Monday, July 30, 2007


What a month this has been. July 4th the Sauvie marathon. July 14th the SOB 50K. And now my first 50 miler! The PCT 50/50 from Timothy Lake to Timberline Lodge and back. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would run 50 miles.

Friday night I drove up to the Clackamas Lake campground where Rick had set up his trailer. The campground was only about a half mile from the start which worked out so nice. Rick and I had the usual spag and bread dinner then crashed about 10pm, wake up call was to be at 0400 for the 0530 early start. I had never taken an early start before but with a 12 hour cut off I had no idea when I would finish.

I got to the start line about 10 seconds before they shouted "Go!". I was messing around with my Garmin GPS watch trying to get it to acquire the satellites. If I run before it syncs up I often will not get any readouts the entire run. So I had set it on the car waiting for it to work. Then off I ran the few hundred yards to the start just in time. I threw off my old sweatshirt and off we went. (Olga and Monika you can keep it.)

The run first went up the road to about a .7 turnaround they had to add due to the Forest Service not allowing us to run into Little Crater Lake. Back down past the start and up the hill to the trail. We went by big signs that said Pacific Crest Trail but a hundred yards beyond that was the chalk to mark another trail. So being the back of the packer that I am I followed the "experts" and off we went into the woods. About a 1/4 mile into the trail folks started yelling and some runners came back towards us. "They marked the wrong trail!" and so we turned around. Lucky for us we didn't run very far. Well onto the PCT we went. The trail was nice and wide and just rolling with the usual rocks and roots. Rick and I decided to take Olga's advice and for the first 2 hours run 8 minutes then walk 1. 2 to 4 hours we would run 6, walk 2. Then from 4 hours on run 4 and walk 2. We did walk up all big hills and run down the downhills regardless of time. It was hard to walk early on but it really helps in the long run.

At around mile 12 or so we got our first awesome views of our goal, Mt. Hood. This was as we traversed a very steep mountain. We then drifted down to the Highway 26 crossing. I was still feeling good as I making sure to drink about a bottle and a half of water per hour at least. (Hand carried one bottle and one in the water belt). I took the usual 3 endurolytes and 1 gu per hour. We then cruised up another mountain and through some super dense forest then crossed Highway 35 and the Barlow Road aid station. This is where the real climb started. From here out it is uphill to just above Timberline lodge. I walked probably 75% of this portion, trying to walk fast while still keeping my heart in my chest! About half way up you run onto the beach. Yes there is a beach on Mt Hood. It is sand just like you find on the coast. The walking was not overly difficult as we made our way up the east side of the White River Canyon. I could see the lodge and knew we had to go up higher then drop back to the lodge. At the lodge aid station my buddy Eric was there again to help out as he had been at most the other stations. I changed my socks as I still don't have any Gators and I wanted my bad heel blister to stay dry. I felt really good here at mile 25, much better than I expected. Out of the chair and off I went.

You climb back up the mountain a bit then its 90% downhill to the Barlow Road aid station again. I didn't run fast but tried to stay a nice constant pace without trashing my quads. I ran into Rick coming up the hill and he said he was pretty beat. We chatted for a minute and then both continued on our quest. About half way down the trail I started feeling pretty crappy. I thought about quitting, "DNF wouldn't be that bad? At least I tried?" As I rolled into the 32 mile aid station Eric was there again. I got my drop bag and sat down to change my socks or maybe I didn't? I don't know as its all a blur now. But I do remember being a little dazed and confused. Eric kept telling me to eat..."yeah yeah I know" I crankily said. I got up and nibbled at the snacks. At this point I had them put ice in my bandanna, tied it around my neck and had a great drip air conditioning system! This thing is the best for warm days. This was for sure the low point in the race for me.

