Well this race has always kicked my fanny for some reason. It seems its been a death march the last 4 miles to the finish on this course. One year it was the furthest I had ever run. The next it was really warm for the season. So at least I had little boy excuses! But this year I am in pretty good condition, not the best but I am pretty happy with where I am at. So my goal at the Peterson Ridge Rumble 60k was to go out on an even pace, run the easy hills, walk the tough ones, don't burn out on the downhills and finish strong.
Gail and I had planned on this race for a few months. We were both excited and nervous as the day approached. But then Gail had some health issues pop up and she could not do the race. Yes you woman readers I did ensure that it was OK for me to go do this race without her. I might be dumb but I am not stupid! :) So I did feel bad and left on Saturday night for Sisters to spend the night before the race. It was a lonely drive over the Cascades as I was going to be on my own for this one. My motel only about 5 minutes from the start line so that allowed a little extra sleep time. I had decided to take the early start for a couple of reasons. First they had instituted a cutoff at 25 miles at 5 hours for regular starters and 6 hours for the early folks. I new I would be pushing it to be at mile 25 in a mountain Ultra so that was reason one. Next was Gail would take the early start so it is always nice to run the first few miles with her, plus I think it puts her at ease at the start. What put me over the top was when Gail couldn't make the trip I could leave an hour earlier for home. So be it, the early start was for me.
It was a cool morning with some frost on the ground as I arrived at 0630 to grab my bib for the race. I was to be number 51 which I wonder was planned by Sean or just lucky. You see last year I was scheduled to do the Rumble and it was going to be my 50th race at marathon distance or longer. So I asked Sean if he would give me bib 50. He said "Sure". So this year I get 51 and Gail was scheduled to get bib 50. Hmmm.... interesting. Well I decide to do the layered approach today. I will were shorts, two shirts, one long sleeve the other short and then wear my thick running vest and some cotton gloves. That way I can peel off layers as we go. I have 3 spots for drop bags so as it warms up I can ditch a layer.
Cool morning for us early starters.
We it came to my eating plan I am leaning away from the gels. I am trying to get a handle on my nauseous stomach so I am trying to eat more solid food (sandwich, potatoes, chips etc) rather than gels. I am using the "blocks" which are little protein pieces and some Chomps which are chewy and not as sweet. Gail has also got me on the Hammer Fatigue Caps so I will do these again along with some "S caps" every hour or so. I also usually take 2 Ibuprofen or Tylenol around 2 1/2 hour point. Also at the AS I might have a 1/2 cup of Coke every few hours and I also planned on one Starbucks Double Espresso shot at mile 28.
About 25 of us crossed the road to the start line. I had some nice chats with fellow nut cases that run crazy distances in the woods for fun. Many of you I recognize cause we all seem to do the same races in Oregon but you names will often escape my tiny brain. Sean tells us to follow the Yellow ribbons not any other color. It will be hard to get lost out there (He was right about that).
He counted down from 5 and off we went. The race hits a little jeep road for a mile then goes out on to a rocky red gravel road for 2 or 3 miles. This road is always a pain as it has lots of rocks sticking out of it.
We had a high overcast most the day.
Soon we drop in on some nice single track and start the easy climb. We will go from about 3200 feet to just over 4000 for a 900 foot climb by mile 11 or so. Most is runnable with some short walk areas. I enjoy this part of the course as I think allot of it is new, or I am getting old and just don't remember it for races past. I get some good views and stop to take a few pictures. Its a high overcast day but the sun does peak out at times. It is actually a great temperature to run in.
Nice single track early on
Quite a few little rocky sections
As we pass through the Aid Stations all the volunteers are great. I am just drinking water off my belt.(Like my belt more lately than hand-held bottles. They have been making my shoulders tired.) I try to hydrate 20 to 30 oz an hour. I eat solid food and only a couple of gels. As I head back down the course the leader passes me at about mile 12. So he starts an hour after me and catches me in 12 miles...amazing. I see friends now that took the normal start, we high five and say hello. I cruise down the hill but there are still some climbs to be had. Around mile 20 in a real rocky section I trip big time. Arms waiving fly off the trail and barely miss a boulder to the face. But somehow I keep upright. I stretch out some hamstrings and back muscles but nothing seems to be hurt. I press on.
Views of Black Butte from the Ridge.
Our little snow patches near the turn around.
Some trails seem newly cut
We drop back out on the red gravel road and head back towards the start but soon us 60k'ers slip off the road on to some nice soft Jeep trails in the woods. This is sooo much better. I make the cutoff with 1.5 hours to spare. If I had taken the regular start it would have only been by 30 minutes which would have made me pretty nervous so I am glad I took the early start. Only thing I don't really like is the fast folks catch me and need to pass. Most are great but some don't say a thing just blow by. I am a back of the packer so I rarely get passed in a race because I start out so slow I usually pass others throughout the day.
