Sunday, March 22, 2009


Once a year, from 1825 to 1840, fur trappers gathered annually at some pre-determined location (usually Wyoming) for a great gathering, which was called the "Rendezvous." Back then, the West was unpopulated, except for tribes, a few missionaries, and the beaver trappers. Beaver pelts were in great demand for top hats on the east coast and elsewhere. I used to love reading about the mountain men and fur traders---Jedediah Smith, Kit Carson, Jim Bridger, and such. They pretty much had an untamed land, all to themselves, and no REI. Their rendezvouses were great parties--gambling, drinking, fur trading and who knows what else. A time to see one another.
The Chuckanut 50k always reminds me of these rendezvouses. Maybe a little short on the fur trading and gambling (maybe?), but Chuckanut is an annual reunion of sorts, with lots of ultrafolks from the Northwest showing up, and lots of smiles and hellos everywhere, before and after the race. Registration is capped at 350, and that's a lot for an ultra. It's one of the bigger 50ks in the United States of America. Just about everybody who does these things locally shows up. Krissy M. and her family and crew know how to throw a party. Chuckanut is a gateway drug--for a lot of people, including myself, it was their first ultra.
Sometimes it's rainy, sometimes there's snow. I was expecting rain, but wow!--this year turned out perfect! Clear skies, roughly 40 to 50 degrees through the day. Some mud on the backside of the ridge trail, but that's always going to be there this time of year. The run out to Aid Station 1 was very social, and then the climbing began. I really wasn't into climbing, so I didn't push until the ridge. The ridge was great for me, and after that I was able to keep things steady until the end, albeit a little strained at times.
My finish time was 6:16. I ran ok for me, not great, but not horrible either, and I didn't overextend. It should be easy enough to bounce back quick, which was a real race priority, moreso than time. I want to start stacking long weekend runs, get lots of miles and hours on my feet, while staying injury free. Both my hamstrings sort of cramped from miles 20 to 31 periodically, but I think I warded off debilitating cramps with the occasional endurolyte pill. It was apparent that I need to do all sorts of stuff to improve, but it's March, so whatever---C-nut is great for figuring all these things out. I'll never be near the top in a race like this--the winner was under 4 hours, and there are some really fast folks who show up, which is fun to hear about afterwards. This was my fifth Chuckanut, and one of my most enjoyable.

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