Where - White River Area of Mount Rainier
When - July 30th 2011
Course - 50 Miles, 8750 Elevation Gain (Though a garmin would probably list it at around 12K)
Calories Burned - Between 5000-6000
Calories Consumed - Between 2200-2700
Time through first 27.3 miles - 5 hrs 20 minutes
Time from 22.7 to finish - 6 hrs 20 minutes
|Who put these mountains here?|
From the above statistics you can probably guess where the wheels really started to come off. (Hint: I was finishing up a big downhill at the time) I probably wanted to drop around a half a dozen times...all throughout the second half of the race. The first thought of dropping occurred at Buck Creek after some extensive calf cramping on the descent had forced me to sit idle on the side of the trail while I waited for my seized up calves to quiet down. Just prior to Fawn Ridge I had told myself that my stomach was too wrecked and my legs were too shredded to go further yet after arriving at the aid station I realized that not only was it well within my physical capacity to continue forward, I actually wanted to keep going. This was due to equal parts a stubborn refusal to submit, a desire to see what was around the next corner, and because I found that being out their on the trails was just too much fun. These lows and highs became more frequent as the raced progressed which in my opinion is actually part of the appeal of these types of tests.
Start of race to Camp Sheppard - 3.7 miles (3.7)
We Started off in a mass start (all 300 of us) sans timing chips in the Buck Creek area near the Silver Springs Campground. The first half a mile was along a dirt road near the old air strip and served as a pleasant warm up before the course turned to almost exclusively single track with a little bit of double-track for the next 26 miles. Once the road section was over we followed a nice trail that headed out north along the white river towards the bridge to to the buck creek service road. From there we jumped on another quick section of trail that threw a few blow downs, some shotgun shells and beer cans at us before finally hopping over 410 and linking up with the white river trail to Camp Sheppard. This was a superb rolling section that lasted for about 2 miles before we blew past the aid station and started the ascent to Ranger Creek cabin. Luckily I still had plenty of fluids for the climb. I probably should have slowed down a bit on this section but I was having so much fun breezing through it that I just went with the pace. I could tell early on though that Danny was going to have a great day running...my day was still up in the air.
Camp Sheppard to Ranger Creek - 7.8 Miles (11.7)
If you haven't hiked the Palisades trail I highly recommend that you do so. You will have the pleasure of traveling on some of the most plush single track trail in the state while taking in views of waterfalls, the Mountain, other Mountains, creek crossings and of course you will be sheltered through most of it by the combination of newer and old growth forest. I kept up a good power Hike/Run Pace through this section but in the long run probably ran a bit too much. The EFS liquid shots that I was eating weren't tasting so good at this point. I was a little put off by this considering I still had about 40 miles to go over which I would need to consume about 2200 additional calories. I ended up losing Danny at this point as he was definitely having a good day. That was cool though, we each needed to run our own race.
Ranger Creek to Corral Pass - 5.2 Miles (16.9)
|Great Photo by Glenn Tachiyama|
Corral Pass to Ranger creek - 5.2 Miles (22.1)
This was the same section as that above only with the Mountain on the left and the Norse wilderness on the right. I made sure to say thanks to the Ultra Running Photographer Glenn Tachiyama as I made my way back. (He took some cool shots of everybody with the Mountain in the background...I'll be picking those up before I post this to my blog) More awesome views here but I could tell that I was already starting to lose control of my stomach.
Ranger Creek to Buck Creek - 5.1 Miles (27.2)
|Arriving at Buck Creek|
Buck Creek to Fawn Ridge - 4.5 Miles (31.7)
Another trip around the air strip and then on to the sun top trail. I was able to run about 2/3 of this despite my shot legs. After about 1.5 miles the trail just took off up the ridge towards the sun top lookout. This was an extremely brutal section. It was just too steep and it felt like I was going to pass out in quite a few places. My stomach was getting worse but my legs seemed okay...except for my brutalized calves. Fawn ridge was a welcome site. Nice Tropical themed aid station, filled with inflatable flowers, luau music and more helpful volunteers. I ended up eating some more fruit here and popped an electrolyte cap in an attempt to get my cramping under control.
Fawn Ridge to Sun Top - 5.3 Miles (37.0)
|This is a pictorial representation of how I felt|
Sun top to Skookum Flats - 6.4 miles (43.4)
|Even LOLCatz get cramps|
After what seemed like forever I got to the skookum flats section where my beautiful wife was waiting for me with some words of encouragement and a short kiss or two. I may have dropped at this point if she hadn't been there to give me a big shot in the arm. I tried to eat some more fruit, took some tums and another electrolyte cap, said by to Brandi and let her know that I would see her in about 1.5-2 hours as I ran/walked/hiked/shuffled and cramped my way through the skookum flats leg.
Skookum to Finish - 6.6 Miles (50.0)
|Still Smiling with 6.6 miles to go|
|11 hours 40 minutes later|
Recovery and Beyond?
|If he had trained me those checks wouldn't have bounced|
Here are a few more miscellaneous pictures below.
|Another great photo by Glenn Tachiyama. The sun was a bit of a nuisance here|
|The trails weren't closed like in Road Marathons|
|Drop bags...a runners lifeline|