Thursday, January 28, 2010

2010 Pigtails 5th Annual Lake Youngs Run

January 23, 2010

We had our largest field yet in this year’s race with 170 runners (42 one loopers, 48 two loopers, and 80 50Kers). Unfortunately, our fair weather was incorrectly forecasted and we had rain for most of the race, with it coming down hard at times. Everyone took it well and the sun came out just in time for us to tear down all the tents and gear.

The months leading up to the race were uneventful. I had all my permits. The only thing I was worried about was that I was scheduled to be on call starting Friday and going through the weekend for two hospitals. I was looking at a very stressful weekend with this and my race. I called the hospitals at 9pm Friday night to pre-empt any issues that they had with the patients and was told things were okay. Next thing you know I get 5 pages late that night with the kind of issues that I could have handled earlier. It’s always hard for me to go back to sleep after a string of calls like that. Needless to say, I didn’t get much sleep before having to get up at 4am to get ready to set up for the race. My husband was up too and helped me all day. This kept him from his work (he works 7 days a week), but he is used to being the spouse of a runner, and for the last 5 years, the spouse of a race director for 2 races a year.

We arrived at the start/finish at 5:30 and started setting up in the rain. Tony Covarrubias and Shawn McTaggart were just finishing their first loop with plans on 5 loops plus my out and back to make it a 50 mile day, which they finished in 9hr45min (disregard their 50K time, since they started their 50K run after you all had left). They are both training for a 200 mile race in Vermont this spring. I had run the McNaughton 150 mile with them last year, and I wanted them to be the guinea pigs for the 200 mile distance before subjecting myself and my husband to this insane run. Just like McNaughton, it is a 10 mile loop done over and over, but if the 10 mile loop is tamer in Vermont than in Pekin, IL, then I might be game for it next year. After giving us a hand setting up our shelter, they took off for loop #2.

After we got the tent up and unloaded most of our gear, I ran up the trail briefly to mark the first turn down the hill for the counter-clockwise direction with flour. I came back and found that Cliff Richards, Ken’s brother, and Jerry Thayer, a fellow Maple Valley runner, had arrived. Let me tell you a little about each of them. Most of you know Cliff “quack, quack” Richards, a PT and Maniac who runs like a duck but seemingly able to do it fast. He clocked a 2:51 at last year’s Newport Marathon and has a faster PR. However, he had been dealing with injuries in the second half of 2009 with the last injury affecting one of his knees. He turned to cross training and got to be a better and better swimmer, but every time he tried running, he’d get set back in his knee pain. Then he had an incident where he fell in early December sustaining a patella fracture requiring placements of screws. He’s been in a straight leg immobilizer since. They suspected that he had a stress fracture in his kneecap that finally fractured further with the fall. The good news is that he at least knows that after healing from the surgery and going through rehab, he can start running again. It’s always nice to have that light at the end of the tunnel. It was very nice of him to stand around all day in the cold for me and the runners. He also let me borrow his big clock and timing machine. He took over the responsibility for the loop splits and finish times.

Jerry Thayer is a sweetheart. After my December race, he informed me that he had several shelters, propane heaters, tables, chairs, and a generator that he could bring to this race. I took him up on the offer. However, he not only let me use his stuff, he came early to help set up, ran one loop, and stuck around to the very end to help take down everything. Jerry knows that the trash generated from my races is a hardship for me since we don’t have garbage pickup. We haul all our trash to the transfer station and only do this 2 or 3 times a year. He had taken half of the trash from my December race and took all the trash for this race. He hooked up his coffee maker for runners to have a fresh brew. And he did all this while apparently, his wife was having car troubles further south in Tacoma and had to be towed in. Jerry was, simply put, the best volunteer a race director could ask for. I gave him some bacon and eggs from our pigs and chickens for all his help, but this seemed little compared to what he did for me.

I started checking in runners at 6:30am. Of the 95 runners who registered for the 50K, I had 6 no shows. Of the 32 2 loopers who registered, I had 4 no shows, and 7 no shows for 35 one loopers. There was a lot of shuffling around of distance during the day, with most calling it good at running one less loop than planned. I had 2 one loopers go for the 2 loops option and one 2 looper go to the 50K option, Michael Lynes, who went on to win the 50K in course record time. More on that later.

I had quite a few day of race registrants. I just couldn’t say no to them. I finished checking in everyone with about 2 minutes to the start. It was raining and half the field was crammed in under the three tents we had set up. I made a brief announcement to keep people from having to stand around in the cold. I told everyone to be careful running down that first steep hill. Looking around, I couldn’t believe the numbers of runners present! A quick 5-4-3-2-1-GO! and they were off! Next year, I need to have someone stand in front of the posts there at the trailhead. Some runners almost ran right into them. After the throngs left, there were still 5 runners in the Honey Bucket line. Next year, I will bring in another one in addition to the park one.

