Thursday, August 29, 2013


Cascade Crest 100 is a tremendously well run event. Simply put, there are no hitches. The course is beautiful and involves a lot of climbing. It's not too big of an event, and not too small. It's well worth attempting.

I ended up DNF-ing after spraining my ankle after 48 miles. It was pretty much a fluke. I wasn't going crazy or bombing a descent, just misplaced a foot and the ankle rolled on an unforeseen rock. The tough part was I was doing well. Pacing the way I wanted, conserving energy, eating, drinking, managing electrolytes, and staying happy and ready to 'go' at Hyak. Gotta roll with the trails (preferably not literally, though, when it comes to ankles).

Thanks to Luke. He was quite possibly the best pacer and crew out there. The man put together a stellar race plan. He provided me daily motivational material leading up to the event. He got me a shirt that said 'Roll with the Trails' on the front, and 'Cascade Crest 100' on the back. He got to know me and how I worked. He e-mailed my crew (parents) and introduced himself. He took pictures before the race. He helped crew at aid stations and knew what to ask and what to provide. The man quite simply put on a professional level performance. I am humbled, and honored, to call him my friend. His blog post is well worth reading on his experience

Thanks to Martin, for an extremely enjoyable long run together. I had the pleasure of running with him for roughly 30 miles or so. He was positive, funny, and inspiring the entire time. He drank beer at the beer gauntlet with me. He ran a tremendously smart race. I look forward to many more runs in the future with him. His blog post is well worth the read. Martin, major congratulations, you deserve it!

Thanks to my parents. Mom and Dad crewed and provided encouragement the whole way. They picked me up from Olallie in the dark, and drove me back to Seattle the next day. Without their support, I don't know what I would have done.

Thanks to my friends, far and wide, runners and non-runners. Some showed up in Easton for no reason but to cheer me on. You brought food and signs and took some awesome pics. I'm still flooded with beer and snacks that you gave me, and will be enjoying it for weeks (maybe days, depending on if I decide to randomly drink myself into a stupor). I got countless texts before and after the race from many, all wishing me well and checking on my health. I draw inspiration from each and every one of you.

Thanks to every single person I've encountered along the way. From the volunteers at the aid stations, to all the race staff, to anyone else that helped me 'toe the line' on race-day. Sometimes we never fully acknowledge all the people out there that impact us, and I'm grateful for each and every one I've met.

Reflection Crap
Personally, I'm still trying to come to grips with the entire event. 

I sometimes question why one would do this. I think we do this for the same reason we should do anything in life. We learn things about ourselves. Get to experience intense emotions. Have deep conversations with strangers and friends alike. We cry, laugh, joke around, smile, frown, and break a sweat that drips off our foreheads and burns our eyes. We form invaluable lifelong relationships. We get to shove two pierogis in our mouth at the same time, along with a handful of gummy bears (it tastes glorious). We get to have experiences.

I don't think one should half-ass life. It's too short and there's too much that can go on. Enjoy the moment. Enjoy the journey. Keep moving forward.

Also...Air-Casts are sexy.


Professional Pacer and Crew Member

Pre-Injury, photo credit Glenn Tachiyama

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Cascade Crest 100 Pre-Race

Camaraderie & Community 
Parents are coming out to crew. Luke is pacing. Friends are coming up to the race start to see me off. I'm humbled and grateful for having all that I have.

LOTS of people in the ultra community are coming out for this race. Some volunteer at aid stations. Some crew. Some pace. Some can't make it, but they follow online, post on Facebook, text, e-mail, or call with words of encouragement. The camaraderie that surrounds this sport is just amazing. We all feed off each others energy. In this sport, as in life.

Why am I doing this? Am I running from something? Am I running to something? Am I going to run the rest of my life? Am I going to discover something I never knew about myself? Am I going to finish? Am I going to eat right? Am I going to fall down and die? Am I going to get stung by bees, again? 

This type of thinking could go on forever. Though, eventually, we need to commit to doing something. That commitment should be our own. A commitment that we fully appreciate and believe in. A commitment where we are willing to deal with the inevitable ebb and flow. 

Maybe that commitment is starting a family, or beginning a career. Maybe it's a commitment to eliminate something harmful from our lives. Maybe it's a commitment to change something, from where we live, to who we are.

