UPDATE: Click this link to watch my 4 min Circumnavigation video from October 2013. It's a great, upbeat preview of the course.
"Gentlemen, we can rebuild him...we have the technology" - My cardiologist, 2 months ago
|Photo by Takao Suzuki|
"10... .....8.... .....4...3....2....1...GO!" - Trevor Hostetler, Race Directing like a boss
|Seconds before the start.|
|Mt. Adams in the background.|
About 4 miles into the race, taken 3 weeks before the race.
Passing Takao Suziki (photographer), the trail leveled off as it crossed the Climbers Bivouac Junction. My legs came back to life! And the weight of the water on my back was slowly going down as I was both drinking and spitting it out to achieve a comfortable 1 liter. Too close for missiles, switching to hand held bottles. Entering the first lava rock field, I caught up to Andrea. We teamed up for the first section of rocks, helping each other find the 'trail' of cairns and ribbons...it was like crowd surfing at a rock concert, literally. After a couple miles or so, I pulled away and ran strong through the twisty ins and outs of silty lava channels. My legs were feeling great, and the trail was super fun! Technical trails bring me to life, and it had me amped up more.
|Typical Lava Rocks. Taken three weeks prior to the race.|
|The Loowit Trail. Taken 3 weeks before the race.|
Aid Station 1 Split: 2 hours 15 min - 4th Place - 9 min behind Yassine - 6 min behind Brian/Joe
|Little me, Scrambling up the slope after crossing the Toutle River|
Photo by Animal Athletics
|Hiking out of the Toutle River Basin maybe halfway to the top.|
Taken 3 weeks before the race
|North Side Blast zone. Taken 3 weeks before the race.|
|The North Side blast zone. Taken 3 weeks before the race.|
High Anxiety. All along I knew I'd be racing hard to the finish from the top of Windy Pass, but in no way had I expected to be in the lead. All 4 of us were within talking distance as we climbed up the pass, but nobody really said anything. The other three looked a little deflated after making that wrong turn, and I was beginning to wonder how I would ever get away from these guys. As soon as I crested and began my descent, I never looked back. Bombing the technical downhill, my feet kept trying to slide off the sandy trail. Fun shit. At the bottom, the trail entered the flat terrain of the Plains of Abraham. From here, it was smooth sailing to the next aid station. My legs kicked steady and strong, trying to push the pace to demoralize Joe a little bit. Two miles later at the 2nd aid station, my lead was extended to 2 minutes.
|Coming into Aid Station #2, the final aid station|
Aid Station 2 Split: 4 hours 35 min - 1st Place - 2 min in front of Joe - 4 min in front of Yassine and Brian
|You can see the Fear in my face. Thanks for the top-off Bryan!|
|I literally just took a piss before running around that corner.|
That would have been awkward. Photo by Takao Suzuki.
The final 2 miles. Reaching the junction with trail 244, I turned and glanced up at the rock field. Nobody. Am I going to win this thing? With 2 more miles of gradual downhill, it was cruise control. Since cramping was only an uphill issue, the only thing that worried me was rolling an ankle. Every now and then I would look over my shoulder, but it would have taken a massive effort for anybody to clear the lava rock field and chase me down. All I had to do was keep steady. A lot of things went through my mind, especially with everything that's happened this summer. How cinderalla is this? This one's for you, Todd W. Rounding the final corner, the cowbell started ringing.
Results: 6:03:54 - 1st out of 45 Finishers
Pace: ~11:15 min/mileEpic day. Racing around Mt. St. Helens was an unreal experience and extremely humbling. It's by far the most scenic and technical race I've ever done, and I really appreciate Trevor Hostetler and Todd Janssen for making it happen. The Volcanic 50 will no doubt become an instant classic in the Pacific Northwest, and it's rad to see so many out-of-state runners come to join the small race of 50 people for its inaugural year. That course wasn't easy on anybody, and everyone dug deep that day.
THANK YOU VOLUNTEERS AND FRIENDS who took the time to spend the day at the race. Having you around was incredibly uplifting, and it made the day even sweeter. Cheers!
Getting back my fitness over the last 2 months has been anything but routine. Volunteering at so many races in the Northwest allowed me to travel and break away from normality, and it provided a breathtaking escape from the monotony of running in my backyard. In the mountains, my spirit and endurance rediscovered the answer to the question of WHY. Why do I need this so much? It's one of those things where you don't realize what you have until you've lost it. Spending June/July off my feet was difficult for me on so many levels, but it was so incredibly necessary. Getting depressed was so incredibly necessary. Feeling the void was so incredibly necessary. For it's times like these where the little things in life become the big things, where you truly learn to appreciate every day for what it is. To be alive is amazing. To be able to make someone laugh and smile is amazing. To be able to say "I did the best I could with the time I had" is amazing.
This day was one of the proudest days of my life, not for how I placed, but for how I finished. Regardless of who was in front or behind me, I was going to run MY race and do a damn good job of it. Apparently, that was enough.
Brian is a badass. He fell and cracked his rib at the Toutle River crossing (first aid station), and finished the race in 2nd. I'm so impressed by that.
The day before the race, I filled up my hydrapak bladder in order to count how many mouthfuls of water it took to empty 2-liters of water. That way, I could keep track of how much water was in my bladder throughout the race. So as I was sucking and spitting water into the bathroom sink with the door wide open, one of my roommates walked by and we made eye contact. I then proceeded to explain "I'm counting how many mouthfuls it takes to empty my bladder". 3nonjoggers, that one's for you.
Thank you Friends, Thank you Family. You are my sunshine in good times and bad.
|My Saucony Peregrines, Drymax socks, and Dirty Girl Gaitors|