Monday, June 10, 2013

2013 Race Update

First blog for 2013....Yikes!!!! 
Home stretch
January 12, Bandera 50k in might be wondering why I would make the trek to Texas for a 50k race.  The reason, chasing the Montrail Ultra Cup (MUC) for 2012-2013. As the defending champ for 2011-2012, I had decided to go after it again.  I had my 100 miler, and my100k, and was still needing the 50k and 50 mile distances to compete with maximum points for race series.  With a 1st place finish at Pinhoti 100mi, and a 2nd place finish at Waldo 100k, I was sitting in 1st place for the series.
Beep Beep! and yes my shoes weighed about 10lbs,
thank you Paul for being out there!
Bandera 50k was a day in which I quite possible should have just stayed in bed (had it not been for the MUC).  I struggled for most of the race, never really feeling good or finding a rhythm with my running.  I questioned on more than one occasion why I push myself to be a front runner...what's wrong with going out and running a race, "just for fun"???  I am asked frequently, "what do you think about when your running ALL day?", it would likely be easier to describe what I don't think about.... I completed the race and while it was not one of my best performances, I secured a second place finish, enough points to maintain my 1st place status for the MUC and walked away with a Roadrunner trophy...beep, beep!

Next up, Chuckanut 50k in Fairhaven, WA.  The 50k distance is a distance I have yet to embrace.  You have to run faster, and stay engaged for the entire distance if you hope to race it competitively.  Chuckanut is a  Patagonia sponsored race, RD'd by fellow Patagonia ultra runner, Krissy Moehl and I had heard great things about her race.  Add that to a chance to run on new trails in the great Northwest....and that was all it took, I was all in!
Photo courtesy of Glenn Tachyama...climbing Chin Scrapper 
As it turns out racing the first 10 miles and the last 10 miles, slowing through the muddy technical middle 10 miles will only get you so far....9th place finish in 4:43.  I still had a great time running in the rain on some great new trails and hanging with some amazing runners! Thank you Krissy for putting together such a well organized race! 
Chuckanut 50k, happy to be done!
April 13, Lake Sonoma 50 miler, CA....8:52 and a 9th place finish. The trail was uber dry, and fast, the temps were warm and the field was stacked! With each race I run I continue to grow and learn as an ultra runner, whether it is nutrition, hydration, electrolytes, what layers to wear for the cold, or not to wear for the heat there is always a take away.... Sonoma was no different. I finished this race coming away a bit more race savvy than before it.  Sonoma 50mi is part of the MUC and could be used for the 50 mile distance that I still needed but I was planning on racing Ice Age 50mi and I was anticipating perhaps a better than 9th place finish :) Big thank you to John Medinger for putting on an amazing race as well as the great aid support through out! Did I mention the wine tasting that followed :) when in Rome...
Birthday boy Ken, on race night!
May 11th, Ice Age 50 miler....I was looking forward to racing on the Ice Age trail again.  Having won the race in 2012, RD Jeff Mallach was super kind to invite me back...when I mentioned that my husband was thinking about his race, he comped him too :) thank you Jeff!
We flew over on a Thursday, hubby Ken, fellow Patagonia ultra runner Jeff Browning and I.  I have come to learn that when traveling for a race, get there at least 1 full day before race day.  We got there mid- afternoon on Thursday with plenty of time to relax and plan our race strategy prior to the Sat morning 6am start. 
Early on in the race, photo by Ali Engin.
Race morning brought cool temps and we were all ready to go.  Ken and I spent the first 10 miles running together.  I was F2 from the start (and to remain in this spot for the remainder of the day) Cassie Scallon was F1.  Normally I race my 50 milers with my Ultraspire hydration pack but with the 8 aide stations and cool temps, I ran this race with a 12oz hand held bottle.  There was plenty of great aid station support to refill on both hydration and calories.  Ken pulled ahead of me around mile 11 and other than a couple glimpses of him on the out and backs, that would be the last I saw of him. He was running strong and I was super happy to see him having a good day.  Each of these out and backs also firmed up Cassie's F1 spot as well as my F2 position.  Cassie was running an amazing race and even before the race was complete I new we would be looking at a new course record! 
Gotta love the Red solo cup!
Photo by Jaco Clapsaddle
Photo by Ali Engin
Going into this race my goal was to better my 7:12 time from last year.  By mile 25 I knew that this was not going to be. I bonked a couple of times, got chilled and unfortunately, on a very, very, well marked course, I went off course.....and yet, with all that, it was still a great day of racing on the Ice Age trail.  When the day was done, my finish time was 7:51, F2.  My second place finish was all I needed to secure my 1st place position for the MUC.  The series will finish with Western States 100mi

Next up on my race calendar is Western States 100 mi, June 29th!  The race is stacked with talented runners and rumor has it, we may be looking at record setting high temps...time will tell!!!

Memorial weekend training camp on the Western States course!
Photo by Joe McCladdie