Monday, June 23, 2008

Capitol Peak 50 mile

This is the first time I have taken advantage of its close location and participated in this run. What a fine choice to add it to my running list this year. The trail is a fun combination of single track and hills through forest and recent clear cut. Despite the somewhat desolate feel of the clear cuts they do afford the best views, such as the sunrise I witnessed during our first hour on the trail. It was a breathtaking neon pink and purple display of the Puget Sound area with Mt. Rainier to the right and a huge full moon rising on the right. It was so indescribably beautiful I stopped on the trail a few moments to take it all in.

I got in a day early and met up with my friend Heidi for a car camping weekend. She was is training for a 50 miler of her own in June and did a 50K worth of hiking whilst I was running the race. She was able to meet up with me at a number of the aid stations and provided much needed encouragement and support.

I took the early start and followed a particular fellow for the first few miles. Eventually I was passed by a number of the front runners doing both the 50K and 50 mile run. The big climb up to Capitol Peak comes at about 20 miles and the view was worth the elevation gain. There were a few sections of snow pack to trudge through but the remainder of the road up and back down the peak were clear. However, the next section between aid stations was a nearly un-runnable collection of long deep snow fields that took far more energy to cross than I had hoped. Even the few open trail sections were covered with so much debris, they weren't really very runnable either. After over an hour of that we went on a much more pleasant out and back section. It got lonelier and lonelier out there as the 50K runners were spared this section.

Finally I made it back to the last aid station and was happy to hear that the final 10K was a gentle downhill meander back to the finish. About a mile in a took a big spill and landed right hip square on a large pointy rock which left me yowling in pain, much to the dismay of a fellow runner who was clicking a photo near by right as I fell. I knew I would be fine but needed to wail for a while so I assured him he was free to go and leave me in my misery. I got up and started running again, but it must have been the adrenaline from the fall because soon I was cruising along at quite a clip. I was able to keep this up most of the rest of the the way and finished up just a few steps behind the fellow I started out behind low, those almost 12 hours before, Even though we didn't really see each other all day we finished just as we had started and had a good laugh about it.

My goal was to finish under 12:30 and I completed my run in 11:50 so I was quite pleased with myself. It's funny how I can save up enough energy to finish strong, even though I feel bad in the middle. It's a great race but it's full of all these elite Pacific North Westerners. Even though I took the early start I still was almost DFL. I try not to let this demoralize me and hope that my strengths come into play for the 100 milers because I may be able to run really slow, but hope to still be running the whole way when other people are forced to start walking. We will see.

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