Monday, January 26, 2009

Pigtails 4th Annual Lake Youngs Run


It was another great turnout for this year’s winter trail run. We had 119 runners (49 50Kers, 3 three loopers, 31 two loopers, and 36 1 loopers. The weather was perfect, no rain or snow in sight. The temperature started in the low 30s, but runners said it varied throughout the course. The trail was in good condition and no one got seriously injured. Barb Blumenthal fell at mile 3, but continued to finish 3 loops for 28.8 miles before her swollen bruised knee protested to further running. Apparently, Eric Barnes got poked by some prickly vines during nature’s call, but luckily they were fairly low to the ground! Several said there was a guy on a bike who was a little scary talking out loud, whether to himself or to the runners. There was also a crew working on taking down a tree the entire race.
The “free race” tradition continued as people generously brought food as the race fee to donate to the Maple Valley Food Bank, who was reported to have been in low supplies since the winter started. I ended up filling my SUV with the back seat down with donations and even went through the trouble of sorting the food for them (box of chicken noodle soup, box of chili, box of dried goods, etc), which was greatly appreciated. We also had great food to share at the aid station during and at the end. The chicken noodle soup and butternut squash were a huge hit as was anything sweet or salty. All the gummi bears, M & Ms, red vine licorice, homemade cookies, Chips Ahoy cookies, banana bread, Kettle chips, and bars were gone at day’s end.
The men’s 50K race was tight through loop 3 until Ryan McKnight overtook Alex Swenson for the win. Although Ryan broke the male open course record by 3 minutes with a time of 3:51, Alex still holds the overall course record of 3:48:15. Both brought home the bacon! Wendy Wheeler Jacobs was largely unchallenged throughout the day, although I’m sure this was just a training run for her. She finished first woman overall and masters for the day with a strong sub-5hr time of 4:50. Stephanie Day was surprised to have come in first female open in 5:07, also taking a relatively easy day. The women took home the sausage, with all prizes coming from our mini-farm.
The 19.2 mile race saw a new overall course record by John Collins from Oak Harbor with a time of 2:13, wiping out Kyle Skagg’s time of 2:18 in 2006. The first male masters went to Bruce Hoff in 2:23, a perennial strong runner. The female race was won by Iliana Sach in 2:34, who missed Annie Thiessen’s course record by two minutes set in 2008. First female masters winner Anne Hobson ran well under 3 hours with a time of 2:54.
Bjorn Begelman took off and never looked back as he crossed the finish line in 1:02:13, well under the previous one loop course record time set by Matt Morrison in 2007 of 1:04:09. That’s cookin’! Five men ran under last year’s master’s course record by Jamie Gifford of 1:15:00, but Gregg Walchli prevailed with 1:05:47. Karen Leahy just missed the overall course record of 1:14:36 set in 2007 by Amy Grable but came away with a new female master’s course record of 1:15. First female open win was shared by two Tahoma X-country girls, Emily Duerson and Gracie Libby in 1:35. Way to go!
Other notables:
Ryan McKnight had a 50K PR in addition to winning the race.
Tony Covarrubias and Shawn McTaggart did 5 loops in preparation for the McNaughton 150 mile in April in Illinois. I get to go, too!
Jess Mullen ran 4 loops, also in preparation for McNaughton 100 mile.
Linda Barton ran the gnarly HURT 100K the weekend before.
This was Heather Nugent’s and Jessica Williams’ first 50K.
Eric Barnes, Nic Plemel, Jill Hudson, Linda Walter, and Monte Pascual did the double with Yours Truly 50K on Sunday. Nic also had a PR at my race.
Susan Cooley and Amy Begnal had 50K PRs.
Lisa Switzer, Janine Windom, Deanna Vig, and Whitney Janicki ran the furthest they had ever run. Lisa is training for her first marathon at Eugene and is hooked. She even wants to try Mt Si 50K. Janine is looking forward to Yakima, Deanna is looking forward to Whidbey, and Whitney is on the Tahoma X-country team.
Nicola Wethall pushed a stroller the entire loop.
It was Kane Jamison’s birthday. Thanks for spending it with us!
Thanks to my husband for helping with set up and take down. He had a chance to go back home and climb in his home rock climbing gym with George Wiggins, who finished one loop.
Thanks also to Ray Shaw, who called out numbers while I wrote down split and finish times. That was a huge help! Too many numbers running through my head!
As for me, I had a long day with getting up at 4:30 then not getting to sleep until 10:30pm after having spent the evening with my family for Chinese New Year’s Eve. Then it was up early the next morning for the Yours Truly 50K. A dusting of snow fell overnight and made the first half of the run enjoyable with snow on the ground and trees. I loved the feel of the soft snow under my shoes, but it became more slippery in the second half with it warming up slightly, although not that much since the temperature when I finished was still 33. The course was supposed to be an out and back twice, but due to a bridge out for some construction, it was changed to a quadruple out and back. There was the option of detouring around the construction, but apparently race director Brian Pendelton was chased by a mean dog and had to fend it off with rocks. No thanks! So we all (about a dozen with a few 25Kers) turned around at the fenced off area and saw each other frequently during the day. For the 50K runners, an extra short out and back was required in the end to make it a full 50K, which I did before going out for my last long out and back. I was well hydrated the first half, having to stop several times. As a result, I had a pretty negative split and finished in 4:47, first one in. But 5 people out there were doing doubles, so kudos to them! Brian had hot chili with pepper jack cheese and sour cream, tortilla chips, and hot chocolate at the finish. It’s amazing how much better food tastes after a cold run. At least it didn’t rain.
Well, that’s a wrap. Be on the lookout next year about this time again for the 5th annual Pigtails Lake Youngs run!

