Monday, May 30, 2011

Pocatello 50 Race Report - 4 in 1

The Pocatello 50. Three fabulous races (53 mile, 36 mile, 20 mile) on a course that has it all - snow, mud, bushwhack, streams and amazing scenery. A big thanks to Race Directors Jared and Ryan who did an amazing job, along with all the volunteers, to pull off a such a great event. Bravo!

Since most of the MRC ran Pocatello we decided to combine our respective reports into one post. So, while it may look like a super long race report it's really a bonus 4 in 1.

In summary:
50km: Jay Aldous
50 mile: Christian Johnson, Greg Norrander and Peter Lindgren

Jay's 50km Report:
Jay and Glenn on the start line.
My day was a bit of train wreck – but fun none-the-less. I wasn’t aware that the aid stations had been changed due to the snow. I went out fast with a single 20 oz bottle with plans to fill up at mile 9. From the start, I immediately pulled ahead of the other 50K runners. Right after the climb through the stream bed below Kinport, I caught Dakota Jones and passed him. By the aid station that was just over the top he had almost caught back up with me. Thinking there would be aid at mile 9 I ran through the aid station and opened it up hoping to not loose too much of my lead to the rest of the 50K runners who I knew were likely to be much faster downhill runners and would soon be reeling me in. When I got to the junction where I thought there would be aid at mile 9 and there was nothing, I knew I was in a pinch. My bottle was empty and I still had 6.5 miles until Mink Creek. I continued to push it figuring that slowing down wasn’t going to solve my problem. I was able to stay ahead of Dakota on the descent (that was the best part of my day – running as fast I could to stay in front of him) and was the first runner to arrive at Mink Creek. But, I was fried.... Coming out of Mink Creek I struggled on the climb. I drank heavily and refueled – but knew that it was going to be 30 minutes or so before the system felt good again. I dragged all the way to Scout camp with Dakota and 2 more 50 milers passing me. I didn’t bounce back as fast or as completely as I had hoped. I was super slow in the snow which was probably a function of my BAD ATTITUDE about snow more so than ability. Once I got out of the snow on the decent back to Mink Creek I started to feel better.
Jay heading of Mink Creek AS for the final 7 miles
During this descent Damian Stoy and Dominick Layfield passed me. While my legs felt good, I just didn’t have any gas to pursue them and just watched them slowly pull away. I was able to catch Dominick on the climb out of Mink Creek, but knew that once we crested and the descent started, it would be over – and it was with him quickly pulling away.So, a big lesson learned. Attend the pre-race meeting! And, there is a risk for cutting it close with hydration and fueling. Some good lessons learned!

Christian's 50 mile report: I had a few goals heading into this one, first I wanted to get a sub-10 hour time on this tough course and second I had to make sure I still felt good at the finish. Basically I was in need of a confidence booster ahead of Hardrock on July 8th and I got it. I ran much of the first 11 miles with Matt Hart until we hit the long downhill coming off the ridge, where he took off. I caught Jeremy Humphrey on this descent and rolled into City Creek feeling quite good at mile 17. On the climb out of City Creek I eased off the pace a bit, where Joelle Vaught passed me, but I was still able to run much of the trail until we hit the bushwhack/creek section. We were starting to catch 50km runners at this point and they were all really nice and encouraging as we dipped in and out of the snowy creek. Toward the top I caught sight of Matt and Joelle as I pushed just a bit to catch up to them. All three of us ran through the Kinport aid station together and as we started the descent I felt strong enough to take the lead. I really enjoyed the cruiser singletrack but after about 30 minutes I started to feel a little sluggish. I fully expected Matt and Joelle to pass me at this point but Matt was feeling a bit low as well. My wardrobe choice was a bit warm at this point so I started to plan out how I was going to switch into shorts and out of my Capro's. At the Mink Creek aid my lovely wife was there with supplies and shorts. I made the switch but I was passed by Matt and Joelle in the process. While I thought I was feeling a bit better, it soon became apparent that I was still struggling as I started up the long climb to Scout Mountain. The snow and mud became a little frustrating but I kept reminding myself that patience was the key, just keep it steady. Soon enough I heard a cowbell and saw Aaron Spurlock at the trail junction, he let me know it was only a mile down to the aid as I picked up the pace. The Scout Campground aid was a welcome sight with Roch Horton, Catherine and Karl Meltzer and David Hayes taking care of runners. I grabbed some coke, one of Karl's perogies and set out for the last 15 miles. The perogie took a little while to settle but when it did I felt fantastic. I rallied the descent back to Mink Creek but I was still caught by Jeremy as we hit the aid station for the final time.
Christian just before Mink Creek AS, mile 45
Betsy had me out of the aid station in no time at all with Jeremy right behind me and 7 miles to go. I remarked to him "let's finish this strong" and started running up the trail. I held a good solid pace to the left hand turn up Corral Creek and when I looked back I no longer saw him. At this point I thought I might be able to reel in Joelle or Matt but the only runners I caught were in the 50km. As the final descent started I focused on the sub-10 goal. I wasn't sure if it would be possible until I heard the traffic on the road at the bottom. Now I knew I would make it as I ran sub-8 min pace for the final 1.5 miles on pavement and crossed the line in 9:45, feeling like I could keep on going. With both my goals accomplished I couldn't have asked for more and I think the smile says it all.
Christian at the finish of the 50 mile
Peter's 50 mile report: When Christian called me Friday night to let me know that he had my race packet, and I hadn't yet left Salt Lake City, I knew was unprepared. Pre-race meeting?

