Monday, June 21, 2010

50th running of the Mt. Washington road race

Things could not get bigger for this race. It was the 50th running of the race. It was the only qualifier for the World Mountain Championships. The elite athletes were coming out of the wood words to run this. Going in I was confident I was in shape and ready for a solid race. The race climbs 4650 feet over 7.6 miles up to the top of Mt Washington on the mostly paved road at an average 15% grade... actually 11.58%.

I flew out Thursday morning and stayed with Marc and Jane Chauvin in North Conway, only 20 minutes drive from the base of Mt. Washington. Marc is an accomplished mountain climber and guide who has been all over the world. He is blessed man with his beautiful wife Jane. They were amazing hosts who made me feel welcome and at home.

On Friday, I ran up Black Cap to the summit at 2400 feet or so, thanks to Marc’s suggestion. Granted it was only 1.3 miles up but the view was tremendous and offered a panorama of the White Mountains. It was an easy laidback day. Then Saturday...

It was warm out 75 or so at the start of the race. This was expected. I went out with the leaders. Everyone looked decent. The air was silent yet pounded with the consist roar of heavy breathing, mimicking the pounding hearts. A few flies joined the race. I planned on maintaining pace yet it seemed that everyone else sped up. In reality, I was slowing down, and maintaining. I felt good just unable to go with the first pack, or the second pack for that matter. I plugged away hitting mostly 9 minute mile pace.

In the last 2 miles I finally felt good and felt like the race was starting. I passed a few runners and was able to finish in 1:09:44 in 25th place. This was an average of 9:11 per mile. The winners averaged 8 minute miles.

Stuff to think about… I’m fit but need a lot more training and base under me. This is a good place to be. I’ve got 2 months until Pikes Peak. 2 months to prepare to run well.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

2010 Sage Burner 50K

The Sage Burner 50k run… 5000 feet of climbing, 31.6 miles, 250 runners (in both the 25 and 50k) a beautiful course surrounded by snow capped peaks. Prior to the race I had planned on running leisurely with Duncan for the first half and then making the second half the real race. As race day approached I scraped this plan. I wanted to race. It was a warm day by 7:30… starting time. It was much warmer than last year’s perfect weather and overcast skies. I casually meandered to the front of the racing pack expecting to set a pace and have Duncan close the gap. Yet the eventual winner in the 25k would not have this… he took the lead and started hammering. I thought he was running the 50k so I set in 10 seconds behind him and maintained. All I was thinking was that he was going way too fast for the 50k. At the 25-50k split he went one way while I went the other. I was a little surprised. Lynnette was helping out with the race and was at the split, so I exclaimed to my beautiful wife my surprise that in reality I need not race the other guy. For the next mile (down Water Treatment) I laughed at myself for thinking that I had to race other guy… of course he was running the 25k. I figured I had built up a 2 maybe 3 minute lead so I just relaxed and ran.

I got out to Skull Pass (half way mark) in 2 hours even. It was now 9:30 in the morning and the sun felt blazing. I learned I now had close to an 8 minute lead over Duncan who was in 2nd and 3d was at least 2 miles back. I felt good, was maintaining solid eating and drinking habits and figured all I need to do was to maintain. I headed up Nine-0, the highest point of the race. The trail is not steep but I felt sluggish and slow. I told myself I just had to maintain and plug away.

Sometimes in the middle of a race when no and no competition is around you just have to ignore the lies of pain, suffering, and hurt. They are not there. You may be told you are suffering but it is nothing but a lie to swallow. The best answer is usually to speed up and remember:

“Come Suffering, come Pain
Let me teach you the Truth
You are uncouth
I’ll make you tame
You are a lie
and you will die”

I remembered… and kept running. The sun blazed down. I kept drinking but I felt worse and worse. Finally at mile 26 or so (bottom of Josie’s) I threw up about 40 oz of liquid. I felt much better. Drained…yes, tired… sure, but ready to keep running. The temperature was now about 75 degrees.
I kept running expecting Duncan to come up on me but he did not. I crossed the finish line in 4:23:06. Almost 9 minutes later Duncan was second in 4:32:05. Race results are here: and here

Recovery has been good. I was dehydrated after the race but I’ve quickly recovered. I feel fantastic and have had several awesome post race runs. 3 weeks until Mt Washington.