Monday, January 12, 2009

A Self Imposed Double in a Day

I did it! What you say? Ran two 50Ks in a day. One a training run; the other a race. So only one counted. Why? To prepare for the McNaughton 150 miler in April. My race plans for 2009 will involve less races but longer distance. I’ll be bringing you along on the journey. Join me if you want!
I only know of one other double in a day here in the Pacific Northwest. In March, you can run Chuckanut and then drive 3-4 hours to Longview, WA and join the Pac Rim 24hr run already in progress. This year I’ll be foregoing Chuckanut and trying a hand at my first 24hr run. I don’t really know what running around on a one-mile loop will be like. I’ve run around a track for 6 hours and have done a 12 hour run on a 5-mile loop. Who knows? I might actually enjoy it!
Earlier in the week, I came up with idea of running about a 50K distance before the 3pm start of Bridle Trails. If you have ever run Bridle Trails, you know this is a tall order since conditions are typically wet, cold, and muddy. Think over 200 people running on a rolling 5-mile loop that is a horse trail with rain making each loop increasingly difficult. Originally, I wanted to run the first 50K at Bridle trail self supported and then run the race. I e-mailed what I felt were like minded masochists such as *tc, Shawn McTaggart, King Arthur, Eric Barnes, Rob Hester, Jess Mullen, and others. No takers! I re-thought the idea after we had record flooding from rain combined with all the snow that melted from our winter snow.
Friday night before race day came and I decided to run my 50K with members of the Cedar River Runners. Mary “mph” Hanna was looking for a long run and was in for 28 miles. We met at 6:30am Saturday and ran only 5.5 of our goal of 7 miles before the usually group met for 14. I had never seen Cedar River so high and fast flowing. We saw many homes surrounded by water. So sad! Mary and I had nearly 20 flat miles and capped it off with two hilly 4 mile loops of the Bear Run in Maple Valley. I then added the rest to make 31 miles. Weather was good. I was done by noon and had 3 hours before Bridle Trails. A couple years ago, Mary and I had run a half marathon in the morning and then Bridle Trails in the afternoon/evening and I developed hypothermia, almost causing me to DNF. I found that I needed to refuel my calorie deficit to avoid that problem. Knowing this in preparation for this double, I had all the intention of filling my tank. But I made the mistake of going to a teriyaki place and ordering yakisoba. First, it took forever for them to make it, there was not enough noodle to vegetable ratio, and the shrimps were pathetic! I barely had enough time to eat it and digest if before the race started. I should have gotten some pizza or a burger! So needless to say, I felt somewhat empty starting out the race.
The 5 milers started first, then 5 minutes later the 10 milers, then 5 minutes after that the 50K solo runners and 50K relay teams. I stayed in the back of the pack, determined to take my time and not push myself. Most of the trail is pretty wide but you feel that it is almost single track because you have to pick yourself through the mud and spots that have better footing. The 5 and 10 milers had already churned up the trail, which was the worst on the back side of the trail at miles 2-4. It’s a 5 mile loop and the first two of six loops can be done without a headlamp. Uli Steidl, the male winner had three loops in before dark and lapped me twice during the race. Results are not back yet at the time of this writing, but I expect he ran well below 4 hours.
