Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Yeah Yeah Hagg Lake 50k

That is the way I feel about the Hagg Lake 50K race. Yeah, yeah, whatever. I don't mean to sound insulting or anything but the last couple years I just go "blah" the last 14 mile lap. This year was no different. It is a fun little course that takes out around Hagg Lake in Western Oregon's Coastal Mountain foothills. You do a killer little 3 mile loop to start to make sure you get your 31 miles in.

I got to the race early so I could get a good close parking spot. It was a beautiful clear and cool morning. I chatted with the usual suspects and some I hadn't seen in a few months. They handed out a nice technical shirt with a nice new logo. I set my drop bag out with the resupply items I would need after the first loop. Then headed back to the car to stay warm for a bit.

(But I'm not ready yet!)

As I got back to the start area I was fiddling around with stuff and the next thing I know they are counting down 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 GO! I still don't have my water bottle belt (not into hand-held bottles lately) on or my tunes plugged in. So once again I am last at the start. Sean yells at me "It's a run not a walk!" Oh I plodded. I know this course starts with a nice climb right from the beginning so I am in no hurry. I run and walk the first 1.5 mile climb hit the turn around and ease down the hill. Last year I blasted down this hill and it really took a toll on my quads so this year I just easy. Was fun as always to say hi to all your fast friends on these out and backs.

(The climb from the start)

( feet feel better already)

We hit the single track at just over 3 miles and it was nice to feel the soft dirt. My Brooks Cascadia's are so uncomfortable on pavement. I passed a few folks who started out too fast and settled into a nice rhythm. My goal was to finish strong and secondary was to beat last years 5:48 PR. I had run a marathon last weekend so I didn't really think a PR would be possible. This year the course was a tad different as we got to cross a little man made bridge that had been washed out for years. So we spent less time on the road. The course just meanders around the lake with some short steep climbs but minimal elevation change.

Hagg Lake Dam

See Olga I can smile

As I got back on the pavement to cross the damn I picked up the speed and passed quite a few runners. I hit AS one feeling good and moved on quickly. On this side of the lake there is a different feel. It was warmer for sure and you have more open space and mud. Some sections had been plowed which did help but at other times made for hug bogs of mud up to a foot deep. I just plowed through them as I knew there was no reason not to. I had my DryMax Maximum Protection socks on and my Dirty Girl Gaiters over my shoes. It is a nice combination but the Cascadia's are such a mesh shoe that the mud will go right through. The good news about that is that they dry out really quick. I also did not get one blister this entire race. I have been fighting side of my heel blisters, but not on this one.

(One of the few road sections)

At AS 2 I said hi to Caroline and Steve. It was good to see friendly faces. I refilled and left quickly. This section is very muddy in places and was only 4 miles to the start/finish line. I was feeling pretty good still as I rolled in at mile 17. I took off my long sleeve shirt and grabbed 6 more gels for the last loop.

After about 3 miles into this loop I started feeling a bit tired. I began to walk some of the steep climbs. On the road across the dam I was much slower this time. At AS 2 I was not having much fun. I took a bit more time. I headed out after taking my usual 1/2 hour gel and a couple of S caps. I gut felt fine I was just weary. I plodded through this section getting grumpier with myself. I had lots of self doubts of why I enjoy runs over a marathon in length. I thought this was a stupid hobby. Just the usual crap that I go through. I am just like a baby with a full diaper! Waaa- waaa - waaa!

Finally it was the last AS at mile 26.5 or so. I was full of complaints at this point. Steve was being nice asking about some of my running friends. Caroline was trying to be positive. I wanted a gel that wasn't sweet and they didn't have one (do they even make one???) so I continued to waste time. Finally Caroline goes "Get going, c'mon get out of here! Go...go...go!" and as I start to waddle back on the trail she takes off chasing me out of the Aid Station. Well it worked. I started running and it made me feel better for sure. I felt kind of bad cause I was complaining so much.

(There was frost on this side on the first loop)

I felt better this last 4 miles knowing the finish was close. I passed a few more folks but overall I didn't seem to pass as many as I usual do. Not sure why and I did finish a bit lower than my normal spot. I think I was 81 out of 125 or so. I ran through some major shoe sucking mud pits but never fell or lost a shoe. I heard that at least 4 shoes came off in this section. Then came the best sign in the race. The one they have that says "1 mile to so pick it up". "Yea!!!" I was a happy boy. I pretty much the entire last mile. I could here the folks at the finish line. I am so dang slow that there usually are not many other runners around when I get there. Kind of a bummer at times but it is what it is. I cross the line to a few chears in 6:08 and change. Twenty minutes slower than last year but I also tapered last year and had not run a marathon 7 days earlier.