Ken and Cliff had loaded Ken’s SUV with all the donated food and drove back to our house to unload them to take to the food bank next week. We needed the space for all the gear we brought to take home after the race. Sara Malcom had shown up at check in and helped me get the numbers to the one and two loopers. Tony Phillippi helped Cliff check in the 50K runners while Ken organized all the food donations coming at him in all directions. After Ken and Cliff left, Sara helped me lay all the food out and heated up the soups while I ran out and marked the 50K out and back with flour. Sara was kind enough to volunteer after having signed up for the race and coming down with an injury in the last 2 weeks. She is having shin pain checked out by her doctor. She did a great job yelling out numbers to Cliff as they were coming in and serving hot soup. As you might recall, she won my December 50K race on the Cedar River Trail in record time. I came back wet and it took me a while to warm up, even after putting on another layer of fleece. Ken and Cliff had returned while I was out marking and not long after that, Michael Lynes came in on his first loop in 1:06. Several more guys came in within the next 2 minutes, some continuing on for their second loop, others finishing one loop for the day. Michael said he was cold and must have tried to warm up by running faster, since he ran the second loop in 1:04 with a total time now of 2:10, which broke the old overall course record for 2 loops of 2:13. He had signed up for 2 loops but decided to keep going. I’m not sure if he had looked up the course record for the 50K, but unless he totally blew up, he was on pace to break it by 15 minutes. He rounded the corner finishing his 3rd loop in 3:16, matching his first loop. He finished in 3:32:13, breaking the course record by 16 minutes! He said that last out and back and especially that last hill just about did him in. He was shaking quite a bit after changing clothes. That boy needs to get some more body fat on him! Congratulations on a phenomenal run! Michael is a physical therapist in the Tacoma area. He won $31 for breaking the course record and donated it right back to the food bank. What a guy! He was covered all the way up to his mid-back with mud. He must have quite a kick with his stride. In fact, many runners had the same look! Michael was the overall and masters winner. Spencer Coates took the first male open with a time of 4:00:18. He was disappointed at missing breaking 4 hours but overall was pleased with his performance. He had left about the same time as Chris Warren for the out and back but managed to put in a gap of over a minute.

The 50K female race started to heat up in the third loop. Mary Hanna, who was using this race as her final long run before heading to Arizona to defend her title at the Lost Dutchman Marathon on Valentine’s Day, came in first after the 3rd loop. Ginger, who runs similar marathon times, came in shortly after and turned around and headed immediately out. Mary ran after her for the out and back, having stopped to take off her wet shell and grab something to drink. For the next 20 minutes we wondered who would round that corner first. Ginger came sprinting in at 4:45:59 with Mary 6 seconds behind! Looks like the youngin’ won this time. Mary was first masters. Both were short of the course records (4:18 for open and 4:29 for masters). Ginger won sausage from our pigs and Mary took home farm fresh eggs. Many made comments about that last big hill at the end of the out and back, one describing it as “That 10,000 foot hill,” another “That climb up Mt. Everest,” and "Cruel and unusual punishment." I just say, “You’re welcomed!”

Two loops runners have a nice distance option. Often times, one loop seems too short, but making the jump to 50K is a stretch, so they get a good day in with 19.6 miles. Kyle McCoy was the only runner able to stay anywhere near Michael Lynes and finished the 2 loops with a time of 2:13:29, which tied the old course record (in previous years, I did not record seconds, so the old course record was marked at 2:13 and with it being this close, I just call them essentially tied). That’s some fast running on such a miserable day! The first male masters and second overall was Russ Otani, in a time of 2:19:56, which was impressive since he said he has not run on trails before. The first female was Iliana Sach, who clocked one minute short of the course record with a time of 2:33:14. First female masters was Barb Blumenthal in 3:07:43. Good job ladies!

This day was a good day to run just one loop. Dave LaTourette did so in fine fashion taking the overall and masters win in 1:08:50. The first open male was Larry Baldwin in 1:16:47. First overall and masters female and previous one loop masters course record holder, Karen Leahy, missed her own record by 3 seconds in a time of 1:14:39. First female open was Heather Hull in 1:34:32. Congratulations to all the winners!

We stuck around for everyone to finish of course. Jennie Eyring, who works for Nuun, also stuck around until the very end, making sure that all the runners had access to Nuun. She came early and set up two 5-gallon jugs with Nuun, two flavors. The Gatorade that I made went relatively untouched while the Nuun was a big hit, so much so that Jennie had to make another batch of each flavor. Thanks Jennie for coming and running two loops and keeping our runners hydrated.

Eric and Iliana Sach from the Balanced Athlete in Kent kept us supplied with gels. That was the one item I did not purchase this year because of their cost but Eric and Iliana stepped up to the plate. It’s nice to have running store owners participate in local races and supporting the race directors.

Andre O’Donnell came and ran two loops, the longest since May because of injury and took over soup duty when Sara left with the other runners she had come with. I can’t thank people enough for pitching in. Ken went and got pizza for the volunteers and the runners at a nearby Shakey’s and even made a second trip when we ran out. Sorry to those of you who didn’t get any. I just didn’t want him to make a third trip. Most people who came after the pizza seemed satisfied with the spread that we had post race.

I’m planning on dropping the food donations off to the Food Bank this week (or Ken) along with a monetary donation. Many thanks to everyone for your generosity. Previously when I have given them supplies and money, they have been very grateful, especially since donations have been down with the recession.

So, what should I do different next year? I might have to put a cap on the number of runners at 200 after such a big jump in participants this year. Parking is the main issue, and also just being able to handle that many runners with a few volunteers. Luckily for me, there is always someone injured! If you have some reasonable suggestions, let me know. I might try to offer a memento that you can purchase for the race, such as socks with a race logo or gloves. No shirts! Everyone has enough shirts. For my December race, I plan on offering possibly a beanie with race logo for the 5th annual event. I didn’t get my act together enough for this year’s 5th annual Lake Youngs run. But no promises, these are just thoughts. Would there be enough of an interest?

Anyway, thanks for coming out for another big party on the muddy trails. Remember, if you hear the sound of light footsteps coming up behind you on the trails at your next race, beware! It might just be me coming in for the kill!

