Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Orcas 50k

It's always a great time at this race. You get to ride on a Ferry and go to the San Juan Islands. And we had perfect weather.

I started at a pace that I expected to be able to keep for both loops (about 6 hours) but couldn't because of an unexpected extra 1100 feet of climbing per loop. Here's the profile of the course from my watch.

I could have (should have) slowed down halfway up the first climb, 2+ miles into the race, when I should have released it was 600 feet straight up not just 200 -300 feet.

By the time I finished the first loop in 2:52 I was already cramping in my calves and hamstrings from running too fast. I got in some really good training on tired legs in the second loop which I'm sure will help me as the year progresses and the distances get longer.

Funny stat, my 2:52 first loop would have but me in 20th place in the 25k but I ended up in 26th place in the 50k but only got passed by a couple people.

"Course Map" View behind my cabin
Early starters Come on James we're freezing

Halfway up the first climb
Glenn Tachiyama
Perfect day

Thank you and Goodnight!

**** here are a couple photo's by Glenn Tachiyama ****

Monday, February 11, 2008

Easy weekend

On Saturday I ran a DumbAss loop backwards so I could take it easy on my bum ankle. Jenn and the kids headed out on T3 and I was hoping to meet them at the top or at least on my way back down.
The trail started out muddy then as I climbed I started to hit a few snow patched here and there. Then it really started to get fun, as I went higher I was in a zone that I'll call frozen slush. The snow was packed to about 2" thick and re-frozen. So basically just nearly clear ice, very slippery but nothing compared to what some of us (not me... edit... I'll be at Orcas) will be running in next weekend. I made it up this part unscathed by hopping around and staying near the edges.
As the snow got deeper it became much less treacherous. A couple of times I decided to cut the switchback and climb straight up for 10-15 meters (where someone had slid down packing the snow a little). After the second time I decided that it was loads of fun but too much work.
Finally I made it to the top and hung a right onto the TMT. This is where the first two falls of the day came. This trail hadn’t been used in a while so I was breaking trail, post holing the whole way, sometimes just halfway to my knee others a foot past the knee. I tried to keep a good pace (pretty much run as fast as I could) without running off the trail. The first fall was nice and soft, kind of sideways onto my knees and hip. I’m thinking, hey that was fun. So I get up and start going at the same reckless pace. A couple minutes later I fell again, this time sinking both knees deep into the snow. I’m laughing, Shela’s all over me making sure I’m ok, then I realized I’m waist deep in the snow with my feet pinned back against my rear-end and I can’t move. I finally free myself (it wasn’t really that hard) and start running again at a slightly slower pace. I called Jenn when I got to the top of T3 and found out they turned back and were sitting in the warm van waiting for me.
This freed me to run down the Nook trail instead of walking down the easy way with them. The nook was great. The conditions were the same as they were on the other side except in reverse. The soft snow gave way to frozen lumpy snow then wet slippery ice. I was moving pretty fast right before crossing the TMT and slipped, rolled, then slid to a stop. Again more fun then anything else. This time the snow made its way into places that had been warm. Brrrr!!! Pretty much right after that, the snow turned to ice so I slowed down a little. Falling on these big rocks or a root wouldn’t be much fun. I made it nearly all the way through before falling one last time. I was on a section that was smooth unobstructed ice for 12-15 feet so I just decided to slide my way down. Well just before the end my feet sped up and went flying forward without me. I put my right hand back to slow my decent. Good thing I had my water bottle in that hand, it acted as a nice airbag and prevented any damage to my hand or wrist. I think it is leaking a little now. The rest of the trail was mud so we washed off in the creek that crosses the Bus trail and headed home to warm up.
Sunday I went out for a jog down to Lake Washington and back that turned into a tempo run. The ankle only really hurts when going uphill or walking. I’ll try to take it easy this week so it’s better for Orcas.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Lord Hill

The return of Tim Lofton's Lord Hill Ultra was met with perfect weather and a trail full of happy runners. We couldn't have asked for better weather in the beginning of February. The trails were in great shape with only a dozen or so mud holes.
I carpooled with Shawn and Van. Based on our previous times (6:31, 6:57, and my 7:18) I would be bringing up the rear. I hate making people wait for me so I was going to try to keep up. The course was a little different this year and about 1/2 mile shorter per loop. It was a counter-clockwise loop with an out and back and a lollipop loop along the way.

I ran most of the first loop and finished it in 1:39. I had a nice long A/S break with some snacks and drinks. The second loop was a little slower, mostly because I reversed the lollipop loop so I could bomb down the steepest part of the course. This meant a slower return trip up the long gravel road. It was sooo worth it. At the end of the second loop my time was 3:34. I had been running most of the first two loops with Scott Tomchick but he had to cutout early for some good father son time. On the third loop I reversed the entire course which, in my opinion is the hardest way to run it. I really slowed down in the last 3 miles of the last loop because of a long climb, totally out of gas and almost out of water I crawled over the finish line in 5:46. I'm thinking reversing the course added about 20 minutes to my time. The great thing about going the opposite direction is that you get to see runners that are nowhere near your pace.
I still ended up with a 1:32 improvement over 2 years ago so I pretty happy with that. Next time I'll carry a little more water so I can actually eat (wash down) one of the 5-6 GU's I carried for 31.5 miles!