Sunday, October 12, 2014

Run Ridge Run 25k

Traveled north to Canada on Saturday for the Run Ridge Run 25k.  This is a new 13k/25k which is the finale of the Coast Mountain Trail Running Series.  The course largely pulls from the Diez Vista course, which I did a few years ago.  The trail is full of rocks and roots, and is a trail runner's delight, if you like technical running.  The view from Diez Vista Ridge, as seen above, is expansive, looking across a beautiful inlet.

For me, it was more like the Walk Ridge Walk.  With longer runs over the previous two weekends and a recently turned ankle, I couldn't run worth beans. Therefore, I hiked, with purpose. The roots on the ridge were slick from all the rain, as were some of the rock faces. There was lots of climbing, some slipping, and on occasion my hands and knees got dirty.  I was in last place almost from the start, with the friendly grim sweeper always not too far behind. I just plowed ahead to the DFL. Not my first even-- but as long as I'm getting them, I'm outside, I guess.

The day started with an absolute downpour, but things turned pretty nice by midday. Views from the ridge were somewhat obscured, and there was frequently mist on the trail.

The flagging on the course was some of the best ever. Seriously, there was a flag every three minutes. Gary is a terrific race director--really enjoyed his contagious enthusiasm, and the volunteers everywhere were all smiles and encouragement, despite my less than awesome result. Thank you. Really great to see friends Linda, Gary and others and hang out with Rich on the way up and back. 

Footnote 1:  we got stopped and subjected to a random search when we crossed into Canada. When they send you around, you're supposed to go inside. You're not supposed to stand outside your car eating a sandwich, waiting for the search team to arrive.

Footnote 2: the homemade tacos my wife prepared for us when we got back home were the best. Home sweet home.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Baker Lake 50k

This year's Baker Lake 50k was a tough one for me.  I really wasn't ready for the distance.  Last week I ran 25 to 28 miles in the North Cascades, which up to that point was the longest I had ran in one stretch all year.  But I know the Baker Lake trail well, and I love this event, so I was game.

I found myself to be stiff right from the start, causing a strain on the breathing and sweating more than I should. My shoes felt like boards. I rolled my soft ankle in the first few miles, which always seems to happen when I'm just ramping up.

Steady as it goes.  I just kept moving forward down the trail, running when the trail gave it to me, walking with purpose when it did not. I drank untreated water to make up for the sweating, and took supplements and salt to make up for the salt loss.  Eat early, eat often, I did.

Around Mile 15 I had thoughts of packing it in at the turnaround point, and I looked that way too. I met friends Kevin and Tim helping out at the turnaround, and they filled the bottles, and I got going immediately, so that I wouldn't dwell on other options.

Soon enough I was a mile or two on my way back down the trail, trying to figure how much further until I hit Noisy Creek.  Then, Noisy Creek to Maple Grove, and then Maple Grove to Anderson Creek. And then the last stretch from Anderson Creek to the Forest Service Road, which always takes five or ten minutes longer than it should. Once I hit the road, I pretty much jogged it home, to a welcoming barbq at the finish line.

So, a tough year for me, but a finish I'm happy to have, and one which will age well, hopefully. Whatever I didn't get in fitness returns was made up by the mental challenge. And the trail itself, which is always so perfect.

Going slow has its benefits--I noticed more big trees than ever.  The lake seemed particularly turquoise this year, for some odd reason.  Many varieties of mushrooms on the trail. Many, many little wet bridges.

So great to see so many friends.  So many folks I haven't seen in a while. Plus, a great spirited contingent from Canada, eh. "How many kilometers until the finish?" left me doing math in my head for a couple minutes at a time.  Afterwards, burgers and drink at the finish line, hanging with good friends and cheering the finishers. Nice to come home to an eventful day in college football.

Thank you Skagit Runners, Terry, Delores, Tim, Kevin, and so many others.  A great year and event as always!