Wednesday, June 18, 2008

LYU 2008 Race Report

A day in the life of a running race director

My day started early. I loaded that last two boxes and cooler into the trailer and then got myself ready to go. The weather was a little cool so I'm really glad Jenn didn't let me leave for the race in just shorts. Brrr! Friday's rain had stalled a little, it came during the night, so it wasn't raining but the ground was wet and it was colder than I had planned.

I made it to the start sometime between 4:30 and 5:00 am. Steve and his Daughter Janna, who is only 15 years old, were already out on the trail. Congrats Janna!!! We quickly unpacked all the food, tables, tents, race bags, etc. and set up for the early starters. There are always a few people who get there early that jump in and lend a hand. Thanks!

I created a huge timing nightmare by letting people go before the official early start of 6 am. I thought it would be easy to keep track of but it wasn't. Lesson for next year I guess. I'm actually going to look into the cost of using timing chips. Two of my volunteers backed out at the last minute so we were kind of spread thin. With a professional doing the timing that would be one less thing for me to worry about.

My running plan was to run with the regular starters like I did the first year. Because we were short handed, that was changed to run 2 laps and then my 3rd would be a sweep lap sometime after 1 pm. I knew standing around for over 3 hours would make me stiff and slower but it’s all good training for something.

The start was crazy once again. By the time we got everybody checked in, it was time to start. I didn't have time for a long winded speech about the race so I just said GO. Of course I was still standing there in my sweats. After stripping off my sweats and lacing up my Brooks Burn racing flats (and a quick bathroom break) I headed out 10 minutes behind the 7:00 am start on a mission to catch as many runners as I could.

The first person I saw was young Casey Wilkin, 17 years old and fresh off the Green River Marathon the week before. He was doubled over like he was tossing his breakfast but started running again before I could get there to help. I ran with him for a couple minutes or so before going on ahead. He went on to have a great day.

The next runner was Bob Stoyles, 79 3/4 years young, he was looking strong and would finish 2 laps in just over 5 hours. I hope I can still move like that when I'm his age. Forget all the Elite Athletes and Media Stars, it's people like Bob that are the truly amazing runners. He should be on the Brooks Running Team. He's out there a lot longer, giving more minutes and hours of exposure, than the runner who finishes in the top 10.

I think my personal best 1 lap time around Lake Youngs in training or racing was 1:20 or 1:21. I beat that by over a mile. My first lap was 1:10. It felt good. I got into the Start/Finish area needing to take care of a few things (I had made a couple of phone calls to the A/S during my lap) but I got back out on the course for my second loop in no time. This loop also felt good. I pushed the pace trying to catch up to and say Hi! to as many runners as possible. Everybody was happy and smiling, at least while I was there. Again I was one of those guys talking on the cell phone while running. Geeze just hang up and drive, I mean Run. I'm sure I was weaving all over the trail.

I made it back to the A/S in 1:14. I was shocked at how good I felt. I really wanted to go and bust out a third lap, but today was not about me. My place was at the end of the loop giving everybody the experience that they came for. People say I put on a great race, but I just try to make it the way I would want it as a runner.

The 4 hours at the Start/Finish area flew by. It's great to see people finishing. Some are setting PR's, some are just glad to be able to make it across the line. There were a lot of first timers there. I think my race is a great first Ultra. It's shorter than a 50k, not technical, and not too hilly, but still a HUGE change from running a road marathon.

I saw that it was already after 1 pm so I changed back into my shorts. They were cold and wet from the pool and I opted for Brooks Cascadias instead of the Burn racing flat for the extra padding. I hit the trail at about 1:10 pm, 6:10:00 by the race clock. I took the Clock-wise route as I did the previous two laps. I saw a lot of runners that had only a mile or 2 to go and then the trail was empty. It wasn’t as much fun as the first two laps when I was chasing people down. I felt like I was just plodding along. I could feel that my legs were a little stiff and my feet hurt from standing around and running since 4:00 am. Thankfully I saw hardly any trash on the trail to pick up. Maybe 6-7 gel packs or those darn gel tops that seem to fall out of my pocket every time I run.

With about a 2/3 mile to go, I finally came across the last two runners. They were doing great and didn't need anything from me so I went ahead, ran up the last hill for the third and final time and finished my third lap in 1:24. There were still a few people hanging around but most had called it a day.

The day turned out to be a great success. It was a perfect day for running but a little cool for a BBQ. I'll definitely do it again next year.

I want to give a big thanks to Eric & Iliana Sach for the bottles and Socks, Jonathan Bernard for his extra boxes of gels, Laura Houston for the extra water jugs, Chris Nikas for being a great cook, Skagit Runners for the use of their clock, Jane Herzog and her daughter for help out with timing and for the tent, Shawn Lawson for the tent, Josh Lerner for all the free massages, and my wife Jenn for putting up with me and my crazy friends.

Here are a few pictures.


Backofpack said...

I heard it was a great day. Sorry I missed it, but we really needed to visit the parents. Maybe next year!

Mother of Martineau Tribe said...

It was a great day. Next year, more volunteers and more sun!

Scotty said...

Hey Arthur--I stopped by. Thanks so much to you, your wife, and the chef--it was a great! And the shirts are awesome--well done!

Steve S said...

Everything was excellent, the people, the event, the shirts, the free message, and the BBQ. Thanks to you and Jen for a well done run.

Laura H said...

That was fun and really well done! Thanks to you and Jenn and the rest of the Martineau tribe for putting on a fun event!