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!


Backofpack said...

Well, Steve looks happy. The other two look like...zombies!

shawn said...

Say WHA? You ran Plain? Who knew you were even going to run? ;-)
Congratulations! It's pretty gosh darned cool to be crew for a back-to-back CCC and Plain finisher.

Michelle - that was just me and Rob hammin' it up - we were going for the sour grapes look in all the photos :)

Colleen said...

Hopping over from Rob's blog - congrats!

olga said...

Woohoo for concuring this beast! I'll need details for some time in a future:) Congrats, Arthur!

*tc said...

Dude you're awesome!


Mother of Martineau Tribe said...

We are so very proud of you. I only wish we could of been there for this milestone. 50!! It was nice to not worry about you, knowing that Shawn and Rob were there to help you through it made it alot easier for me to not be there. Thanks guys!

Backofpack said...

Now that the report is up, I have to felt like a rock star because you are! My goodness - two tough hundreds in two weeks. An unmarked, unsupported race. You are for sure a rock star!

Journey to a Centum said...

You are the KING! Rock Star? How about Trail Star! You are the MAN!

Are you running Cle Elem next weekend?

Trail Scat

Alison said...

Yay! I was hoping you'd make it. Sorry to miss the finish. James wanted a bed so we headed back to Seattle. Good job-I can't believe you did CCC and then this. I was proud of myself for running 10 miles the whole week!

robtherunner said...

A truly remarkable finish Arthur. You deserve all the hype. I was glad to be a part of the crew.

Joe said...

Running Plain that hard after a big pr at Cascade was simply incredible. I don't know how you did it but I got to say that I'm seriously impressed. Plain took everything I had and then some. I couldn't have did it the way you did. I got to say, you really made me grimace with those extra miles at the end-0uch!

Congratulations Arthur!

scott keeps running said...

Congratulations. What an awesome achievement.

shawn said...

Arthur - now that you finished the whole report, I've been trying to think of something genuine to say - which is hard for me, not to be sarcastic. So ... thanks for making Plain memorable, Jay and I had a lot of fun and it was nice to feel like part of your team, whether or not you really needed a crew. You really have improved so much from that "guy with the dog who does the early starts." It's truly an inspiration. It nearly brings tears to my eyes thinking about your finish. Congrats!

And to Jenn - thanks for trusting that we would take care of Arthur. I wish for you too that you were there. Thanks for packing Jay and I the "starter kit" of CL. ;-) I'm looking forward to following along with the adventures of the Martineau tribe - who knows, maybe in a year both of us will be taking our kids to the park. We'll see you soon I'm sure.

Jon said...

Incredible! Nice work on the Washington Slam! I read old race reports from others who mentioned getting lost while at Plain the first time.

Anonymous said...

Arthur, Way to go. This is Davy. I was wondering what in the heck you were doing running toward me. I thought you had dropped and were going to run in with someone. I remember you asked me how far the road was. Sorry I snagged your 5th place...kind of...heh, heh. I poured it on at the end. Nice race. It was a lot of fun.

Davy Crockett

Steve said...

Thanks for letting me share the experiance a little as crew. Your passion for running, positive attitude, and huge improvement over the years are a wonderful example to your kids and everyone. Rest well, you deserve a break.

King Arthur said...

Thanks everyone for your kind and supportive comments. It means a lot to me.

Backofpack said...

Your comment is funny because I thought of Jenn yesterday on the way home - how much I enjoyed experiencing the run Eric is always talking about and thinking she might like to do it too. Next time I'll let you know so she can come if she'd like! By the way, I spent part of Saturday night looking over your pictorial map of the run - and it didn't do me a bit of good come Sunday. It all looked like forest to me!