Mt Hood 50M 7-8-2017

to preface i want to say that while it may sound like i am making excuses…well they are excuses …but there is no way for me to write a good RR without mentioning things that impacted my race.

training went very well and i dont think there is anything i missed or screwed up with that. –EDIT 7-10 i need to add something here. my training wasnt perfect. one thing i realize now is that i didnt have enough training in the mountains on truly¬†technical stuff on tired legs. i do need more of that but do not like to drive to where i train so i dont know if i will be willing or able to make THAT adjustment. but it is worth mentioning!– i am always on the cusp on one injury or another and have various nagging issues but that just comes with the territory! …and my ankle did not bother me during the race hardly at all. it came and subsided like all of the other little things but i was sick with some kind of intestinal problem for a week prior to this race. i had the shits basically and travel and lack of sleep didnt help. because of this problem i decided to get a hotel the night before the race instead of camping but couldnt afford anything close to the start so i got the motel 6 in The Dalles for $75 but it was two hours drive from the start causing further interruption to my digestive schedule as it were. i think the driving and eating diner food didn’t help either. i woke up at 2:15 am race morning after about 3 hours of sleep and headed up to the mountains – a pretty drive from the east under a full moon. it was cold up there but i got some coffee and went once and thought i was ok but for the first 10 or so miles of the race i had cramps in my gut and needed to go again. fortunately there was a potty at the second aid station. After that the cramps reappeared i finally dug into my kit and took an Imodium and then it finally subsided completely. something else was going on too. just like the last time i did a race at moderate elevation with no acclimatization i was experiencing a sort of cardiac drift. i don’t know if you could technically call it that but suffice to say i was having trouble keeping it low at a normal pace…and then at around mile 14 i started falling. a lot. i think it was the drift, as though something was telling me in a very dramatic way that my HR was too high. it was making my feet lazy, eyes less focused and overall less perceptive. i kept tripping over things on the trail i never saw. i fell about ten times, a couple of them must have been quite spectacular. one fall broke my beloved Cowon i-9 player (like an ipod with magnitude better audio driver if you are one of the rare ppl who cares about such things) and broke my glasses. a word here on the hand held. it saved me. it saved my face and ribs and possibly collarbone but my knees took a beating and i had blood running down both legs. it didn’t look good but fortunately there were so many people with enough experience to know it wasn’t a big problem. anyway, ego severely bruised, i knew i had to slow down. so i did. i am not Zach Miller. not today anyway. i did however manage to ‘run’ out the last 5 miles to go sub-10 but i wasn’t able to push as hard as i wanted and think i could have done a lot better with some elev. acclimatization, sleep and healthy bowels. oh well. it’s always something.

otherwise the race was great. i loved the crew and people on the course and even if i had just hiked the whole thing i would have had a nice time. at one point late in the race my vision was getting a bit fuzzy and something was crunching through the woods near me on the trail. when i looked to my right i saw a figure walking away from me in the forest and my mind imposed the classic image of bigfoot on the figure! i blinked and saw it was a guy with a fishing hat & backpack. i yelled “hey i thought you were bigfoot!” but he either didnt hear me or pretended not to. instead of a chicken suit they should have someone in a gorilla suit do that. i was inspired atone point by a lady runner who skipped past me late in the race. she looked so relaxed as if making no effort. i tried to keep up with her but think i was inspiring her to go faster to get away from me because at that point i was grunting and trudging a little hunched over moving forward with sheer determination the only energy i had left and probably drooling…then i took a couple gels and got a boost back and passed her near the finish. i didnt end up feeling like hunting anyone but i can say that those who passed me in the second half were few and they beat me by a lot but i did pick off three or four tired souls late in the race. it is a race after all, right? anyway the trail there is just gorgeous and the course is almost entirely shaded. even the sections that were exposed were still mostly shady. my watch data was off the finish time by about 18 minutes slower and it also read 47.5 miles but that distance seems about right but the race clock showed 9:57:xx when i crossed. i think i was 5th in my AG which i thought i had a chance to win. oh well. gpx file also shows 5414′ climbing. that seems about right too. i feel like the elev profile for the course looks tougher than it really is as none of the climbs are steep and the whole course should be runnable. that said the second half does have more elev changes and is a little tougher in that way than the first half but the last 4 miles are all downhill which is nice for pushing to finish. i was taking sport-legs caps and my quads felt pretty good the whole way. i made a plan after talking to people with experience on the course. most were thinking they should take it easy the first half but my plan was since the first half is more runnable then run it and save the hiking for the more vertical sections in the second half. i think this was a good plan and would have worked out better if i didnt have that drift and stumbling to slow me down.

gear: i had my PI shorts that have small side pockets and a zip in back for my id, UD belt with 3 pouches, compression shirt with 3 pockets sewn in back and a very thin Giro base pockets with 3 more pockets. Clifton 1 shoes with Clifton 3 inserts. Headsweats hat. homemade hand held bottle with duct-tape strap (thanks WS ultrarunner!) and soft flask stuffed in the back of the jersey. also in the jersey, 3x baby food, 1x trail butter, 1x venison jerky (resupplied at halfway). i ate a donut and some pb& js at the aid stations and did have a couple of gels from AS in the last 10 miles. also took four ibuprofen during the race (and two later for the long drive home) and a few ginger chews.

Water/hydration: AS were about 5 miles apart. one handheld was fine until it got warm and by mile 13 i needed to fill both the soft flask and the handheld. i was filling the handheld 1/2 coke 1/2 water at every other AS and then water only in between. i ran out of water late in the race but never with more than a mile to go. the soft flask stuffed into the back of the jersey never bothered me at all.

gobeyond racing does a great job. they have a lot of staff on hand and a lot of very experienced ultrarunners working the stations. they had a med tent too and the emt there helped me out by doing a nice job cleaning out the flap of skin that used to cover part of my kneecap. the only thing i didnt understand was the guy in the chicken suit…on a hot day…why? it didnt really encourage me in any way, i just felt bad for him to have to do that! …oh and free beer and food after is always important!



6 thoughts on “Mt Hood 50M 7-8-2017

  1. Wow – that sounds like a very tough day. Congrats on finishing anyway. I had one race where I fell hard 3 times in about 10 minutes, and I decided it was because I really needed a portapotty and with my cramping gut I wasn’t picking up my legs enough. Once I found a bathroom, everything got better. But it sounds like you solved your gut problem and THEN had falling problems. So no clue on that. Those days happen sometimes, and again you found a way to finish many many hours later in spite of that stuff. Well done.


  2. BTW it’s a super nice course. smooth as butter compared to what you have been running on. i recommend this one or San Diego if you want to see how fast you can run a 50!


    1. thanks RW! i still feel good about it…and im just sore and not hurt so i am very thanksful too! …FYI i made an edit in the second paragraph that i think is important.


  3. Good job despite the challenges! It’s admirable that you were able to travel down and finish the race with everything else going on. Maybe some day I’ll join you for an ultra!


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