Pigtails ; )

Results below might be 10 seconds or so off from what you have since our timing machine that Cliff was entering splits and final times didn't kick in right away for some reason at the start. Also, when there were large groups that came in, we started entering times before everyone got to the aid station and some of your friend's times are not exactly the same as yours. I tried to make sure that if you came in with someone at the finish, I have the same time for all of you. Some people's split times were missed. A couple ladies who signed up for the 1 loop wanted more miles but did not come back to the start before heading out again, so I made a note that their time was a 13 mile time. Remember, this was a fun run, but if I have one of your times really off, let me know. I will have this race report and the final draft of the results on my web site after about a week in case I hear from people.

1,Dave,LaTourette,M47,1:08:44,1st M Masters
2,Gregg,Walchli,M47,1:08:58,2nd M Masters
3,Karen,Leahy,F41,1:14:39,1st F Masters, Female Masters CR
4,Ron,Horton,M41,1:15:56,3rd M Masters
5,Larry,Baldwin,M37,1:16:47,1st M Open
6,Ben,Barlag,M27,1:19:03,2nd M Open
13,Lisa,Switzer,F46,1:32:04,2nd F Masters
15,Heather,Hull,F28,1:34:32,1st F Open
16,Nicole,Santee,F34,1:35:45,2nd F Open
17,Patti,Krebsbach,F47,1:36:34,3rd F Masters
21,Sherri,Brady,F32,1:42:22,3rd F Open
Craig,Nelson,M37,1:43:09,3rd M Open
35,Ann,Hobson,F47,2:05:31,13mi time
Tracy,Jones,F39,2:05:31,13mi time

Female Open CR: Amy Grable 1:14:36 2007,Female Masters CR: Karen Leahy 1:14:39 2010
Male Open CR: Bjorn Begelman 1:02:13 2009,Male Masters CR: Gerg Walchli 1:05:47 in 2009
Overall CR Male Bjorn Begelman (2009) 1:02:13 and Female Amy Grable (2007) 1:14:36

1,Kyle,McCoy,M31,1:08:28,2:13:29,1st M Open, Male Open CR
2,Russ,Otani,M50,1:10:48,2:19:56,1st M Masters
3,Ben,Cruzat,M32,1:14:48,2:27:34,2nd M Open
4,Eric,Sach,M41,1:14:18,2:27:40,2nd M Masters
5,Martin,Saxer,M41,1:14:08,2:28:09,3rd M Masters
6,Brennan,Wallin,M14,1:10:29,2:32:54,3rd M Open, 14 years old!
7,Iliana,Sach,F31,1:14:38,2:33:14,1st F Open
10,Tiffany,Crumbaugh,F37,1:20:53,2:43:01,2nd F Open
14,Arthur,Martineau,M,1:27:10,2:58:31,Wonderdog Sheila
18,Barb,Blumenthal,F53,1:32:06,3:07:43,1st F Masters
19,Barbara Rose,Chateaubriand,F48,1:34:24,3:09:26,2nd F Masters
21,Fawn,Freeman,F49,1:28:27,3:10:42,3rd F Masters
24,Jennie,Eyring,F35,1:35:38,3:18:01,3rd F Open
27,Rebecca,Wallick,F53,1:33:55,3:20:11,Wonderdog Finn MacCool
33,Heidi,Hansen,F40,no time loop one,3:30:43
35,Lisa,Agron,F39,no time loop one,3:34:59

Female Open CR: Annie Theissen 2:32:00 2008,Female Masters CR: Fawn Freeman 2:49:00 2006
Male Open CR: Kyle McCoy (2010) John Collins (2009) 2:13:29,Male Masters CR: Rich Nelly 2:16:39 2007
Overall CR Male John Collins (2009) and Kyle McCoy(2010) 2:13:29 and Female Annie Thiessen (2008) 2:32:00