"Boy you are ugly and your girlfriend weighs a ton!"
OK who can guess what song that is from? Band? FP baby(hint)
I hit the marathon (26.2 miles) point at 4:50. I am quite happy with that time in this race. We then begin a big climb up this ugly red cinder road. This one doesn't have the rocks but has tough little climbs in it. In previous years this section killed me. This year it is cool and I run probably 75% of it. It is also about 6.6 miles between Aid Stations in this 900 foot climb. I conserve my water so I always have a sip if I get really thirsty. Soon I hear it. The AS! They are playing "Don't Fear the Reaper" by BOC (Blue Oyster Cult" for you young ones). Curt Ringstad of Waldo RD fame helps me find my lost drop bag. I grab a few gels for my pockets and eat some food. Curt and I have a good laugh as he mentions that he forgot the cow bell for this song. We both relate to the SNL skit on this song and the cow bell.
Climb section prior to mile 28
Nope not gonna run it. OK maybe a little.
I now know its mostly downhill to the finish. I will not die. As I eat my turkey and cheese sandwich as I run I promise to stay strong. Who would ever think I could eat a sandwich and run? Not me that's for sure. I stay upright and alert as Curt said some vandals had moved the trail markings already. Wonder why those losers like to do that? I come into the "Manzanita" section of the course. The trail gets more rocks but views are pretty cool. The trail does lots of winding back and forth so you really need to stay focused or you will go "boom". A few folks continue to pass me. I figure Ronda would have caught me by now but she hasn't so I feel pretty good about that. I get a bit tired and walk some more ups but I run some of them too that in years past I couldn't. I finally see the last AS at mile 32 or so. Two years ago I sat on the picnic table and had a 5 minute pitty party while I fixed my shoes. I was wiped out. I remember Olga catching me here yelling at me to get my "sorry ass up" and follow her in. This year I feel tired but good. I eat a tad and drink and then press the 4.3 miles to the finish.
This section is amazing. Pix don't do it justice.
Same spot just behind me.
I always remember this section as being pretty easy and mostly roads. I was always depressed I couldn't run it in the past. This year I just had this great little 10:30 to 11 minute/mile pace going. It just felt cool. For some reason it just had a rhythm to it that put me at ease. I did hit some single track climb that I had to walk but I was fine with that. I knew I still had gas in the tank for the flats and down sections.
You can tell this is later in the race. I am pale!
I drop back on to some dirt Jeep roads. I have my tunes blaring away at this point. (Motley Crue? Ratt? or GNR?) Not sure but I was into it. Then I think I hear a scream. I pay no attention. A minute or so later I hear another. I look around. I think that's Ronda back there? I raise my hand and then plod on. Sure enough soon she passes me all happy and we high five. Wish I had that juice at this point! :) Well with about a mile to go and she passes me is allot better than I expected. At this point I think we still have a couple miles to go. Cheri then passes me. She is so dang strong now and good for her. I say "I think we have a little over a mile to go" She says "Closer than that". Sure enough...I can see the school. How cool is that!! All we got to do is cross the highway the through the parking lot and one lap around the track to finish. Yes! Got this one done and I ain't quite dead yet. (MP and the Holy Grail quote). I get on the track and am pretty happy. I finish feeling good in 6:56 for 36.5 miles. Something like a 11:20 pace. I messed around quite a bit in the Aid Stations but time was not my goal for this year. I was super happy to be under 7 hours but I did attain my goal of finishing strong.
I got my Rumble socks and a bottle of water at the finish line. Had a nice chat with Ronda and Cheri. Met Bill and Micheal and hung out for a few. I then new I had to be getting home to check on Detour so I showered and hopped in the car in less than 30 minutes after the finish. I grabbed a large coffee and coke at McDonalds and started the 2:40 drive home. I felt pretty crappy the first hour then the caffeine kicked in and I really started to feel good. I was a bit sore when I got home but had now real pains. Got zero blisters this year. (didn't do anything different). No bad chaffing to speak of. And no sunburn this year!
This is a great race. It intimidated me in the past. At first for its distance. Then I thought the altitude and hills were hard. Now with experience I know its a very runnable course and the distance is tough but not killer like a 50 mile trail race. It is nice to have a good taste in my mouth after a long race. Often that is not the case for me. Thanks again to RD Sean for a great race. I love your style. Laid back but very organized. You cover most all the bases. I am sure I will be back for years to come.
PS We may have a little Fat Ass Marathon in Portland sometime around April 27, 28 or 29th. Gail needs to get a Marathon in for April since she got sick for this one. If anyone interested in running some miles with us downtown let me know. I will post the exact date when we pick one. I think this would be her 35 month in a row? Detour Rocks!