I was tired and a bit grumpy as my gut had acted up a bit. I just grabbed some coke and a hot dog and wandered around for just a few minutes. I then went down to the creek and washed my shoes off as the mud covered to above my ankles. Went back to the car and started the hour drive back home. I wish I had felt better and could have hung around but I was in one of those moods where I just wanted to be done with this day. That last 2.5 hours was not fun.

Ain't that the truth!

Well my first Ultra since September is done. I love being back on the trails but it is tough being out there for so long again. Just now 4 days later I am sort of looking forward to my next planned race in a month at the Pac Rim 24 hour run. Maybe I will do a marathon or something before hand but I don't have anything planned.

Friday, February 19, 2010


Gail needed her monthly race so it really only worked out for us to do the Cupid Marathon up in Rochester, Washington, just south of Olympia. It had a nice 10:30 am start so we didn't have to get up very early to make the 2 hour drive from home.

Gail had just worked three 12.5 hour days in a row so she was still pretty tired on Saturday morning. So while I drove us North she sacked out in the back seat. I knew she was tired as I noticed she didn't move for an hour and a half! We got to the race which is set in a small town that has an old Grange building for the starting area. It was raining but not too cold. We went inside met some friends and stayed warm. Gail was in the ladies room til 1 minute from the start. We ran down the steps and off we went at the start.

The course is on country highways and roads is a double out and back. Many places the shoulders are only a few inches wide and you have cars going by you at 50+ mph. I had the Hagg Lake 50k coming up in a week so I was just planning on cruising this race with a goal of 4:18. I ran the first 8 miles with Gail and it was fun. Soon she stopped for a gel and a walk and waived me on. The rain continued but I never got cold. I picked up the pace and cranked up the tunes. Soon I was back at the start line and we then had to do another 3 mile out and back before starting the second loop.

Once the second section began I didn't see anyone for miles. I have not seen the results but I bet their weren't more than 25 marathoners. Soon I saw Gail after the turnaround. There were zero mile markers on this race. We stopped and she was a bit stressed about how far she had to go. I figured she had 7 or 8 miles. Off we went and I pushed towards the start line. I never go tired on this race but just kind of fatigues or bored. I hit the start/finish area and began my 3 mile loop. I pushed a bit and felt pretty good. I started to pass a few folks but had no clue whether they were early starters or not. This course was pretty darn flat except for one 50 foot knoll or so. I breezed up that and made the final turn to the finish. I crossed in just over 4:19 which was right about where I wanted to be. I didn't want to get too tired as I had the 50k coming up in 7 days. I am not planning on racing at Hagg but I will try to come close to last years time if the course is not too muddy.

Gail was looking good and came in at 4:55. After 3 hard days on her feet I thought that was pretty good for a winter race for her. We then had some great after race food and got in the car for the drive home. This course is for those that just want to get a race in. It is not that safe and the course is poorly marked unless you have run numerous races before. But it motivated us to get a 26 mile race in so I guess that is what counts. Another one in the books is all I can say and I think this is 33 months in a row for Gail now. Good job Detour!

Monday, February 8, 2010

My kind of race

So I read online about this little race that is going to happen in Portland on Friday night. It is a type of race I have always wanted to do. I wasn't sure if my training was up to speed but because of the long cold nights this time of year I was getting more training in than I would say in the summer. I get bored when it gets dark early so I really workout these skills during this season. I asked Gail if she wanted to do it? She said sure if we only have to do two. Yep, two laps is all you have to do. And drink two 8 ounce beers. This was the to be my first Beer Relay. The post said come down to Duniway track at 8:30 pm. You will drink one 8 oz. beer, run one lap then drink another 8 oz beer and run another lap. "Cool! I can do that!" So we I invited my Slug running friends to join in. They all wussed out except "maybe" oh I mean Katie.

So we are at home getting ready and at 7:30 pm I get a call from Katie. "Hey I am here and its dark and no one is here". OK I say we will be there around eight. We arrive and there is Katie sitting alone in the dark on the bleachers. She jumps in the car and we chat for a bit. No one shows up. Then a few folks are milling around. We decide to take a few warm up laps. More people show. We ask they say "It's gonna start all the other side of the track at 8:45, they are getting the beer now." Awesome I think. This is gonna happen.