1,Michael,Lynes,M43,1:06:13,2:10:26,3:15:59,3:32:13,1st M Masters, Overall CR
2,Spencer,Coates,M21,1:14:37,2:29:14,3:44:04,4:00:18,1st M Open
3,Chris,Warren,M42,1:11:02,2:27:13,3:44:16,4:01:47,2nd M Masters
4,Tim,Stroh,M47,1:14:32,2:34:06,3:54:05,4:12:05,3rd M Masters
7,Terry,Sentinella,M45,1:15:44,2:36:52,no time loop 3,4:23:44
8,Steve,Roberge,M37,1:15:34,2:31:17,4:04:56,4:31:11,2nd M Open
9,Mike,Schlecht,M39,1:20:18,2:44:09,4:17:54,4:39:31,3rd M Open
10,Robert,Towne,M57,1:19:15,2:44:18,no time loop 3,4:41:36
11,Ginger,Gruber,F39,1:26:51,3:00:23,4:28:29,4:45:59,1st F Open, 1st 50k and longest run
12,Mary,Hanna,F48,1:24:00,2:57:16,4:27:35,4:46:05,1st F Masters, Wonderdog Emily
13,Francie,Hankins,F45,1:29:20,3:07:21,no time loop 3,4:47:13,2nd F Masters
17,Beverly,Schubert,F48,1:27:39,2:57:10,4:31:18,4:54:15,3rd F Masters, 1st 50K
23,Bob,Satko,M49,1:30:44,3:10:08,4:48:31,5:12:38,1st 50K, 4 races in 57 days
27,Andy,Fritz,M43,1:34:59,3:12:12,4:52:04,5:16:52,16min 50K PR
35,Glen,Mangiantini,M52,1:30:00,3:08:38,4:56:18,5:22:24,Wonderdog Oliver's first 50K
Tracey,Nguyen,F36,1:35:43,3:10:23,4:59:04,5:22:51,2nd F Open
40,John,Anderson,M48,1:34:54,3:13:42,5:01:20,5:27:11,1st 50K
43,Roger,Adams,M60,1:34:27,3:20:17,5:07:28,5:31:18,1st 50K
46,BJ,Farish,M36,1:30:48,3:10:14,5:04:05,5:36:30,50K PR by 1hr, B-day next day!
48,Meg,Burtch,F53,1:42:28,3:30:45,no time loop 3,5:44:22
Kim,Lobree,F47,1:42:37,3:30:46,no time loop 3,5:44:22
50,Jessica,Bienvenue,F31,1:36:29,3:27:56,5:21:03,5:45:21,3rd F Open
Julie,Cassata,F28,1:38:22,3:31:41,5:25:24,5:50:25,One extra loop on own before race
55,Jamshid,Khajavi,M56,1:31:31,3:15:31,5:28:09,5:58:55,Blisters from HURT 100Mi Hawaii last weekend
60,Marilyn ,Pyke,F48,1:34:46,3:25:34,5:35:22,6:05:05
66,Tony,Covarrubias,M49,1:58:43,3:49:04,5:48:51,6:14:09,5 loops plus out & back=50mi 9:45
Shawn,McTaggart,F32,1:58:43,3:49:11,5:49:00,6:14:09,5 loops plus out & back=50mi 9:45
68,Frank ,Gradyan,M28,1:39:28,3:37:31,5:49:16,6:18:50
70,Max,Welker,M67,1:57:17,3:57:01,no time loop 3,6:23:37
71,James,Plant,M45,1:52:03,3:46:50,5:55:13,6:24:24,50K PR, Weymouth Woods, NC 100K last weekend
76,Bret,Bellevue,M51,2:04:52,4:18:17,6:37:18,7:12:19,1st 50K
Dawn,Bellevue,F50,2:04:57,4:19:20,6:42:56,7:17:52,1st 50K
Cami,Ostman,F42,1:55:43,4:05:48,6:40:31,7:17:52,1st 50K

Female Open CR: Alison Hanks and Devon Crosby-Helms 4:18:27 2008,Female Masters CR: Gwen Scott 4:29 2008
Male Open CR: Ryan McKnight 3:51 in 2009,Male Masters CR: Michael Lynes 3:32:13 2010 (Previously Alex Swenson 3:48:15 in 2008)
Overall CR: Male Michael Lynes (2010) 3:32:13 and Female Alison Hanks and Devon Crosby-Helms (2008) 4:18:27

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Triplin' into the New Year

12/31/09 Last Chance Marathon: 3:52:34, 1st female
1/1/10 First Call 50K: 4:50:15, 1st female
1/2/10 Tiger Fat Ass 50K: 6:36:56, 3rd female

It has been a long time since I've done a triple. Over a year ago, when I did the Wishbone 27+mile trail run, Ghost of Seattle 50K, and Seattle Marathon in November 2008. I've done many 100 milers since then. A triple is just a different animal. But when the stars are all aligned and three races come together, I sometimes rise up to the challenge. I had decided not to do the triple the weekend of the Seattle Marathon this year and ended having to work anyway. I wanted to see where my fitness level was starting the new year since in truth, I hadn't run that much after the Seattle Marathon, being busy with work and putting on my race.

I have ran all Last Chance Marathons since its beginning in 2005 when Diana "Slug" Robinson and Stacy "Possum" Otter came up with the idea. So it is tradition for me, requiring me to request a day off from work on a Thursday. Mary Latta took it over the last few years and will be handing the reigns over to Terry Sentinella, RD of Skagit Flats marathon. It is run mostly on the Interurban trail in Bellingham and is an old railroad grade with packed dirt and gravel, mostly flat. There is a very short section of road. It is a double out and back, which makes for a social run. There are some steep and short hills that make this run a little of a challenge. I have run it in the 3:30s to just over 4hrs. Rain had been forecasted but we were mostly lucky. I didn't get caught in the rain, but the last few runners did. The first male finisher was Joe Adams in 3:01. He was flying! And, he had his wife order pizza for everyone including the volunteers for post race consumption! Mary and I quipped that he is setting a big precedence. In the future, I could see the frontrunners holding back so that they would not have to buy pizza for everyone! Overall, I felt pretty good. My back only bothered me a little, and I could pick up my pace a little when I wanted to. I also knew when I needed to back off. My goal was to run under 4 hours and I did. That was my 30th race of the year, with only 2 being marathons. Even though that is much less than my 53, 51, and 54 from 2006-2008, I ran six 100 milers this year.

Next was First Call 50K on Friday. There was a marathon option, but when there is a choice, I usually choose the longer distance. I wasn't really looking forward to running 6 more paved miles, but oh well. The forecast was for rain and wind. Again, we lucked out. I only felt a light rain in my last 2 miles. The wind was about 10-15 mph on the out with a tailwind on the back, which made everyone overheat without it being in our face and wearing too much at that point. This was a double out and back as well on the Sammamish River Trail, which was more mentally challenging than the more scenic Last Chance. Adrian Call, the RD, had placed cones out the night before for the marathon and 50K turn around. Unfortunately, it was New Year's Eve and the cones were gone by the morning, unbeknownst to everyone, including Adrian.

