Sunday, March 31, 2013

Joe Grant's Iditarod Trail Invitational (350 miles)

For all three readers of this blog, I have to post the links to Joe Grant's account of his Iditarod Trail Invitational experience, a 350-mile event that just ended a couple of weeks ago.

He has great images, even better writing and takes you through all of the emotions (and physical feelings) he experienced.

Joe completed it in about 6 days, 8 hours.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

March 31, 2013

Still recovering a bit from Chuckanut, sort of. Everything feels great except some weird Achilles pain in my right heel. I have absolutely no pain until I put a pair of shoes on and my heel touches the back of the cup.

Going to take the next five days off and do some cross training and hope it clears up. I think I probably started running too soon after Chuckanut (two days later…) but in Moab it was tough not to go enjoy the Slick Rock (Red Hot 55k definitely added to the “future races” list).

In the meantime, did some new trails on the North Shore today and can’t wait for the snow to keep melting to tackle some of the peaks in the area.

Norvan Falls, Lynn Valley

Aaaahhh, feels good, North Vancouver trails
Even with tapering for Chuckanut and doing two easy-ish weeks after, I ran over 116 miles in March (62 miles on trails).

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

2013 Chuckanut 50k photos

A few pictures from the race:

Two Dollar Trail - before the second aid station. Glenn Tachiyama photo.

Top of Cleator Road, third aid station, 13.1 miles. Ross Comer photo.

Near the top of Chinscraper, mile 21. Glenn Tachiyama photo.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

2013 Chuckanut 50k race report: my first ultra

It’s all a bit of a blur. I guess while I was running (and power hiking) it didn’t seem like it went by that quickly, but after finishing it also didn’t feel as long as it was…being my first ultra though (and marathon-distance event for that matter), I’m not the best judge.

At the starting line: “Waiting to start is the worst, isn’t it?” Yes, it is, thanks Mom. “Luke, you looked so happy last night, and now you look a bit different.” Yes, thanks Aunt Sue : P

I lined up well back (probably around 200th out of 350 runners) as I wanted to make sure and run the first 10k at about the same speed I would run the last 10k. I have no idea how to pace myself for a run this long, so “comfortable” was the plan for the first 40k.

The first 10k on the gravel Interurban trail was fairly uneventful and I pulled into the first aid station at around an hour, grabbed a few clif bloks and was off in five seconds. The second section is just over three miles, with a decent climb up to Fragrance Lake and a fast descent into Cleator Road.

I filled my flasks up with some EFS, grabbed an entire package of clif bloks and started hiking.

Cleator is just over three miles on a dirt road, with a few flatish sections. I ran the flats and power hiked anything that seemed like it would take effort to run. Although I felt funny because it was something I would run in a training run, this race was longer and I kept thinking any running I do now means slower running in the end. I’m glad I made that choice. Most of the people who ran by me in this section I caught and passed over the last 12 miles.

At the top of Cleator you go through a time checkpoint: I was in 131st at 13.1 miles.

I refilled my flasks with more EFS, grabbed some gummy bears and headed out; maybe a 30 second stop at most.

Immediately the Chuckanut Ridge trail gets technical and super fun. It’s pretty much exactly what I run on in North Vancouver, and reminded me a lot of the Diez Vista trail at Buntzen Lake.

For the first three miles to the north end of the ridge we had a good group of four of us running together: two guys in bland clothes, one guy in a yellow shirt and hat with Five Fingers on, and my buddy “fitter than me” behind me (I asked him if he wanted to pass when he was behind me and he said, “you’re fitter than me.”). By far those few miles were my favorite part of the race.

Turning back south the trail got super sloppy. Shoe-sucking mud, lots of streams across the trail and light rain. I fell for the only time here when I stepped just off the trail to avoid a stream and rocks. My right foot just slipped out from under me in the mud and I caught myself with my hands, but didn’t hit anything, just got a little dirty.

The back side of the ridge is just sort of rolling: some ups, some downs, one decent climb into a long descent into Chinscraper, a short but super steep hill that comes at 20.4 miles and is the last real climb of the race.

This was my longest stop: I had three cups of Coke, a handful of dried fruit and a caffeinated clif shot. I also refilled my flasks: one with EFS and one with Coke. The coke tasted great, and was fine when I was hiking Chinscraper, but once I topped out and started running I couldn’t stop burping. A good lesson learned for future ultras to only drink coke when there is a long hiking section (unless I really want to practice running with coke in my stomach…).  

I was surprised there were three or four racers hanging out at this aid station, definitely not in a rush.

Yes, it’s steep, but it’s also short, and there are only two sections of REALLY steep trail. Photographer Glen Tachiyama was stationed about two-thirds of the way up and then all of a sudden you pop out on the road at the top. It’s really not too bad if you’re used to hitting some steep hiking sections, or stairs, in training.

After starting to head down the road I passed through the timing checkpoint again, and according to the results I was then in 116th.

I really enjoyed the descent. My legs felt fine, no quad burning or shin pain but there was quite a bit of mud and I didn’t want to go all out so I had something left for the finish.

Refilled flasks with EFS and just took off for the last 10k while popping my headphones to try and push through to the end.

I had a good group of two or three people to run with for the first 5k, at which point it started absolutely pouring (the rain that’s so heavy it splashes on the ground and disperses wet shrapnel). I’d passed the people I started with and now was in a little row with a couple of guys who were moving pretty well. We yo-yoed a little and one ended up finishing in front of me but I out-kicked the other guy in the last 200 meters.

I ended up 105th overall (out of 347 finishers), in 5:21:50. I’m glad I was able to pace myself and continually move up throughout the race.

A little tightness in my left calf and I’m going to lose one toenail quicker than it was already coming off (from soccer), but otherwise feel just a little sore.

I’ll post photos when they start showing up online.

Eats and drinks:

One liter of water in my Hydrapak e-lite vest (had about 10 oz left when I finished)
~24oz EFS in Hydrapak soft flasks (fit perfect in the vest holster pockets)
Three dixie cups of coke
A little more than two packages of clif bloks
10 gummy bears
Handful of dried fruit
One Mocha clif shot gel w/caffeine
Half a honey stinger chocolate energy bar (felt so dry in my mouth I didn't eat the rest)

31.5 miles later...