Sunday, July 28, 2013

SOB 50K - A nice place to run an Ultra - Mt Ashland

July 27, 2013 - SOB 50K - First time to run this ultra and it was worth it

I was a little worried on the drive down to Ashland on Friday afternoon when it was reading 106-108 degrees F near Grants Pass on I-5.  Fortunately, climbing up to Mt Ashland Ski Resort the temperatures cooled off a bit and hovered in the mid-80's.  I setup camp and strolled around to get used to the higher elevation compared to the lowlands of Albany Oregon.

The views were inspiring and couldn't ask for better pre-race weather.  The clouds moving in made me think some sprinkles were in planned so I tossed the rainfly over the tent.  Ultimately, didn't need it.  A good night's sleep and at 0600am the first 50 milers came by, front row seat.
In about an hour, I'd be taking the same route less 20 miles give or take.  The 50 milers take a detour into California and back on the PCT.

 The sun was just rising before the start and the temperature cool enough with the wind chill to support a sweat shirt and sleeves.  I dropped the sweat shirt as I ran past the car on the way to the PCT trailhead about 0.4 miles from the start.

They were chip timing this race at the start and finish, a first from my experience.  Something I usually only see at road races. So we funneled through the chute and I could see with this many runners how it might help stagger the groups of runners out before the trail portion of the run.

The course was amazing, lots of hills and descents and very little flat sections.  I tried to push the downs, since my hill climbing speed it turtle like.  The first aid station was manned by a pirate captain and crew which really got the spirits up.  I wasn't feeling drained by the elevation, like Flagline 50K the first year I ran it and I was hopeful to get under 7 hours.  Those first 15 miles went by fast.  There would be small groups of people pulling a train to get up the steeper hills, but then we'd spread out.  It didn't seem like 300+ runners were out here.  I passed about 10 hikers on their way to Canada and even one with a solar panel and laptop for logging his experience.

I guess I took the first 15 miles a little too aggressively and got to the turn around in 3 hours and 15 minutes.  I reveled in how good I felt and started back towards the finish line, following a slightly different road section than the out section.  The wind had been blowing and I hadn't noticed the heat much.  Once I hit the turn around it was more noticeable and on the hills I definitely noticed it.  The views continued to provide visual relief even if the sun did not.  I still had hopes of sub-7 hours until I got to the last two climbs and knew that it was going to be a challenge.  I settled into a sustainable hiking pace and tried to stay hydrated.  Maryann and a lady in pink kept me on an honest running and hiking pace, but in the end they both passed me leaving me to ponder what sources of energy remain for some people that get them to the finish line faster and with better poise than my own self efforts.

I had started to notice I'd fallen behind on my gels and had started eating bananas and coke at the aid stations, usually a sign my stomach was starting to get queasy and it would soon would rebel, if I wasn't tempered in my water consumption.  I stayed hydrated as best I could, but finished with almost two full bottles from the last aid station.  Those bananas and coke got me to the finish line in just under 7 hours and 10 minutes.  Beating the cut off was sweet, I was feeling a little overheated for about 30 minutes, but  doused my head in water, got some soda, watermelon, and taco's and was feeling much better.

I can't believe how close to my time at the Flagline 50K in 2012, also about 7 hr and 10 min.  As I was looking at the 50K records for Ian Sharman's for Flagline and SOB and they are around 3:33.

The SOB 50K is a beautiful run and gave me a peek at the efforts I'd need at Waldo in a couple weeks.  Need to dig deep for that one, if I want to finish Waldo and get under 18 hours for the hat.

I got a chance to meet some new running friends, Al and Nancy from Bend.  Matt Nahorniak finished very well and I'm impressed by many of the 50 milers who passed me like I was standing still on the way back to the ski resort.

I now have some good memories from the run in the Siskiyou's.  The sun was stained red behind the forest fire that was burning in Southern Oregon and the long drive afforded time to think how lucky we are to have such beautiful places to run. 

Many thanks to the team SOB and all the volunteers for putting on a well organized Ultra along the southern most part of Oregon running territory.

Looking forward to doing this one again.

Until then, let's Gimpy, time to run...

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Still Gimpy after all these years

Well Gimpy managed to injure his self before even getting started in 2013.

2012 ended with a pulled hamstring, left and right Achilles strains, and shooting pains in my right calf.

It's too bad to, as I had high hopes I could retire my Gimpy blog this year and move on to whatever might be next in the way of writing about my running experiences.  I have occasionally daydreamed of no longer being Gimpy, but rather to be quietly cheering  myself on as lightning or speedy or frankly any other non-injury related nom de coureur.

