Monday, July 30, 2007

White River 50 Mile

It was a brisk cloudless July Morning. The sun had yet to show it's beautiful yellow face above the hilltops. Just kidding!
My time, 10:18 tie for 67th place with Shawn Lawson. A 33 minute PR on the course. I felt that I was under trained for the race but I still had aggressive goals for the day. One of them was to be under 10 hours but it wasn't meant to be on this day. Maybe next year.
My strategy for the race was pretty much the same as last year. To run the 37 miler not 50. Then at Sun Top, mile 37, change shoes and run 2 10k's one down the hill letting gravity do it's work and then one and one in the "flats" giving it all I had left. This works good for me because I can work up to a good speed on the downhill using muscles that are fresh and then empty the tank to the finish. That's all great but I still had to get to mile 37!
The "gun" goes off and everybody starts their watches. I wanted to stay a head of the Congo line that happens during the first 5 miles, so I started out a little fast.
I was through the first A/S in 35 min. Ouch that was a little fast. That's just under a 9 minute mile. But I didn't get suck behind any slow runners. Last year I ran 42 min. in this section. After about a mile more of slightly downhill the climbing starts and continues with a few breaks until the 17 mile mark. I was at the next A/S, Ranger Station in 2:14. Wow! Last year I really didn't take it easy on this first climb but I sure was a lot slower. I guess I'm just a stronger climber now. That or, I'm about to die from going way too fast. I did that 7.8 miles in 99 min. (it was 120 minutes last year). 28 minutes ahead of last year and on a 9 hour pace. I knew I was pushing the pace a bit but I still felt good. More uphill and the first of some technical sections were what this next section was all about. It's also "technical" trying to squeeze past the faster runners coming back the other way on a trail that's just barely wide enough for one runner. Just after getting my picture taken and getting labeled team green which seemed to get pasted on faster than the speed of light I got to the next A/S. Time to Coral Pass was 3:20, 1:06 from the Ranger Station. That's the exact same time that I ran it last year. Oops, this could mean trouble. It's a good thing I didn't know that at the time. Although, last year I took the early start and the leaders caught me about 1/2 before the Ranger station. They helped to pull me along (at a faster pace than normal for me then) to the turn around. At the A/S my premixed bottle was still frozen Solid, so I had to go with the GU2O that was there. That's a lesson for next time.
On the return trip I got to see all the runners that I was in front of, and there were a lot more of them than I expected. The trip back down to the Ranger Station (in 4:22, 2 min. faster than last year) was good I passed a few runners and got passed by 2. So now I'm 30 minutes ahead of last year. That's only about 5 - 10 minutes faster than I wanted to be (or maybe should have been). Now it's all downhill to the next A/S at the S/F line. I pretty much coasted 90% of the way there. This was a nice time to rest and chat a little. I got there in 57 minutes (5:15 total) That's a minute faster than last year. So now I'm 35 minutes ahead of where I was a year ago and right where I wanted to be. So what now? Well they couldn't find my drop bag so after looking for it for a few minutes I gave up and went with the GU2O again. And then had a PB&J sandwich and then they found my bag and I switched back to Perpetuem and Heed. I wasted about 5 minutes there but that gave me a rest.
Finally I'm off headed up to Sun Top but first there's a stop at Fawn Ridge and a pit stop in the woods. I pushed it a little getting there and it felt good. I passed about 5-6 people on the way to Fawn Ridge. I did get passed once but I passed him back. I also passed the one person that passed me on the downhill into Buck Creek.
So I run into the A/S and there's TC! Now I know I didn't run up the hill that fast. His knee was bleeding pretty bad so I guess that slowed him down. I gave him some mocha and he was outta there. I waited for Shawn to catchup from her pit stop and then headed out. I never did catch back up to Tc. Time to Fawn Ridge 6:22 (1:07 from Buck Creek) So even though I waited 5 minutes at Buck Creek I was still 6 minutes faster than last year and now 41 minutes ahead of last year. Shawn and I headed out after she came in and fueled up. Total A/S time 6 minutes.
Next stop Sun Top. I ran downhills and walked most of the uphill. It took 1:28 to get to the top, 3 minutes fast than last year (total 7:50). So now I'm at the top of the race. Two 10k's left to go and I'm 45 minutes ahead of where I was last year.
That sounds like right where I wanted to be. So I changed my shoes and headed down the mountain. It takes a couple minutes to get into a rhythm of running on that dirt road but I found it and was cruising right along. I wasn't as relaxed as I could have been but I didn't want to push it any harder/faster (faster is easier, less braking, less bouncing, more hamstrings). There were a few fast drivers on the road that really ticked me off but we wont have to worry about that next year. I got to the bottom in a mind numbingly slow time of 1:07! Ouch that really sucked. That's 6 minutes slower than last year. A whole mile per hour slower and about 17 minutes slower than I wanted. I guess that fast start caught up to me. ;^) Total time 8:57, still 39 minutes ahead of last year. Now for the last section, Skookum Flats which is actually uphill and not flat. I didn't run this section hard, but I didn't take it easy either. I kept moving at a good pace but not really motivated to push it. It took me 1:21 which was 6 minutes slower than last year. Final time 10:18, a nice PR of 33 minutes.
I didn't Bonk all day. I didn't get any blisters, or chaffing. I didn't fall (other than having to put a hand down once maybe twice). I didn't count the wear falls or root catches (my knees never touched the ground. That was a nice change after 12 summits in the dark!) I did have fun all day. I pushed my muscles to their limit and kept them there for a long time. And Finally thanks to Shawn for keeping me entertained all day.
I did loose motivation to run hard. I didn't do very well in planning my drop bags. I did start to feel sick at about 34 miles (Same as Mt. Si) but didn't get sick. I did have gas left unused in the tank after I finished.
Pictures coming soon. (as soon as Glenn Tachiyama posts them) He may be a great photographer but he can't do miracles.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Death Defying Night Run @ 12 Summits