We did enjoy dinner at home, which was less of a gamble than finding something in Po-Cat-a-Lo. We finally made it to Pocatello in a sideways rain. At 10 PM while my kids finished a swim in the hotel pool and I worked on a few clinic notes and called in lab orders for the following morning, I realized it was time to look at the course and aid stations. With the hotel pen and note paper I made a crude list of mileages, while nibbling on cheddar cheese popcorn left over from the Grand Canyon trip. (In the morning Christian gave me a nice laminated card of mileages and pace.)

In the end, it was liberating to have no drop bags, or a clue as to what was ahead. I just ran how I felt and tried to find my all-day pace. My lack of mileage was evident as my all-day pace was slow. You can't fake having not done the work. That said, I did well managing the day despite lack of preparation, and felt remarkably normal at the finish. I suspect that I would have been in a world of hurt had I tried to stay with Sandy White the last mile down the road. Always amazing to see someone with such speed at the end of a race. I guess that is what happens when you are racing the clock. Sandy nipped in under 11 hours.

Jay's pole carrying technique worked well.

Peter with a new pole carrying technique and Doritos. 11 chips (exactly what I could hold in both hands - go ahead and count them)- have 150 calories, 180 mg of sodium, and saved me from another sweet gel.
While I didn't see the previous course, the conditions from Greg's 2009 pictures looked much faster. Christian and Greg's times this year would have placed them 3rd and 4th overall in 2009. The strength of the field was astounding. A clear message that Jared and Ryan know how to put on a great race.

Greg's 50 mile report: I don't have much to add, my race was non eventful as usual. I too should have looked at the profile and map a little more closely.
Greg coming into City Creek AS
I passed a 3-4 people in the middle of the third leg then pushed really hard to make sure none of them came back at me. At the last aid station Ty Draney and I left at the same time, he took off running up hill and I chased him as hard as I could for 15 minutes staying 20ft behind him thinking he might blow up and bonk, all I managed to do was blow myself up! Before Ty left me behind for good I asked him how long the last loop was, he said 7 + miles, I finally pulled out the pace chart Christian had given me and realized Ty was correct I still had 5.5 miles and a stout 1,200 ft climb left, it was hard to get my head around that but I still managed to finish somewhat strong.
I really, really like this course, particularly the part on the second leg going up the small stream in the gully weaving in and out of the trees, you just can't find that type of route at your normal 50 mile trail race. The combination of fantastic mountains and wonderful people make this a very special race for me. Congratulations to everybody who towed the line in one of the three race distances. To link to the full results click here
Greg, relaxing at the finish.


jun said...

Fantastic report boys. Way to go, all of you.

Scott said...

Great report and races. Come on snow, melt already ;)

Cory Reese said...

Amazing job guys! Loved the race reports.

Erik said...

Fabulous runs all 4!!