Monday, July 30, 2007

50 miles completed at the White River 50 mi.

(Mt. Rainer)

At 6:20 A.M. on Saturday August 4th I was nervously awaiting the start of the White River 50 mile endurance run. Being my first 50 mile race I didn't know what to expect; I had never before ran over 50 Kilometers. My goal was to finish under 10 hours, and have a great time enjoying the views of the Cascade Mountains!

(Scott giving final instruction)

Scott McCoubrey gathered the 200 runners at the starting line and explained the course. The course consists of two long climbs; Corral Pass and Sun Top Mountain, as well as 8700 ft. of elevation gain. When Scott sounded the horn at 6:30 am., all of the runners took off down the airfield, anxiously anticipating the day's adventures!

Running the first four miles I tried to contain my excitement and apprehension, and focus on my stride and breathing. The first 4 miles breezed by, and I was soon at the first aid station, camp Shephard. My parents, brother, wife and volunteers cheered for me as I tried to take a quick picture, and had my water bottle filled. It was great to see everyone cheering on their various runners.

Outside of Camp Shephard, I was soon climbing a series of switchbacks. Typically I feel like it takes me at least an hour to warm up and get into a good running rhythm, and today was no different. Generally, I felt short of breath and a littlle bit sore. I was a little bit aprehensive as I hadn't even hit mile 10 and I was already feeling tired and sore, but I remembered previous runs and reminded myself of my Ultrarunning mantra, "All things shall pass!"

After running and walking a series of switchbacks I was soon at the Ranger Creek Aid Station (Mile 11.9). I have to give credit to the great volunteers at Ranger Creek, all of the water and supplies was hiked into the Aid Station. I filled my bottles with water, grabbed a couple of gu and continued on my way to Corral Pass.

Leaving Ranger Creek I was witness to some of the most beautiful scenery that I had experienced. The exposed ridge line, dense forests, and magnificent views of Mt. Rainer had me continuously pulling out my camera and snapping pictures. The terrain was also a fun mix of steep up hills, open ridge lines, and a fire road to Corral Pass that allowed me to see the frontrunners as they were returning from the Corral Pass aid station. The leading runner was Mike Wolfe who was a good 5 minutes infront of the next runner.

(Looking down at the starting line)

Leaving the Corral Pass aid station I continued back to the Ranger Creek aid station along the ridge of the Norse Peak Wilderness area. so far so good as I was maintaining a quick pace, and was projected to finish well before my goal of 10 hours. This section included a long descent (7 miles) back to the Buck Creek aid station. Arriving at Buck Creek I was energized to meet up with my family, the cheerleaders that were cheering for every runner as the entered the aid station, and a Wookie dressed up on a Brooks running uniform that suspiciously looked like Scott Jurek!

Leaving Buck Creek I was excited to have finished more than 1/2 of the race, and I was amazed at how fast the first 27 miles had raced buy. It was about 11:00am. at this point and I had been running for about 4.5 hrs., yet it seemed like I had just started the race! This feeling didn't last long though, as I hit a wall while climbing up Sun Top. I felt like I couldn't lift my legs, and my breathing was labored. I decided that it was a good idea to walk up the hills and force whatever pace I could during the flat parts. This "low" lasted for about an hour, until I was caught by Miles Olrich of Seattle. When Miles caught up to me I had the motivation of someone pushing me, and the added benefit of someone to talk to. Soon I found my stride again and I felt good climbing the remainder of the way to the Sun Top Mt.

Standing on top of Sun Top Mt.

(Getting sprayed by the helpful volunteers!)

After leaving sun top I was ready for some downhill running! This section of the course consists of 6.5 miles of downhill, finishing at the Skookum Flats aid station. Right before reaching Skookum Flats I put on my ipod for the first time, as it was my strategy to use music to get me through the last 6 miles. I took a short break to untangle my headphones and proceded to "roll" into the skookum flats aid station, where I ran into Dad walking along the road. I shouted hello and he ran with me into the aid station, where I gave my wife a kiss, greeted all of my family members, and then took off with a huge smile on my face (I was almost done!).

Skookum Flats is a 6 miles of technical single track that rolls through an old growth forest. This was by far the funnest part of the race, as I had a final push of energy to get me to the finish line. My place at the Skookum Flats aid station was 29th place, and I passed two runners at the aid station and an additional two runners on the trail. I arrived at the Finish Line in 8:42, 25th place.