I got suckered into running the 1st half of the "Epic Run" of Eric and Rob's 24 Summits. Actually I jumped at the chance of running 12 Summits at night. I figured it would be a another great chance to train myself to run at night and run tired. Well at the 9:15 pm start it was the end of a long day at the end of a long week at work. Tired...Check!

When we took to the trail Eric and Rob were filled to the top with what I'd call nervous energy. It was light out when we left but as soon as we got into the thick forest we had to use our lights. Even though it wasn't completely dark the trail was already tough. I had a couple of new LED handheld lights I was trying out and I had packed a headlamp as a back up. That was a good thing because I needed it. Those new lights are really bright but they didn't last all night.

If you want to get in some tricky night hiking then this is a great place to do it. But there are just too many hidden dangers to run 12 summits at night. There are lots of hidden logs, hidden rocks, hidden holes, and other hidden dangers. At night there are many places where the trail makes a sharp turn but you can't tell. Or the trail fans out due to the lack of underbrush you could easily get lost. There were a half a dozen times where it took me a step or three to realize that I was no longer on the trail. If you did get off trail there's no sun to give you any kind of indication of direction. And speaking of no sun, I turned my light off a couple of times and.... Wow was it ever dark. I'd hate to be without a light.

I hit the top of my foot about a dozen times, mostly from branches that stick out into the trail from the side. I took a very fast fall on the way up South Tiger. I missed a log that was hiding under 3 or so fern leaves and before I knew I was falling my nose was just touching the ground. My hands were under me but I did not consciously catch myself. That could have been ugly. I also banged up my ankles pretty good but not that much more that normal.

It was raining off and on all night but with the warm temps I didn't get cold. I even went with just a short sleeved shirt after the 3rd climb. Toward the end I started to get cold walking up the hills. So I ran up the road after Middle which warmed me up. I did the same up to Tiger #3. I did slow down or stop once I could no longer see Rob or Eric's light. I may have had Shela with me, but there's safety in numbers.

This was my Slowest but Hardest 12 Summits run. My time was 9:20.

Shawn took over my navigation duties as Rob and Eric headed out for round 2. Also there to help them finish was Robin a friend of Rob's.

Night running training....Check and then some.

