O.K. speed racers here it goes, I actually had a pretty good race this last weekend up near Olympia Washington.
The plan was to run Capital Peak 50 miler with effort as I won't be able do that in a few weeks at Silver State 50. That one is just too close to Kettle. I made a mistake on counting the days before Kettle when I registered for Silver State.
(picture looking east on the climb up to Capital Peak)
Anyway, back to Capital Peak... I woke at 2:30am for the drive north. Coffee was ready to go as so was my breakfast for the drive. I ate and drove in the wee hours and at 3:30am I was thinking a nap would feel good right about then. But my cruise control doesn't steer also. My truck isn't that fancy.
Got to the start in plenty of time. I was lucky I had been here before as I forgot my directions. Low and behold I should have read the web site more carefully. They moved the start about .2 of a mile. I am eating my beans and wondering where are the early starters??? Then I hear a bull horn through the woods and realize that something has changed. I ask a fellow runner where the start is and he pointed the way. Whew, glad I got here a little early.
The start at 6am was uneventful. Said "hi" to a few friends but noticed a lot of new faces. The 55k and 50 mile runners started together. At the start we ALL took a wrong turn. Funny, as we all had to turn around on the road and go back to the trailhead.
This was my third 50 here. But I did not remember the first loop all that well. The first part of the race my legs were heavy like two weeks ago at Peterson Ridge Rumble 60k.
Like I had a heavy metal running through my legs or something. Let me see.... I have on Vasque Mercury shoes, is there mercury in the inserts permiating my blood vessels in my feet??? I didn't want this to happen again! That is the reason why I took a day off before the race and only logged 31 miles this week before the race.
So, I figured if this was going to be a slow day but I would do one thing right and that is eat and drink properly. So, that is what I did. Be self sufficiant also. The plan was only use three aid stations. I had two drop bags with bottles and race belts full. That way I would spend minimal time changing things out.
I am being passed by many on the first climb. Many are just the speedy front runners coming back after the off start and many are the 55k runners coming up front again. At about 12 miles my legs actually felt a little normal but I am still going to concentrate on eating and drinking at this point.
(this part of the trail was under water last year)
(that is where I am headed to the top-Capital Peak)
I met up with Stan Holman, 5th last year at CCC 100. (Stan in Orange) Stan was running with Ed Brown from Seattle, his first over 25k. How great is that? A super Ultra guy showing the ropes to a new runner all day long in the 55k, awesome I tell ya.
Stan and I talk for the next 10 miles or so. It was great. We finish the first of three loops (sort of a clover leaf course without the forth leaf) I look at my watch and we did that 14.3 mile loop in 2:44. I try to think what my split was last year and I can't. Dumb runner here. So, I just stop looking at my watch until much later in the race. I am just going to run as much as I can and try not to make the hiking sections endless.
(Stan and Ed climbing the back side of Capital Peak. Might have to click and mag to see them better.)
Stan, Ed, and I climb up the back side of Capital Peak on the second loop together. No snow this year. Don't see a rabbit like last year either. The sun was trying to come out a bit. I snap a few pictures and then bid Ed and Stan farewell as it is time for me to start running with effort. I tell Ed it is a sweet finish. Run everything. I tell him becuause the bumps in the trail are small and it is downhill after the short climbs. Dang, trail knowledge is huge.
The best part of the day was actually at about mile 20 I figure. There was a blow over that went accross the trail. The only problem is I didn't know if I could get over it. My little short stubby legs were going to be challanged on this one. I give it a try to jump up on top of it. Well, my two inch vertical wasn't going to do it. I fell back off the log onto the trail. Oh I was laughing. RD John, "o.k., we have count of everybody except tom. Has anybody seen him". Oh yea everybody has. Runner, "I last saw him taking running starts at a log accross the trail and he just kept slamming into it without getting over". "Try there at mile 20". Well, I finally did get over. But I was busting up for miles after that.
I am running alone now for the next 9 miles. I turn on my i-pod and try to keep pace. I notice that I don't see cougar tracks going accross the trail heading into Wedikind campground like I did last year. I am fine with that.
I use the next aid station. I needed some fluids for this next section, my favorite.....Not. The Hell's Creek Bottom trail is appropriately named. Last year it was like, scratch that, it WAS a ankle deep river of snow run-off!!! Always fun running on legs that are like posts. Well, that is good because they are already frozen you can't feel it when you twist your ankle. Plus, you are pre-icing the buggers.
