Tuesday, May 27, 2008

NB2V Race Report

Grab a cup of coffee and a cookie, this is a long post for a long race.

I packed enough food and clothes for 3 days, 2 pairs of Brooks Cascadias, and my 1 size too big Brooks Glycerin's just in case my feet got too big. You just never know what's going to happen 50 or 60 miles into one of these races. And since this was a self supported run I wouldn't be able to just stroll up to an A/S and grab what sounded good at the time. I think I did pretty well at guessing what I would want to eat or at least what I would settle for to just fuel me down the road.

Tony and I carpooled to the start, it was pretty cool out. While waiting for the 6:30 am start, it was just a little too cold to stand around in a short sleeve shirt and shorts. Perfect for running and by the time I was done not really listening to RD extraordinaire Shawn Lawson, I was starting to shiver a little. I was definitely ready to run. And then all of the sudden she said you can go anytime!!! Of course she wasn't ready to go so a few of us waited a couple extra minutes for Shawn to grab her gear.

I only took me about 5 minutes to warm up. By the time we hit the 2 mile mark, the 4 of us (Tony ,Steve, Shawn and I) had caught up to the lead pack. We got to the first A/S in what seemed like just a few minutes. I wouldn't be seeing my crew which I was sharing with Tony and Shawn until 10.5 miles so I just added a little water to my bottle and headed out.

In the 1:47 minutes it took me to go the 10.5 miles I had already figured out a few things regarding how my race would go. First off it was not cloudy or raining so I could tell it would get a lot hotter than the forecast had predicted. Yeah, I figured that out all by myself. Secondly I had not recovered from my 12 hour 100k race the weekend before where the temps got up to 96 degrees in the Redmond Watershed. I figured it would take more mind power than any race I've ever run. So I just filled my bottle with Heed and grabbed a banana. I could only take it one step at a time

Halfway between here and the 20 mile A/S - Detour point there was a water stop at the Mt. Si 50 mile/kilometer turn around point. Once I was beyond that, the trail was pretty new to me. I had only ever been on it once and I was going the other way, so I made sure to take out the camera and get some photos. After what seemed like an extra mile we came to the McClellan Butte detour turn off. That 3/4 mile of downhill single track was a very nice reprieve from the constant 1-2% uphill railroad grade.

A 30 minute break quickly turned into a 48 minute traffic jam because everybody had to slow down and look at the dead Deer or Elk on the side of the road. And of course I had to tease Jenn, our bus driver, that this was a race and she was driving too slow. I think she's the only person I know that drives faster than I do. I used the time to eat as much as I could. Funny thing is I actually got a little stiff sitting in the car. I headed out of Easton at 11:10 am a minute or so behind Tony, Shawn and Tim.

Shela and I slowly reeled in Shawn and then the three of us reeled in Tim. The trail doesn't change much in this section but we found ways to entertain ourselves. After about 5-6 miles into this 11.5, Shela started lagging behind. I had a water bottle for her and she was drinking regularly and we even stopped to take a dip in the Yakima River but she just was a little off so I decided to leave her with my crew until after the next leg which was 18 miles long. That ended up to be a very smart/lucky decision on my part. I think she got over heated, maybe even before we started running and never recovered. She had a fun weekend playing with different crew members and watching me come and go all night. She did step up after I finished and let me use her as a pillow.

This next section from 32.5 to 50.5 miles was the hottest and second longest of the race. I loaded my pack up with 100 ounces of iced Heed and hoped it would be enough. There's no easily accessible "clean" water on the trail. There are a few streams but they seem to come from sources that you wouldn't want to drink from. There are a couple of rivers but the climb down and back up didn't look fun. I did dip my hat once or twice but as it turned out I had plenty of water. I think Shawn had about an ounce of water left when we got to the A/S.

The only thing I remember about the next 8 mile section was that it was wet but still warm. At Ellensburg we meandered through the town to the A/S at the fairground. Tony was already there with his Domino's Pizza. I had to really focus while I was running to "keep it together" but when it came to my A/S stops I was pretty casual about how long I spent, each time hanging out a little longer. After some Pizza and a Real, running water, bathroom break, Tony, Shawn and I headed out.

The three of us took Tom's suggestion and ran straight to the trestle (staying on the JWT instead of on the road down below) and then down the single track. It was dark but I felt like I was moving pretty good. I'm just glad we found it. I would have hated to had to back track 5 miles to take the road around. It seems like this way was a little shorter but also harder than the road because of the extra climbing. There was no advantage in choosing one way over the other.

It was 11:10 and we finally made it to last outpost. I wasn't sleepy but I knew I couldn't sit and relax or I might not be able to continue. It took me over 25 minutes to "gear up" for the last leg. During that time Tony was napping behind the car and Shawn was trying to catch a 10 minute nap in the backseat. Finally at 11:37 Tony and I headed out toward the finish line leaving Shawn behind so she could finish her nap. This next section was to be a mix of soft sand and rock fields for 20 miles, not the easiest thing to run on, in the dark with 70 miles already on your feet.