So we go to the far side of the track. About 20 folks are there. The guy who is putting it on is charging 15$. Half will go to the top 3 finishers and half to an Ethiopian relief fund. The RD begins to tell us how this works. Remember we think we only have to drink 2-8 oz beers and run two laps. He says "Here is how it works. You will drink 8 ounces of beer, then we will say go and you will run one lap. You have 2 minutes to finish one lap or you are out. After that two minutes you drink another 8 ounces of beer and that is completed in 2 minutes or you are out. Then we yell go and you run another lap, then drink another beer in 2 minutes. We continue this til the last runner is left. So to recap you are out if you can't run the lap in 2 minutes, drink you beer in two minutes or if you throw up. Any questions?" I get this look from Gail. "Two minutes??? Thats fast! Plus we keep drinking??? This wasn't what I was told." Secretly I am thinking this is perfect. This is going to be hard and fun. Katie says "What?? I thought we would leisurely sit on the bleachers, sip a beer then jog a lap and repeat. What is this??"

So we get handed our beers. "Two minutes til we run, drink up!" So down it goes. Good beer too. Not bud, miller etc but we got microbrews. Then someone yells "Go!" and we drop our cups and take off. Oh how I hate running fast. Gail leads me til the last corner. We are really moving here, 6 minute pace or so for a mile. We cross the line and they hand us another beer. I put mine down quick. Gail is working hers down. Katie can't do it. Not going down for her so she is out. Next lap off we go. We get done and Gail says enough or maybe she did 3 I can't remember. (Wonder why? :) ) Off we go again, and again and again. Each time I come around I get Gail looking at me with that eye that says "you said only a couple of laps". The young guys are all way ahead of me now during the run but I am still making the cutoff by 15 seconds or so. I got everyone by at least 15 years here. My only goal is not to be the first guy to quit or DQ. Finally after 7 laps one the guys hurls. Yep I am so happy. So I drink my drink and run the 8th lap ( 2 miles). I was going to make the cutoff time again but I stopped running prior to the finish line to ensure my DQ. Hey! I had a 20 mile training run set up for the next morning! But this sure was fun. Last few laps were tough with all the bloated stomach and burping and tired legs. But the old guy survived!

Katie's cousin Ruben post chunks

See it wasn't all just guys that raced.

So we stayed to see who would win. It was down to about 8 guys. They just kept going. Katie's cousin Ruben was leading on most laps. Around lap 15 he finally tossed his cookies. Guys were losing it everywhere. One guy right on the track in front of us when they said "Go!". Oh we were laughing. Then TC (name protected to save him a beating from his wife) was getting pretty funny. Taking off his shirt at first and letting his big white belly hang out. He would rant about how he was fat and all these skinny runner guys couldn't beat him. Soon his shorts were pulled up like a sumo wrestler, cheeks hanging out and everything. And around they went.

Running, beers and too many laughs.

Running and beer. What a combo!

Soon they were over 20 laps! (20 small beers too!) and it was down to maybe 3 guys. One runner as he finished a lap said "The fat guy won't barf!!". Oh how we laughed. Gail was making me cry she was laughing so hard. Then it happened, we thought it might. TC removed all clothes except his shoes. Yep streaking was back in style. It was down to two runners. Off they went. And then the worst thing happened. They collided and both fell! One with no clothes on, face first! Oh this was gonna be ugly. But wait! He is up and he wins this lap. Amazing and no blood too.

The girl runners. Megan, Katie and Gail.

Well Katie is trying to be a good samaritan and help TC get his shorts back on. But he is pretty buzzed and can't get his legs in the holes in the shorts. Katie is directly behind him. Oh she was brave. No time, shorts still off and they take off again for another lap. Remember these guys are still running sub 2 minute laps! This is tough stuff not just a drinking game. They both make it in again. This time TC falls down on the grass. He is trying to get his shorts back on but has both legs in one hole in his shorts. He is wallowing on the ground. They yell go. He screams "Wait!!!!" But it is too late. The other runner takes off. TC gets up and takes off running but disappears into the bushes a the corner of the first lap. So our winner crosses and he has all of his clothes on.

TC with his Sumo outfit showing us his skill

I know a few of you will think this a bit over the top and yeah it might be but boy it was sure fun. One of those bucket list things I always wanted to do. But I am glad I had a long run scheduled so I wasn't one of those losing my lunch on the track. It went to a good cause and what else would I have done on Friday night? Watch TV???

Swillin' and swooshin'

Thanks Megan for all the Pictures!