Thursday, April 5, 2012

What is a Chuckanut?

A season that started off with a whimper ended up delivering in a pretty big way over the past few weekends. Chuckanut 50K, Gorge Waterfalls 50K, and then a pretty fun 21 miler in Cougar last weekend have me feeling pretty confident heading into my last 4 weeks of training before my first big test of the season...the Miwok 100k. Before we get to that though... /sarcasm I'll offer some exciting commentary on my two 50K efforts last month. /sarcasm

Chuckanut 50K

Smiling my way up Chinscraper.
Photo by Win Van Pelt
What is a Chuckanut anyway? Kudo's to anybody who can figure this out without an internet search.  I personally had to look it up, which as you may have guessed sent me to a wikipedia page that I just assumed was accurate. I'm not going to tell you what it means though. Think of it as a Scavenger hunt that you can figure out and finish in about 3 seconds. In any event, there is a Drive named Chuckanut Drive and there is a mountain named Chuckanut mountain. Thankfully the 50K took place on the later rather than the former. I did one 50K on the road and I don't care to ever experience that again. (Though I'm stupid enough to where I'll probably end up doing it tomorrow just to spite myself)

Rocking the manpris
In any event, Chuckanut attracted a super fast crowd, which can probably be attributed to the tireless efforts of the race directory, and ultrarunner elite, Krissy Moehl. (Pronounced apparently I've been mispronouncing it for...awhile) I knew my ultrasignup percentage was shot when I saw the front runners take off like a bunch of greyhounds chasing after fake jack rabbits. Max King was on his way to finishing the 31.5-32 mile race in a blistering 3:30 when he decided that he needed more mileage and took a wrong turn. The dude is too fast...I hear he can outrun Emu's. In any event...he ended up finishing in 4:30 after running an extra 4+ miles. Adam Campbell, a super fast guy from Victoria BC ended up out sprinting the crazy field on the Interurban trail and took top male honors while Ellie Greenwood destroyed all the women (And most of the Men) and won the female division handily.

I was pretty stoked with my own performance, but as stated above you wouldn't notice any improvement based on my time vs. that of the elites. Sure I keep getting faster....but the elites seem to keep getting faster by a larger percentage. I didn't think that was possible. I figured I was untalented enough to where I would be able to make huge improvements where as the fast dudes would make these tiny incremental ones..apparently that's not the case. In any event, I finished 31.6 miles with around 5K feet of elevation gain in 5:20. I was aiming for sub 5 hour but with the rain and snow making for some slick conditions I was slowed down a bit too much on the awesome chuckanut ridge trail and had to settle for my slower but still completely satisfactory time.

Gorge Waterfalls 50K

What a week the race director had leading up to this race. Trail work issues, snow issues, a flat tire and a bunch of other challenges had to be overcome just to get the registered entrants on the course. Big hats off to James Varner for pulling off a great race in spite of all the issues. After four course changes in a week we ended up running an out and back that allowed us to pass by all 1 million waterfalls twice in about 29 total miles. (For a total of 2 million waterfall viewings in a little less than 50K) That is a waterfall sighting every inch traveled. I really like waterfalls...but after a few thousand they all start to look the same. 

One Hundred Billion Waterfalls!
Okay so maybe there weren't 2 million waterfall sightings...probably closer to 20-30, which is still impressive. The gorge is one of the most...gorgeous places in the country and I'd highly recommend taking a trip out there if you get a chance. Sadly I don't have any pictures as I was too busy trying to run at a marginally fast pace. Max King, the dude that took a wrong turn at Chuckanut, redeemed himself putting in a stellar 3:19, crushing the field in the process. (And it was another pretty stacked field on the men's side) The women's field was a little bit less competitive but there were still some fast women, one of which was Jenn Shelton, of Born to Run fame. I ended up seeing her at the mile 14 aid station after she had already made the turnaround and was coming back.

So I wanted to break 5 hours in one of these races and it turns out I did just that at Gorge with a 4:50 time. This deserves an asterisk though as the course itself was a little short on distance. (But not short on elevation...there was 6K+ vertical feet of climbing in those 29 miles) What's even crazier though is that I didn't even taper for this race or Chuckanut for that matter. The week prior I ended up with 63 total miles and the week of Gorge I ended up with 71. Both of those are pretty respectable weekly totals for me and I'm a little confused on what all this means. Perhaps it just means that 50K isn't that far for me anymore, or maybe it means that tapering is unnecessary. I hope it's both...I like running far and subsequently hate not running so this would be a big revelation for me.

To Miwok and Beyond

Man this season is flying. Maybe that has something to do with scheduling two races in 8 days. Though that was fun I doubt I will be doing it again anytime soon. Logistically it is kind of a pain and even though the races are pretty cheap they cost still adds up. I have access to some pretty awesome trails close to Seattle so it doesn't really make a whole lot of sense for me to pay somebody for a fun run every weekend when I can just head out with a few friends and take a leisurely 20-30 mile stroll through the local wilderness. After taking 4 days off following Gorge due to some muscle soreness (Who knew running up and over mountains was hard?) and a slight shin issue I jumped back into the deep end with a fun filled 21 mile trek around Cougar last Saturday with Danny Currit. We decided to go up and down as much as possible, which lead to a bit of pain towards the end of the run. I also thought it would be good to eat some dirt early on in the run, it turns out it doesn't taste very good and has a tendency to hurt ones knees if fell upon with any decent amount of force.

One last long run until I start to take it a bit easier leading in to Miwok. I have no idea what I'll be able to do there but figure if I pace myself well, keep the calories steady and stay hydrated I should be able to break 12 hours. Ideally I'd like to come in under 11 but that would probably take some sort of miracle. After that...well more training.

Oh and wasn't I supposed to brew some beer at some point? If these guys read this blog they'd be pretty upset...

Where is the beer eh?

No comments:

Post a Comment