Monday, December 30, 2013

“It's opener, out there, in the wide, open air.”

This past year was my first real attempt at running. I didn't play any organized sports (sorry soccer) and solely focused on enjoying foot travel, especially on the trails and in the mountains. The people I met, experiences I've had and things I've learned (and still not yet figured out), lead me to believe that 2014 will be just as exciting.

Thanks to all my friends, family and people I've met in the community. I'm very fortunate to have had so many great times in 2013.

California in February, where I got to run the Golden Gate 30k with my brother.
Running my first ultra at Chuckanut in March... 
...and then re-exploring trails in southeastern Utah immediately after.
Sun Mountain 50k, where I first met Dave and Greg
On top of Desolation Peak; jumping from 50k to 47 miles
The 42-mile Devil's Dome Loop with Richard and Dave; probably my favorite adventure run of the year.
A lap around Manning Park, doing the Frosty Mountain 50k course plus a bit extra. 
Central Cascades run with Greg and Dave.
Pretty spent after White River 50 mile
Angel's Staircase 60k
Pacing at Cascade Crest 100 with families Swoish... 
...and Criminale.
More Canadian North Cascades.
Cle Elum Ridge 50k.
Lots of solitude in the Cascade Recreation Area.
Fall arrives in northern Oregon, with Paul.
Back in BC, Garibaldi Park with Darren.
Deception Pass 50k.
And some (potentially) mentally-unsound guys running around a park at night in the rain

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Annual Christmas Eve trip up Mt. Si

My brother, step-dad Steve and I always go for a hike up Mt. Si on Christmas Eve, starting early and trying to beat the crowds. This year I run-hiked up, went back down .7 miles to meet them, then went back up and waited for them before running all the way down.

The snow started 2.3 miles up and the top mile was a nice 4-5" of powder from overnight snow.

On the way up, looking back down the trail; about 3 miles up. 
Flirting with a view from the 3,945' lookout point. 

First time up.
Second time up; snapping Greg and Steve as they come up.
Steve, me, Greg.
Sun coming out on the way down, about 2.2 miles from the trailhead.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Longest Night group run: THANK YOU!

Got out to Cougar Mountain last night for some headlamp-lit rain, mud and fog running, to celebrate the longest night of the year.

Thanks to everyone who showed up: Dave, Paul, brother Greg, Matthew, Ian, Martin and Todd.

Starting just after 5pm everyone did a first ~15m first loop and five of us headed out for another 8 miles, finishing around 11pm. Suffice to say we had the trails all to ourselves.

No sprained ankles, lots of good running talk, just fun times on the trails with good people. Dare I say it will be an annual thing?

All done; Matthew, Dave, Luke, Ian, Paul.
Paul made cool shirts for everyone too!

Monday, December 16, 2013

2013 Deception Pass 50k report

On Saturday night I got to enjoy a nice carb-intensive dinner with my aunt and uncle in Bellingham, at the same place we ate at the night before Chuckanut, which was exactly nine months earlier. That was my first ultramarathon; yesterday was my sixth. It was interesting to think about the nervous conversations we had back in March when I'd never run further than 21 miles...

Even though Deception was a bit of a last-minute addition to my schedule, I'm so glad I got to race one more time this year. I wasn't nervous, I actually recognize people in the community now and I didn't have any pressure to do anything other than cross a spray-painted line in the sand.

Previewing the course in November was great and it was the first time I actually got to race trails where I knew exactly what was coming. 

Starting on the road seemed to lead to a few enthusiastic starts; people went out fast! I'm pretty sure I was in about 50th place after half a mile. The first three lollipops all are on fairly technical singletrack, and with runners going both directions it was a tight squeeze, but people were very courteous. I just did my own thing, sometimes running near people, but mostly by myself. 
Early miles; Glenn Tachiyama photo.
I got through the first ten miles in 1:42 and was starting to feel good. I passed three or four people between the trail leading to the bridge and Goose Rock, and had a good climb up catching glimpses of someone a hundred yards ahead wearing an equally-chartreuse shirt. 

Through the Cornet Bay camp and up to the road I was closing on him, and when I pulled up alongside Mr. Yellow he looked really familiar. After two and a half hours of running alone it was nice to chat with someone (especially considering more than 200 people started the race). 

