Sunday, April 27, 2008

Capitol Peak , two lessons learned

I made 2 big mistakes on Saturday. Hopefully I can learn from them and not make them again.

The First big mistake came at mile 15. Some how, due to a combination of errors, I ended up with a bladder full of super concentrated drink that I was only able to consume 5-6 sips of over the distance of 6 miles at which time I was able to dilute it. First off, I think I had more "strong" drink left in the bladder when I pulled into the 15 mile A/S than I thought. I always start off with a strong mix and then add water at the A/S. I didn't stop at any of the previous A/S, oops. Second, I think the bladder didn't get completely filled (I should have checked it). Thirdly, I think I may have made a math or counting error when I was preparing the baggie of drink powder. Any one or even two of these would have been OK and I still would have been able to get an adequate amount of fluids. Luckily there was snow on the ground that I used to cool off a little during the long climb up to the 21 mile A/S. I downed an extra 2 cups of water and a mocha at the next A/S but I knew I wouldn't be able to catch up on my hydration.
Lesson: Don't do that!

The Second big mistake came at mile ~39. I was at the top of some big switchbacks, half-way through a gel and I started to feel nauseous. As I came out of the woods onto a fire road it felt as if the gel was going to come back up. I started walking slower than a toddler with my head down staring at my feet and I went right past a course marker not more than 10 feet from me, in the middle of the day, in full sunlight. What an IDIOT! About a 1/4 mile and 10 minutes later I started to feel better. I started running again but soon came to a dead end. I looked and looked for any sign of a trail. Then turned around and headed back slowly not wanting to miss the marker again. I yelled out HELLO a few times and "Trail" but there was no answer. Finally I came to the markers and couldn't believe that I'd missed them. I think I called myself a few names worse than idiot. I estimate I lost about 22 minutes from that mistake (from my Suunto watch I was able to figure out that it was more like 15 or 16 minutes). I'm just lucky there was a dead end or I may have just kept going forever.
Lesson: No matter how slow you're going you still have to watch for trail markers.

I've been off course twice before:
Last year at CCC 100, in the dark, I and many others followed 4 huge 15 foot long parallel arrows pointing the wrong way. Cost me about 10 minutes. In my mind ... not my fault.
Also last year, two weeks later, at Plain 100 (which has no course markings or aid) I got off the trail and onto the fire road at the wrong crossing, 1 1/2 miles early. To me after 27 hours they pretty much looked the same. Cost me 3 extra miles and about 45 minutes. In my mind ... not a mistake, that's just part of what this race is all about.

I finished my Capitol Peak "51.2 miler" in 10:14, hopefully a little smarter and a little better trained for the next adventure. I guess that still counts as a PR. Last year I ran the 55k in 7:14 and my split at 50k this year was 6:05. I made it to the 55k/50m turn off in 5:09 and then 4 hours of running later, I ran the last section in 1:01 for a comparative time of 6:10
In 2006 as my first 50 miler I finished in 12:37.

Picture copyright Glenn Tachiyama 2008

Monday, April 21, 2008

Winter Wonder Land in April

I was fortunate enough to get out and play in the snow on both Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday Shela and I headed out to Tiger for a couple of loops around (UP) the Mt. Well the gate guy was late and after waiting a few minutes, until 6:05 (he should have been there at dawn which was 5:38) I just headed up the road the extra 1/2 mile to the trailhead. You'd think I was going to die having go the extra distance on a dirt road. I really don't mind running up it, it's the coming down part with cars going past that I don't like. ... Anyway...

I was soon climbing one of my favorite trails and with a special freaky white bonus.

I love the way the snow gets thicker and deeper and whiter as you climb higher and higher.

Shela loves it too. It always seems to be snowing more on her than me.

Because of my late start I didn't get in the miles or time I would have liked but I had more important things to do. I was headed off to a birthday party with the family. It was at one of those warehouses full of Huge inflatables. Climbing and sliding with the kids for an hour is really fun and a great workout! And then we had Pizza and Ice Cream Cake. Yum, I loaded up for Sunday!

Sunday, on the way out to the trail, I knew it would be a great day no matter what.

I met up with the carpool and we decided to go all the way out to Mt. Si. OK, it was my crazy idea but I figured there would be some really great snow up there.

I was right and there weren't that many people on the trail either. On the way up we passed only 3 groups that were headed down and 6-7 that were headed up. The only bad thing is that the snow gets packed down everyday so it's really slick. I didn't get any pictures out on the trail because nearly every time I stopped to turn around I ended up on my read-end. I snapped off a few at the top.

On the way down, I sat in the middle of the trail Jokingly, I was going to slide down a foot or so but ended up going about 20 yards before I could stop myself. Oops!

Running down fast a Blast! Needless to say I didn't try to slow myself down at all, except for the sharp turns. The traffic was getting thick, we passed about a dozen groups headed up. We got to the bottom in about 38 mins. All things considered we decided to not go up again (slippery trail+traffic+tired legs+speed=dangerous possibilities). After some debating we headed over to Tiger Mt. for 2 more hours of fun in the snow. There was an extra 2" from the day before so traction was good. When we got to the top of T2 the sun came out in full force, blinding me so all I could do was follow the foot prints 1 foot in front of me until I made it back into the woods. Wow that was Bright. As we neared the bottom we came upon Glen and Wendy, they were taking it easy and let us by.

