Gear: i wore exactly the same stuff as i had at Mt Hood . headsweats cap, giro base pockets over a compression shirt with 3 pockets sewn in back, feetures socks and one of my newer pairs of hoka clifton 1’s. i had some 3’s in the drop bag just in case but didnt use them. i also had my trusty UD waist pack with extra pocket. inside that were the scaps, ginger candies, ibuprofen, wet wipes (after mt hood never without!), car key and 3 or 4 gels.
Food: same stuff again as mt hood adding Huma gels into the mixture, baby food, trail butter, bacon, ginger candies, lots of Sportslegs Caps and some vitamin-I. I had a couple of rules for myself going into this one: no music or ibuprofen until at least mile 30. not wanting to be bear bait later i ate the bacon at the beginning. i also ate from the aid stations but mainly just pickles and a couple of some homemade peanut butter bars.
Hydration: my trusty handheld/airbag and a soft flask in the giro singlet.
Result: 13:04. it was the best i could do on a super-tough course and no major malfunctions. i am pretty stoked about that!
It was Eileen’s suggestion. She completed it in 2016 and then got a group together for 2017. It was really cool…like community building kind of cool. Ultra-Community cool. We had a table at the location of the hotel where the check in was. It is so beautiful in Sq BTW. There was Mikey, Mikey’s Sis/Crew, Derek, Derek’s wife Deb, Tim, Chris, Eileen and myself. Mikey, Eileen and Derek all intended to attempt the 50/50. You see they have the 50 miler on Saturday and then a 50k on Sunday (50k of the hardest part of the 50M)…but i think we were all kind of nervous. Well actually after dinner i was having a full-on anxiety attack! By the time I laid down to sleep I kept thinking of how I could DNS but keeping in mind that I have always finished these things but I was so exhausted from all the anxiety (and also anxiety about having volunteered to help the 50k on Sunday which i have never done) i fell right to sleep and got a relatively good rest. I woke up to the sound of other racers in other rooms at the hostel getting ready, pooped. brushed my teeth, had some coffee and smoothie and pooped again. Ah! Now I am ready! At the start it was just getting light and I was bemoaning why we had to carry lights when they are not needed. They had us all carry lights for 12 miles to the second aid station and they were transported to the second-to-last aid later and then to the finish. At 5:45 and we were off.
-I want to write something about the mental here because this race was mental. I didnt have any serious physical problems…or I just managed them well. All of the pseudoinjuries came and went in waves like usual but nothing stayed. At mile 25 or so my adductors locked up but then they loosened again and I was fine. But the mental was the thing and this race was mental!…and I have been feeling a lot lately anyway with my Dad having seizures and losing his memory and the death of my Aunt Jan it was a mental race. I suppose they all are to some degree but i went though so many highs and lows in this one esp around mile 20-25. I was speaking with a family member and think i finally got across the value of doing something like this to a non-runner. I told her it was very very hard to do. It was painful and sad. I was fearful, desperate and lonely. I was disgusted, surprised and embarrassed. At times I was very anxious and dejected and sometimes I was even a little indignant but I was also also exhilarated, joyful and having fun. I felt patience, anticipation and acceptance…and I felt love. In an event like this it is so hard to do it somehow lets me express the love and gratitude in my heart more freely and that continues after in my day to day life. Anyway all of it is there! all but anger, hatred and jealousy. I did not feel these things. I think she understood then. Perhaps a lot of people not understanding why just lack a better explanation. It is a microcosm of life! OK back to the report.-
I started eating my bacon right away and by the first aid station i was almost done with it. I put a piece in my teeth with most of it hanging out my mouth so i could put the baggie away as we approached the station where there was a guy with a blowhorn announcing “hey he’s got bacon!”. The first 10k is a jog through town and onto the trails and up a steep climb. In the mid pack where I was I kept getting caught behind people who didnt hike fast but i casually passed chatting and trying to be as friendly as possible. I was thinking “ok. what goes up must come down” anticipating cresting the hill and gliding down some smooth, soft single track – for usually in a loop the trail up is steeper than the one going down. So I thought. The climb was a steep 1400 feet over about 2 miles. The following descent was demoralizing and scary! No switchbacks, no runoffs just relentless steepness and boulders and dirt and roots and a few trees to grab onto on my way down. There were places where I considered turning to face the rock but gutted it out and tried to run where i could. We dropped back down to about half of what we had gained and then started another more gradual climb up another 700 feet over the next 5 miles of M\mostly shuffleable terrain. Anyway more of this until mile 20 and then we started going up and up and up. For the next 7 miles was all climbing. I knew it was early in the race. I also knew even when we peaked this climb it would be less than half the total climbing for the day and i started to get into a funk. I was leapfrogging a little with Hansie and when she asked how i was and i said i was feeling doubt and pain and she said “suck it up!”