Sunday, September 23, 2007

Trail Work

Well I finally made it out to a work party on Cougar. I've been trying to get out to one of SRC's work party's for over a year but my schedule never seemed to match up. I guess I just had to try a little harder.

I went out to the trailhead a little early so I could get a 3 mile run in before we started. Everything seemed to be working well but I know I need a little more recovery after the craziness of doing the Slam. I ran 2 miles on Thursday which worked out a lot of rust and kinks in my legs. I also figured there'd be a lot of standing around a waiting for something to do. Luckily I was wrong about the standing around part. If there's work to be done, I don't like standing around just talking about it.

There were about 8 volunteers that started at 10 am. None of us had any idea what we'd be doing when we got there. It turned out to be a pretty good workout. We used wheel barrels to haul gravel about 1/2 mile to a section of trail that needed repair by Coal Creek Falls. It was pretty tough pushing them up some parts of the trail and even harder holding the wheel barrels back on the steep downhill sections of trail.

We finished the repairs about 2 pm. It's good thing because we were slowing down a lot at the end.

Anybody out there that hasn't done this should try a little harder to get out and give a little back. If you can't make a work party then volunteer at a local race. Even one race a year from each of us would be more than enough. You'd be amazed on how much fun you can have working your tail off. And what other time do you get 4 hours of chatting with fellow runners without having to worry about tripping on a log.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Washington Slam

According to my research there have been 5 finishers of both CCC and Plain in the same year.

Washington Slam
NameCCC TimePlain TimeTotal Time
2007Arthur Martineau25:05:0031:51:0056:56:00
2006Darrell Jenson21:58:0032:15:0054:13:00
2006Chris Perry28:44:0034:46:0063:30:00
2005Chris Perry26:55:0033:54:0060:49:00
2002Tom Hayes22:59:0032:00:0054:59:00
2002Liz McGoff23:27:0032:00:0055:27:00

Sunday, September 09, 2007

48 + CCC 100 + Plain 100 = 50

Well I did it. I finished Plain plus about 3 bonus miles in 31:51.

Thanks go to my "nascar" crew. Shawn, Rob, Steve, and Jay. They changed my wheels, gassed me up and restocked my pack in under 30 minutes.

Plain is just plain tough. If you run smart and prepare yourself, you too can finish under the 36 hour cut-off. But you’re really going to have to want it.
The highlights of the course are:
More dust than you can imagine. It will get everywhere. Be prepared for blisters and rashes. It’s like the really fine ash in the bottom of your fireplace. There actually is ash on the trail from a forest fire. I could tell because it was a different color.
The hills seem to go up forever and down forever. Get your glute’s, quads, and IT’s in shape. You’ll need them. I don’t remember any flat sections.
Extremely beautiful scenery and views, but don’t expect to see any of it. If you look up you will fall down. The trails are wonderfully maintained by the people who use them most, Motorcyclists. They’re not designed for feet.
The trail is extremely varied. There are wide dusty trails, narrow dusty trails, narrow dusty troughs just wide enough for your foot, dusty motorcycle “whoopty de do’s” or upside down moguls for you skiers, some fire service roads, some rock fields, some really nice shaded forest trails, some really hot burned out forest trail, and more switchbacks then Stephen Hawking could count (he wanted to study Mathematics but Oxford didn’t have it so he studied Physics instead).
And of course no aid or course markings, if it was easy what would be the point?

Here are the highlights of my race.

