Sunday, June 24, 2012

Wahsatch Steeplechase 2012

I haven't run the Wahsatch Steeplechase in many years but it stays close to my heart, it was my first trail run and I remember being blown away by the terrain and exposure up on Black Mountain. I also took some of my best early photos of trail running up on the crags in 2009. Even though I should have been out training or doing trail work I was determined this year to go back up and shoot some more photos on the crags. I'm glad I did, I had a great time cheering on the runners and seeing that look of fear and amazement of the rookie runners as they negotiated the crags for the first time. A big shout out to the great volunteers up on the ridge who spotted the two exposed sections of the route for 3 hours in the blowing wind.

I"ll be posting some of the photos from the race on my flickr site, I'll be posting a few more at Norrander Trails Shots

Silver City Ultras Race Report

Mile 23.5 - Photo Courtesy of Michael Lebowitz

I like being surprised! And sometimes, the best surprises are when you least expect them. The Silver City 50K was a race packed full of surprises…

The fact that I showed up for the Silver City 50K was a surprise. I’ve been racing every 2-3 weeks for the past several months and the last thing I needed was another race. Earlier in the week I visited Dr. Troy Gorman, the MRC team orthopedic specialist, for an achy right Achilles that has been bothering me for several months. Achilles tendonopthy was the diagnosis with rest, eccentric exercises, and nitro glycerin patches being the suggested treatment.  As I debated whether to race or not, I convinced myself that a good fast 50K with 7000 feet vertical climb might be just what I and my Achilles needed, before beginning the recommended therapy on Monday. I packed the car…

Arriving in Silver City began a series of surprises. First, what a beautiful place!  At an elevation of 6200 Silver City is a pleasant alpine surprise popping out of the high desert in Southwestern Idaho. Second, a roaring fire welcomed me as I arrived at the race start/camping area. I enjoyed meeting a number of Boise area runners and was able to put faces to names that I had seen on registration lists and race results. And, third, as I went to go to sleep in the back of my car, I discovered that I had forgotten a sleeping bag. Fortunately, the combination of emergency blanket, sweatshirt, towel and Ambien resulted in a reasonably good sleep.

The Silver City 100K racers were off at 5:00 am. I woke from my drug-induced sleep to the words "five, four, three, two, go!" on the PA system. For a brief moment I panicked, thinking that I had missed the start of my race.  I slept for another hour before enjoying a leisurely morning before the civilized 50K start time of 7:00 am.

My objective for this race was to have a brisk 50K training run in preparation for Leadville. I wanted to work on tempo, running strong uphill, and maintaining an even pace over the distance – the Silver City course appeared to be a good proxy for Leadville. But, as soon as the race started my tempered plans evaporated. The first two miles of the course are downhill and flat. For some reason I found myself running a 6 minute pace. I consciously knew it was silly and dumb – but I reveled in the fact that I could do it and get away with it. I couldn’t restrain the giggles at behaving so irrationally and wondering what the people behind me were thinking . At some level I realized today would be more about playing, than training…

Mile 12.5
Photo Courtesy of Michael Lebowitz
The climb to the top of Hayden Peak at 8400 feet did not disappoint. The trail from Silver City meandered through pine forests peppered with old mine ruins. There were several stream crossings. Once above the tree line the vistas were superb. I ran every step! The last bit of the climb to the top was an out-and-back and I was able to determine that I was approximately 9 minutes ahead of the second runner at 9 miles. I felt good, and was confident that baring any gross mistakes I could have a shot at winning.

For the next couple of hours I worked on tempo – running sub 8-minute miles on the flats – trying to stay under 11 or 12-minute miles on the climbs - pushing hard on the descents.  And, I daydreamed. This was perfect playful Leadville training.

Then, surprise! After reaching the Jordan Creek AS at mile 24, the trail quite literally, went straight up - 1500 vertical feet in about a mile.  I laughed as realized I should have paid more attention to the altitude profile map, and, that there was no running up this for me!  Though the climb was SLOW – it felt good to put it in 4-low and power hike. Then if that wasn’t enough, there were two additional 500-foot steep climbs over the last 8 miles. So much for my plan to run all the hills and finish under 5 hours.

I crossed the finish line of the 33-mile course in 5:19 having remained in first position all day. I was pleased with my time given the challenges of the course (the course was more difficult than I anticipated). It had been a perfect training run. And surprisingly, my Achilles felt just fine.

RD Davina Jackson
Photo Courtesy of Michael Lebowitz
At the finish I shared with co-RDs Emily Berriochoa and Davina Jackson how pleasantly surprised I was with the entire day - how scenic the course was, how well the course was marked, the quality of the aid stations and volunteers, how well the entire race was organized, AND, having cold chocolate milk at the finish! Kudos to Emily, Davina, and all the volunteers on a great race. And thanks to Michael Lebowitz at Long Run Picture Company for taking some great race photos.