This run is my commitment. My commitments are born from dreams. These dreams never seem to reveal themselves in the ways I envision. They often collide in violent fashion with reality, producing an indistinct version of how they started. So, I adjust them, smile, and dream again. I wouldn't have it any other way.

P.S. I'm ready to run 100 freaking miles. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

White River 2013 Race Report

See what I did there? Specified 2013 in the title. This experience was certainly not to be confused with 2012. What follows is a brief comparison of 2012 vs 2013.

2012 - Didn't really know too many people, and a fair amount of my training had been done solo.
2013 - Got to watch, and hang out with, a number of people I have met at races or trained with in the past months. Luke (9:39) and Rich (9:34) had great runs. Paul came in at 9:20. Matthew ditched 'back of the pack' status, by dropping an hour from last year and coming in at 10:26 . Greg apparently had a 'dark' day the last half of the race, but persevered to come in at 10:21. I met a number of other runners as well, as the ultra community continues to grow and grow.

With Paul and Luke at the finish

'GI Issues'
2012 - I took six (6) bathroom breaks over the last 14 miles of the course last year. Four of those occurred in the final six mile stretch.
2013 - One (1) bathroom break. Running Skookum flats at 11 minute miles. Legs are tired, but I've got a group of five guys right behind me. Three miles left and I trip and fall, catching myself with my hands. I look behind me and see the group of guys has stopped and I exclaim 'Go, go, go, don't wait'. They all stand their ground, don't move, and one of the runners says 'No way, we're following you, keep going'. Then one mile out, it happens, the urge can't be controlled. I run off trail, let the group go, and have to drop my pants to do work. A couple of runners from that group come up to me at the finish and thank me for pulling them all along the final stretch.

Enjoying the climb up to Sun Top. Clear views of Rainier all day. Photo Credit to Glenn Tachiyama

2012 - I took gels, Shot blocks, candy, soda, clif bars, along with PBJ's and some chips. I didn't eat much the last eight (8) miles due to not wanting to increase my GI issues and generally feeling bad.
2013 - Nature Valley Sweet and Salty granola bars, Trail Mix granola bars, Oatmeal squares, S!Caps, PBJ's and potatoes at some aid stations, and 2 pieces of watermelon. At least 300 calories per hour. No deviation from this, and I used my drop bags to store a re-supply of bars (and hold some extra contacts if needed, and wipes).

2012 - The plan was to save energy for the second half of the run, after Buck Creek. I didn't do this as well as I would have liked and hiked most of the second climb. I remember running the downhill after Sun Top fairly well, but I crashed and burned on Skookum Flats, walking that section along with multiple stops.
2013 - Started out in the top third, power hiked and slow run on the first climb. Ran 'comfortably' down to Buck Creek, but was able to really power hike/slow run the second climb fairly efficiently. I maintained an 8-8:30 mile consistently on the downhill from Sun Top, and then maintained a low 11 minute mile along Skookum Flats. Overall, never felt like I was 'pouring it on', but always felt like I was giving it all I had for a 50 mile race. I ended up feeling pretty spent at the finish line. I left everything I had on the course.

Skookum Flats. Photo Credit to Takao Suzuki

My time, of 9:10:07, was a 58 minute improvement from last year and good enough for 39th place. I learned a number of things.

  • I ran through a slight 'niggle' in my left IT band on the way up to Sun Top. I've learned that unless a bone is sticking out, you can pretty much just keep on moving, and things tend to go away.
  • I've learned that eating is important. I think it's more important taking the time to slow down and digest food, whatever it may be, rather then thinking I can just 'push through it'. Also, I've learned that Gels and Chews/Blocks are not for me. Soda isn't bad, but it needs to be in small quantities. My body favors 'real' food.
  • I've learned that running with friends is much more fun. This isn't the Hunger Games, we're just all out for a run. I got to spend some quality time with Mr. CCC100 Pacer Luke (read his report & blog here) in the early miles along with Greg and Matthew, run with a group of guys in the later miles, and enjoy some beers with a good group at the finish.
  • I've learned the importance of pacing oneself. It's really easy to let the adrenaline kick in during the early miles and go out with the leaders. It's really fun in the latter portions, to run past the vast majority of those people that went out faster than they can sustain in the early miles. I'm confident in my ability to manage my effort over the appropriate distance.

Thanks to Luke for letting me crash with him and his daughter following the race, Matthew for the beers, and all the organizers and volunteers for a consistently well run event.