I hope there's some good snow next weekend at Cap. Peak!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Mt. Si 50 miles of ... something.

The weather was perfect for the Mt. Si races this year. The weather man stuck to his guns and didn't update the forecast but I figured it wasn't really going to be cold and wet considering it was 80 degrees at my house the day before. And sure enough when I arrived at the start (in the dark) I could see stars in the sky. Luckily, I put some sunscreen on my nose or I'd be looking like Rudolf today at work. It was a little sunny but not enough to make it hot and no rain until hours after I finished.

My plan was to run "fast" for the 1st 10 miles, just letting gravity do it's job (Free Speed right), then push a steady pace for the next 25 miles uphill, and finally pick up the pace for the last 15 miles down to the finish.

My plan was going well for the first 10 miles. My 2 mile average speed ranged from 6.8 to 7.2 mph, but when I turned around I didn't slowdown (I set my watch to do an "autolap" every 2 miles). From mile 10 to mile 20 I was going too fast but pretty constant at 6.7 to 7 mph. At 22 miles I dropped down to an avg. of 6.5 mph and then 6.1 at 24 miles. My two mile average when I hit the Marathon mark was 6.0 mph or a 10 minute mile. At 3:55 for 26.2 miles I knew I was in for some struggling later on. My 50k time was just under 4:50. Considering my 50k pr is 4:45 I was feeling pretty good. By the time I made it to the turn around at the "top" my 2 mile avg split had fallen to 5.4 mph which was the slowest of the day.

After the turn I tried to assess how much I had left and set my pace from there. And from there to the finish I stayed a lot more consistent than I thought I could. I did fade a little at the golf course but that's it. With just over a 1/2 mile to go I saw that I might have a shot at under 8 hours. My foot pod shows I was going a smoking 7.5 mph but it was too slow and too late. I finished in 8:01, a 30 minutes PR. I don't think I could have done any better.

I stopped or slowed to a walk 16 times, 8 for aid stations, 3-4 nature breaks and 4-5 10 second to 4 minute walk and/or stretch breaks. I had 2 gu's, 3 pieces of red-vines, 1 peanut granola bar, 2 mocha's, 8 salt pills, 3 Advil (for the feet), 1/2 oz. of perpetuem, 4 scoops of Heed, 15 oz of gu2o from a/s, 80 oz. of generic sports drink, and 30-40 oz. of water.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Snoqualmie running

It's amazing how different trails look and how hard they are to follow (stay on) when covered in 3-4 feet of snow. There are no snow bridges in the summer!

My pacer and I went up to the pass to get some hill training in. I love to run in the snow so I figured I'd get up in it before it all melted away.
We went to Easton and started running around dawn. We ran on fire roads for a few miles then went off onto single track trail #1304.

I "led" the way.
I lost the trail after the first switchback, found it again and immediately lost it. Found it, lost it, found it, lost it, thought I found it and lost that, found the real one and then lost it for good. I decided to just go straight up for a while then, knowing I wasn't going to be able to get to my original destination, turned around and followed our tracks back and then about halfway I saw where the trail really went and took it but after a few hundred yards it looked like we were not going to be able to follow this part of the trail either so we went back to the fire road where the trail began. We were on trail #1304 for about an hour, it seemed a lot longer at the time. We took the fire road uphill and then when it split, took the steeper road. We "ran" (post holing sometimes as deep as our knees) up the fire road for what seemed like a long time before it finally dwindled down to nothing.

At that point I just pointed my feet straight up for about 1000 feet of elevation gain until we reached the ridge line at 4265 ft. We took a quick break just long enough to have a snack and take a couple pictures. It didn't take long to get chilled exposed to the wind. We started back down before I even finished my Mocha.

The trip back down was fast and so much fun. At times I was just taking the biggest possible strides just to free fall a little longer. On the way up it was 1 step up and then slide a half a step back, and it seemed like I was taking a break every 20 yards.

But with the fast pace and longer strides I ended up getting a few small bruises on my shins where they were hitting the 1 1/2" thick top layer of crusty frozen snow. Another thing that's more fun on the downhill is that I got in 3 good slides where the slope was so steep I was able to lock my legs and become a human toboggan even though I was sinking 6 to 12 inches into the snow.

Even the bunnies were sinking in the snow.

I saw mice or chipmunk, rabbit, coyote, and deer tracks but no actual animals.

We made it back to the car in just under 4 hours. I have no idea how far we went because post-holing makes the accelerometer on my foot pod useless. It said I went nearly 9 miles. I burned 2650 calories which is about equal to 2 Dumb-Ass loops (12 miles) or about 20 miles of road running.

Shawn "don't point that thing at me" Lawson.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Yaktrax Versus Sheet Metal Screws

Que the theme to Rocky...
Coming this Saturday to a snowy Mt. near you.

It's Yaktrax


$2 worth of regular old sheet metal screws.

I only used 17 screws per shoe, but I might bump that up to 20 or 23.

I copied this idea from We'll see which one does better in our NW snow.

Here are some pictures from my visit to Greenlake during Dizzy Days. I took the kids out for one loop. It only took us 2 hours.

It's a good thing Linda was wearing her football pants. She obviously stopped and played a few downs on the way around the lake.