I am not sure how long Hell's Bottom Creek trail is but my guess about 2-2.5 miles long. Slow running through here even if it isn't a creek. Just large rocks the whole way and I think some have little signs written on them. "Ankle breakers", "rocks donated by Orthopods of Olympia", are some of the written scriptures on them.
I manage to stumble my way through this year getting ready for the 2000 foot climb to follow.
I am trying to calculate my finishing time now. I know this loop is slowest of the three. So I was hoping for a finish between 9:30 and 10:00. I am guessing but I think I am going to finish around 9:40. I know I haven't been running as well as last year but I just didn't want to finish too much over 10 if I could help it. But truthfully, I can't remember exactly how long it will take me to do this loop.
(Eric almost done with the first half of his epic weekend)
It was on this loop that I see Eric. He is running well. I watch him ahead of me before we meet up. He was having great leg turnover and moving at a good clip. I would be watching him along with other ultra friends the next day at the Eugene Marathon. We run together for a bit helping each other along.
I continue to try to figure out when I am going to finish. I just can't seem to figure it out. Finally make the end of the climb and on the way down I see the sign to Wedikind again. "1 mile to Wedikind". I know better, there isn't one mile marker sign on this course that is right. It takes me 4 minutes to get to the last aid station.
That's right speed racers, I just did a 4 minute mile. O.K., O.K., I don't even buy that. I figure it was less than a half mile that I just traveled.
I get into the aid station and I finally know where I am and what it will take to get to finish. I look at my watch and to my surprise I was going to go sub 9. (see.... I am a truely dumb runner!!! Don't let me do your taxes)
I get to the aid station and see Co-Rd James Varner and "no thank you" to fluids and just pass by the table saying, "55 minutes baby". "It's time to drop it!" I know my best split from the past and that was it. I think Meghan Hicks and I ran a 58 last January. It is time to step on the pedal to the right.
So, for this 6.5 miles I just had to jam. I pretended Meghan was nipping at my heels like she was a few months ago. I turn up the i-pod and listen to the likes of some Techno, DJ Tiesto, BT, Way Out West, and Junkie XL. I calculate my time again and wonder if I can truely do this section running 8:30's again. Wait! I could come in under 8:45 if I don't faulter. Oh, that only gives me three minutes to spare. Hey, we have to go farther to the finish. That isn't fair I thought. But then I think, this is a trail run, don't worry about a measly three minutes. So, I figure it will take me three minutes longer to the new finish. Yikes that puts me at 8:45. Hold on here...... John started the race at 6:01am. That gives me one minute back! Oh, this is going to be close. Come on legs don't fail me now. I can't afford heavy metals running through the vessels now. Maybe I should have worn my Vasque Amp's???
I pretend I'm in a race. Hey speed racers, I do have a wild imagination. I run the numbers through my head again. Yup, it's going to be close. I just keep the techno pumping and just going to have to save the Barry Manilow for later.
I knew I had 200 calories at the start of this section and after drinking along the way that would equal 300. That was plenty to get me to the finish. But with 30 minutes of running left I went ahead and slammed another gu. Yes, I know that it takes 20 minutes for the body to start using this fuel but I just wanted every chance possible to get there.
I get to the old finish and look at my watch, 55 minutes exactly! Now John better not have moved that finish line any farther I thought. I turn the corner and just keep looking ahead for an opening through the woods. It is taking forever. Then a small incline. Wait, I can't run up hills to save my life. Come on finish. There it is, an opening in the trees. Ahhh, I'm almost there.
I finally cross the finish. I look at my watch and it says 8:44. But what was the official time??? I ask, 8:42:58. Very nice. 11th place. And 8th in my age group. That rocks. Just have to laugh at that age group placing.
This was a 45 minute PR for me. Very nice. And 3:45 faster than two years ago. (but that course was 56 miles not 50)
Van Phan always finishes ahead of me but for some reason not this day. She does have asthma days, maybe that was the problem again. That is a bummer that she has asthma. She was the womens winner and James Kerby won for the second week in a row after winning Mt. Si 50 the week before.
So, I accomplished my two goals for the year.
1. I didn't have to scroll to find my name on the finishers list.
2. And I DIDN'T GET CHICKED!!!
Saaaaweeeeet baby cakes. I can retire now.
I think I have just have this week of 100+ and then start bringing down the mileage for some fine tuning. I am sooo looking forward to feeling a little bounce in the step again. It will be nice to not run on tired legs all the time.