There was a large crowd of marathoners and 50kers at the 8am start. I was clearly overdressed, but I was worried about being too cold from my run the day before and being low on calories and hydration. It was nice to have my shell on the first out because of the headwind, but I took it off and wrapped it around my waist for the back. Because the cones were gone, everyone kept running and running. I had my foot pod and knew we had passed the marathon turn around, and I knew a lot of people ahead of me running the marathon who had kept going. Robert Lopez had his GPS and said the same thing. Some people, who obviously had GPS, turned around at the appropriate spot. Anyway, we finally started to see people. The marathoners who kept running turned around earlier in the second half. Robert and I ran to 8 miles and turned around. We were telling people on the way back that the 3 mile post was about the 6.55 mark, but in truth, it was probably more like 6.75 miles. It was just an easier landmark to turn around. So the marathoners probably ran just over. We also started to see all the half-marathoners and told them to turn around at the 3 mile post.

I dropped my shell at the start/finish, grabbed some more GU and fluids, and headed out for the second out and back. This time the headwind felt great, since I was heating up. I ran that second half by myself. It was warm again when I turned around, but I felt better after I pulled off my arm warmers. With about a quarter mile to go, I caught a guy I knew, Dave, who was walking. This was his first 50K. He said he was feeling a little sorry for himself at that point. His calf was cramping some. I grabbed him and said let's run this in. We did and he was very pleased later with making it through his first ultra. We tied for 2nd. Tony Covarrubias finished first. There were pancakes and hot chocolate as the main fare for post race. Lots of other treats also with fudge, cookies, chips, and pop. I brought a big sub sandwich which was a big hit. ( I stole Dean Kayler's idea.) It's nice to have something that isn't sweet to eat. I thanked Adrian and the volunteers. I cheered more runners in but needed to get home and rest for my last race.

Saturday was the Tiger Fat Ass 50K and 25K. The majority do one loop for the 25K. Each loop has 3700 feet of elevation gain. I had asked Steve Stoyles and Eric Barnes who had volunteered at First Call if they would like to meet me early and get started before the crowds hit. In previous years, I have found it frustrating getting caught in a pack and being forced to run too fast or too slow after hitting the single track. I know it is supposed to be laid back but it's nice to run at my own pace. They had a friend named Tom joining us. We ran the whole thing together. The weather was perfect. There was some change in the trail due to winter closures in the Swamp trail and construction at Issaquah High. But the hills were still there. We moved along at a decent pace. I was worried my back would really start to hurt with the steep ups and downs as it had for the last few months. But it did well. I think that stretching every night and running more at Tiger getting stronger on the hills has helped. Running at Lake Youngs and Cougar, where the hills are miniscule compared to Tiger and the Cascades just doesn't cut it for me anymore. My back did stiffen up if we stopped too long, but again, it loosened up faster than before.

We caught runners that started before us but for the most part had the trail to ourselves until we reached Tiger 3. This was what I wanted, running at our own pace with little traffic. We stopped at the Christmas tree around Bootleg trail and admired the ornaments. As soon as we headed down Tiger 3, the trail immediately got congested with hikers going up and down. We had a 3 mile descent, which I just love. Tom was not yet comfortable with downhill running, but I think he did pretty well. We finished the first loop in 3:05, spent 5 minutes filling our water and grabbing more fuel. I ate my sandwich walking up the road to the trail and it was raining some at that point. But as soon as we hit the trails, we had some tree cover. We did the second loop in reverse and said hi to everyone finishing their first loop. The first guys we saw on the road up to the trails. Uli was further back but started late. He ended up winning in 4:59. The first woman was Shawna Wilskey in 5:44. So our second loop started with the 3 mile hike up to Tiger 3, then we traversed over to Tiger 2 and Tiger 1. The rest of the run was mostly downhill except for the rolling trail on the back side of the TMT and the switchbacks above the high school. I felt great the whole day. I ate and drank enough. We finished in 6:36, which is not that much off my previous Tiger runs. My fastest is 6:04, but my legs were fresh still back then. I have put many miles on since.

I was very pleased with my triple and feel that I'm starting out with a good base for this upcoming year of racing. My main race is Western, and I will be doing a lot of running at Tiger for training. See you on the trails!

4th Annual Pigtails Flat Ass at Cedar River Trail

December 19, 2009
Cedar River Trail

And so it goes. Another year, another race. This year, I had to deal with more issues because of the need to obtain permits and insurance. In the past, I was proud to offer this race for free but was forced to charge a small fee to cover expenses. No one seemed to be bothered by the $5 price tag. In fact, people were so generous with donations that in addition to food for the Maple Valley Food Bank, I was able to donate $200 as well. Thank you for your kindness, especially during these tough economic times and holiday season. Ken delivered the food and monetary donation because of my busy work schedule and he said they were extremely grateful. The food bank was packed with people with a long line of people out the door and there were even a couple of volunteers coordinating parking. It was very special for him to see the looks on their faces. I wish I had been there.

