Monday, July 29, 2013

White River 50-mile race

On January 6, I signed up to stand here (with 326 other people, it turned out):
2013 White River 50-mile endurance run.
At the time I'd never run more than 15 miles at one time. Sure it was on a bit of a whim, but I was psyched on the trail running I was doing every weekend on the North Shore, in the rain, and figured I'd "get there" eventually.

Fast forward to last Saturday and Dave, GregPaul (from Portland) and I are lined up a few rows back from the front, mildly shivering, at 6am waiting for things to go. Funny that Dave's blog was the first one I read on White River, and here we are together.

At all the prior races I'd done (besides when I've run with my brother) I hadn't really known anyone in the community. Beginnings were always a bit solitary until I got a few miles in and chatted with whomever I was running with.

But standing on that gravel road on Saturday, it felt really nice to be with a group of people I consider good friends. They knew this was my "big race" and they had been supporting me and pumping me up for the last couple of months. I really appreciate that.

Writing about more than nine and a half hours may be too tedious for most, so I will try and summarize:
  • Being able to run with friends and talk about all sorts of stuff makes the miles fly by. It's mostly runnable up the first climb and Dave and I reached Corral Pass in three hours.

Before Corral Pass, ripped Dave and spider monkey me; Glenn Tachiyama photo.

Glenn Tachiyama photo.
  • I ate three pieces of water melon and an orange slice. My stomach, which had been fine, knotted almost immediately.
  • Dave kept on after I had to stop for a pee break and I ended up running the descent to Buck Creek with a few different people, and got to enjoy some time with Greg again.
Crew member Lily taking self portraits while waiting for me at Buck Creek AS (mile 27). She later told me I was "late."
  • In the first half I'd been able to eat around 800 calories, which is about what I would normally eat, but every time I had something it made my stomach tight for 15+ minutes. I had a cold coconut water at Buck Creek that didn't upset my stomach and I only grabbed some jelly beans and a few gels from the bags my family had for me there.
Arriving at Buck Creek in 4:55, which was about what I expected; Mom photo.
  • Starting up the second climb to Sun Top I can eat a few chews and a gel, but that's it. I get ice water at Fawn Ridge (mile 31.7) and am sort of loosely yoyo-ing with a couple of guys but it's getting hot and we aren't really talking more than a couple of words per mile.  
Just before the Sun Top AS; Glenn Tachiyama photo.
  • As I cross the road leading up to Sun Top I see Dave descending. I give him a whoop and when he comes down the road all I can hear is him yelling, "GIDDY UP!" 
  • The descent from Sun Top to Skookum is rough; a lot like Mountain Highway on the North Shore but more consistently steep and super dusty from vehicle traffic. My feet started to hurt and I could only pull 8-8:30 miles on the way down. 
  • At Skookum I congratulate Hardrock Hobbit Hewey as he refills my bottles and hands me a cold sponge to cool my head. Two half-cups of coke, the first I've had all day, and I finally relent and put in my headphones to try and manage the last 6.5 miles of rolling trail. 
  • I made it, but to be honest I really faded on those miles, reduced to hiking almost every "hill". I got passed by four or five people and while not bonking, I just didn't have much energy.
  • A big thank you to Kevin Smythe, who was ultra-generous and didn't pass me in the last 100 yards when I'm sure he could have blown by me.
Hiking up a Skookum "hill"; Takao Suzuki photo. 

Last year Dave made a time chart for 50-mile trail runs, as it's kind of hard to think about if you're not running them yourself. For people not familiar with trail ultras, it is a good basic "guide":

I had a goal of sub-10, not for any good reason, just because it's where I thought I would finish. 9:30 was probably about the fastest I could see myself going. 

I finished in 9:39:55 (63rd out of 286 finishers; 41 DNFs). Dave obliterated his 2012 time by 58 minutes, finishing in 9:10; Paul was only ten minutes back in 9:20 and Greg came in at 10:20 (saying he had a rough second half).
Dave, Paul, me. 
Awesome course, amazing volunteers (super fast and attentive) and good friends. I also got to meet some fellow PNW runners that I'd previously only known virtually, and know I'll be seeing some familiar faces at Angel's Staircase in two weeks. 

I was really inspired by some of the runners that came in later in the day as we were leaving. Lily and I stopped (as well as Dave in his car behind us) and clapped for every runner on the road; they were coming in around 13 hours, with big smiles on their faces and giving us thumbs-up.

Thanks to all the White River organizers.

As Dave said, "Giddy up!"

1 comment:

  1. Ya did well! Now, figure out your fueling!