Rob after 1 summit. 23 to go
Eric after 4 summits
A Friendly Face
Rob signs the book @ South Tiger
Eric followed by Rob coming up East Tiger

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Weekend Triple

Short story: I did three training runs this weekend.
1. About 3 hours of the start of the CCC100 course (12 miles).
2. One lap at the Lake Youngs Fund Run (9.6 miles).
3. The 2nd half the White River 50 miler (23 miles).
44.6 miles, more than my usual week.

1. We were out the door at 3:45 AM and at the start of CCC100 at about 5:00, just after it started to get light. We went out at an easy pace, Shawn was reminiscing about NB2V because we were on that trail. We quickly turned off the J.W. Trail and headed towards Goat Peak. Where did all these side trails come from? I don't remember a lot of these details from last year but I'm sure they were there. After 3 turns, we had to make some tough decisions on which path or trail to take. or
Luckily we only made 1 wrong turn and it was a Dead-End after a couple hundred yards of climbing. After seeing this sign we knew we were not lost.
Shawn and I took turns leading up the hill and beating back the spiderwebs. She decided to stop and go fishing. Maybe she thought she could catch some Trout with all those spiders. ;-) We paused a couple of times to take in the views, but we were still going a lot faster than on race day. We stopped just past the top after about 1:44 and after admiring the amazing views for 8 minutes we took off back down to the car. We didn't see any wildlife but did see some evidence that they weren't far. This was at least a few hours old so I'm sure the bear that made it is not still hanging around.
My original rough plan was 2 hours up and 1 hour down. Well this isn't the best trail for sub 8:00 m/m running so I was worried about being able to make it back to the car in under an hour. There's schlag, and hairpin turn switch backs and my personal favorite the rut you're forced to run in that's only 4" wide that is made from dirt bikes. None of these things are a factor then traveling up the hill at 3 to 4 mph, but that last one can really be tough on my ankles a high speed. And it was today. But it turned out that my estimate was right on and we finished in 2:51. After a quick break I drove down to Lake Youngs. I would have liked to have gone another mile farther but that will have to be another day.

2. We got to Tc's race right about 9:00. Everybody else had started at 5:00, 6:00, of 7:00 AM. After signing in, refueling, and a quick pit stop the 3 of us were off. I decided to go Clockwise because it has been over 9 months since I've gone that direction. Plus since today was a climbing day I wanted to finish with a climb. Right as we turned on to the trail there were 2 bucks right on the other side of the fence. Of course with Shela along they quickly stepped into the tall brush. We started out at a pace of 8:15 to 8:25 m/m which I thought was not prudent considering the run tomorrow but it felt go was we kept it. Since we were only doing one lap I used any excuse I could think of to run up the hills. We ended up running all or most of every hill. We did stop and talk to other runners half a dozen times but that was OK. We missed the prerace chatting so we had to at least say hi. Just as we had a mile to go another buck was walking down the dirt road right next to the fence. I held my camera over it but missed him, and missed him again, and .. Oh there he is. As we got closer he too stepped into the brush, darn Shela. I guess she looks too much like a predatorWow 3 bucks, and they were so bold and unafraid. Both times there was a walker (without a dog) right across the fence them. It's not the usual behavior around here. And off we go again. One climb left. I walked a couple of steps in the beginning and quickly changed to a jog. Dang that's a tough hill. Panting and sweating heavily we rounded the corner and coasted to the end in 1:42. That's not bad considering all the stopping and the 3000 foot climb already under our belt for the day. After a few minutes of chatting and waiting around for Van, I was off for a nice cold bath.