It was dark, and a little chilly at the start. Within 2 miles I could no longer see any headlamps in front of me or behind. Scratch plan A of following someone who knew the course. ;-)
The 7.5 miles up to where the trail starts is pretty runnable but I probably should have walked more.
The Hi Yu trail was harder than I expected. Some sections were more of a scramble than a chin scrapper. When I got down off the ridge and into the meadows near the Guard Station all the leaves were glistening with frost. It looked pretty cool.
If you are not in a hurry, stop and have a snack at the top of Klone Peak. It’s a 360 degree view. Nice!
I pushed hard down from the Klone peak turn off to the Entiat River, pretty much all downhill. 13.59 miles in 2:29, that’s less than 5.5 mph. It sure seemed like I was going a lot faster than that.
The climb up Signal Peak wasn’t too bad but it was a cool (~85) day. FYI there are many false summits and after you take the turn to the long “downhill” section to Billy Creek, you have to climb another 800 feet as you run up onto the ridge. On this cool day, 100 oz of water turned out to be more than enough to get me up and over Signal Peak and all the way to Billy Creek.
I got to the only crew point / Drop Bag / A/S of the race in 15:09 (8:09pm). My watch had the mileage at 60.47 and a pace of 4 mph which was my pace for the 100 miles of CCC.
I was too full to run so I just walked and jogged after I left my Crew averaging 3.3 mph for the next 7 miles.
About 18 hours into the race (11pm) I went into kind of a funk. My feet hurt, I didn’t have much energy, and time, as I knew it, nearly stopped. I would look at my watch every 30 minutes or so but only 5 or 10 minutes passed and I had only gone a few tenths of a mile. This continued for an hour or so at which point I started to fall asleep. This was on narrow dusty rocky single track trail with switchbacks and cliffs that normally keep me awake. This went on until dawn then I stopped for the 3rd time to empty out my shoes. In the early light of the day I could see that my socks (toes) were also full of dirt.
From Twin Creek to the top of Pond Meadow 18.68 miles took me 7:52. That’s just over 2 1/3 MPH!!! Wow that’s really slow.
Well getting that dust out of my socks helped a lot, combined with day light and the end of the last never ending climb. It was like I was starting a whole new race.
I passed 5 people on the way back down to Twin Creek (Glenn, Roger, Davy, and Beat) and finally Joe (who was way down on Rd 160).
The final 11 miles to Twin creek I averaged a painful, quad tearing pace of 4.8 mph.
I got a little turned around at Goose Creek campground, but it was less than 10 minutes of jogging around to get back on track.
Now for one of the Biggest mistakes of my race. There is a dirt road about ½ way between Goose Creek and Deep Creek. When I came upon it I thought I was at Deep Creek. I was at Deep Creek in the dark and had been running for 30:15! And look there’s my Road to the finish off to the right just like it’s supposed to be. Of course there were no signs, or S&R, and had I looked closer at the area across the road, I would have gone the right way. So I bust out onto the road for the last 1.5 miles to the finish, sprinting a smoking 5 mph! even 6+ mph until my IT said SLOW DOWN. I remember thinking it should be more downhill but I’m almost done. After 1.5 miles right where the finish should have been I round the bend to Deep Creek. What the H%*^, Oh CR*P!! So the volunteers told me to go back the way I came and come back down the trail the right way. Well after a couple minutes of negotiating they let me take the trail back to where I got onto the road and then turn around and come back. I know the trail is longer and more difficult but my feet couldn’t take one more step on that hard road. On the trail I ran passed 6 runners all with a very similar look. What the H%*^!!! As I ran by I briefly told each that I had taken a wrong turn and had to go back. Glenn had just crossed the mystery road when I got to it. I told him what happened, touched the road with my foot and headed back toward the finish. I quickly caught up to and passed Glenn, Michelle, Roger and Beat. I didn’t think I could catch Joe or Davy but I was going to run hard anyway. About a half a mile from Deep Creek I mentally lost it. Pain, stupidity, pain, fatigue, and more pain became more than I could handle silently and I cried out a sort of grunt whimper pout with every step, especially on the downhill’s where my quads and feet really paid the price for my mistake. The S&R check point guys heard me coming into Deep Creek, and they gave me more encouragement and cheers then should be allowed. Now it’s just a mile and a half to the finish, again. And they said that Joe and Davy weren’t moving very fast and that I could catch them. I don’t know if it was true but it got me to give all I could. The thought of not losing my finishing place inspired me for a half a mile or so. I was very emotional out there on that road. I was also a bit dehydrated, ok a lot dehydrated. I had been conserving water; I didn’t want to run out of water before the end but I was drinking it now. I stopped to walk a few paces 4 or 5 times to dry my eyes. I think I was on the verge of a total emotional breakdown or maybe I was in the middle of one. Does someone in the middle of a breakdown know it during the breakdown? I don’t know but my eyes are watery just typing this. … So I did pass Joe, I think he was content on just walking it in. But I didn’t catch up to Davy. Just finishing this race was enough. It didn’t matter to me, after I finished, that I went from 5th to 6th place.

I want to thank Jennifer, my wife, who said, “Just run it. You know you want to. I’ll figure out the kids.” She had already made plans to be away for the weekend.
And thanks to Chris and Tom for having such an infamous race. It was great!
And thanks and congrats to all the Finishers, and S&R, and Volunteers. Everybody is always so nice, it’s not natural. If feel like I don’t deserve to be part of the group.

And thanks again to my crew, you guys were awesome. I felt like a rock star!