Wednesday, April 16, 2014

North Shore Trail Running Tourism Bureau

Traveling man Dave hopped up over the border for a taste of Canada while Adam had just returned from the field and was yearning for a last long run before Miwok. All I had to do was take a day off from work!

[Dave's far-superior photos here]

See you boys in Stinson Beach!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Back to it

I recovered for pretty much the entire week following Gorge, only running about 15 miles.

With Miwok coming up though, I went out hard this week trying to put in some higher-intensity efforts since the course terrain is different than what I'm used to. I even tried to do a fast long run (and then immediately remembered that road running hurts):

Solid 50k on the North Shore today; only one bad patch around miles 22-24, coming back up Mountain Highway. My legs just felt shot. I walked a couple small sections, ate some chews and felt much better by the time I got down St. George and back on the Baden Powell. Gitta introduced herself while I was refilling at the water fountain next to Cleveland Dam and she pulled me down to Park Royal and my car at what felt like a pretty brisk pace I knew I wouldn't have done if I'd been by myself. The company and conversation was nice after more than five hours by myself. It's also really nice to run with some sunshine and see the snow melting. Hopefully real mountains can be put on the calendar soon...

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Diez Vista 50k photos & volunteering - 2014

These all are uncropped and unedited. If anyone wants an image, just comment and I'll email them!

Taken while marshaling the Academy Trail-Eagle Bluffs out-and-back junction.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Gorge Waterfalls 100k race report



Paul and I, reduced to counting down our best guess at how many miles we had left thanks to Mr. Garmin, are just hitting the biggest climb of the day. Again. This time from the other side we did nearly twelve hours prior. For both of us this was our first 100km outing, and for the most part we had far exceeded our expectations. I just wanted to keep it together until the end...

I was a semi-late signup for the Gorge Waterfalls 100k. After getting into Miwok (May 3), I wanted to find a spring 50-miler as a tune-up. There didn't seem to be much in the PNW besides Gorge, and the fact that Paul and others were registered helped me choose to do a 100k day earlier than planned.

For the last three months post Deception Pass I'd been doing pretty steady and solid weeks, slowly building up to back-to-back 65+ mile weeks. I don't do high miles like other runners, but feel better keeping everything rather level. I felt great through those two weeks of training (the first two of March), and then during the taper I always feel pretty crappy and hurt more than any time I'm actually running.

Come race day, however, I was feeling decent and very excited to hit the trails. Paul was kind enough to put me up for the weekend and we spent Saturday eating for three hours and talking about the race and the rest of the year. As we both were planning on using this as our qualifier for 100-mile events, our goal was to finish and we decided to just run the whole thing together. As Paul is faster than I am, I think it benefited me more :) .

Waking up at 1am for the 4am start was a new experience, but after getting all the pre-race things taken care of, we stood in a dark field getting touched by light rain and waited for James to send us off. About three hours of headlamp-lit running awaited.
We're back there somewhere; Paul Nelson photo.
A rather large group went out, but we took a very casual pace for the first mile and into the big climb. Mostly paved going up, it was a good hike up followed by falls we could not yet see, and then a steep and tough descent on slick rocks and mud (the "cliff section" signs added some pucker). The middle was a few miles of road, lots of general rolling through mossy old growth, some nice waterfalls, and then the Cascade Locks aid station at mile 21.
Mile 25; Glenn Tachiyama photo. 
Paul and I had been taking things pretty conservative, and both didn't feel great from miles 10 through 26 until we started to see the leaders coming back past us climbing out of Herman Creek. I think that psyched us up a bit and we both started feeling good descending into the turnaround at 50k at Wyeth campground.

Coming into Wyeth campground aid station, the halfway mark; Paul Nelson photo.
Paul Turner; Paul Nelson photo.
"The homestretch!"

Although we felt like we were doing more running on the way back, the GPS says we didn't. However we both were feeling a lot better and maybe that just made the difference. We saw Matthew at about mile 33, passed a couple of guys and stayed right in front of or right behind Rhea for almost the entire second half (she finished a few minutes after us). We passed four people in the second half and no one passed us. For the most part it just was a nice long day of running and hiking with Paul.
Wahkeena falls, mile 61; Glenn Tachiyama photo.
Glenn Tachiyama photo. 
The very bottom of the last descent, entering the final mile; Paul Nelson photo.
Paul Nelson photo.
We finished in 12:58:16, crossing the line together in 18th place overall (14th for men). We ran the first half in 6:09, second half in 6:49; for comparison, the winner did 4:40-5:12.

