So after a long lay off from racing the 2010 Way to Cool was my first race since 2009 Western States. The weather gods smiled on us with no rain, but it was COLD all day. The rain from the previous day had soaked an already waterlogged trail.
My training team looked set to go. Everyone was in a great mood and eager to try out the legs. With so much going on I had to listen to some pre-race music to clear my head. I think next go around I would rather support the team from the side lines than run the race. I kept thinking about them and what more I could say to help them on their journey.
My goals for the race were #1 best my 2009 time when a bonk had slowed me to a 4:52, #2 run 4:40-4:30. I knew the muddy conditions would slow things down, but I was feeling good about my training recently.
Start to Hwy 49
Ouch the cold made for funky legs; I was having a problem finding a rhythm on any terrain. I stuck to my plan and tried to not go out too fast. By the time we reached the turn to decent to Hwy 49 I was beginning to feel better/warmer. The trail was a muddy mess; it was going to be ugly out on the course I could tell. At Hwy 49 I was slower than 2009, not a good start.
Hwy 49 to ALT1
I have the normal pre-race rituals of most runners, eat, drink, and go to the bathroom (#2). I did all of these things so I knew I would not have an issue later in the race. WRONG, just after hitting the Quarry Road I needed to go #2, DAMMIT, more time lost. Thank god I know how to poo and go. Once I was back running I felt good. The climb to Brown Bar went well; I pushed a little to regain time but not too hard. Once on the single track I felt great and got into a great rhythm. When I found myself back with the runners I had been with at the pit stop I laid up a bit to eat/drink. Coming into ALT1 I was with my friends Kirk and Terry who I hoped to run with for the rest of the day.
ALT1 to ALT2
After ascending the hill out of ALT1 and eating I felt great so I just found my rhythm and went with it. I began to shadow John Nichols who knows the Dead Truck trail loop like the back of his hand. Just prior to Ball Bearing I was feeling good and running well. The swollen creek crossing was interesting; I figured some of the shorter runners would be swimming when they crossed it. Ball bearing went well I ran more of than in races past.
ALT2 to Browns Bar/Goat Hill
I was feeling a little tired heading out of ALT2, but when I tested the legs I still had legs, but a little tight. Just prior to Browns Bar I was having issues on the short rollers and I was beginning to have some IT band issues OUCH! I really started to slow down but I was ok with it, I just didn’t want to crater and walk the last part.
On the ascent to Goat Hill I got some twitches, a fellow runner was nice enough to give me some salt. I pooped them in and took a swig of my bottle, ooppsss not much water. On the final push to the Goat Hill aid station I noticed the salt pill was stuck in my throat. No problem I’m almost to the station. I quickly realized the pill was dissolving; I began to salivate a lot. Just as I entered the aid station I swallowed a mouthful of the ocean of spit the pill was creating in my mouth. This was when I learned a knew thing about ultra running, don’t swallow the salt pill induced mouthful of spit. I quickly assumed the position and BARF!!!!!! As always the first thing going on in mind was, more time lost SHIT! The old Ultra wisdom kicked in and I felt better after barfing. My bottle was ready and off I went, Ultra are so cool, it’s just barf and go, no time to feel bad.
Goat Hill to Finish
I hooked up with some guys and we set a good tempo on the way in. The legs felt like crap on any incline and the IT band would blow up a little, so I knew I would have some issues near the end. By Hwy 49 I just locked into a rhythm and got up the hill with my head down. Just as I came up to the finish I was about 20 sec from 5hrs. So I danced a little jig in the finish chute to finish on the button. Whereupon I was given a Montrail hoodie for being the 5hr finisher, NICE!
So I did not meet any of my goals but it was great day in crappy conditions. I later saw that everyone’s times were off so maybe I am getting fit.
Everyone in my training group finished with a smile on their face. It was an awesome experience to hang out and watch the finishes. Racing is way more fun with a group. By the end of the day I was re-charged to get back out and train.
My friend Melissa from the training team took a ton of photos; I will be posting some later.
Next up: AR50