Turns out it was Eric, who ran an awesome sub-23hrs at Cascade Crest this year and I recognized him from at least one or two aid stations in the wee hours of the morning (Thorp and French Cabin, I think). I left the aid station before him, but he caught up in a few minutes and we spent the next 13 miles together, talking the entire time. We dropped one guy who had been hanging on and got totally chicked by the fourth place woman, but it was really nice to chat and have some company on the Hoypus double loop, which doesn't have the vistas and excitement of the first half of the course. Eric went on to push a little harder for the last mile of the second loop.
Coming into the Cornet Bay aid station with Eric, mile 21; photo. 
Luckily Dave was down at the aid station on his sweeping duties and had some nice words of encouragement for me on the last three miles. I ran a bit with Nathan on the road and then pushed on, trying to finish well. 

The last mile felt like one of my strongest, passing someone with half a mile left and then closing a hundred yard gap to three seconds over the last quarter mile (at sub-7 pace; ha!). Eric had finished just one minute ahead, capping a big HURT 100 training week. 
Nice section along the water right before the finish, mile 30.5; Glenn photo.
This was my "fastest" 50k: 5:10:26 (full results), 29th overall out of 183 finishers.

I've been fortunate enough to run four races this year put on by James and Candice. They always have a great relaxed feel and bring out so many NW runners and outdoors people. Thanks you two and all your volunteers.

The last nine months of ultrarunning have been awesome. Thank you to all the people I've spent time with on the trails, seen at races/adventure outings and who have inspired me to run. 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

2014 races?

No luck this morning with the Western States lottery...quite a few Washingtonian runners selected and Hozumi from Vancouver, but no one I personally know.

So, what to "race" for the year, then?

  • Miwok 100km, CA, May 3 (In via the lottery!)
  • Capitol Peak 50m, WA, April 26 (backup for Miwok)
  • Cascade Crest 100, WA, August 23 (February lottery; first choice)
  • Silverton Double Dirty 30 100k, CO, June 28 (Mini Hardrock! Super tempting; January registration)
  • The Bear 100, UT, September 26 (waiting to see about Cascade Crest)
  • Pine to Palm 100, OR, September 13 (double backup?) 
A couple of 50k races or a 50m might sneak their way in, but I don't (currently) plan on doing more than four races next year. I may have spent too much time tapering and recovering and think I'd like to have a bit more freedom for adventure runs in 2014. I'd love to do some more pacing and crewing for 100m races, though!  

Here is one of the adventure runs I didn't get to do this year; snowed out by that early-season storm the first week of October:
60-mile traverse of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area, starting at eightmile creek in Leavenworth and ending at Snoqualmie Pass.
Profile of the route, read right-to-left.
A big route in the Pasayten, running the Grand Gulch trip I llama-packed with family 20+ years ago and some other random adventures also would be great to do.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Longest Night group trail run
2013 winter solstice

5pm - December 21, 2013
Cougar Mountain Park
Bellevue, WA

Come out, don your headlamp and celebrate the longest night of the year this winter solstice! This is a free, group fun-run for anyone interested in putting in some nighttime trail running miles.

  • This is intended to be a group run done together. It's going to be dark, cold and wet; for safety and trail finding reasons, and in the holiday spirit, spend time with your friends and make new ones on this run. Please save your race legs for another day. 
  • The route will be a 12-mile loop with approximately 2,000' of gain (map and profile), starting from near the Sky Country trailhead. Please carpool!
  • General idea is to do two laps, for a holiday 24 miler (4,000' gain). If people want to truly enjoy the night and do a third loop, there may be a couple people up for it. 
  • Headlamp or sufficient handheld lights required (extra batteries never hurt), and please check the weather and dress appropriately. This will be a rain or rain event. 
  • Note that since this is a loop, you can access water, food and clothing at your car at the end of every loop. Everyone will be responsible for their own supplies.
  • Please park in the neighborhood (street parking) near the Sky Country trailhead and meet at the end of 166th Way SE where it turns into Clay Pit Rd.   
Whether you just want to get a long run in or practice running at night for that 2014 100-miler, please come out and enjoy some company on the trails. 

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to comment below or reach me privately on gmail: Bataa32


2013 Angel's Staircase video

My favorite race of the year...

Angels Staircase 35/60k from Project Talaria on Vimeo.