Saturday, June 20, 2009
Geez Louise, the Lost Lake 50k is tough. It seems like I’ve been saying that a lot lately. But IT WAS. The course is actually 33 miles and has an advertised 8200 feet of climbing. It is gorgeous, and we had great weather. I ran purposely slow today, but even so, my finish time was 8:48 or so, which is slow slow. No worries—I had a good time and am not wrecked, which were the goals of the day. Alvin C.---organizer, designer, svengali---has apparently been studying course design with James V. I’d say Orcas is the only 50k locally that’s in the same ballpark in terms of difficulty.
I tried something new—running with hiking sticks. Call me Sticks. Or Styx. I used to like Styx a lot---when I was a kid. (Now I listen to manly music.) I had a t-shirt I got at the Ocean City boardwalk, with Styx written in big glitter colors, on light blue, with dark blue cuffs. I loved that shirt. I also got one for Zeppelin—the one with the dude with wings. I wore them a lot. Anyway, for the race, I also carried a belt full of stuff, and a jacket, and some other stuff, so my point is, I was sort of loaded down. I wanted this to be a gear test run, while getting in some good slow miles with climbing—mission accomplished. I spent a lot of time adjusting things—I really do not like camelbacks, or camels for that matter—they are creepy. After 33 miles, I’m still not sure if I like using the sticks or not.
My favorite part of the race was probably the secret trail behind Lost Lake. It’s a bit of a surprise—you’re ready to be done by then, having worked your way through a number of challenging climbs, including Fragrance, Chinscraper, Raptor, and Pine/Cedar, but there's a secret--you've got more to do. Rather than pass above Lost Lake like on the C-nut course, you go down to the lake, and then take a little known trail which skirts steep cliffs above the lake, doling out views the length of the lake. Towards the end of the race, I opted for a cool swim in Fragrance Lake---so much for a finishing kick, I suppose, but it felt really really good, and it wasn't like I was getting any hardware, with my sub 9 hour time. A little mavericky, maybe, but the right call for today.
Great volunteers—mostly Skagit Runners people (Terry/Delores, Rob/Sue, Stan, Dean), and Skagit Search and Rescue, some of who were there just two weeks ago at North Face. Burgers at the finish, with fixings and vege alternatives. Good company. Mugs for finishers, nice shirt. I recommend the early start, unless you’re fast, and maybe even then—this is a good one to do slow regardless. Special props to Alvin—great job!