I crossed the Highway and knew it was big uphill coming. I felt dead and mostly just walked. After about 10 minutes I remembered the Advil I had brought and took 2 of them. I forced down some Sport Beans, endurolytes and lots of water. After about 30 minutes of climb I started running. "Wow! I feel great! This is fun! Look at those views!" I suddenly realized that I felt good. Once again I think the Advil just took enough of the pain away to let my brain be free again. I felt real good now till about mile 43. There was one more big hill but I just power walked it. Then the sweetness of long easy downhills. Two things gave me more boost here. One was that when my GPS watch said 40 miles and I was in new territory. "I have run 40 frickin' miles! Woo-Hoo!" Second was the the course became more technical with lots of roots and rocks. This forces me to concentrate on where my next step will be and really makes the time pass by.

Just before the last aid station I was walking and looked up and there was Eric heading towards me. I said "Your not supposed to see me walking." We laughed and he joined up behind me as I walked then started an easy run into the last aid station. He again helped me get my bottles filled and made me eat. I started to feel pretty weak again by this point. Eric said "could I make it in on my own?" and said "no problem". It was only a bit over 6 miles to the finish. So he headed home and I went off to the finish.

About a mile out of the aid station my blister popped on my heal, actually it was a new one too. I was pretty tired and was walking at least half the time here as the course was pretty flat. It soon hurt more to walk than run so I tried to trot as much as I could. I came up on a woman and her pacer. She had cramped up and couldn't run anymore. They said the finish was only about 3/4's of a mile away. This juiced me up and I ran the rest of the way in.

As I came to the finish line maybe only 50 people or so were still around. But the Ultra community loves its own so the cheers were really loud. At the finish, Olga the RD was standing there with a medal to put around my neck and arms outstretched to give me a finisher hug. I hesitated as I thought "are you sure you want to hug this smelly thing?" But she did it anyway. As I watched later she was giving big hugs to every finisher. That was pretty cool. I think everyone really appreciated them.

Well I did it. I still am sort of unbelieving in what I just accomplished. Yeah I finished slow at 11 hours and 51 minutes. But that was secondary. The goal was to finish so I am extremely happy with that. I am no longer a 50 mile Virgin!

My true hero in this race is a woman I don't even know. At the mile 32 aid station her running partner said to watch her close and make sure she gets some electrolytes. I went to talk to her and she was in a fog, looking very dazed. She said she was dizzy and that she should have run the 50K not the 50 miler. Luckily the EMT's were nearby as I thought for sure she would probably need them. Well about and hour after I finished this woman crosses the finish line. I stand up and cheer loudly as she had the courage to get up from that chair and finish the next 18 miles. That takes more inner strength than I have. I would have called it a day I think. As she finished you could see the emotion in her come out. It was quite an experience to witness and makes me proud to be a part of this.

Rick came in a while later and said he has new respect for those that do 100 milers. I agreed. we ate some Garden Burgers, chatted with Hippo, rested for a bit then off to the trailer and I headed for home. I felt really good on the drive and relished in what I had just done. Whats next? I don't know. I figured Haulin' Aspen but my feet are blister trash so I guess I will just wait and see.

Eric you are the man! At most every aid station. You kept me on track, not let me forget stuff and gave me the encouragement to keep going. Thanks so much and the Beers are on me at your request!

Pete aka "Hippo". Your chair and the cold Starbucks Mocha you gave me at the finish was so sweet. It really helped me cross that low blood pressure threshold I often get after the finish. Thanks!

Sarah and Marc: Marc you are amazing! No training and run 50 miles in someone elses shoes! Sarah, thanks for the photo off your blog. I stole one as I had no camera.

See all you Waldo folks at the aid station at mile 20 or so. Gail and I will be working there.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Fatigue Setting In?

Or is it that I just haven't trained enough this year?

Saturday night I went out to get some time on my feet before my first 50 miler this weekend. I ran some moderate hills in the area and got 12 miles in 2 hours. I walked some just to get used to it for the upcoming race. I felt really tired the entire run and my feet are still a bit sore from last weekends 50k. So the plan is to take the rest of the week off before the race on Saturday. I have found that I don't lose much fitness when I do this and my body recovers so much better.

