Sunday, February 7, 2010
Orcas Island 50k
My third time was a personal best, as I finished at about 6:51. My previous two efforts were absolutely lame no-effort type runs, somewhere in the 8 to 9 hour timeframe, on different courses. I wasn’t surprised to improve upon them, but an hour and a half is a lot. I felt I ran well, but I can also see much room for improvement.
I managed to miss the start of the race. My friend Rich and I were in the lodge mingling and talking, and just spaced it. We thought it was kind of funny, and ended up starting two minutes behind the pack. Seems like I’ve done this before. The course started off uphill fast, eventually nearing the top of Mt. Pickett in Moran State Park.
You go up, you go down. Aid Station 1 was back at the camp, around Mile 10.5. Some of the 25kers were already coming in when I hit it. Soon enough, the 50k launches up the West Boundary Trail, a powerline climb that’s pretty vert. My focus was better this year with the climbs, staying attentive to making forward progress. More descent thereafter, where for a few miles I hitched on the heels of a nice, much faster runner who missed a turn earlier. Eventually, a beautiful circuit of Mountain Lake.
It’s a long stretch to the next aid station, atop Mount Constitution. And a climb. The views as you near the top are as good as anywhere, including heaven, with Mount Rainier, Mount Baker, islands, and the north Puget Sound below. I lost my camera somewhere up there. Fortunately, someone else found it, but I missed out on taking more photos of the view. I almost wanted to lose it—I think I’ve dropped it a few too many times, and now it takes blurry shots a lot.
The final 9 or 10 miles can be fast if you have it. The pitch of some of the descents is respectable. I didn’t have great downhill legs, but adequate. I was focused on coming in under 7, and my mental state was good. I have work to do, in terms of fitness, but I was pleased that despite debilitating cramping in both hamstrings, I was able to soldier on, and finish strong, by my standards.
Friends all over the place. Rich and Mike rocked it, and I suspect most of my other friends did as well, some of who stuck around, others of whom rushed to catch the ferries. Riding the ferry in the morning with so many runners I know was great. Pizza, soup, beer, and other goodies available afterwards—also great. James V. puts on a terrific event. I caught the last ferry out, which had no line, and was home by 11:30. Now time for the Super Bowl. Not going to fight it--just enjoy it.