Wednesday, August 30, 2006

You thought you were tough running 100 miles?

This last weekend while helping crew Kyly at CCC is met a very interesting person. I was at the Meadow Mountain aid station. Which by the way, I ended up having to take over as the volunteers left. Don't get me wrong I was happy to help out but this is one more reason why I think this race needs a lot of improvement.

Anyway, back to the story. I met Scott Williamson. He was thru hiking. No not just the Oregon section of PCT. Not Oregon and Washington but all of PCT. No it doesn't stop there. He is Yo-Yoing it!!! That's right. First North and then turning around and heading South to Mexico.

Scott, (I am sorry I didn't get his trail name.) is the only person to have done this. He finished last year for the first time in 205 days. Last year he turned around at the Canadian border in 106 days. This year he turned around in 88 days and is doing fine.

His pack is customized Go-Lite pack weighing in at a light 8.5 pounds. (Not counting food.) He does not carry a stove. He wears trail shoes and running type shorts. He uses a blanket that he made for warmth. Sleeps on a ground cover. Tarp overhead to keep off the rain. He will go through about a dozen pairs of shoes on his trek.

For nurishment he eats dried foods, protein shakes, dried fruit, refried beans, crackers. He eats two to three pounds of food a day. His dad will mail food to him at 42 different drop sites along the way.

Right now he carries a small video camera to document his story. During this day there were three camera men on the trail documenting his progress. They will put together a documentry for next year on one of the Discover channel I believe he said. I will be looking for it.

And on this day he said he hasn't seen this many people in 2000 miles! This day he also gets to see his friend complete a 100 mile run.

One more reason why I like our sport. We get to meet the most interesting friendly people.

Monday, August 28, 2006

CCC 100, my chance to crew

Last weekend I had the joy of crewing Kyly for Cascade Crest 100. She is running really well right now and it showed.

The race starts at 10:00am which has it's pluses. You can get some good rest the night before the race which is nice for a change. Mike Burke was there. What stud. He did Waldo 100k the weekend before and he will be doing AC 100 in two weeks!

Anna Bates was to do her first 100. I met Anna and Kyly two years ago at 3:00am running up PCT at the start of Waldo. Anna's headlamp went out and Kyly and I light the trail for her until the sun came up. What a great memory that is.

Kyly had signed up months ago thinking that this would be a great mountanous run. Well, as race day grew nearer information on the race was non-existant. Entrants would try to contact the RD, Markus Dennis, for information and replys didn't happen. Then the week of the race information is posted on the website! I won't vent too much here, but in my own personal opinion I would have been very frustrated with the RD.

Because of lack of communication Kyly just decided to use it as a training run for Rio. She was to do 40-47 miles of the course and drop as Rio is in only three weeks. The race started with 67 entrants in what was going to be a fairly warm day here in the NW. I immediatly set out to be at Tacoma Pass aid station at mile 22.5. I would get there in plenty of time so I decided to go for a run on the trail. I met up with James Varner who drove up from Olympia. He was marking the course on race day!!! With no comunication between the RD and others volunteers were sparce. James and I were only about an hour to hour and a half ahead of the leaders.

Back to the race. Kyly came in looking great. She refueled and I walked her out letting her know what was ahead. She was having a great time.

I then head off to Stampede Pass, mile 33 of the race. Kyly comes in still looking fantastic and she has been passing many. She just gets stronger as the day goes on. I give her a light, (RD instructs that you must leave with one here). She wants her hand held and long sleeve shirt. Kyly it is 85 degrees! I will see her in a litte over an hour. I could give her that stuff later.

She gets to Meadow Mountain aid station in 1:15, mile 40.5. She is flyin'!!! She is now in the top 10 overall! Third female! She is covered with salt. Not her norm. But she looks fantastic. Much better than some that have passed through. She desides to call it a day as her achillies is acting up. I wanted her to do the whole thing. She was just running so strong! But that was not her plan for the day. Bummer, I was having a blast helping. And this was good to see her so often. She is going to jam at Rio! (Kyly in red coming into Tacoma aid station, mile 22.5)

As for Anna and Mike... They ran the whole race together. How great is that? Mike was cramping a bit you can always depend on "Bushwacker."

Anna finished strong. She was really happy, as she should be. This was not an easy race. I believe it has 23,000 feet of gain.