Every year I have had to come up with a new medal design. It’s getting tougher and tougher to make each better than the last. The first year was a gold ball ornament that I taped a picture of a pig on. It was a hit. Then year two featured a round Styrofoam pig that I spray painted pink, watching the Styrofoam melt literally before my eyes, but they still held their shape, enough for me to super glue feet, snout, and tail to. I drew on its eyes, which was next to impossible with Styrofoam. Then last year, my husband turned some very nice pear wood and cut me thin slices and sanded a beveled edge that I put a finish on, glued felt ears to, and drew on the face. Both were adored. But this year, I wanted to get back into the holiday spirit and came up with the idea of jingle bells. I have an ornament on my tree that is a reindeer made from a bell. That gave me the idea of making a pig from a large jingle bell. Out came the pink spray can again. Fortunately, we had a day in the low 60s this late fall without rain that I was able to go outside and paint 120 bells. It left my driveway with a pink spot but it is gravel and eventually disappeared. But then it was looking like I was going to exceed 120 sign-ups, so I went seeking for more bells. (I had cleaned them out last year with the after Christmas sale-yes, I came up with this idea just after my 2008 race finished.) I found about 20 more, but this time, the temps were in the 30s and it was snowing the day I needed to spray paint them. (Remember that week a couple of weeks ago with temps in the teens?) I didn’t dare do it inside, the spray was going everywhere, and I couldn’t contain it. So it was snowing while I painted that last batch. I spent many hours super gluing the tiny felt ears that I cut out, sometimes getting my finger glued to the bell or to my other finger. I drew on the faces and looped the ribbon through. Of course I would run out of this or that and would have to go back to the store to get more supplies. I was so worried that I would run out of medals for all the runners, but rather, I have more than twenty left over from the cancels and no shows. Oh well, better to have too much than too little. I can use them now to help mark the trails for the Tiger Fat Ass after the New Year. The medals were a big hit this year again. How can I top that?

I was able to get my race permit with a discount because of my low fee and the fee for USA Track and Field was reasonable for 100 runners. We had 98 starters with the same finishers. No one got hurt or lost, thank goodness! My volunteers were amazing! Jess Mullen and Shawn McTaggart are fellow ultra trail runners that don’t care much for flat races, lucky me! They have done tons of races and know what runners want. Heidi Hansen is relatively new to distance running and did her first marathon at Portland this year. She has been running and exercising a lot and agreed at the suggestion of a friend to give her body a little break for a week. Being a mother of 6, I think she is entitled, but you can see her hardly being able to contain herself and wanting to get back to it. She told me she lost 50 pounds when I first met her earlier in the year so I’m sure she wants to make sure it stays off. Jess is training for a 100K in Texas in January (a veteran of several 100 milers herself) and Shawn, also a veteran of long distances including 150 miles in April at McNaughton, ran a phenomenal 50K the day after my race with so much elevation gain and descent, it hurts just thinking about it. Then, there were the start/finish volunteers. This included my husband, who supports not only my crazy running addiction, but also putting on two races a year. He does it without complaining or “you owe me for this” attitude. Tamara Cartwright was critical in helping with handing out medals, reading off times, keeping the soup pots filled and hot, and everything else under the tent. She has such a cheerful attitude, which was very much needed during the times I had to focus and couldn’t give the runners the special attention they were looking for. Tamara has been running more and more. I know she ran 37 miles at this year’s Redmond Watershed 12hr, but I’m not sure what she has done lately. She is also a great climber. Mel Preedy helped with organizing all the food donations and support until he had family commitments. I enjoyed hearing about his recent accomplishments at Cross Country Nationals in Lexington, Kentucky where he won a bronze for 3rd in his age group and a gold and trophy for 1st team in his age group. And Mel is 76! He ran 70 miles on his 70th birthday. I better slow down if I want to be able to do that at 70, but it might take me a week. And then there’s Michael Cartwright, who really counts as two volunteers. Unfortunately, my brother-in-law, Cliff Richards, whom many of you know, fractured his patella last week and had to have surgery the Friday before my race. He was planning on helping at the finish. Instead, he was laid up at home. He had been dealing with patellofemoral pain for a while and it was felt that he probably had a stress fracture that fractured even further when he fell last week. Well, at least he has the peace of mind knowing what the problem is and can now get back to rehabbing and returning to running. On the positive note, he had become a pretty good swimmer, but will need to get back to that slowly as well. Michael is a pretty amazing climber if you didn’t know, but has been focused on work lately. He has run many ultras and puts on a few of his own. He was my everywhere guy at my race, going back and forth, feeding the other volunteers, including me, and riding his bike back and forth on the trail checking on runners.

The day before the race I was supposed to have off to pack my vehicle and get all the last minute details done. But of course, I had to work, filling in for a sick coworker. I worked half a day and came home and got more stuff done that I didn’t get done Thursday in the evening. I had ordered race numbers that didn’t come because they misplaced my order. I used instead last year’s numbers, cut into 4s and wrote people’s names and numbers on. I made a special one for Bill Barmore for his 50th lifetime marathon. I loaded Ken’s Pathfinder, answered last minute e-mails, and actually had a relaxing evening with takeout Thai food, yum! We went to bed fairly early, about 9:30 and I had a decent night’s sleep, loaded up on antihistamines for my hives that had been plaguing me for a few days and causing a few restless nights. (You know when you have a terrible itch that feels oh so good to scratch as if you could take off the skin only to return worse with a vengeance with burning, bruising pain, and even more itching? That’s what I had to deal with. But I digress.) We awoke at 4:30, Ken had his coffee and we had our oatmeal. We arrived at the start about 6:30 with a few cars already there. Then we set up the shelter in the dark and I had to run out the ½ mile from the start to mark the turn around. I got back to more cars and runners checking in. Thank you, thank you for carpooling! That was very critical! The check in went pretty smoothly, but there seems to be a peak time that everyone decides to show up. There were quite a few race numbers still on the table when I led runners to the start on the other side of the river to the power/pipeline trail. I had already sent the aid station volunteers off to set up the aid station. At the top of my lungs I squeaked out last minute course information and sent everyone off into the mist for a short out and back. Then runners came back over the river to get on the main Cedar River Trail. As soon as they were off, we left Mel and Tamara to take care of the food bank stuff/post race food and any late stragglers. We had one from Beaverton, Oregon who showed up an hour late. Michael helped me put up signs and mark turn a rounds and setting up the unmanned aid station. This required some driving around. We picked up coffee and breakfast for ourselves and Tamara and Mel. Ken ran some errands. Michael dropped me off at the start/finish and went to join the aid station gals and also to bike the trails checking on runners. Tamara and I received runners as they came in. Cliff lent me his clock and time machine, which was great! It felt like a bona fide race! Unfortunately, the time machine paper got a little wet and jammed up on me, so I didn’t think I could use it anymore. Turns out I could have retrieved the information later, but I didn’t want to depend on that. Scott Sebelsky came through as first male and Stephanie Day as first female in the marathon in times of 3:20:20 and 3:56:04. Their course was an out and back. Kyle McCoy overtook Alex Swenson in the second half of the 50K to win by just over a minute in 3:56:02. Sara Malcom was first female in the 50K with a new course record of 4:26:00. Way to go! She received $31 for breaking the record. Their course was the same as the marathoners with another out and back at mile 21.5. Winners received farm animal salt and pepper shakers, but two did not pick theirs. I made use of them later anyway. Mary Hanna and Heather Nugent tied the Masters course record or 4:40 set last year by Merita Trohimovich-Pollard.