I felt that this race was by far my best performance since beginning my running career in January. I felt that I was able to keep a good pace, and had a good nutrition and race strategy. Now I am qualified for the Western States 100 and I plan on sending in my application to run!


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Training update


I have had a productive week of training. My focus has been the White River 50 mile, so I have been primarily running. My highlight run was running the Skyline to Sea trail which I ran on Sunday. The run consisted of 28.4 miles (3.4 mile detour), and an overall elevation decline. This run is good training for the White River because of the elevation decline, and all of the run is on single track trail. It was my goal to not push the pace and spend a good amount of time on my feet. I was accompanied by my friend Tom, who I promised a nice easy downhill run (yeah right!). Overall I felt strong at the en
d of the run, and my legs felt pretty good the next day. I feel pretty good about doing 50 mi. in 10 days!

I have also been doing speed work on Tuesday and Thursday doing 4 miles at 6:00 min/mile pace on the treadmill. It is my goal to maintain the pace for 6 miles, but I am not quite there yet.

I didn't do any Judo or swimming last week, just running. It is my plan to focus more on Judo and competition after the White River. My weight and endurance should be good, and
hopefully I can qualify for the Olympic Trials.


Saturday Heidi and I got a new member to our family, a shelter dog named Gordy. He is a year old and looks like he is part Australian Shephard. I have already taken him on a few runs, and he loves it! Now I must get up at 4:00am. and do a morning run!!

(My new running partner!!)

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Week in review


I did a variety of workouts this week; running, swimming, and judo. I started the week feeling motivated, but towards the end of the week my energy wained. My plan is to do one more long run next week (skyline to sea) and then begin tapering for the White River 50 mi. I felt strong during judo practice, and not so strong during my run and swim. I feel like I need to continue alternating workouts to avoid burnout, and fatigue.

Sunday --> Rest
Monday--> Judo Practice
Tuesday --> swim 1000, 10 mi. run
Wednesday --> 5 mi. run
Thursday --> 5 mi. run
Friday --> Judo Practice
Saturday --> 17 mi/ run & Hike
Total: 37 mi.

Saturday I hiked for 12 miles and it took 5+ hours. I felt that although I was not running it was good training because it was a extended period of time on my feet.

This was a busy week with the fourth of July on Wednesday, and helping Kati move on Saturday and Sunday, and Heidi's Birthday contributed to my feeling of fatigue.

Pacifica 30K

Saturday, June 30th I had the opportunity to return to Pacifica to try my hand at the 30k distance. The January Pacifica 50k was my first trail raced, and I was excited to see how much I had improved since that first race.

Charging up hill, 2000ft to go!

The day started with meeting my friend Tom, who having recently moved from Wisconsin was running in his first trail race. We arrived at the race early (a first for me), and had time to get our bibs and warm up before the race. Unfortunately nature called, and I was in the bathroom when th race started. Tom yelled that the race had started, and I rushed out of the bathroom to see the runners charging up the mountain. Tom and I quickly jumped into the line and charged up our first hill. We soon found our rhythm and we had a nice climb up the mountain. At the top of the mountain we turned around and descended back down the mountain. I fell into a quick downhill stride following a group of runners, when I realized I hadn't seen a ribbon for about 10 minutes. I asked a group of mountain bikers climbing up the hill if they had seen any other runners, or ribbons they hadn't. I had to laugh at fortune, as I had taken a wrong turn on a course that I had previously raced. Tom and I had a good chuckle and then hiked back up the steep fireroad, to our missed turnoff (about 3 miles added to our run!). After reaching the turnoff we had a quick technical downhill run to the first aid station.

Which Direction?

The race went much smoother after the first misdirection issue. The course climbs two hills, and then returns to the start/ finish line. Tom and I power hiked the uphills, and ran the downhills. The temperature remained cool, and it was nice reconnecting with the beautiful coastal terrain. The final lap was a reversal of the previous 6 mile loop. The Final loop I cranked up the ipod, and ran the entire loop, finishing in 3:32, the same number as my bib number.

Overall, I felt good with my ability to turn up the speed at the end of the race to finish strongly. I realized though that I feel as sore running the 30k distance as the 50k distance. I don't know why, but the hurt is about the same.

Tom and I at the finish line