Bushwacker cleaning the trail dirt off. Anna above rejoycing in her accomplishment of placing 4th female. The NW gang did great. It was fun to see all of them out on the trail. It was a great weekend. I look forward to crewing Kyly in a 100. This a "must" on my wish list.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Where's Waldo 100k, "Vanilla," Please.

"Vanilla," Please.

Where's Waldo is a race I look forward to all year. It is the race that I "have to do." I have to admit it was a little hard to get up mentally for this years race, as States was such a mental "high".

Going into the race I was a little concerned in finishing under the 16 hour cutoff. I was instructed by my brother that I had to do the 5:00am start and not the early start of 3:00am. I have never finished under 16 here.

This year the course was wheeled. It measured 66.36 miles. So, maybe next year it will be changed to closer to 62.2 miles for the U.S.A. 100k championship? I hope so. It is truely a "trail" run. 99% "pillowy" single track. Just the best ever.

Kyly and Michael Christianson a.k.a, "Crusty", were doing the early start as a relay. Not sure why, Kyly is having the best year ever and running super strong. Micheal has been fast in the past but was just a little undertrained.

Would I see Kyly coming off Mt. Fuji? (short out and back of 2.2 miles to the summit.) No way, she would be running too fast on the first climb. Afterall, I don't run with the "big boys" who might see her.

The plan for the first climb was just to stay steady, follow Ronda for a good pace. I have to admit, running in more daylight than in years past helped with the pace. By the 2nd aid station at the bottom of Fuji I was already 28 minutes ahead of last years pace (mile 14.8). Just before summiting I see Craig and Jeff (brother) coming down. They were going easy, as Jeff has AC in three weeks.

Running into Charlton was fairly uneventful. Except that I do hate the section between Mt. Ray aid station and The Twins aid station. I struggled with these rolling hills as always. Kyly did great. I win the "bet", she did this section faster than me. I told her she was running like a studette!!! She got into Charlton in 7:20. She "ROCKED" that 35 miles!

Getting into the approximate halfway point is Charlton Lake. Kyly would be there up to two hours before me and she aggreed to hand me my beans and Pediasure. Problem, I was ahead of schedule by 45 minutes at this point. I don't see Kyly prior to the aid station on the trail as planned. She was to walk me in as I eat and drink.

At the Charlton aid staion I finally find my drop bag. They moved the location from years past. Kyly is right there thank goodness. She is a little surprised to see me. I am surprised as much as her. She is "on it" again. Makes sure I drink the Pediasure first. Thank you! I hate burping that stuff up if I drink it after the beans.

I ask her to walk me out as I eat. She obliges. I eat and walk. I notice Kyly only has on one sock on her right foot and nothing on the left. Sorry Kyly. We walk and talk. She asks me how I'm doing. I said that I have been "pushing it a bit." She aggrees given my time into Charlton. I am actually quite worried with the pace I have set... I am wondering if I had "pushed" too hard given my ability. I like walking with Kyly as she always knows what to say. She bids me fairwell and I am thankful for her and the calories.

I run many sections after this that I walked in the past. I was pleased.

Onto Maiden Peak. I struggled terribly last year here. This year I manage to do this 4.5 mile section 26 minutes faster. I believe it is about 3000 ft of gain in that 4.5 miles, but not completely sure. Yes, it is a pretty good climb followed by running Leap of Faith trail. (super technical and super steep down after summiting.)

The downhill into the last aid station is my favorite. First there is the challange to run the Leap of Faith trail and then just take advantage of all the down.

Man I love "Free Speed!!!"

Last aid station. I look at my watch for the first time in many hours. I have 1:24 minutes to get in under 14. I don't know if that is possible as I have never ran this last 7.4 miles faster than 1:44 (that's 20 minutes faster than in the past!). But I give it a shot. I run it in exactly 1:24. "Ouch."

I catch up to Sean Meissner. He was not having a good day so he decides to go after the "Wet Waldo" award by jumping in all the six lakes. I run past all there Rosery lakes, a first for me. Run with Sean as much as I could but he is given new life after the last lake. I just take advantage of a sweet downhill finish.

I look at my watch and see that I have five minutes to get to the finish as I get off the trail. That is all I can do. My body is hammered. I finish in 14:00. That is all I could muster.

It was a tough day. I am paying for it today. Kyly would have liked the projectile vomit show similar to States. Well, only did this four times instead of 14!!!

