Sunday, June 7, 2009

North Face 50

5 AM Start at the North Face 50
The North Face 50 miler starts at 5 AM. Ouch. I got up at 3:30 for this race! The printed materials say that there is 6700 feet in elevation gain. More like 10,500, according to post-race reports. This is a very hard course, harder than White River I’d say, though WR has more sun exposure. The course goes up, down, up, down, up, like a Dr. Seuss story, with big ferns, roots, and trees everywhere. It is an absolutely beautiful course though, and very well chosen---it’s an all you can eat buffet of the C-nuts and Blanchard. Also, the race is exceptionally well organized--great markings, great aid stations, great finish line. Credit the organizers, and the volunteers, especially Skagit Rescue who were at every aid station, it seemed.
The weather was perfect—overcast and cooler than earlier in the week. By and large, my spirits were good, and I kept a steady pace throughout. 11:16 finish time—signs of improvement for me. I did have some stomach issues towards the end. There were some climbs in the second 25 miles I did not expect—real grinds—especially the English Army Trail—the English Army OFFICIALLY sucks---and then at about Mile 43 the Oyster Dome is a real bear, but I just kept moving, knowing the finish line is coming. The final 5 miles are pretty fast, downhill.
My friend BJ was up from San Diego and we ran on and off together early in the race. Having him and Erika up was terrific. We got to hang out for a few days. Rick H. of B’ham was doing his first 50, and we were in the same neighborhood the entire day, trading places, but never racing. During the race, I saw friends Andy, Erika, Jody, Al and Polly and others at different points of the day, on the course trails. Pretty cool. One lady did the event with a prosthetic leg—amazing. Many of the other usual suspects showed up—good to hang out after the race, at the picnic tables near quiet Lake Samish.
Skagit People

Drop bags, barf bags, what's the dif?

Rick and I--50 mile smiles

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