We made it about 10 yards before we made our first mistake. It looked a lot different in dark and we missed a turn. Luckily we only went 3/4 mile before realizing it. I tried to talk Tony into just cutting straight up the hill to meet up with the JWT but he wouldn't even consider it. In the dark it was probably the right choice. So, back to the car, Shawn was still trying to get her 10 minutes. But said she'd be right behind us.

Up the correct path we went, signed in, got our permits and headed off into the dark at 12:06 am. Going the wrong way took some steam out of me but I think it took more out of Tony. Those kinds of little things can really get you down at this point in a race. I've heard tale of a runner almost quiting because he felt like the squirrels were taunting him. Tony talked to me about stopping, he wasn't having any fun (I think he knew there was heavy rain coming). He wanted to just walk a while, and then decide what to do. So I went on ahead. I kept looking back for him. One point it looked like he was running toward me and then it looked like he was headed back, and then toward me again. I was thinking my mind was starting to play games with me, but as it turned out that's what he did. Soon what after that it started to rain and I got pretty cold. I hoped he made it back before it got too bad.

This was a pretty lonely stretch, it seemed a lot longer than 20 miles. Even though I was in the lead it was hard to stay motivated. There was a beautiful cavern that I ran through. It had a few Owls, a field mouse with the biggest ears I've ever seen on a mouse, and a few hundred pigeons. All of them except the mouse didn't like being disturbed by my lights and told me all about it with their loud cries and flapping wings. The only other wild life I saw after that were two deer the second of which stopped right in front of me and gazed into my headlamp. After some time passed (definitely less than a minute but it's so hard to judge) I decided to talk her into moving. She did and then I continued slogging toward the finish. I should have taken a picture but I didn't think of it until after. With less than 10 yards between us my mind was racing, I had 100's of thoughts going through my head. What if they are being hunted by coyotes? What if she was a fawn that she feels she needs to protect? Wow what a beautiful animal. I wonder if there are more. ...

One of my goals when I started this stretch was to finish before it got light. I didn't make that but I did beat the Sun. The last 4 miles were at a respectable pace. It was just after 5 am when I finally crossed the road and finished. I was glad it was over. Judy, of course, was there taking pictures and cheering me on. Everybody else in camp was fast asleep, but not for long. Jane her clan came out to congratulate me. And then Jon was up. I was eager to find out how everybody was doing. I got all caught up and then called Jenn to tell her I won. It was nice to hear her voice. Hopefully next time I can figure out a plan for the family to meet me at the finish.

Shawn and all the crew did a magnificent job putting this race on. I'll be back to help or run next year.

For full results go to NB2V.

Monday, May 26, 2008

2008 NB2V

Just a quick update with results.

My time was 22:33:35 of which 48 minutes was spent being bused around the tunnel which was closed.

Tim Lofton came in second in right around 24 hours.
Shawn Lawson , the Race Director, came in 3rd in 24:20.
And DFL was Ray G. at around 29 hours.

Tc did about 90 miles total.
Scott Railton did around 75 miles
Jane Herzog made it to just over 100k.

More details later.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Western States 100 Lottery update

Page 56 of April's Ultra Running magazine listed the new rules. I have 2 copies and I still missed it.

Every year you are not draw in the lottery you get an extra chance (ticket) for the next year.
You have 1 month to apply.
No Buddy System.
No two, three, or ninety-nine time loser rule.
All entries online.

I still wonder how many applicants and DNF's they could eliminate by simply stating, This Can't Be Your First Hundred Miler.

I just noticed a change on the Lottery page for WS100.

Under the Paragraph "Automatics" there used to be 10 items listed.

1. Top 10 Male
2. Top 10 Female
3. 2 time losers
4. 25 Foreign Runners
5. A/S runners
6. Sponsor's runners
7. Trustee runners
8. Winners from memorial day and Raffles
9. Gordy and Cowman
10. Nine-time finishers going for #10

But now there are only 8 items listed. Numbers 3 and 4 are gone! No explanation. No new 3 time loser rule. Wow, it kind of makes me glad I'm only a one time loser.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

2008 Redmond Watershed 12 Hour

It was 96 degrees out of the course today. No wind and the humidity was very high.

Top 6 finisher's:
1. Alex Swensen 68.1 miles, age 43, last year 79.24
2. Tim Stroh 65.94 miles, age 45, last year 70.26
3. Van Phan 64.17 miles, age 36, last year 65.61
4. Arthur Martineau 62.73 miles, age 40, last year 64.89
5. Ryan McKnight 60.57 miles, age 35, didn't run last year
6 Sam Thompson 60.57 miles, age 27, last year 73.14

Obviously everybody was really affected by the heat. I think it was the first day all year over 75.

