Saturday, March 29, 2008

Green Lake Dizzy Daze 50k

Today is March 29, 2008. I woke up at 4:55 A.M., and drove down to Green Lake to run a new 50k/100k put on by Jon Bernard and Road Runner Sports. I only note the date because there was a BLIZZARD on the way down--a veritable whiteout on I-5 from Skagit to Stanwood to Smokey Point. I drove like an idiot, completely unsafe, but didn't wreck. I really didn't feel like slowing down for SNOW at the end of March. I was taking the weather personally. Hello, Mother Nature? Hello? Spring?!!

The race is called Dizzy Daze, because it amounts to 10 laps around the outer rim of Green Lake for the 50k, 20 for the 100k. It is actually 52k, which was fully disclosed, with a "What's an extra 2k for ultrafolks?" They wanted the finish to be where the start was, which only works by adding 2k. Details. There were probably 40 or 50 runners, most of them the usuals. Only a handful were pursuing the 100k, and I passed on that. I chose to run this one on Thursday or Friday, mainly because I didn't have anything else going Saturday morning. This is sort of absurd, but whatever---I needed the miles. I have other big things looming, and I wasn't going to run this sort of distance on my own. I do recall thinking on the drive down that other guys my age are into fishing and bowling.

Ten laps of 3.2 miles. An aid station every lap. Flat. Really flat. Mostly dirt. I got to know certain puddles really well. I also got to know certain houses along the lake (lose the monkey tree!), a detour for trail renovation, Super Jock and Jill--various landmarks. It rained early, but then it cleared up. I ran well enough. 5:23. No serious troubles, and I had plenty left. It's about time--I spewed at my last two 50ks. Each lap was a bit of a different story--sometimes tired, sometimes strong. I picked up the pace on the last four laps, focusing on posture and stride, and this was sort of refreshing--getting into the moment, that is. You would think a ten lap run would get boring, and it wasn't must see TV, but Green Lake is a happening place, and I ran with lots of ultra people during the day. It was fun. Afterwards, I visited with friends, and then finished my day with an afternoon breakfast at Truck City in Skagit. The coffee is righteously black at The Long Haul Cafe.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Lucky St. Patrick's Day!

Happy St. Patrick's Day--I got lucky today! Adventures NW magazine emailed me and said I won a free entry to the Eugene Marathon in May.

Awesome! I am excited because a.) I never win ANYTHING, and b.) this is the EUGENE MARATHON! Eugene is the mecca of running, with maybe only Boston to compete with. I've been reading Runner's World since I was a kid, and I've read all the stories about Pre and Bowerman and Hayward Field a kajillion times, seen the movies, and this marathon is supposed to capture a bit of all that for a weekend. Solid!

This photo is special, and now seems like a good time to post it. This photo is the real deal, an original of an original, now a legend, taken by a friend somewhere around the early 1970s when he was down at Oregon. I believe this is from the Pac 8 championships. Copyright of the photo, Thom Beamish, 2008. All rights reserved.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Chuckanut 50k

My feet really hurt. Today was Chuckanut, and now I'm in a daze after doing this amazing 50k. My effort was poor. If this were a class, and they were handing back papers, I'd be the kid the other students talked about. I can't say I don't care, but Pearl Jam's Indifference comes to mind. How much difference does it make....

This is my fourth time doing this race, and I really enjoyed it, and that IS what counts. The race has grown annually in size since Krissy M. took over the RD duties, and once again, the organization was great. All the volunteers were always smiling, quick to fill the bottle, super people. Afterwards, lots of good food--I had a vegetarian crumble burrito with guacamole. Tasty.....if I ran faster, there might have been some other good options too. No soup for you!

It was raining CATS and DOGS on the way to the race. I got really wet hanging around for the start of the race. Maybe I should've went inside. I saw lots of great people, and especially my law school buddy Chris A., who I hadn't seen in about a year. He convinced his brother to fly up from Arnie Country and run the race. Since I sucked smelly taters, I never saw the brother again. Anyway, lots of smiles, and I hung out with some good folks afterwards. The trail running community is exceptional.

Trail report: I ran slow to Clayton Beach. I hiked to Fragrance Lake. I ran really fast to Aid Station 2. I hiked to the top of Cleator Road. I changed my shirt and ate a banana. I ran ok on the ridge. After that, my stomach felt lame, so I gave words of encouragement to the people who passed me. Good job. Way to go. Keep it up. I crawled up Chinscraper. Ran ok down the hill. Didn't really feel like running the final flat 7, and I wasn't interested in inspirational self-talk. I listened to 7 hours of music on my shuffle, and I drank unfiltered water from a waterfall. Rain early on, followed by mist and clouds. Mud everywhere.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Whitecaps On Padden

I'm listening to the new Jack Johnson, Sleep Through The Static. Operation Mellow has been launched. There were whitecaps on Lake Padden today. I'm posting a picture to prove it. Chuckanut's coming up on Saturday. This month's Ultrarunner Magazine (a very worthwhile subscription, btw) says C-nut is the 10th biggest ultra in the United States of America, in terms of participation. Wow! My own backyard. I wouldn't say that's good or bad, but it is something. Chuckanut was my first ultra. As far as that goes, it's a pretty cool gateway drug. I hope it is sunny and they have all you can eat GU.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Run For The Honeywagon

Brad S. and I ran the Honeywagon Half Marathon on Saturday, in Everson, still Washington State. Everson is next to the Canadian border. I figure, based on the Pythagorean Theorem, that Everson is the square root of 72 miles northeast of Bellingham, as the eagle flies. If you took a wrong turn on this course, you might end up in Canada, illegally. I was extra careful this week, in light of recent history.

Brad and I have been running this race for years. We've probably done it six or seven times. In the past, we've pushed his kids with hi-tech strollers. He did most the pushing. I think Brad is a former professional soccer player--I know he coached soccer at Western. Anyway, he's as fast as he wants to be. He keeps it slow for me, probably so he can hear my keen political insights. Brad is conservative, I am liberal, we are both lawyers--at the Honeywagon, we try to reach across the aisle. Everyone in DC should run the Honeywagon. The topic du jour was McCain v. Obama v. Hillary. Anymore, I'm a maverick for liking Hillary.

We ran ok. We finished in 1:52. We probably could've knocked 10 minutes off that--maybe 20 for Brad, but we were just running steady sub-9s, chattering, solving global conflicts. The goal was to be comfortable and steady--we did that, and we finished strong, without kicking. We saw three eagles--that rocked. One was in a tree above a huge eagle nest--Brad spotted the nest, and I spotted the eagle, from roughly a half mile away. I therefore eagle eyed the eagle. Isn't that nice? We ran right under it, and a couple others. BIG BIRDS. Also, we met two really friendly dogs who were playing in the road.

Everson is berry country. Whatcom County is one of the world's foremost producers of blueberries and raspberries. Seriously. I'm not making this up. I snapped a few shots of the berry fields--there's something all right about open skies, berries tied, awaiting spring. This is just a beautiful time of year to be up that way. Afterwards, I ate at Nina's, one of those hometown type breakfast places, with good butter and pancakes. Tomorrow, the fantasy baseball draft. I'm getting all sorts of important stuff done this weekend.