I get to the finish and I see my brothers. Yes, Jeff's twin brother John came to see his first ultra. He said he had a great time. Kyly is there again. They were all guessing I would be in just under 15. I guess I had a good day. A PR by 2:17.

I was asked what hat I would like for finishing under 16 hours... "Vanilla" please. It will be added to my "Tomato" and "Blueberry" Waldo hats. What a wonderful race. My favorite. Next year 125 will be allowed to run this "pillowy single track." It doesn't get any better than this.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Sporting a new look...

Kyly was kind enough to bring me to Dog Mountain in the Columbia River Gorge this Sunday. It was a beautiful day. Sunny and warm. I don't mind hot days. I rather like them as apposed to running in the cold, a pet peave of mine. I just hate being cold.

Well, my job was to compare it to Rooster Rock Trail outside of Sweet Home Oregon. I have to say that the trails are very similar with close to the same elevation gain in the same amout of distance. Yes, Dog is a longer trail and has a little more gain but it is about equal to Rooster if the trails were the same distance. Dog has some pretty decent climbs. I was working pretty hard to even stay close to Kyly. She is such a great hill climber.

We finally got to the top of the 3.7 mile climb in about an hour I believe. Great views and many hikers finishing their lunch were there.

It was just a great day. We had fun as we always do.

Kyly did really well on the downs. There was quite a bit of scree to go through but I was watching her and she scooted through it with some recklass abandand. That is what you have to do in the technical sections. Have trust in your body. Have trust in your ankles. Have trust in your proprioception abilities. Have trust in yourself. Just friggen hammer it... She did it and was looking very comfortable doing it. She already is one of the best climbers that I know but now with this ability to jam down the technical sections of the trail she will have fun at most any trail. O.K., she might not like the technical section up at Mt. Jefferson quite yet but I hope to get her there soon.

Trial on the way to Mt.Jefferson below.

Well, Kyly did something that she wanted to do for a long time... Get a tattoo. She wanted something that represented who she was and what she was about. I just thought she got the greatest tattoo ever. So much so I wanted one just like it after seeing it. We will see. I have never wanted a tattoo before but after seeing her's I might just have to follow suit...

It was a great day on Dog Mountain. Just a great place to have a good run and have fun. I hope to do it again soon. But first, I have to bring Kyly to Mt. Jefferson for some great other epic trails. That is next on the agenda for me. Invite friends to a great time on great trails. (Mt. Jefferson below.)

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Pulled the trigger

Well, I pulled the trigger today. Sent in my application for Rio Del Lago 100. Yes, only six weeks away. Just riding the fitness wave I figure. Plane tickets are reserved and asked for time off from work already.

No, not as hard as States but it is still 100 miles! Have to respect the distance you know. This one can offer the same kind of heat that States dished out. I have to admit, I don't hope for 110 degree temps again.

My goal for Rio... Only to finish. Afterall, this is only my second 100. Just have to take care of business along the way.

Waldo will help with this. It is only two weeks away and it always challanges me. Such a great race it is. Just like a mini States I figure. Have to get under 16 this year. Have to get the "hat" you know.

Well, tomorrow will be a hill repeat day at Dog Mountain. It will help for Waldo. Had a good hour and a half run today. Nice to get on the trail again.

Hopefully my brother is starting to taper for AC. He should do really well. He is just a very hard worker and very smart about his races. I look forward to watching him do well. Just great timing for States next year as he is a two time looser and automatically in next year. I look for him to run for a top ten next year. He will be very focused and trained better than ever. I can see him do it. Next year will be exciting. I look forward to going down and watching him.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

3 mile dash but not for cash

So, I have started to try to run hard on Wednesday nights now for the past few weeks. Last night I drove north to Vancouver to join Kyly for a three mile run at the Washougal Dike. These are organized 3 mile or 5k runs in and around Vancouver. Funny, it is 40 miles to Kyly's house but it takes me almost two hours to get there going through Portlands rush hour traffic, how fun.

So, we do the out and back next to the Columbia River. I don't notice the scenery much because my heart is trying to jump out of my chest. I just haven't ran this hard in a long time. I think I finish right around the 21 minute mark. Funny, I used to be able to do marathons at 7:15 pace! How the speed goes away.

Kyly finally beats her nemisis... A 77 year old man! Way to go Kyly!!! Way to go after the young ones.

We had fun. Kyly likes seeing her cross country kids out there running in the off season.

Now for a good weekend of hill repeats getting ready for Waldo.