It was already warm at 7:00 am when the race started. I left the starting line in only shorts and a tank top. My plan was to just run easy for the first 1-3 loops then start paying more attention to the watch. There was lots of chatting for the first loop and before you know it we were back at the start. Lap 1 time, 46 min.

I didn't stop, I grabbed my water bottle and kept going. The lead pack stayed pretty close together. We were still enjoying the day. The 5.375 mile loop hadn't worn us down mentally yet, and we were still all running pretty easy. You could feel some pockets of air getting hot already. It was like running through a row of 50 cheerleaders all pointing air dryers at us. I kept thinking how nice it would be to have a waterfall to run past or a stream to run through. Lap 2 time, 47 min.

I was in and out pretty fast, just long enough to fill my bottle and tell them my number. Somewhere along this lap I had to start giving some effort, not to much but it was noticeable. The pockets of hot air were starting to merge. To me the heat wasn't bad but I knew it would be. I really should have paid more attention to how hot it was. Lap 3 time, 47 min.

This lap I ran most the way right behind Jamie Gifford and Tim Stroh. I was probably running a little faster than I should have but I didn't feel like I was pushing the pace. I figured these guys are way smarter than me, maybe I could learn something today. Right before the single track small loop they gave me a turn at the lead. That was kind of fun because at this point in the day that trail is fun as it twists and turns quickly through the thick forest. Lap 4 time, 48 min.

I had an AWESOME surprise at the A/S. The family had come out to see me run. I was in race mode but I still took time to get a couple hugs from each of them and put Jenn to work filling my bottle. It was the best 3 minutes of the whole race. I heard the A/S volunteers got to enjoy the kids running around for about 40 minutes because they just missed me on the previous loop. I'm surprised there was any cake left after that. I left them behind and tried to make up the time out on the trail. This was a huge mistake and the beginning of a downward spiral that would last for hours. I wasn't paying attention when I left the A/S because some of the runners I was trying to catch up to were behind me. Another mistake. It also started to really get hot but I didn't pay attention to that. I should have slowed down but I didn't, I pushed harder. Lap 5 time time, 51 min. (26.88 miles total, clock time 4:04)

I really over heated on this lap. It was hot and humid and I was dehydrated! I just didn't know it yet. I don't think I was sweating for the last 1/2 of #5 and all of this lap. (I realized later) I finally made it back to the A/S just barely holding off runners I had just lapped. Lap 6 time, 64 min.

I figured I was done. I needed to sit in the shade and cool off. The shade was too hot so after about 5 minutes and went over to a horse trough and hosed myself down. The water was so cold it took my breath away. Colder than the snow fed Cedar river I'd be standing in later. That really did the trick though and I was off, out for another lap. I started the lap just walking, eating a Popsicle. I had no motivation to run but after about 2 miles I realized I had already drank 3/4 of my bottle of Heed and I had 3+ miles still to go. So I started running, trying not to drink too much. I eventually made it all the way around and I didn't even run out of water. Lap 7 time, 66 min.

I filled my bottle and went straight for the cold hose. This time I didn't try to keep my shoes dry or anything dry for that matter. I knew I'd be completely dry by the time I got back. The time keepers told me Shawn had left the A/S just before I got there and that she wasn't doing that well. She's pulled me out a funk more times than I can count so I pushed the pace trying to catch up to her. I passed Sam Thompson and his 1 loop pacer Brock Gavery. Sam looked over heated and was walking, although he did start running as soon as I passed him. I finally caught Shawn with about a mile to go and we ran in together. Lap 8 time, 59 min.

I had the routine down now. Ice in the water bottle and ice cold hose for me. Ryan McKnight was at the A/S changing his shoes when we arrived and we were out before him. Shawn and I ran this lap together. We were passed by Ryan but a mile later passed him back. We pushed each other but not as much as we normally do. The lap went much faster having someone to talk to and complain to. Lap 9 time, 61 min.

I ran this lap by myself, Shawn said she wanted to take it easy and not run that fast anymore. I guess I didn't either. Luckily it was starting to cool off a little. Lap 10 time, 66 min.

This lap was pretty lonely. There weren't that many people to pass and say hi to. Lap 11 time, 65 min.

I did 5 small loops in 41 minutes at the end. I think I could have gotten in 1 more because I was feeling pretty good but I knew it wouldn't change my overall position so I stopped with 7 minutes left. First thing I did was to cool off with that beautiful hose one last time. On the way home, Shawn and I stopped by the Cedar river for a 20 minute soak. That felt real good until I thawed out.