What is interesting is that I have not lost the weight I usually do each summer. This year I am probably 10 pounds heavier than I normally am. Due to the decrease in training that I am doing because I have been running so many long races. I have done 10 marathons or longer this year. That is huge for me. Some folks say I should just cut back on the eating, that just is not an option for me!

Rick and I decided to take the 0530 early start for the PCT. I think it is a wise decision. We don't know how we are going to do over 50 miles and secondly it will be nice and cool for a longer time with the early start. Hope the Bears are not hungry early!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

S.O.B. 50K

Siskiyou Out Back, yeah right. I prefer SOB! Actually it was a pretty good run for me. By far the best scenery of any Ultra I have run.

Gail and I drove down to MFR (Medford in pilot talk) friday night and stayed in Ashland. We got up early on Saturday and were at the start at the Mt. Ashland parking lota good hour before the race. Did I ever say I love the parking at Ultra's? It is so great to park 100 yards from the start of the race. Not like these Mega-Marthon's where you are miles away. Gail didn't have the miles under her belt to do the 50K so she was going to run the 15K that started an hour and a half after my race. Packet pickup was a breeze, once again so nice compared to the forced "day before pick ups" of marathons. I ran into a few folks I know before the race, David from Eugene and Hippo from Vancouver. We had a nice chat then walked over to the start. Go was yelled and off we went. Weather was great with a high clouds and mid 50's.

We wound around some forest service roads then dropped in on the the Pacific Coast Trail. Ran across a great meadow with the beginning of awesome views. Of course the first mile I was my usual second from the last. Fat-Boyee's are not fast starters but look out when the momentum starts! As we wound around the mountains there was one big descent that I flew down for about 4 miles. My quads felt great but my calves were barking dogs. I just hoped that I wouldn't have to return back up this way later.

The Aid Stations were great with the usual Ultra snacks. My plan was again to run with water only, take 3 E-Caps an hour and one Gu. Then grab a few chips and other items and most aid stations after the 10 mile point. I seem to be doing better with out the sports drinks anymore but getting my salts from the Endurolytes.

I was walking most the uphill sections and picking up the pace on all the downhills. With all my nagging injuries the only one that I felt all day was the right foot pain and that was only a 2 on 1 to 10 scale. My knee pain went away at the 1/2 mile point and has never returned. My hip/ IT band never did show up.

The first 15 miles was a breeze and the turn around is at a great site with fantastic views. Am I going on about these views? Yes because I wanted to just stop and take in all the sites. But with the trail ultras if you don't watch the path every second the ground will rise up and smite thee in the nose! We then ran on some roads for a few miles and I was concerned I may have missed a turn off at some point. But I soon looked back and saw David a few hundred yards back on my tail and I knew then I was on the trail or we were both lost. We then went on to a trail that traversed what I think was Big Red Mountain. This was some great single track and became pretty rocky in places. I started catching some of the early starters in this area.

Later we crossed the side of some mountains with extreme drop offs on the left. The course became pretty technical with tons of loose rocks, plus it was a downhill grade. This is where I was going a tad too fast and tripped. Luckily it was downhill so my feet had time to get back underneath me and I didn't fly off into the abyss. That would have been a real ugly place to fall!

