Sunday, April 20, 2014

Mini Grand Slam Prep Part II....

Let's do this (pic confirms it, I am "lil" d)! Photo c/o Glen Tachiyama

You know those special runs you have where everything feels effortless, feet are light and agile, legs are fresh and fast, stomach is was one of those days, lucky me!
We had a crazy nice day for the Peterson Ridge Rumble 40 mi, blue skies, 32 degrees, sourrounded by local running peeps and a sane start time of 8AM as compared to the 4AM start of the Gorge 100k.   Add this to sleeping in my own bed pre race night and BAM! The combo to a great race!
Blue bird skies! Photo c/o Paul Nelson
We took off and although I was towards the front of the pack, I managed to not see a post in the center of the trail until it was unveiled by the runner in front of me and WHAM, within 400 yards of the start I performed a nice endo/ yard sale!  Runners from the front and back were kind enough to stop and help pick up the pieces including Ken, who was a bit concerned but all was good and we were off again.  I fell into pace with Darla and after some introductions Kristina from MT.  We were holding a pretty good pace 7:30ish.  I was feeling good, the sun was out and the trail was flat.  While I thought perhaps I was going a bit fast I was feeling good and  fI (we) continued on. 
Amazing trail, great company! Photo c/o Paul Nelson
We cruised through the first aid at 7 mi, Dar and I pulled away from Kristina and continued on with a few of the boys, Ken included.  I was happy to have the company as by mile 10 I had already tried to go the wrong direction twice and was called back by the kind hearted runners behind me.

Love running with Dar! Photo c/o Glen Tachiyama
By mile 14 and with a small out and back I was in the thick of it with the runners.  Mixed in with the early start runners and within a few miles runners from the 20 miler and then from almost out of no where the speedy front runners who apparently had gone off course....all inspired me to run faster.   By mile 20, I was on my own.  I made the long climb up to mi 28 aid station, greeted by Rod Bien and Chris Askew (Fellow Bendites) and swapped my hydration pack with a handheld and a flask.  Today, unlike at the Gorge, I stuck with my Honey Stinger chews, eatting a couple every 20 min or so, and drinking Coca Cola at the AS.  Solid combination, no lows and no stomach issues.  The flask I picked up was a mixture of salt, coconut water, Carbo Pro powder and chocolate GU, easy for sipping.... sounds yummy right? :) I did put it in the freezer the night before and it was still chilled and kinda tasty! With 12 miles to go no problem, I had been running steady and feeling good.  Sure my legs were starting to feel tired but nothing unexpected, I had been running hard and they should be tired. 
Feeling the trail....and loving it! Photo c/o Glen Tachiyama
Running on my own at this point I was paying extra attention at any crossing to support my staying on course so when I caught a glimpse of something, and wanting to be sure it was not a ribbon, I looked back, ( bad call) catching my toe on a rock, WHAM on the ground I found my self...fall #2! Crazy, I don't usually fall (I was 0/2 at SOB 50mi and Gorge 100k).  I dusted myself off, spit dirt out of my mouth and with a shake of the head was off.  While in solitude I was enjoying the beauty of the day, the views were amazing, skies were pristine, I was feeling good the lead :)
Just past the point of the pic above....yup fall #3....what the hell! This time I was not quite unscathed, as it was superman style and downhill both shoulder sockets felt impacted and my quads raked across some more spit....maybe 6 miles to go at this point...time to get er done and that I did.  11th overall and 1st female! A most excellent day out on the trails, how lucky am I!

Flying across the finish line :) Photo c/o Animal Athletics
 What a beaut of a day, thank you Sean Meissner for a great race and to the volunteers!  As well as all the runners out there supporting this event for the Sister's High School Cross Country team!
So I will be thinking about this come Slam time (admittedly this was a very SMALL test)....What did I do right during my recovery?
  • 3 days rest post Gorge 100k
  • 2 of the 3 days spent at Recharge; recovery boots, ice/hot rotational soak
  • Easy running with 1 strong 12 mile tempo run on the weekend in between races.
  • And of course hydration, nutrition and rest.
What was dialed for the race:
What I would do the course!

Next up WS 100 the 1st of the Grand Slam races.....
Join me on my journey....See you in June!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Mini Slam; Grand Slam Prep....

Let the good times roll! Photo c/o Paul Nelson
Having NO idea of what might be in store for me this summer with attempting the Grand Slam, I had an opportunity to do my own mini slam as a trial run.  This mini slam would give me an idea on how my body/mind might handle the short turnaround between races.  Gorge Waterfalls 100k, March 30th followed by Peterson Ridge Rumble 40 mi 2 weeks later on April 6th!  The Gorge had about 12,000 feet vert of super technical running while the Rumble has about 5,000 ft of vert and a fairly fast course.
Ken decided to join me on my adventure and signed up for both races.  We stayed at McMenamins Edgefield (awesome place to stay if you have not tried it out!) in Troutdale about 13 miles from the race start.  Finishing off  the race party was Ken's sister and brother in law, Carrie and Roy, who joined us for the weekend to do a little 100k crewing. While Edgefield provides a wide range of fun activities to partake during your stay, with a 4AM race start, Ken and I were in bed by 9:30PM.  Nope no movie, no soaking tub, and definitely no sampling at the whiskey bar, or the martini bar....just one beer from the tap house before bed!  Our hopes (rather stupid I admit, McMenamins is a place to party....not sleep) of a good nights sleep were dashed with the sounds of all the jovial patrons until around midnight when we finally drifted off.  Alarms sounded at 2:15 and while some guests were just making their way to their rooms, Ken was making his way to the lobby for our much needed coffee, in attempts to jump start our brains. 