After dinner and a fun filled evening of drinking about 60 ounces of water, I lost 5 pounds. I got up in the middle of the night 3-4 times and drank another 40-50 ounces of water (that went right through me) and a couple salt tabs and in the morning I was another 1/2 lb down. I guess I was dehydrated.

I should be recovered enough to make a good attempt at NB2V this weekend. I was planning on just 50 miles but we'll see how it goes.

1st place Alex
2nd place Tim
3rd place Van

:^) <---------that's me---- 4th place

5th place Ryan
6th place Sam

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

SPOT review wanted

Have you seen this new gadget? It's the S.P.O.T. "SPOT" Satellite Personal Tracker.

I saw this at REI, and it looks pretty cool. They have a great marketing campaign. I'm looking for a real world, real person review and field test. Preferably by someone here in the always cloudy heavily forested Northwest US, or even Western Canada, not some writer sitting in the parking lot of his office building. Does the phrase "you have to be able to see the sky" mean horizon to horizon or small holes high up in the canopy?

If this thing works as advertised, it would be a great addition to any ultra runner's gear who frequent the backwoods, I'd have it in my pack. They even offer rescue insurance.

I'd hate to be lost just feet from the trail in a ravine drinking dirty Giardia infested water, being bitten by 100's of bugs for two days because nobody knew where I was.

Check it out at http://www.findmespot.com/Home.aspx

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Tacoma Marathon (only the 1/2)

Short version: 1:33:18 of sprinting at my red-line, 6Th place in my age group, 33rd of 952 over all.

Long version:
The day didn't start as I had planned. I woke up late and had to rush out the door, herding my 3 kids, still in their PJ's, into the van and off to their Aunt's house. Luckily I put all their clothes shoes and snacks in the van the night before. When I get my sisters house I have them jump out on the fly. OK I slowed down a little. Just kidding. I had to stop and pound on the door to wake her up, after all it was still dark out.
So after dropping off the kids I was able to make up some time and ended being on time for my volunteer duties. The next 2 hours were a blur of escalators, race numbers, shirts, drop bags and giving directions.
With seconds to spare I jumped into the crowd waiting to start and was off.

Stats: My HR was in the 160-180 range for 1:24 minutes
My mile splits
1 7:08
2 7:26 up hill
3 7:23 at the top 5k 22:50
4 7:05
5 6:40 down hill weeeeeee
6 6:54 10k 44:08
7 7:02 on the flats
8 7:05
9 7:06
10 7:10
11 7:14 hills to the finish start here
12 7:03 good song on the mp3 player
13 7:17 Holly Sh*t straight up!!!
13.12 0:40 That's one crazy last 1/2 mile.

My race went like this. I started out at my marathon/50k kick pace. It's that little bit I use up in the last quarter mile of my regular races. Side ache, long up hill ... run faster/ hold the pace as long as you can. Downhill fly like the wind. Flat kick kick, gel kick. Uphill drive hard only a couple miles left. Free fall down to the finish. Wow is it over already.

2 second negative split! Road 1/2 marathon PR by about 26 minutes.

Pictures to come

Can you spot me?

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Product reviews

There are a few things I take with me on almost every run whether on trails or the road. Here's my opinion of these things I "can't live without". I highly recommend all of them.

Brooks gear

Cascadia, Glyercin, Cascadia, Burn
I've been running pretty much exclusively in brook's shoes since the beginning of 2008. I've had their shoes before, like the original Cascadias's, but they didn't knock my socks off. My other trail shoe was discontinued so I tried the Cascadia 3's on and wow this is a great trail shoe. I've worn them in mud, snow, frozen ground, lose gravel and even hard packed fire roads. They worked great every time! The other gear Brooks offers is also great. I think their prices far and selection is great.

(Laptop not included)
I've been wearing a Suunto T6 since August of 2006. It has a good training manager that tells me I'm lazy if I skip a workout or two, a very accurate foot pod (not included) that tells me how far and how fast I've gone, a heart monitor that tells me I went out too fast and will die way before the finish line, an altitude/barometer function that gives me the elevation gain of my run and much more. I wear the watch even when I'm not running because it's so durable. Two things that I hope they improve if they ever upgrade the watch is the "beep" is way too quite, maybe it could be adjustable. And it needs more memory. It runs out of memory around 65-70 miles into a run. ... Or maybe I just need to get faster.

Canon Power Shot

I have the SD850IS it takes great pictures on the run and is smaller than a pack of regular cigarettes. Pretty much any camera in this line will take good pictures of your trail running experiences. It has held up great in the wet NW weather, although the lens will get fogged up when it gets too wet.

(OK I don't take this one with me)
I have recently added this hit counter to my blog. It's not just another counter. It tracks where your visitors clicked in from and where they clicked out to. Also gives you their city, their IP address, screen resolution they use, ISP provider, and a ton more interesting and useful info for tracking and "marketing" your readers. It's kind fun too.