The weather for the White River 50 was amazing. Summer visited the northwest for a day, and I was there. Clear skies, with movie star views of Mount Rainier from Suntop (Mile 37) and around Corral Pass (Mile 16 or so). In the morning, the sun bouncing off the mountain forced me to squint. In the afternoon, the mountain looked as if it were something not of this world—just spectacular. These were the best views I’ve ever seen of Mount Rainier when doing this race. Climbing the mountain is increasingly a priority for me.
The bad news is I had a horrible run. For the first 10 or so miles, I had something going on with the digestive system. But the trouble really hit when my left hamstring started locking up. It’s been giving me problems for the last couple months, and I’ve sort of ignored it, figuring I’d blow through it. It was really frustrating. The hips would not engage, and one leg was working harder than the other, and so it goes. I was resigned to a shuffle/walk for long sections of the race, even though I had more aerobically. I’m going to have to give my body a rest, maybe some professional attention.
No regrets though—terrific trail, a finish, a good day with friends. 4th White River finish. Each has its own special story. This just becomes the injury year, with the amazing views.
I love Skookum Flats. Wait. No I don’t! Why does THIS part of the course capture the White River experience for me? For the uninitiated, Skookum Flats is the last 6.5 miles of trail, along the spooky White River. It is beautiful, rooty, and never seems to end. The White River course, from start to finish, is a classic. But with all the elevation gain and loss (8000+), it is ironic that the Skookum Flats section lurks longest in my memory about this event.
One of the benefits of finishing near the back in this race is the big cheer from all your friends when you finally do cross. That was amazing, to see all the smiling faces of my friends, in that 100 yard stretch. What a lift! And so many friends came up to me afterwards, getting my food, chattering. I love the after-race vibe of White River. Thank you ALL! (:
Congrats to all finishers. It never stops being amazing. Seriously. Running a 50 miler is a big deal. So, in particular, I was really happy for my friends Chris, Craig and Justin, who had never ran this distance, and who all knocked this one out large. They were thrilled, and Craig raised a bunch of cash for the Washington Trails Association in the process. And a special congrats too to Shawna, woman’s winner, another Skagit Runner and friend!
Volunteers—wonderful! THANK YOU! Especially you Rich, Jeff, and Laura. And Glenn is amazing too with his photos—really looking forward to seeing those this year, with the mountain looking as it did!
I got to drive down with Dan. Very glad he was there for me, to drive us home. It’s a good 2.5 hour drive from Mount Vernon. And also of note, I got in some terrific trail time with Scott K going up to Corral Pass. Too bad I couldn’t have stuck around for his tailgate party afterwards.