3.I needed another 4 or 5 hours of sleep, at least, when the 6:00 am alarm went off. But I had to meet up with Shawn and Van for a carpool down to the White River course. After Scott, the organizer of the race, gave his briefing we all headed out at about 9:00 am. That's pretty late for me to be starting a run but it's better than running it by myself. Some how I got up near the front of the fast pack and did the first section, Skookum Flats, at a brisk pace. After that I decided to take it a bit slower and save some for later in the day. After passing the airfield there's a climb lasts for about 7 miles. There are a few dips and very short downhills but for the rest it's up up and up. We were unlucky with the weather today. It was a bit cloudy so the long exposed climbs were easy, normally they're very hot. I like it hot, but for others this was a relief. The clouds also covered Mt. Rainer so this was about all the scenery we had. After 4 or 5 false summits we finally start to go down for real. What a relief. Time for me to stretch my legs. At the bottom of this section we cross a road. This is where Scott set up an A/S. We stopped and had a snack and chat and after 5 minutes we ran on, up to Suntop. It's only 3/4 of a mile back to the top. I pretty much ran this whole section. And right at the top Glenn was there taking photo's. Then back down 1/2 mile back to Scott and his roadside A/S. Again we took forever, 6 minutes. But I got some great trail shoe advice. And now for one of my favorite parts of the day, actually it already started 1/2 mile ago. 6.8 miles of downhill running. I love to be able to do a 7:00 m/m with no effort. With a little effort I took it down to a 6 m/m and at one point I looked down and my trusty watch said 5:14 m/m. That was where I decided this is too fast and slowed down. Most of the time I kept it down to around 6:25 m/m. Shela always lags behind at this point, she doesn't like to go faster than 7 to 7:30 depending on how far we're going. I guess she was getting tired. Shawn was running at the same pace I was but she was having to work a little harder. I guess her stride is a bit shorter than mine. We passed 1 runner near the bottom like he was standing still. I'm sure he was thinking, where the /heck/ did they come from. Once at the bottom there is a flat section that seems like it was 2 miles but I know it's not. We slowed down to about an 8 m/m and cruised to the end. I was surprised to see that my training run of 27 miles ended up to be 23 miles. I guess something has changed since they came up with that mileage. After getting some cold water and a coffee we went and sat in the White River which was more brown than white. On the ride home half the car slept.

Hopefully I will be moving enough to get some training in during this next week. My hamstrings are still tight from Seafair and after this weekend I'm sure they will be joined by every muscle below the waste and some above it.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Seafair Marathon ~3 minute PR!!!

I know what you're thinking, how could anybody PR on that hilly course. I have to give all the credit to KISW 80's weekend. At mile 14 I put in the earplugs for some motivation and really picked up the pace, relatively speaking.

10th of 30 in age group
90th of 250 male
114th of 400 total

After getting the first real nights sleep in weeks, I was up at 4:45 to get myself and Jenn and Kids ready for the race. We dropped of the kids off at granny's and picked up my friend Chris on the way to Bellevue. He and Jenn ran the half.

It was cooler at the start than I thought it would be. There was a slight breeze that was really starting to make me cold. I stayed loose by walked around until the start. It was better than last year when I showed up at the start late. And I didn't even have time to tie my shoes.

I went out conservatively (tried to anyway). The 1st 2.5 miles are relatively flat. I was able to hold it down to an 8:44-8:34-8:32 for miles 1, 2 & 3. From 2.5 to 5 miles you climb the biggest hill of the course. I did those in 8:58 and 9:03. I was happy to let people pass me. Last year I took this hill too fast and paid for it early. Miles 5 & 6 are flat and then you get a 1.5 miles of downhill. I slowly increased my speed on the downhill topping out at 7:29 during mile 8. After joining the 1/2er's and turning onto 140th at 8.5 miles you start to go up again. It's not that steep but it goes on for 2 miles. I continued the strong pace up the hill and around corner onto SE 8th Street. At this point the 1/2er's went right and left us. I was glad to see them go. It was really crowded at the A/S. I had to walk a 1/2 step to get water. I didn't like having to break stride, especially since it was the first time all day. I was thinking I could actually run the entire marathon, which I've never done. I walked a total of 3 steps during the race, all at A/S. The light clouds that were present during the start had burned off and it warmed up quickly.