Cruising into the 50k turn. Photo c/o Paul Nelson
Almost without realizing how we got there, we found ourselves at the race start....this time we were toeing the line, sporting the Rocho special, Black Diamond headlamp at the waist as well as on our heads (killer set up!).....we were not going to miss the race start today and we were definitely not going to be running around without headlamps with 3 hours in the dark!  40+ degrees and drizzling and we were off, not so bad.  We were hopeful that while we knew we were going to get wet, that perhaps the weather Gods would be kinder to us than they were to the 50k runners on Saturday.
Just about to the 50k turn around!
Photo c/o Paul Nelson

The race was an out and back, same course as the 50k runners...only of course we would be running it twice.  We started at Benson Park and began the long 1500ft climb up and over the trail for Wahkeena falls over to Multnomah was pitch black and while you could hear the roar of the water I wondered at times if it was better that I could not see; first because you were going straight up and in the dark you could not tell how far you had to go, second because we were warned of narrowness of the trail and to take caution. At points, should you would not be getting back up!  With that in mind, I trotted along the rocky, muddy terrain with utmost caution.  Ken was with me, which was nice.  I was hoping that we would get to spend some good miles together.  In a 100k it does not typically take long before you are running by yourself and while I knew it was going to be a long day of running I hoped to at least share his company for parts of it.
I emerged into the daylight unscathed and came into an aid station to see the smiling face of Katie Bien, she was out on the course crewing her hubby and fellow Patagonia runner Rod "Bandit" Bien.  I saw Carrie and Roy at the 20 mi aid station.  Carrie was taking care of Ken who came in just in front of me and I put Roy to work refilling my fluid while I ate a gel.  Asked how I was doing .... "getting my ass kicked" was my response.  I was staying on my feet but wow, not easy.  I had not anticipated ALL the rocks and adding the mud and the wet slick moss to the combination, I was feeling completely worked earlier than I hoped.  The course description advertises amazing scenery, passing by multiple falls, and moss covered hillsides, with little elves and everything....all very true and I even tried at times to take in the views but for my own safety I ended spending the majority of the time with my
eyes on the prize...the ground and not falling.

Watch out for that....rock...Photo c/o Glen Tachiyama
With that in mind I was holding out plugging in my music until the turn around....yup that was my carrot.  Just get to the turn around and I would be rewarded with some tunes!  On my way to the 50k point Ken shared one of his gel flasks, I was eating Swedish fish and jelly beans and found that my gut was not happy with the combo and even though the gel flask didn't settle great, it was easier to get the calories in with.  At this point I decided to go with only gel calories as they would give the biggest bang for the buck.  With an out and back I also had the opportunity to see the lead runners.  As the lead runners flew past (Rod appeared to be having a great race, 2nd place, and Yassine was looking good in 4th) I found Ken and I in 12th and 13th place, I was F2 at this point and was able to see that F1 was about 4 minutes up on me. 

One of the amazing falls! Photo c/o Glen Tachiyama
The turn around came and went and as Ken and I were still running within shouting distance of one another I opted for no tunes.  I came into aid station mi 40 and forced down some gel, refilled my pack and was off.  I went a short distance and stopped for a pit stop in the bushes and with a sour gut told Ken to go, I was fine and was going to plug in my tunes.  That would be that last time I would see Ken for the duration of the race....although with the many switch backs he would continue to hoot and holler at me :)

Feeling tired and looking tired
Photo c/o Paul Nelson
Sadly, my music malfunctioned after only about 20 minutes and the remainder of the race was spent we me and my thoughts and not very entertaining thoughts...."damn the rocks", "I remember this muddy section", "hope my knee does not get worse", "I think I will go through the brier bush instead of the mud bog", "common gut take a few more calories", "if this trail gave away I would be okay with that", and the best on yet..."did that switch back sign really announce that I am at 3 of 11 switchbacks to get to the top"!!!

 Next thing I knew I was running (trotting) down the final hill.  It was about 4 in the afternoon and  although I did get a few odd looks from the day hikers, I think the runners in front of me pre warned them and they all graciously stepped out of my way. 
Leaping to the finish line!
Photo c/o Bandit Bien
I finally made it to the finish line 12 hours and 20 minutes later.....2nd Female, 13th overall and with Ken 3 minutes in front of me.
James Varner RD greeted me at the finish along with Ken, Carrie, Roy, Katie and Rod (M2) and all I could do was shake my head and laugh.  What an amazingly tough race!! 
Thank you to Rainshadow Running and RD James Varner for putting on a great race and all the volunteers who took amazing care of us crazy runners coming through the aid stations....and of course Carrie and Roy for spending 12 hours out in the cold with us :) Love you guys!
What worked well:
Roch Horton special Black Diamond lighting system
Patagonia Houdini jacket (great in the early hours and compact enough to fit in the front vest pocket)
Patagonia Cap 1 long sleeve shirt
Patagonia wool socks (wet feet most of the day and no issues)
UltrAspire Spry 1L hydration vest

What did not:
Swedish fish and Jelly beans (should have stayed with honeystinger gels and solid food earlier in the race)
Ipod not set up correctly

Next up Peterson Ridge Rumble .....