As we wound back to the last quarter of the course my worst fear came true. We did have climb back up that downgrade that I flew down early in the race. This was at about mile 22 and I was getting pretty tired at this point. As I walked up this steep trail I started to experience some new adventures. Like, breathing really wild and crazy, sort of like anaerobic breathing and along with the 6500 foot elevation kicking my butt. I just couldn't catch my breath. Slowly runners passed me hear, probably 6 or 7 of them. Some asked how I was doing with a serious look. I just said "I am here and I am OK". During this 5 mile climb I was walking at a 25 minute per mile pace at times. Which is sad for me as I walk pretty good clip up hills. I tried to work on normalizing my breathing and it seemed to work for a while. I ended up having to step off the trail and stop and rest for 30 seconds or so. (I never stop at ultras except the aid staions). This was all new to me. Soon I started getting light headed. I was imagining if I collapsed here that it would be such a pain for the rescue crew to get me out of this location. Oh how the mind wanders on these runs. I began thinking about my food intake. At the last aid station I didn't eat much except for some chips and watermelon. It had been almost 2 hours since my last Gu. I was drinking allot of water but at the high dry altitude I felt it was needed. I did not want to eat that Gu. My stomach said no way. I sucked it down as my brain won out over my gut. This trail just never wanted to stop going up but soon my energy level seemed to go up and I could at least walk without weaving too much.

At the Willamette Meridian aid station at mile 26.2 I sat down and took the rocks and garbage out of my shoes. I probably sat for 4 or 5 minutes and I really think it helped me to finish. I probably ran 65% of the last 5 miles as most of it was downhill. With about 1.5 miles to go I spotted Gail running towards me on the trail. It was great to see her as it gave a good boost but I have found I get kind of emotional at this point in the race when I see someone close to me. She was a good pacer though as she ran behind me quietly and just asked a couple of questions. I had run with one hand held bottle and my large bottle on my belt. She asked if I wanted to give her my belt. I said "no" but then said sure. It was more of a relief to get it off than I had expected it to be. The finish was great as it was a gradual downhill. The had a decent crowd still hanging around cheering so it was fun to come down the chute. I finished in 6:38. This was my 3rd fastest 50K only behind the 24 hour run in Longview and the Forest Park 50K. It was good to be done and I did not have my often collapse in the 20 minutes after the race.

I collected my finishers beer mug. (Which is very cool. Way better than any medal.) I went and changed my shirt and Gail and I went back to have a hot lunch they were serving. They had no coffee (my post race savior drink) but I did have two 12 ounce Mountain Dews and a couple of waters. Hippo, Gail and I chatted for a good while and David came by and I met his wife. (David left me for good about mile 20 or so) I met Karen Wiggins too. We all had a good time chatting about our successes and the days failures.

Gail and I hoped in the Explorer and headed back towards L.O. In Ashland we hit Dutch brothers coffee and I had a medium mocha frap, and a small coffee. Gail got a small frap and I ended up drinking half of hers. Have I ever mentioned I like coffee???? We had a great ride home chatting all the way with just one food stop. Did I ever tell you that I have the greatest woman in the world? Who else gets a beautiful gal who is smart, funny and likes to run. It makes such a difference when she is involved in these races. I talk to so many who don't have the spouse involved in this crazy hobby. I think the Maniac's called it POSF. (Pissed off spousal factor.) Well anyway since she is now a college graduate she will be getting up to marathon shape in another few weeks. Did I mention how lucky I am??

Well overall this was a great race. I saw things most folks will never see. Run places most runners will never go. And drove my body to places it has never been (That damn Gu depleted hill!) Towards the end of the race I said "screw that PCT 50 miler! I am doing the 50K!" At the end of the race I told Hippo and David the same thing. They said wait a few days and we all know how true that is. I just could not imagine running another 20 miles. I have done 38 before and could have done that this day too but another 20??? I just don't know. Stay tuned as two weeks from now you and I will know my decision.

Friday, July 13, 2007


Well we are off to Ashland this afternoon to run the SOB 50K tomorrow at Mt. Ashland. Gail is going to do the 15K as she doesn't feel ready for the 50K quite yet. We were going to fly down for free but the flights look pretty full so I think we will just take the 4.5 hour drive, that way we can come back whenever we want this weekend.

