ODE TO JAMES VARNER, RACE DIRECTOR
James Varner is a class act. Due to an overly destructive winter and recent inclement weather, the original course from 2011 could not be used for 2012. Over the past few weeks, the course was changed 4 times due to snow levels, trail conditions, bridge construction, and probably a few other factors (the final course change was made 2 nights before the race). As if that wasn't enough, he got a flat tire on the way to the race, and the race start was delayed 30 minutes. Even the staple gun didn't work when he tried to nail up the race results on a fence after the race. James (and Candice no doubt) went through a LOT of trouble and stress to keep this race from falling apart, and for that they have my respect and appreciation. THANK YOU for everything you and everyone else did (volunteers included) to help put on a flawless race!!! Hopefully I can make it up and volunteer for another one of your amazing races. Cheers!
Holy shit, the field was stacked! The lead group started at an easy pace, and I found myself running with the likes of Max King, Yassine, Jeff Browning, Ian Sharman, Eric Skaggs, Nick Triolo...it was a trip running with these guys, and I knew from the start that there's no way I could keep up with them. But maybe having a home field advantage will help? Or the fact that half of them (seemingly) ran the Chuckanut 50K the weekend before? Or that Yassine went snowboarding the day before and might be a little sore? Yeah right. After tapering 2 weeks for this race, I just wanted to have a strong race.
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My legs were drained at this point. The uphill killed my calfs and the downhill rocked my quads. The demons awoke and starting saying evil things to me. So I gave myself a little pep talk...You think that hill was kind to everybody else? Keep your head up, mind the rocks, and run like girls are watching!...That snapped me out of it. Coming into the first aid station was also a big boost right when I needed it. Thank you Nicole, Kyle, and Justin for all the Love! I was a little out of it, but I really appreciate it! I'll catch up with you at the Rumble!
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Alas, the trail eventually dumped onto paved road for a 2 mile stretch. Flat terrain has never been a strength of mine, but it was relaxing to just sit back and put the legs in cruise control. I had no real ambition for catching the 10 fast mother lovers in front of me, so my focus was staying in front of whoever was behind me. There was no point in getting into bad habits of looking over my shoulder this early in the race, so my eyes were glued to road ahead. Whenever I run on roads, I sometimes play the 'Badwater' game. Here's how you play: Run on the white line of the road. If you fall off, you lose. That kept me entertained for maybe a quarter mile.
|Zen Face, |
Photo by Renee
Getting back to the trail was a relief. My climbing legs were working strong, and I pushed to lengthen the gap between me and whoever the hell was behind me. Every now and then, I would glance over my shoulder to see how I was doing...nobody...so far so good...onward, Trail Warrior!...As I got closer to the Multnomah Falls Trail (that little hill at the end of the course profile), I slowed a little, anticipating the agonizing ascent. Ready...set...ENGAGE! Trotting up the Multnomah Falls switchbacks, it wasn't long before I alternated running and hiking. Near the top of the falls, I peaked down the switchbacks and still saw nobody...Don't let up, Jbob...only 1.5 miles left to climb...Run...hike....run...hike...run *CALF CRAMP*...f-bomb, GU, hike...hike...Oh shit, is that Jeff Browning? Just before cresting the top of the Wahkeena Trail hill, I spotted Jeff Browning maybe a couple hundred yards ahead. His hip flexors were shot from the Chuckanut 50k the weekend prior, so he'd been hiking this whole hill. It's amazing how much ground you can cover on someone while run/hiking (especially applicable in 100 mile races).
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Running through the busy Multnomah Falls parking lot and rounding Benson Lake to the finish, I was spent.
Results: 3:56:57 – 11th out of 211 Finishers
Pace: ~7:40 min/mile
As soon as I finished, I needed a hug. First was James Varner. Second was Todd Janssen. And third was Renee Seker. Thank you guys for everything! That was probably my best race so far, in terms of effort and reflecting my current fitness. So...What's next? I've got a race every 3 weeks until the Bighorn 100 miler on June 15th. It's going to be a fun couple months! My current race schedule can be found at the tab above.
Thank you Todd and everyone at NSPIRE for the privilege to represent you at the race. Should be an exciting year, for both of us!
TOAST TO GLENN TACHIYAMA
You shoot our faces in the most beautiful places,
making us look our best when we feel like muck,
With a pint of beer, I'll give you a cheer!
For without your photos, my blog would suck.
...Next beer's on me!
TRAILFACTOR 50K/HALF MARATHON - FOREST PARK, PORTLAND, OR - MAY 28, 2012
There's an awesome 50K/Half Marathon being put on in Forest Park on May 28th. Everybody's doing it! You should too! Seriously, it's going to be a fun race. Check it out!