Monday, February 4, 2013

Race Reports! The awesome Deception Pass 50k, Orcas Island 50k, and training interrupted!

So what's been up with the running blog?  Fall of 2012 involved recovering from a sore knee, and then some ok training leading up to Deception Pass 50k in early December.  Stress had been slowly building regarding our move to Hawaii, but I was able to hit several pretty good long trail runs.

Deception Pass was won last year by Yassine Diboun in 4:16 or so.  I came in a miserable bonking 4:50+, so I knew I could improve my time simply by ensuring I took in enough calories.  Competition was stronger this year though, so I was hoping for top five, and to run somewhere near Adam Hewey, Adam Lint, and several other fast Seattle area ultra runners.  As we lined up I noticed Canadian running star Gary Robbins.  I knew Gary was fast, but I had just managed to out run him at Sun Mt earlier in the year, so I figured it might be close between us.  As we headed off Adam Hewey, Gary, and I made a little group running conservatively.  Conversation was good, and mostly involved the best trails in Oahu to run on. Imagine the surprise when Gary jumps ahead, and then sprints down this little steep dangerous section of trail.  I gave chase, but it was immediately hopeless, and I settled into some good solo running.  I was very happy to run much stronger than last year, and was able to run most all the climbs. The second time around the Hoypus loop area was depressing, I got passed and dropped by Adam Lint, almost threw up on my favorite snack (strawberry banana gu), and dropped and retrieved four empty gel packs!  I cruised into the finish in 4:23 in sixth place. Overall a success, and a really fun day. The best part?  The last hundred feet with my little sons Ryan and Dylan!

After Deception things fell apart a bit.  Plantar Fasciitis in my left foot hurt so much I could barely walk. The house needed packing, I needed to spend lots of time in the garage getting a car running prior to shipping to Oahu (talk about pressure!), Christmas, New Years, checking out of my squadron, and then spending most of January in Savannah (very flat) training on the Gulfstream GV. I decided not to run Orcas.  Ridiculous to even try considering I would get back to Washington the day prior, and leave to HI a week later right?  I spent a week lifting weights, then got out in a local park for a few road miles.  Savannah is a beautiful and historic town and area.  I would recommend a vacation there to anyone, and if you go, I've got some places to run.. Just ask me!  Well, after talking with my lovely wife Mishelle, we decided to go to Orcas and run the race!  My training plan consisted of a couple of medium paced long runs, and several short runs on the treadmill at 15%.

So, Orcas. What a beautiful place!  Every time we go I wonder why it's been so long since we've made the trip. The weather was fantastic, and the competition was the best ever.  31 miles is a short race right?  Immediately I could tell we (I) had started way too fast!  I enjoyed about 10 miles running a steady pace with Adam Hewey before he eased ahead.  Still, I felt in control through 22 miles and the beginning of the infamous (and improved/steepened) Powerline Climb. I was dizzy and suddenly depressed and feeling just awful. Jen Shelton ran passed and up that hill like it was a medium hill on a five mile training run.  I sat down for five minutes and washed my face in a stream!  As I was feeling sorry for myself, (dreaming of quitting) a guy with a camera came down the hill and started taking pictures.. That was it, I picked myself up and staggered up the hill, not caring who passed me, or how long it took.  I didn't run unless the trail actually went DOWN hill.  Pathetic, but I was out of gas.  All I could do was remember that it was a beautiful day, beautiful trails, and my choice to be out there.  And then a surprising thing happened.. I was able to run again, not fast, but easily. After another tough hike to the top of Mt Constitution (and amazing views that rival an mountain ultra) it was five miles all downhill to the finish.  I did get a little competitive spirit back and actually started to race a couple of people running near me.  5:43, and another finish with my beautiful family.  This run was a wake up call.  It's not possible for me to run competitively without training seriously, and I wasn't ready for this.  Nevertheless I'm glad we made the trip, the memories are great, and I think the lessons and experience are valuable for my future as a trail runner.

Here's to Hawaii. I can't wait to get out on new and wonderful trails, build my strength, and come back strong to the Cascade Crest 100 in August!
Thanks to my family for enduring my ups and downs, my sore feet, and my creaky knees!
Thanks to Rainshadow Running for every wonderful event they put on. Your events are always on my radar!