I am pretty nervous for this race. I have been having some pretty bad left knee pain on any hills or going up stairs. Very sharp pain not my usual tendonitis pain I get. But then I got the IT band thing going on near my right hip, started to get pretty bad near the end of Sauvie marathon. Plus I have the unknown pain still in my right foot. But the worse is my throat, that is from all the severe whining that I have been doing!!! Jeez what a complainer! My fear is always that one of these gets so bad out on the trail I have to basically crawl to get back to an aid station. Or worse yet, DNF. With all this going on I should be smart and take the early start, but I like pressure so I think I will do the regular start and just try and beat all the cutoff times. I do deserve all these injuries. I never cross train anymore. No bike, no weights, no aerobics, no stretching, no nothing. I just run. And as I get older I know I will need to do more to prevent this from happening but I am basically a lazy athlete.

Well I will post the results early next week of this weekends challenge. Two weeks later it will be my first 50 miler. Maybe I will start getting nervous for that one now.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

I hate warm weather!

Ran the Sauvie HOT Marathon on July 4th. This is the first time I have ran the full marathon as I really like running the half. And of course this year it's all sunny and warm. I am truly a wuss when it comes to running in the heat. I never felt really hot but just tired and that is what usually happens to me when it gets warm.

The pre-race was fun seeing fellow Maniac friends, Hippo, Sean, Leslie, and Steve. Many other Maniac's were there too that I have not met. We got a group picture and I hope someone posts it in the future. The race started a few minutes late and there were 175 runners or so. It was a double loop course on flat pavement. I ran with Rick for the first 3 miles or so then decided to push it up a bit and see how I could do. I felt pretty good the first 13 and hit my goal of sub 2 hours. Then about mile 14 I started to wear down pretty fast and new I wasn't going to get sub 4 today. I struggled the rest of the race and walked a few times even before 20 miles. I carried just one bottle of water but was refilling it on the second loop almost every aid station. I took just water this race and no sports drink. I consumed 4 gels and 9 E-caps to balance out the salts. If any one thinks this is not enough let me know as I am just experimenting. By mile 20 I was walking almost every mile for 90 seconds or so.

Around mile 21 Gail drove by in her car. She had run the half then jumped in her car to check on Rick and I. When she got to me she forced me to take a water bottle and I dumped most of it on my head as I still had fluids in my own bottle. 10 minutes or so she was on the road running with me. This was pretty cool as her longest run since April 30th was only 8 miles. So she ran 13 in the race then ran the last 3 miles or so with me to the finish. She could run forever I think!

My IT band near my hip flexor started acting up again and is really worrying me for SOB. Need to get on the roller this week and see if I can stretch it out. Hills will really kill it.

Didn't have too much fun on this run for some reason. Not sure why probably just the heat. After the races I consumed the strawberry shortcake, talked to Sean for a bit (he came in 4th) and then started to get my usual post race nauseousness and heading to the car to turn on the air conditioning to cool down. I watched till Rick finished, then Gail and I headed home.

Now comes the amazing part. I felt like crap still on the drive home. But I stopped at Starbuck's and Gail ran in and got me a small Mocha Frappacino and a small coffee. Two drinks of the Mocha and I felt great! It was like I had gotten an I-V. I couldn't believe it. The new miracle cure! When we got home we ordered our usual post race pizza and just took it easy all afternoon.

I ended up running a 4:21 which is pretty much the average for me. A good race is sub 4:10 and a bad one is over 4:30, so I guess with the heat I will take this time and move on. I have wanted to get some more heat training so I guess I got what I wanted. Most the folks after the race said the heat had slowed them down too. I have gotten heat exhaustion a few times and never really know that it is coming on till I am flat on my back.

SOB at Mt. Ashland in 10 days. Looking forward to it but just hope my IT band gets better or I am doomed.

PS Those of you that are embarrassed to stand by me at the marathons with my yellow shorts, yellow maniac top and yellow and green Pre shoes? Well I have good news, my yellow shorts sort of wore out in this race. So they will now be retired. Yep, I no longer will look like a yellow neon sign out there! I have run probably 20 races in those shorts....but no more. Please keep the applause down!