So 10 and 11 go by with more of the same I felt good and I was pushing the pace. I was warm but a couple of waters poured on my neck at each A/S took care of that.
mile 9 8:19
mile 10 8:48
mile 11 8:38
mile 12 8:31
At mile 12 the uphill becomes more pronounced and continues until mile 15. Just before the half Van passed me and I followed her for 3 miles but then lost her around phantom lake, mile 17. At mile 14 (it took me about a mile) I put in my earplugs and tuned into a jamming hard rock radio station as motivation to keep up a good pace. I used this technique at the Watershed 12 hr and it seemed to work well for me.
mile 13 8:56
mile 14 8:52
Once again at mile 15 I let loose on the downhill and turned in 2 good splits before we hit the lake and started climbing.
mile 15 8:25
mile 16 7:53
I really wanted to walk up the short but very steep hill on the back side of the lake at mile 17 but since I hadn't walked yet I figured today could be the 1st marathon I've ever RUN without walking. Had I walked I think I could have lowered my time a bit but that wasn't important at the time.
mile 17 9:13
mile 18 8:56
From 17 to 19.5 it's mostly uphill and exposed. To me this seems like the hottest part of the course.
I was trying to get 2 waters for my head and 2 drinks for my bottle at each A/S but there weren't all laid out so that was possible. Many were undermanned and had all the volunteers bunched together.
Once I was back into a residential area and another downhill started I was able to rest while still keeping up a great pace. This downhill was just over a mile.
mile 19 8:57
mile 20 8:08
This brings us to the hardest part of the course. It's the hardest because of where it is. It's a steep 1/3 of a mile uphill at mile 21! I ran the whole hill. I was past by a snail and the 3:45 pace group. I started to follow them but had a massive cramp in my left hamstring. I tried to continue but just couldn't. I risked falling on my face I had so little control over my leg. So I had to stop for the first time. I stretched it out for a few seconds and then started running again. I only had a few yards before turning downhill and I didn't want to loose that pace group. Well it wasn't much of a group. 2 pacers and one runner. And it looked to me like the pacers were trying to loose their runner on that hill as they passed me. I was unable to gain on the pace group going down the hill because I was taking it easy on my hamstring. By the time I got to the bottom though, I was all better and flying once again.
mile 21 9:06
mile 22 8:53
At mile 22 you pretty much bottom out so all that's left is to climb the 4 miles to the finish. There were many 1/2er's to pass to keep me motivated. I was closing slowing on the 3:45 pace group but couldn't really pick it up for fear of another cramp. The cramping was a direct result of the increased pace. I don't train at this pace. I was well hydrated and had enough salt. I still felt really strong.
miles 23 8:41
mile 24 9:06
mile 25 9:00
mile 26 8:53
About 200 yards from the finish my calves and hamstrings cramped up again. I was almost right behind the 3:45 pace group I had been chasing down. But for the 2nd time I had to stop and take 5-6 seconds to stretch the back of my legs. My quads on the other hand were still real fresh. I didn't take as much time as I needed to stretch so as I ran down the finish shoot my ankles, calves, and hamstrings were all locking up. I'm sure I looked pretty funny running as fast as I could, legs flailing around like a school girl.

I don't think I could have run much better on this day, given my training schedule lately. I know the splits look really bad and all over the map but that's just the way the course is. I gave a strong and even effort all day.

1st marathon ever 2005 Seafair 3:59:50
new harder course 2006 Seafair 3:57:39
Fastest marathon 2007 Seafair 3:48:22
2nd fastest Tri-cities 3:51:57

Monday, July 02, 2007

Summit Lake Taper

I guess my lack of running could or should be considered a taper for Seafair this weekend. My mind and body may not be rested but my running legs sure will be.

I did manage to get in 7 1/3 miles down in Olympia on Sunday. I ran a great little loop around Summit Lake (that's just north of Capitol Peak). It has a ton of short but steep hills that, depending on your pace, can really but you into short term O2 debt. I think my pace was just below threshold so I was working hard to get to the top of each hill. If you start out at the public boat lunch you can even get in a swim afterwards. Here's a link to the route. The public boat launch is at mile 6. There are about 28 small hills to climb.

I also rode my bike to work then work work for a total of 17 miles on Tuesday. And on Wednesday I did a 2.2 mile speed workout.

On a more positive note, since I've been working so much, I haven't had time to eat so I've dropped and few pounds. (151 this morning) Maybe that will help me to run faster.

See you Sunday