crazy. Well the next year I thought if I was to give WS a try I should see if I could run a tough 100k in the 14 hour time limit. Little did I know that Where’s Waldo, listed as a 100k, was measured that year and found to be 66.5 miles! I completed Where’s Waldo in just under 14 hours. So I put my name in the hat for the WS lottery. It is Dec 2006 now. I did not make the lottery cut. No 2007 WS run for me. During this time I was still running ultras knowing some day I would get the opportunity to run this race. Again I did not make the Dec 2007 lottery cut. According to the two time loser rule I would get to run it in 2009. It’s now 2008 and I signed up for and completed Cascade Crest, a 100m run. Well, 2008 brought forest fires and the cancellation of the WS run. Would 2009 be the year for me? That year they had a special lottery for the few remaining places in the 2009 run. I was not one of them. They changed the rules and I was picked out of the remaining TTL for the 2011 run. But I put my name in anyway for the 2010 run. This past Saturday I was sitting at my computer at 9:00 am pushing refresh every few minutes hoping to see my name appear. There has to be better things to do with my time, but I thought that maybe, JUST MAYBE, I would get selected and see my name appear on the screen. Ten o’clock rolls around and my name does not appear. Then I was off to yoga and lunch. The first thing I did when I got home was to check for my name on that list. Again I did not get selected for the fourth time! I will run Stormy, a 100m run in Squamish BC in 2010 to get myself ready for the 2011 running of the WS run. One thing for sure, I have learned patience over these years waiting for my chance to run the WS. Only a little over 18 months to go and I will see the rest of you crazy people on that Saturday in the last weekend in June in Squaw Valley.