Monday, April 21, 2014

2014 Yakima Skyline Rim 50K Race Report

I participated in the Yakima Skyline Rim 50K on Sunday. After completing this race twice, I'm convinced that with adequate preparation, it's a much more enjoyable experience.

The Course
It's truly more of a power hike-hike-run-controlled fall that is repeated three (3) more times. There is no shade, unless the clouds are out. It's normally pretty cool to start (40's) and warms up (60's to 70's) as the day progresses. The trails have lots of loose rocks, and some of the climbs/descents are so dusty and steep, I ended up sliding down of my butt when losing traction. Apparently there can be rattlesnakes out, but I don't believe I saw any. I did end up hopping over a snake right near the train tracks at the finish, but from the quick glance I got of its body, it didn't seem fat enough to be a rattler.

Only three (3) aid stations for the race, at 8/15/23 mile markers. A little wind on the ridges at times.

The After Party
This really is what should make you want to do this race. The run is only half the fun.

Fresh made pizza at the finish (vegan and gluten free options). Plenty of soda, juice, lemonade. Pie, cookies, candies, chips. Kegs of beer and bottles of beer. Live music. Shoot the shit with other runners.

My Race Experience
My friend Kelsey was running her first 50K, so I started off with her in the towards the back of the pack. After about 5 miles with her, I told her I had to up my pace a bit and wished her well (She ended up finishing, and that's a major accomplishment, I can't imagine many people making this race their first 50K!).

I was actually able to maintain a pretty steady pace the entire way until the end. I wanted to keep a level head, and was able to offer words of encouragement to pretty much everyone I saw coming into the turnaround, and everyone I saw on the climb up after that. I tried to stay within myself on the climbs and descents and never really had a 'low' spot.

Of note, food didn't really appeal to me after the turnaround. I got to the point at mile 12 where I realized I didn't want to chew anything anymore, which meant that I needed to either a) choke down food, b) drink soda, c) don't eat.  I chose to drink soda (knowing I needed calories), and choke down food as I could stomach it. Food intake as follows:

Miles 5-8
Pull of Chocolate Haze Pocketfuel from my softflask.
Miles 8-15
Two PBJ quarters
Cascade Farms Organic Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Bar
Pull of Chocolate Haze Pocket Fuel from my softflask.
Miles 15-23
Two PBJ quarters
Two cups of Ginger Ale
Half of Granola Bar
Miles 23-Finish
Three cups of Soda (Mountain Dew, Ginger Ale, Coke)
Pull of Chocolate Haze Pocket Fuel from my softflask.

Also of note, the minimal aid stations didn't bother me, I only drained both my 20oz bottles once. Never peed during the race, but kept a steady level of hydration. I've got to the point in 50K's where I'm able to keep myself hydrated enough during the race, knowing I can take on additional fluids, if needed, at aid stations or at the finish.

Ended up 19th in 6:22:40, which was better than my 2012 experience. That run capped a 80 mile week with 19,000 feet of gain. Body feels injury free...for now. Now a little bit of a taper into Miwok on May 3rd.

In Closing
Props to everyone out there. The community in this sport is filled with so many cool, positive people. Lots of people had great races, regardless of finish time. Thanks to Matt for carpooling us over, and Carl and Kevin on great company. It's a tough course!

Glenn takes awesome pics

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Not Bored Yet, Volume #2 - San Juan Island, Vancouver's North Shore

I got to enjoy a leisurely bike ride around San Juan Island over the weekend. Didn't run any of the trails, as it was a recovery day. I may try a return trip this summer to run some of the trails, but it can be quite pricey to get over to San Juan, and then the trail systems are nothing too expansive. The weather was clear with high's in the upper 60's, and I was able to visit Roche Harbor, check out a cider distillery, visit Lime Kiln State Park, and then hung out in the harbor through sunset.

Next up was a trip to Vancouver, to check out the North Shore trails that Luke and Adam run frequently. This also served as a nice long training run in preparation for Miwok 100k. Can't thank Luke and his family enough, as they were more than gracious hosts for my visit. Lots of fun and looking forward to more adventures with these guys this summer. Luke's blog post with photos is here.

Pictures with descriptions below:

Starting out along a river.

I believe this is the view from Cleveland Dam.

Cleveland Dam view

Cleveland Dam

Climb straight up Grouse Mountain

View from top of Grouse

Stopped and turned around when we got to the ski lift.

I stopped the guys a lot to take pictures. This probably sucks for my training. 

We had a good amount of runnable miles on roads like this. Good Miwok training.

LOTS OF STAIRS. More good Miwok training.

I don't remember what this was, but it was pretty far down and looked cool.

They leave the water on ALL YEAR LONG around here. Unlike parks in WA, where they shut it off for the winter....

I dunno I found it pretty.

Approaching Roche Harbor

They have a cheap gas station out by Roche.

Friday Harbor at dusk, with ferry coming in.

View from above Lime Kiln Point State Park.

Lime Kiln Lighthouse with Canada in background.

Hotel De Haro in Friday Harbor, apparently Teddy Roosevelt stayed here, and you can see his signature inside.

Roche Harbor, with some pretty big boats.

View from Lime Kiln, could see Rainier and the Olympics from here. Perfect weather.

Lime Kiln's in Roche Harbor

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Not Bored Yet, Volume #1 - Orcas, Si, Yakima Canyon

A couple weeks ago, a dear friend of mine remarked that I would get bored not having a job.

Potentially, in time, that could be the case.

Running has taken me to some cool spots in the PNW. Orcas Island, Cougar Mountain, Mt Si, Little Si, parts of Teneriffe, Discovery Park, and the Yakima River Canyon. Future plans include a Zion Traverse, running some of Lake Tahoe, and a Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim. Epic bucket list stuff.

Luke and I often talk about the value in looking at training in 8 or 9 day periods, as opposed to the standard 7 day range. It gives you a slightly larger sample size to determine how your training is currently progressing.

Anyways, my 9 day range ended up being about 80 miles with 22,000 ft of gain, so I'm particularly happy about that. Took a couple easy days to let the body recover. Pics for your enjoyment.

Ferry to Orcas

San Juan Islands on way to Orcas

Campsite at Orcas, be aware, they've started variable pricing. This spot was $25 a night!

Orcas, not sure of the name, but they are the falls near Camp Moran.

One of the lakes.

View from Mt. Constitution.

Looking South.

Cloud cover along some lakes in the AM.

View from Eastsound, on Orcas.

Looking up at Mt. Constitution in the AM

'Powerline' climb up Orcas.

Radio Towers on Orcas.

More Orcas.

Cool clouds coming in as massive eagles were riding the wind, view from Mt. Constitution.


I liked the sign.

These switchbacks are much more fun going down, rather than up.

A hut.

Not sure which lake but found a cool cliff to chill at until I got cold.

Bye bye Orcas.

Mt Si view from Little Si.

Snow on the road up Tennerife, Kevin moving fast.


Si. Awesome forest trail I've never run before, off the Talus Loop. Thanks to Kevin.

Yakima Canyon. Free camping (no water or toilets) until May?

Yakima Canyon bridge.

Woke up. Read for a couple hours. Watched the couple that owned the RV argue for about 30 minutes and use every curse word in the book while trying to hook up the camper to their truck. All before noon.