. Thank you Hansie. I apologize for calling you Nancy but thank you for helping me out of my stupid baby tantrum. It was during this climb that I started getting some drift and needed to take ‘old man breaks’ which entails stopping, slumping down and looking at my shoes with hands on knees. A lot of people asked me if I was OK and everyone understood when without looking up i said “old man break”. i think i will continue to use this strategy in the future. Anyway i got up the hill and was prepared for any kind of descent as long as it kept my heart rate a little lower. Miles 27 to 33 are all down. Way down from 3100 feet to about 400. Unrelenting downhill. At first i was frustrated but since the hill was so long i started to learn how to jump through without a runoff and actually started having fun with it! It’s tricky because i am not only looking at where to go with my feet but also a little ahead to see if/where i could runoff if i slipped or got tripped up. After my constant stumbling at Mt Hood i was very concerned about falling because in many places falling here meant falling down and down. Right around mile 30 there is a brief section of road where i got my music on. i was rewarding myself but also trying to avoid the chatter of a couple of ladies that i was leap-frogging for a long time almost the entire second half of the race. actually these two vain ladies…i mean not to be too negative but it’s funny..sometimes they got separated and continued to chat with each other even when i was between them and after a couple of times thinking one of them was talking to me and then getting ignored when i answered and then when one did talk to me i didnt answer and then she got annoyed and then i asked “who me?”. anyway one of them was quite dolled up and had a fancy hairdo and makeup. i actually loved watching her perfect cute little get up get messier and grungier and her makeup run and her hair getting wild and her behaviour get grumpier and then they were both grumpy and limping and well it was quite satisfying to watch actually. hey get your scadenfreude when you can! ahem…anyways. what else happened? i met a lot of really cool people and started handing out ginger candies to anyone with tummy troubles. im not sure if Eduardo remembers but i think it helped him a lot because soon after he blazed past me (he finished 3 min ahead). at mile 32 there is an aid station at a university and as i was getting my stuff a volunteer appeared before me and started acting as my personal assistant! her name was Jen. thanks Jen. you are kind and thoughtful! she watched me mumble and stagger around and squeeze food into my mouth and wipe it on my shirt while holding an ice-pop for me which i did not like. she unzipped and rezipped my…hey…my DROP BAG ahem. anyway after that it was just more of the same kind of brutal bike trails until the finish. i was worried about bears but also determined to finish. hike, old man break, hike some more, another old man break, shuffle, skip, hop, run a little, hike some more no worries. a lot of these trails are for mt bikes and there are all kinds of bridges and berms built for them. Some of these features are fun to run on and some of them i had no idea…and i had no idea how the heck bikers can ride them without dying! at one point some bikers rode by saying “good job” and “congrats” and i looked back at them and said “you too man!”. so on and on the trail goes until the 2k road to the the end where i looked back saw someone trying to catch me. i thought ‘no f’ing way!’ and i turned on the jets. it was a 10 minute per mile full-out sprint! Mark said he saw me cross on you tube. at the finish Mr Robbins was there and I thanked him, shook his hand and suggested he delegate authority and run the course. it turns out, after watching most of the finishers after me cross he hugged all of them…hmm…also at the finish were Mikey, Tim and Chris together congratulating me! this was so nice. thanks guys! and thanks Eileen for driving up with me and keeping me company! and congrats to Mikey for completing the 50/50! it was also nice hanging out after the race. i got two burgers and the last beer. the announcer said something about the beer being out and i went over to the tent and saw the lady draining off the last of the keg. i asked if it was for her and she said no i can have it but that she would stop for one later at the pub. oh what a sweet angel! …and then hanging out for a couple of hours with Chris waiting for Eileen and Derek to finish and getting a ride back to my car. thanks Chris! community. let’s keep building this!
oh ya, and i didnt fall! i kinda fell once a little on the airbag but was on a steep uphill so was almost facing the ground in front of me anyways. most of the day was spent looking at the ground in front of me but i turned it into a game and enjoyed the challenge of where to dance the next step.
oh ya. the other thing. ok so it went like this: since Eileen was going to run the 50/50 i signed up as a volunteer for Sunday but then she decided not to run Sunday and i was her ride back to Seatac so i dropped from the volunteer list. it’s my first dns. now i really need to volunteer somewhere.