I made this reference up since I have no idea how to speak French.  but instead of using nom de guerre, which translates from French to English as "name of war", I find "name of racer" much more appealing.

Oh well, it's not my biggest running set back.  In 2009 I tore my right calf muscle while skiing on the bunny slope, quite embarassing, and in 2010 I rolled my left ankle pretty hard coming down "Uproute" in McDonald Forest near Corvallis Oregon which resulted in a grade 2 strain.

I believe I've found myself face first in the dirt more often on Extendo than any trail I've run, even though it's not the most difficult.  I guess since I've run it so often I just push myself harder and make sillier mistakes.  As a result of the sprain in 2010 I spent most of 2011 recovering (almost 8 months), but I finally got into 2012 with a lot more confidence.  My running friends made a positive difference, with motivation, suggestions, and just good camaraderie.  It was for Mike, William, Eric, Tonya, Gene, and Derek's help, that I am a stronger and better prepared runner.  The aches, pains, and strains are my own doing.

Regardless, if I ignore the end of year injuries, I feel 2012 was a solid running year for me.

I started training earlier in the year and I completed a good part of the Oregon Trail 50K series, running, Hagg Lake, McDonald Forest, McKenzie River, and Flagline.  Surprisingly this resulted in a first place for my age group.  I also managed to compete at Peterson Ridge 40M, the Mt Hood PCT 50, and made it through the first 45 miles of Waldo 100K.

Twilight Run 5K
Balloons lighting up after Twilight Run
On the road, I managed some faster times with my 5K runs, especially in the Twilight run that I did with my running buddy Derek Stirling, I got a PR and as a bonus got to hang out with Derek, Valerie, and Noah while they lit up the balloons.

I had a really fun time running with my sister at Buck Mountain in the snow and mud.  These are the experiences that stand out beyond the personal challenges of trail running and road races.  I was so proud of Derek and especially my sister for sharing some of there running experiences with me. 
My Sister Sharon, running Buck Mtn

Bandera Texas - Trail Run
San Antonio Alamo 13.1 Half
In spring, I made a side trip to Texas and ran the inaugural Alamo 13.1 Half in San Antonio.

I took an extra couple of days and ran extra miles near Bandera Texas, just to see what running in the lone star state was like.  I definitely got a few cactus scratches and scrapes there,  but wouldn't mind going back in the future for both run and fun.

I ran some new runs at McKenzie and McDonald Forest and I repeated Mt Hood and Flagline for some nice PR's  and hopes of more this coming year.

Waldo 100K - Less intimidating before the start
I did experience the feelings of regret and frustration that come with my first mid-race drop.  I've been prepping towards running a 100 miler this last year and my resolve did waiver a bit when I dropped from the Waldo 100K in August 2012.

Waldo was intended to be my stepping stone on longer distances greater than 50 miles, before attempting a hundred miler.  For better or worse, I'm not sure.  This time I didn't have the mental and physical where with all to push beyond mile 45 mark and made the decision to drop after the Twins aid station.

Me looking beat after Fuji Mtn descent - Waldo 100K
I have to say the volunteers were so helpful and amazing, especially Gabi and Frank who got me everything I need to make it out of there before the cutoffs.  My son Andrew was being so supportive, but in the end I couldn't rationalize the 20+ hours it would have taken me to finish on this attempt.

I hope to take another shot at Waldo this year.  The fingers are crossed for getting in and hoping for good results now that I have a  better idea what I'm getting into.

Road trip home after Flagline 50K
Running (By the Garmin numbers)
2011 - Total miles run     ~1480 miles
2012 - Total miles run     ~1680 miles
2013 - Total miles goal    ~2000 miles

Beautiful sunset near Sisters on the way home from another long run...

So unfortunately, I've ended 2012 injured and Gimpy's working to recover from a hamstring, achilles, calf pain. . .

A future run near PCT Trailhead - Hwy 20
I still have high hopes to make a attempt for 2000 running miles in 2013. This will be quite a challenge as my current foot and leg injuries, but I need a good reason to stop vegging out in front of the TV.

That's one of many rewards that come from running the outdoors, it's a legitimate excuse to get off the butt and put in some healthy leg lift miles and to dream some dreams that might just come true some day.

SO, 2013 is another Gimpy's year...

The year to say once again, you guessed it...

Let's go Gimpy, time to run...