Paul Nelson photo.
All finishers guaranteed a tired high five from RD James; Paul Nelson photo.
  • The course
    • It was quite muddy from all the rain and the 300 runners doing the 50k the day before. There were a few smooth dirt sections and maybe 4 miles of pavement per 50k, but the amount of sharp basalt scree made up for any less-technical sections. I'd even done some of the trails last October with Paul, but the course goes over more difficult terrain that got to be pretty painful by the end. Second-place finisher Rod Bien (Cascade Crest CR holder) called it, "Legit race. Tough footing throughout.
  • Nutrition and hydration
    • Of all my long runs (50km+), I probably did my best job of consistently fueling throughout and only had one time where my stomach didn't feel good (after eating half of a Clif bar). The best I can remember, I consumed:
      • 5 PBJ squares
      • 3 packages of chews (2 Honey Stinger, 1 Clif Bloks)
      • 1 3oz PocketFuels Chocolate Haze
      • 4 Oreos
      • 2 Gu gels
      • 75% of a package of dark chocolate-mint M&Ms.
      • Handful of chocolate-covered pretzels
      • Chips
      • 2 20oz bottles of Hammer Perpetuem
      • 10 dixie cups of Coke or ginger ale (all in the second half)
      • 60oz water
      • 5 Saltstick caps
      • 1/2 Clif bar
  • Gear
    • Pearl Izumi Trail N2 (kicked a rock real hard, had to drill a hole in my big toenail and drain the fluid, feels much better now; not the shoe's fault)
    • Drymax Trail Lite (I only had one hot spot all day and it was from my feet going prune after 12 wet hours and a crease in my skin was starting to rub; no blister though)
    • North Face Better Than Naked Long Haul Shorts (love 'em)
    • Pearl Izumi top, gloves and hat
    • Ultimate Direction SJ 1.0 vest (just for food, jacket, extra gloves and hat)
    • Nathan 20oz handheld
    • Black Diamond Spot headlamp (from Chuckanut, thanks Krissy!)
  • Conclusions
    • With the exception of the last five miles where I was just hurting, I felt like we ran a pretty steady race. Paul could have left me in the dust then, so it was nice to finish it off together and collect our 100-mile qualifiers. Paul and I also talked a lot about Plain over the weekend and he ended up registering last night!  
    • James always puts on great events: volunteers were awesome, course was well marked even though the three hours of dark running didn't have any reflectors (next year!) and I think most people who were expecting this to be one of his "easier" runs were slapped in the face (me included); 40% of the starters DNF-ed. Finish line pizza from East 20 was delicious (duh).
    • A fun running weekend and hopefully good training for Miwok in a month, and the rest of the year after that.  

The Ginger Runner and Project Talaria are making videos of the weekend as well.

Wrapping up the month, it came to 235 miles and 28,730' of gain.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Tapering: what to do?

I'm pretty good about not running too much when I'm tapering, but my body does tend to go a little crazy. I always feel fine in the weeks leading up to a race, and then all of a sudden one or two completely bizarre things hurt, seemingly out of nowhere...? Taper week usually means lots of rolling, icing and trying to stay away from googling different word strings that usually end with "pain," or "treatment."

So, now in a period without much running until Sunday, I get to fill my time with other activities. Like:
  • A "short and mellow" trail run which really was neither that short, nor that mellow

  • Organizing race food
Yes, she DID separate them by brand
  • Building the first ever Lego Friends Ultra Aid Station (OK, OK, Lily built it...)
Take note RDs: no tortillas! 
  • Breaking in new race-day kicks
Fourth pair of Pearl Izumi Trail N2 shoes

Best of luck to everyone running Saturday and Sunday!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Sweeping at Chuckanut

Yesterday I was introduced to a whole new concept in distance running: total events completed.

Stan Kakashima is in his early 60s. He's been running marathons since 1980 and ultras since the mid '80s. He did Wasatch 100 in 1987. Yesterday, with a bum hamstring, he swept Chuckanut. Again. For the 10th time. It was interesting to hear him speak about the local and national people who hold records for most marathon and ultra event finishes. Stan says he's up to ~375, and wants to get to 400. He also volunteers at many races in the area and I hope to see him again in the future.

He'll be at Greenlake on Saturday; please cheer him on if you're there. As the sweeping coordinator described him to me, "He's a 60+ Asian man who likes 40, and he'll be wearing a windbreaker held together with safety pins."

Anita also swept the whole course while Big Steve and Andy did the first and last 10 miles with us. There are a lot of ultra finishes among that group.

The sweeping itself was promised to be a long day and it didn't disappoint: over nine hours. But the rain didn't come until the last hour and it was good to be on my legs literally all day, even if it was a lot of standing and walking. There were a few drops at various aid stations, but we only had to cut off one runner. It was clear she was not yet ready for a trail 50k, but she made it 21 miles and was doing her best. She cried, but hopefully she'll be back out at another ultra soon.

Early in the day.
Chuckanut Ridge trail; doing the course made me want to race here again.
The wind took out a few aid station pop-up tents.
Looping around toward Chinscraper.
Coming to appreciate flags you can just pull out or well-tied ribbon slipknots.

The week totaled out to 65.2m, just what I was hoping for. Now for a bit of a taper heading into Gorge.

Sunday, March 9, 2014


Gorgeous outside today. So why did we do this yesterday?

Thanks to Adam for helping me out of a bad patch midway through. I felt like I was in a Snickers commercial, or something, but soup, coke and M&Ms from End of the Line turned it all around to finish off the last ten miles in "mental callousing" weather.

Other stuff:
  • Gorge on March 30 means I'm trying to do two good weeks before taking a little taper. This week worked out to 67 miles and I'll shoot for 60-65m this coming week as well, which will include another 50k on Saturday at... 
  • ...Chuckanut, where I'll be sweeping. Should be a nice, long time-on-legs day to do a low-impact 50k. Good luck to everyone running, especially "Cousin" Ben
  • Plain went from 15 entrants to 26 in one week. 
  • Tried one of these yesterday and really liked it: PocketFuel. A bit spendy to buy the small ones, but a big 20oz pouch to refill a soft flask seems like a decent idea. Or, make Nutella a bit more viscous?  

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Saturday, February 22, 2014

North shore in the snow

A snowy day with a little bit of everything and I finally tested out my new Salomon 12L pack for the first time.


Lower Skyline

Getting pretty deep at 2800' on Skyline

Time to head down; about 10" of powder

All clogged up, back at the bottom of Skyline

A very quiet day along the Baden Powell

Top of St. George's, looking down

Mountain Highway

Lynn Loop

Thursday, February 20, 2014