Sunday, September 9, 2012

Ticket to States

Post Western States blog I asked that you stay on!

What a busy summer of running is has been, all of it leading up to Waldo 100k, August 18th and hopefully my ticket to next years Western States 100 miler!  Going into the race I had a my goals established. #1...earn a 1st or 2nd place finish for the much sought after Western States entry, #2 course record for the Master division (Held by Meghan Arbogast) and #3... see #1!

One of the may climbs at Speedgoat
There are many things that factor into prepping for race day and this years prep for Waldo was no different.  While my work hours keep me from over training with high weekly mileage, I did place focus on what went into my training.  Waldo 100k has 11,000 feet of vertical gain and summits 3 peaks so I thought it was perfectly reasonable to register and run Speedgoat 50k in Utah on July, 28.  Speedgoat is held in the Wasatch mountain range and has 12,000 ft of vertical gain.  This is of course dependant on the year and the race director, Karl Meltzer (who added a 1000ft from the previous year just for fun).  My 7 hours and 31 minute 50k time for a 5th place finish emphasized only the fact that I am not a mountain runner and that the Mountains in and around Bend are not BIG mountains. The race did serve the purpose of putting me on some freaking tough climbs in preparation for Waldo. 
No obstacles here
Next race, Cascade Relay, held outside of Bend.  While at times I actually thought our team was in last place (think we were at one point), I ran my legs as if we were winning, concentrating on my leg turnover for the speedier parts of the Waldo course. I followed this run with a 21 miler around Paulina Crater the following day for the fatigue factor and one last run / hike up the South Sister with some fellow Oregonian Ultra runners and my race preparation for Waldo was complete.

Summit of the South Sister, blue bird day!
As with any trail run in the summer there is always fear of forest fires.  Last year McKenzie 50K was rerouted due to a forest fire and in 2008 Western States was canceled due to fire. This year it visited Waldo, just two days prior to the race a fire broke out around Bobby Lake. Fortunately it was contained and extinguished and RD Craig Thornley and his crew put great efforts into re-routing the course in short order. As expected they were successful and the 100k (62 miler) became a 65 miler! Western States picked the right guy to run their show.

Charlton Lake mile 31
The race began at 5AM and we were was off.  The first part of the race takes you strait up Willamette pass ski area.  I had wrote down what my splits needed to look like to keep me under Meghan Arbosgast's masters course record ( I knew with the added mileage I was not going to break the record but wanted to track my splits until the course deviated.)  As I ran / hiked up the mountain, I used a technique given to me by Jeff Browning, a fellow Patagonia runner.  Rather than hiking what I could not run I would hike for 15 breaths and then run for 15 breaths, alternating in this manner I was 2 minutes faster than 2011 and by the time I was at the top of Mt. Fuji I was 5 minutes faster than my previous years time....Thanks Jeff!
Joelly Vaught and Alison Bryant were 1 and 2 early on and while I wanted one of those places I also knew it was going to be a long day and it was early yet.  I kept to my own race, running comfortable yet strong.  Sadly, I took a huge digger early on but fortunately it was on a soft, silt covered trail.  It was one of those falls that takes you completely by arms stayed by my side, and when my body hit the ground, my feet kicked back up behind me practically touching the back of my head.  Ken (my crew) made reference to a chimney sweep as I came into the next aid station...I was covered from my forehead down with dirt that stuck nicely as it had started to drizzle just previous to the fall.  While I am certain JB Benna got some great film of my dirt covered state, thankfully I have yet to see a photo.
Photo by Michael Lebowitz, this smile is for you!
I was running well, and as I came into each aid station I was pleased to find that I was gaining on F1 and F2.  At 4290 aid station Alison was 7 minutes ahead of me and within the following 7 miles to Twins 2 aid station (44 miles) I caught and put 4 minutes on her. I was still feeling good and was confident that I would be holding the 2nd spot to the finish. I picked up Ken, who would be running with me for the last 20 miles, he apparently did not expect to see me yet and was busy taking care of business in the bushes.  I of course just kept running and Ken had to catch me on the road.  Carrie and Roy (my crew) saw that in Ken's haste he forgot his hydration bottles and met us at the next aid station with them (good thing since there was no crew access from there out).  Coming into Gold Lake aid station at mile 50 I was surprised to see in front of me F1, Joelle.  We entered the aid at the same time and while I fueled up, she was off.  I left the aid station a few moments later and there was no Joelle to be seen.  The last time I saw Joelle she was coming down from the top of Maiden summit and I was heading up, she put the afterburners on and that was that. That girl is a tough mountain runner.

Loving the finish line! 2nd female 7th overall
I finished Waldo super happy with my F2 spot and my 2nd Western States entry!!

Huge thank you to Craig Thornley and crew for putting on an incredible race and all of the volunteers and the fire fighters who made this event possible! Thank you, Michael Lebowitz for being out there catching the journey on film. Yet again, my Patagonia gear saw me through all 11 hours, 22 minutes of the race in perfect style, even with all the dirt!

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