Thursday, August 2, 2012

White River 50 Mile Race Report

Mount Rainer

Its 2 o'clock in the afternoon, I have just woken up from a hour and half nap that was supposed to be forty five minutes. I'm thinking of all the things I should be doing instead of laying around in bed. Fortunately I did get a wonderful early morning 17 mile long run with Peter. We did one of our favorite loops starting at Church Fork, running up Bowman, then back on the Desolation Trail. The flowers were out and the trail was in great shape, we talked about everything from restaurants to good books, our families and life in general. At the end of the run Peter was headed off to the O.R. show, I said I needed to do yard work and finish a race report, but wasn't excited about posting a report because my races always seem so boring, nothing ever happens to me and I'm never racing for the win. So I have decided to keep this short and random.

The White River 50 is a large and competitive 50 mile race in Washington State. It has been a northwest classic since 1993. This year 325 people towed the line with maybe 25-40 of those choosing the early start. There was runners from Poland, Vietnam, Switzerland, New Zealand and of course all over the U.S. The course consist of 43 miles of cushy, wonderful, lovely, awesome you name it single track trails with a long, boring make your joints hurt 6.5 mile dirt road section being the only back to reality part of the course coming off Sun Top Mountain. The previous course record was 6:25 by Tony Krupicka in 2010, so even though the course has 8,700 vertical feet of gain it is obviously a very fast runnable course.

One of the highlights from my race is I almost hit a cow elk driving to the race start. I was driving with my friend Ryan Swan and a guy named Ken who we had just met who needed a ride to the start of the race. As we continued on Ken says from the back seat "Holy Cow that was close!" I thought he was making a joke like holy cow as in the elk was a cow. Turns out he just didn't want to swear in front of me , thought I might be Mormon because I was from S.L.C. and didn't want to offend me. Like I said not much happens to me during these races.

View from Sun Top Mountain

Decent Trail from Ranger Creek Cabin Aid Station

My goal for the race was to go under 8 hours and try to place in the top 20. I had a nice text exchange with Jay the night before the race and he has a great way of making you feel faster than you are so I a lined up with the other 300 starters working my way to the front which made me feel a bit arrogant and presumptuous but I didn't want to get stuck behind slower people as I knew we would be on single track trail after a very short 1/4 dirt road section. I did a pretty good job, getting myself somewhere in the top 30, and while I didn't get myself stuck behind a slow person I did get myself behind a girl who was way over her head. My guess is her heart rate was running about 180 bpm, she was rolling ankles like Sugar Ray used to throw punches. I kept thinking oh this is going to turn out bad, should I tell her to slow down and relax a little? no I told myself you'll come off as a know it all jerk, just pass her, which I did, then I had to pee. So once again ankles rolls are flying, heart rate is now most likely up too 190 bpm, then thankfully the first climb started, finally a smooth pass. Good news is the girl did finish the race, though her ankles must have been very sore.

Skookum Flats Trail, last 6 miles of the race
So the short of it is I finished the race in 15th place, my time was 7:55. I had a great time chasing runners and being chased the last 6 miles of the race which made the finish line come much quicker than usual. I am really happy with the result and am looking forward to returning to see if I can shave off another 20-30 minutes or so now that I know the course. Local runner Dan Barnett had a solid race, finishing in just under 10 hours. I saw Dan a 1/2 mile from the finish and he was looking strong and happy. My friend Ryan Swan finished the race, this was Ryan's first attempt at 50 miles and he did great. He made a few minor fueling mistakes that cost him time but he finished with a great attitude and a smile on his face. I'm so impressed with Ryan, he is one of the most talented athletes I have ever known (if you saw him ski you would know why I think this) but ultra trail running has been one sport that he has really had to work at. Ryan trained very hard for his first 50 mile finish and I have no doubt with more training and time he'll get his first 100 mile finish if he chooses to do so.

Sage Canaday was first place overall in C.R. time of 6:16!, Ellie Greenwood was first women in a time of 7:40. 275 people finished out of 325 starters. Results can been seen here , pictures from the race on Glenn Tachiyama's site here. If you get a chance go do this race, you will not be disappointed.


Jay said...

This looks like a great race - from both the description and the pictures. Pacific Northwest road trip in 2013??

Nick Sourlos said...

Fun read...thanks for posting.

JimM said...

Greg say what you want and then take a look at the photos you took. I think a lot happens when you are out on the trail. Great write up.

Christian said...

Solid run Greg, very impressive. Sounds like a race I should go check out.

LEWIS said...

Another solid run for you this year Greg! Way to go! Thanks for the writeup.

Awake My Sole said...

wonderful pics. thanks for sharing your trail pics. Look forward to following your blog from Iowa.