One by one, runners came in, were given their pig bell medal and offered hot soup. “I need more pig bell!” Betsy Rogers’ Thai Butternut Squash soup was again a hit. I made sure to get some of my own. Mary Hanna’s spice holiday bread was gone pretty fast. Heather Nugent made cookies, and there was delicious peppermint candy, other cookies, and a Jell-O delight that got eaten as well. Thanks for bringing to share! People hung around for a while, which gave it a festive feel. Most people were hovering around the propane heater (thanks Ken!) and no one caught fire. Everyone wore their medals-they better have after all the trouble I went through! Actually, people loved them. They jingled every time they moved. Things were thinning out at the end, but I kept the soup going for the last runners. Patty McKerney, who came in 2nd female in the marathon, was waiting for her niece Monica Fredrickson, who decided to switch from the marathon to her first 50K. She looked strong coming in. It’s great to see a wide range of ages. She was youngest at 19 and Bob Dolphin is keeping everyone’s dream alive at 80. I love to see their determination at the end. Bob had left when I needed to get rid of my two extra salt and pepper shakers. I gave one set to Monica and the other to Patty. Patty had found an i-Pod that turned out belonging to Jason Grose’s son. He was happy to see that we found it and Jason e-mailed me saying it prevented the need for him to crack his son’s skull! What a fun group! Other notable accomplishments included first 50K for Tony Myrie and Josh Owen, 50K PR by over an hour by Jessica Bienvenue, 50 miles in 8:58 by Lorie Alexander who ran 50 races of 50 miles or more this year (plus she has a quad coming up the weekend of New Years in Vernon, BC if you are interested but I don’t know the details-I’m sure I could get it for you), 50K PR by Susie Ro, Michael Kuhlmann, and Andy Fritz, marathon PR by over 25 minutes by Will Thomas, who had taken a 5-6 year hiatus from marathons (talk about a long taper!), and Maniac qualifier for Cody Hill and Robert Stretz. For Aaron Cunningham, it was his first 50K and Maniac qualifier. Welcome!

After everyone left, Tamara and Michael stuck around to help me take down the shelter and everything else and load my car. What a lifesaver! Can you imagine me trying to pack that big shelter by myself? Ken had to pick up his parents at the airport, so I was lucky they decided to stick around. Let me tell you, I couldn’t load anymore into that vehicle if I wanted to. It also was raining at that point. Jerry Thayer and Michael were nice enough to take my trash, which is a huge help since we don’t have garbage pick-up, we haul all our trash and recently made a dump run. So this prevented the need to make another trip for such a small load. Even though the race was over, I still had a lot to do. I went to three spots to pick up signs and break down my unmanned aid station. It was getting dark and raining. I squeezed more stuff in the vehicle and basically had to push stuff away from me falling on me from the passenger side. I hadn’t eaten since mid-morning or peed for hours. I know, silly me, I had plenty of help and time. I got home and still didn’t go, too busy unloading the Pathfinder. Finally, I sat down and had dinner, entered the results on Excel, and went to bed. Sleep was restless again with my hives. I awoke at 5am, planning on running about 28 miles on Tiger, but managed only 13. I was running with Terry Sentinella, and we kept getting lost. This sapped our energy and he had run a marathon Saturday (he had already signed up for the Bob Greene marathon before hearing about mine). I felt I had gotten a pretty good workout after 3 ½ hours with steep ups and downs and decided to call it a day. The race directing made me more tired than I had expected and all I wanted to do was go home and have a nap. Ken was pleased I decided to do this because he knew I had a busy week ahead with work and family functions.

So there you are. That is my race story from start to finish. Thanks for sharing it with me. I don’t know how many years I will continue this, but for sure there will be a 5th Annual Pigtails Cedar River Run (new name because insurance doesn’t like anything that has the word “Ass” in the race title). It will be scheduled for Saturday, December 18, 2010. Remember, there is another Pigtails Run at Lake Youngs on 1/23/10. Registration is open. Distances are 9.6mi, 19.2mi, and 50K. Loop course, one aid station, same $5 at the start and food bank donations, and no medals. Prizes only for 50K of farm fresh eggs, sausage, or bacon, all from our animals! See you then!


