Monday, December 16, 2013

2013 Deception Pass 50k report

On Saturday night I got to enjoy a nice carb-intensive dinner with my aunt and uncle in Bellingham, at the same place we ate at the night before Chuckanut, which was exactly nine months earlier. That was my first ultramarathon; yesterday was my sixth. It was interesting to think about the nervous conversations we had back in March when I'd never run further than 21 miles...

Even though Deception was a bit of a last-minute addition to my schedule, I'm so glad I got to race one more time this year. I wasn't nervous, I actually recognize people in the community now and I didn't have any pressure to do anything other than cross a spray-painted line in the sand.

Previewing the course in November was great and it was the first time I actually got to race trails where I knew exactly what was coming. 

Starting on the road seemed to lead to a few enthusiastic starts; people went out fast! I'm pretty sure I was in about 50th place after half a mile. The first three lollipops all are on fairly technical singletrack, and with runners going both directions it was a tight squeeze, but people were very courteous. I just did my own thing, sometimes running near people, but mostly by myself. 
Early miles; Glenn Tachiyama photo.
I got through the first ten miles in 1:42 and was starting to feel good. I passed three or four people between the trail leading to the bridge and Goose Rock, and had a good climb up catching glimpses of someone a hundred yards ahead wearing an equally-chartreuse shirt. 

Through the Cornet Bay camp and up to the road I was closing on him, and when I pulled up alongside Mr. Yellow he looked really familiar. After two and a half hours of running alone it was nice to chat with someone (especially considering more than 200 people started the race). 

Turns out it was Eric, who ran an awesome sub-23hrs at Cascade Crest this year and I recognized him from at least one or two aid stations in the wee hours of the morning (Thorp and French Cabin, I think). I left the aid station before him, but he caught up in a few minutes and we spent the next 13 miles together, talking the entire time. We dropped one guy who had been hanging on and got totally chicked by the fourth place woman, but it was really nice to chat and have some company on the Hoypus double loop, which doesn't have the vistas and excitement of the first half of the course. Eric went on to push a little harder for the last mile of the second loop.
Coming into the Cornet Bay aid station with Eric, mile 21; rockntrail.com photo. 
Luckily Dave was down at the aid station on his sweeping duties and had some nice words of encouragement for me on the last three miles. I ran a bit with Nathan on the road and then pushed on, trying to finish well. 

The last mile felt like one of my strongest, passing someone with half a mile left and then closing a hundred yard gap to three seconds over the last quarter mile (at sub-7 pace; ha!). Eric had finished just one minute ahead, capping a big HURT 100 training week. 
Nice section along the water right before the finish, mile 30.5; Glenn photo.
This was my "fastest" 50k: 5:10:26 (full results), 29th overall out of 183 finishers.

I've been fortunate enough to run four races this year put on by James and Candice. They always have a great relaxed feel and bring out so many NW runners and outdoors people. Thanks you two and all your volunteers.


The last nine months of ultrarunning have been awesome. Thank you to all the people I've spent time with on the trails, seen at races/adventure outings and who have inspired me to run. 


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