Sunday, May 10, 2009
Well, it was a great day for running and there's nothing like the views of Oregon forests from up high. Getting up there is the fun part. We've had some rain lately but it didn't really effect the trail much except in a few spots. Race day was clear and sunny and not too warm. It was short sleeves and shorts weather for sure!
I met my sister before the race and we stayed in an Albany hotel pre and post race. She took the early start so it gave me time to meet up with friends Glen, Jerry, and Clay. I also managed to met up with Steve from New Hampshire who is a friend of a mutual online acquaintance. This was Steve's 2nd 50K and he was admonished to "not start out too fast!" Well, being the queen of slow is helpful in such situations so Glen and I buddied up with Steve to give him a good start.
Being the good sponge he is, Steve listened to all our advice throughout the day and played along nicely. He did get a big blister that we had to dress up for him but it didn't actually stop getting worse until he changed his shoes. He stayed with us at the and we made sure he drank enough (that man can sweat!) and took salt and ate, and blah, blah, blah listened to everything we had to say about trail running.
There's a lot more up and down in this course than I remembered, especially in the section between the second aid station and the Dimple Hill aid station. It must be trial amnesia, akin to child birth amnesia. But we made it there all together and Steve was feeling good enough to trot on ahead of us. We had some nice downhill and were moving good but before the next aid station I started to get some GI problems. I was glad to finally hit the port-o-potty at Chip Ross Park and I hoped that would be the end of my small distress.
Unfortunately I still had lots of cramping (not usual for me) and some bouts of nausea that slowed me down so Glen and Steve (who we caught up with again) climbed on ahead of me to the last aid station. When I got there myself I found Karen sitting in a chair at the aid station nursing a bleeding knee, mud covered up to both thighs and with a spectacular falling story. Luckily she was good to go and got up and finished the rest of her race from there.
I left the aid station feeling a bit better and determined to finish this race. No more walking runnable sections! So I ran up the gravel road the whole way until it started back down. As usually happens to me in my races, I was able to pull off a fairly speedy last section. I passed a lot of people between the last aid station and the finish but one runner came up behind me and gave chase, even as I thought I had pulled away from everyone. STEVE! He and I flew down the gravel road and onto the last single track and sprinted in to the finish, sore quads be damned!
I took off over 5 minutes from my time 2 years ago and was very pleased with my performance. But...the GI stuff came back not long after finishing and I spent the better part of the next few hours in the hotel barfing, etc. (you can use your imagination here, or just ...don't). Eventually we went out to get some dinner and I kept down a small meal. By breakfast time I was hungry and my GI system is getting back to normal in general. I think this was more about something I ate pre-race than anything I did during the race.
Well, that's it! In two weeks I'm going to create my own Western States training camp weekend by running along various trails in the redwood forests of Northern California with my sister and her friends. Hope my sore quads are healed up by then!