Some maniacs caught me halfway through the first loop. Them: “Hey, I think that’s Pigtails, but I only see a ponytail.” Me: “I was lazy.” Them: “We shouldn’t be passing her.” Me: “It’s okay, it will be a long night for me. I ran 50K this morning.” Them: “What race was that?” Me: “Just a training run. Don’t let me catch you later!” I finished the first 2 loops each in under an hour. But the third loop was slow and hard. I was working too hard to keep my form running while slipping and sliding. So I started walking. I was still under 4 hours after three loops. Loop four felt better but I was just over 4 hours at the end of it. It started raining before the race and never stopped. I was getting wetter and colder with each loop, and my calorie deficit was the reason. I stopped by the aid station every loop to find food. Aid station volunteer: “Hey Van, how are you doing?” Me: blank stare. Volunteer: “Can we get you anything to eat?” Me: “Soup.” Volunteer: “Can we get you anything else?” Me to myself: a warm bed, a hot tub, common sense? I had put on all the clothing that I had in my drop bad, and they were all soaked.
Each time I left the aid station, I was shivering and was sure that I would never warm up again. But each loop after I got moving, I’d warm up enough to continue. But I was constantly cold. Plus, I had to stop at least once each loop and twice in loops 5 and 6 to pee. Thank goodness none of the other! Even though it seemed like I was well hydrated, once when I went to pee, my shoulder blade muscles seized up on me. By loop 4, I found that I did a better job running through the mud and horse-sh-- puddles if I just ran through the middle and taking small steps instead of trying to weave from side to side trying to find good footing. This was even more important in the dark when you couldn’t really see that well. It took me over an hour each to finish loops 5 and 6. My original plan to take it easy and go slow changed when I got too cold going slow and I wanted to get out of the elements as soon as possible. With about 2 miles to go, I picked up my pace and even ran all the hills. But my faster pace actually made me colder maybe from the wind moving over me faster. And my right IT band at my knee started to ache. So close to 62 miles and I had to slow down!
I finished in 6:23. Scott McCoubrey, the RD, said that the race was probably more like 30 miles, but I told him that it was probably 5 miles long with all the slipping and sliding. I headed straight for my car. There were less than a dozen cars left when earlier before the start of the race parking had filled up fast and people resorted to parking on the road or across the street in residential areas. King Arthur, who had a strong race finishing something like 4:44, walked me to my car, started it for me, and helped me put my heavy fleece robe on. I have found that bringing my robe to races and training runs during the winter is great because you can put in on over you right away if you are cold and change underneath it. I had a hard time getting into the car because one of my shoulder blade muscles cramped when I tried to close the door. I went to the other side and used my other arm. While my car warmed up, I sat there shaking uncontrollably. I had just paid $400 the previous week to replace a broken thermostat in my car that prevented it from heating up the car. Best money I have spent in a while! I slowly peeled my drenched clothes off without going into a full body spasm and just sat there in my robe for another 15 minutes. After my Succeed caps kicked in and I had changed into some dry clothes, I headed home, but not before grabbing a burger. I still woke up at 3am starving marvin. So that sounds miserable, right? Well, actually the first 50K was fine. I enjoyed it. Bridle Trails yes was mostly miserable, but the way I think about it, the misery that I experience now will hopefully make my 150 mile experience less miserable. We all know that the feeling that we get after finishing a race is what keeps us going and coming back for more.
Summary: 50K training run in morning: 4:50. Bridle Trails: 6:23. Total: 11:13 Note to self: Volunteer at Bridle Trails next year. The End!