1 Kyle McCoy M30 3:56:02 1st Male Open
2 Alex Swenson M45 3:57:15 1st Male Masters
3 Bruce Hoff M47 4:16:14 2nd Male Masters
4 Sara Malcolm F26 4:26:00 1st Female Open, CR
5 David Spooner M41 4:28:25 3rd Male Masters
6 Greg Koenig M42 4:31:04
7 Mary Hanna F48 4:40:05 1st Female Masters, Tied CR
Heather Nugent F43 4:40:05 1st Female Masters, Tied CR
9 Tony Covarrubias M49 4:41:57
10 Dean Kayler M46 4:43:14
Tony Myrie M53 4:43:14 1st 50K
12 Josh Owen M31 4:44:26 2nd Male Open, 1st 50K
13 Matt Hagen M39 4:47:57 3rd Male Open
14 Paul Grove M32 4:50:53
15 Aaron Cunningham M36 4:58:10 1st 50K, Maniac qualifier
16 Robert Lopez M43 5:04:46
17 Julie Cassata F28 5:09:05 2nd Female Open
18 Terri Gray F41 5:09:35 3rd Female Masters
19 Guy Yogi M55 5:12:49
20 Craig Foster M47 5:17:22
21 Mark Stadum M49 5:22:12
22 Jessica Bienvenue F31 5:24:39 3rd F Open, >1hr 50K PR
23 Scott Flett M62 5:31:23
24 Andy Fritz M43 5:33:05 50K PR
Ashley Kuhlmann F23 5:33:05
26 Lorie Alexander F50 5:37:39 50 mile 8:58
27 Betsy Rogers F46 5:43:00
28 Mike Kuhlmann M59 5:43:56 50K PR
29 Susie Ro F38 5:44:02 50K PR
30 Max Welker M67 6:33:33
31 Monte Pascual M49 6:55:33
32 Monica Fredrickson F19 7:06:17 1st 50K

Female Open CR: Sara Malcom 4:26:00 (2009)

Male Open CR: Bryce Mercer 3:41 (2006

Female Masters CR: Merita Trohimovich-Pollard, Mary Hanna, Heather Nugent 4:40 (2008 & 2009)

Male Masters CR: Alex Swenson 3:52:36 (2007)

1 Scott Sebelsky M48 3:20:20 1st Male Masters
2 Will Thomas M31 3:31:57 1st Male Open, >25min PR
3 Brad Nelson M41 3:36:34 2nd Male Masters
4 Eric Bell M38 3:40:24 2nd Male Open
5 Jae-B Jung M39 3:44:28 3rd Male Open
6 Bob OBrien M52 3:45:31 3rd Male Masters
7 Eric Gierke M46 3:46:01
8 Steve Walters M29 3:54:41
9 Stephanie Day F45 3:56:04 1st Female Masters
10 Mark Looi M49 3:56:45
11 Patty McKerney F47 3:57:43 2nd Female Masters
12 Narvie Seals M42 3:58:23
13 Eric Barnes M53 4:01:15
Steve Stoyles M53 4:01:15
15 Heath Johnson M43 4:05:47
16 May Cheng F44 4:08:54 3rd Female Masters
17 Thomas Tan M38 4:09:04
18 BJ Farish M36 4:10:51
Cody Hill M36 4:10:51 Maniac qualifier
20 Bob Satko M49 4:10:51
21 Lesa Overfield F50 4:12:51
22 Rich Hieb M36 4:14:59
23 Valerie Beyer F47 4:15:54
24 Jennifer Aldassy F31 4:18:29 1st Female Open

Greg Manciagli M49 4:18:29
26 Sarah Lynch F31 4:22:34 2nd Female Open
27 Dan Whitaker M48 4:27:27
28 Adrian Call M57 4:29:45
Jerry Thayer M55 4:29:45
30 Marilyn Pyke F48 4:30:11

31 Peter Corduan M50 4:35:52
32 Vivian Doorn F43 4:35:57
33 Steve Yee M50 4:36:47
34 Stan Nakashima 4:40:37
35 Bill Barmore M57 4:41:15
36 Brian Pendleton M55 4:47:57
Marilou Russell F47 4:47:57
David Appleby M37 4:47:57
39 Karen Wiggins F50 4:54:15
40 Heather Myers F43 4:55:02
41 Sherrie Marble F47 4:55:09
42 Patrick Barnes M61 4:56:36
Jim Boyd M67 4:56:36
44 Jill Hudson F47 4:59:32
45 Takao Suzuki M44 5:00:35
46 Tory Klementsen F44 5:01:59
Brian Starkey M44 5:01:59
Marie Zornes F46 5:01:59
49 Jason Grose M41 5:07:27
50 Janelle Gilbert F27 5:11:47 3rd Female Open
51 Christine Buchanan F28 5:14:55
52 Steve Duncan M41 5:15:00
53 Katie Robinson F30 5:23:20
54 Barry Hopkins M56 5:27:35
55 Robert Stretz M41 5:45:10 Maniac qualifier
56 Oliver Chapman M51 5:49:48
57 Dawn Bellevue F50 5:54:27
58 Michelle Barnes F51 5:56:10
Abigail Brownell F35 5:56:10
Jessica Williams F31 5:56:10
Jenny Appel F36 5:56:10
62 Matthew Fleming M34 6:11:22
63 Bret Bellevue M51 6:11:37
64 Jon Yoon M31 6:13:29
65 Bob Dolphin M80 6:33:37

Female Open CR: Annie Theissen 3:14:10 (2007)

Male Open CR: Chuck Engle 2:37: 54 (2006)

Female Masters CR: Merita Trohimovich-Pollard 3:54:15 (2007)
Male Masters CR: Tony Phillipi 3:15:38 (2007)

Linda Rinker F67 3:31:24 14 miles