Top 50K Finishers were:



Consider one of the Silver City Ultras (100K, 50K, 30K) for your 2013 race calendar -  and experience the Silver City surprise yourself!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Ultra Running Photographer - Greg Norrander

Greg Norrander - Photo Courtesy of Christian

I’ve had several people ask me recently, “who takes those great pictures on the MRC blog?” The answer - most of the pictures are taken by Greg Norrander.  And, Greg is the person who selects the image for the header that is generally rotated weekly.

In case you don’t know Greg, he is both a talented ultra-runner and photographer. Pick a local race and you’ll either find him racing (generally a top finisher), pacing someone, or taking pictures. When he’s not running, you’ll find him taking pictures of bike races, high school cross-country, or even fast cars and motorcycles on the Bonneville Salt Flats.

To see more of Greg’s pictures visit his public Flickr page. Enjoy….

Friday, June 15, 2012

Montrail Rogue Fly Review

A review of the Montrail Rogue Fly can be found on Matt Hart's website

Montrail Rouge Fly

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Pocatello 50 Mile Race Report (Christian)

There were many other titles I had in mind for this post such as "The good times are killing me" or "When you find yourself in hole - stop digging" and my favorite, "I can't fight this feeling anymore", but I decided to keep it simple for future reference and use these for the section titles instead.

Part I - The good times are killing me...

Arriving at the start I was really excited to start the race. My fitness level was higher than it had been the year before and I was confident I would have a good day. The added bonus was that it was the first time all five of MRC'rs would be in the same race together.
L-R, Jay, Christian, Peter, Greg (Erik was taking care of business) Photo: Darcie Gorman

Greg, Peter and Jay with the rainbow in the background.  Photo: Darcie Gorman 
As RD's Jared Campbell and Ryan McDermott sent us on our way there was a bit of thunder clap from a small storm passing by. I secretly wished for some rain to cool things down since it was already feeling quite warm. The mood felt quite serious up in the front group but no one was willing to really take charge and set the pace. Jay finally took the lead on to the singletrack and set a comfortable pace on first climb of the day. Within a couple miles the group was down to seven; Meltzer, Jay, Justin Yates, Matt Hart, Andy Dorais, myself and a guy from out of town named Craig.
The early miles felt very easy and struck up a conversation with Andy before we hit the first aid station. The group was still mostly together as we started the ridge climb with the exception of Justin who pulled out a slight lead. Once I hit the steep part of the climb I felt great and just tapped out a nice cadence that moved me up through the group. Near the top I felt an extremely sharp pain on my left foot and immediately thought I had been bit by snake. Turns out it was a cactus I had brushed by and the needles were sticking out of the shoe. I stopped to pull the needles out while cursing under my breath and then took off to catch back up to the group. The pain was still there and required a full stop with shoe and sock coming off. All I could think of was the time I was losing to everyone else, all 4 or 5 minutes, and how this stupid cactus was screwing up my perfect race. Well, in a sense it did because I started to push all the way from the ridge, through the City Creek aid station and up the next climb where I regained 4th place passing Andy and Craig at the top.

Part II - When you find yourself in a hole - stop digging. 

Next up was the cruiser descent to Midnight Creek at mile 25. I continued to reel in 50k runners and took note of how wet my arms looked from perspiration. The plan was to put down some solids at the aid station but I sort of forgot and had a cup of coke instead. The next climb didn't feel particularly hard but I certainly didn't have as much pep in my legs. I chalked it up to having already run 25+ miles. The section from the top of this little climb to the aid station is not very steep in sections so it requires a bit of effort to keep the pace up and that's exactly what I did. Somewhere through here I remember a small pain developing in abdomen area on the right side and being rather perplexed by it. I was about 2 miles out of the aid station when Joelle Vaught caught up to me followed by Erik. My thought at this point was to let them go and save something for the next big climb. We all entered the aid station within a minute of each other and Marge (Greg's wife) had me in and out in no time at all (Thanks Marge, you were awesome!). I took a red bull with me and drank most of it while Ben Lewis walked with me for a bit.
The beginning of this climb is very runnable and even though the pain was getting worse in my side I made myself a deal to run for 9 minutes and walk for 1. That worked for 3 intervals as I kept Erik in sight. The pain continued to get worse and became intolerable whenever I would try and run. Before long Greg passed me, who I was really stoked to see having such a great race, then Matt caught up to me as we came through the Scout aid station. I watched them both run away as I realized I was getting myself into trouble. I forced down some gel and continued to drink as I felt no nausea whatsoever. However, my energy was extremely low and every time I tried to jog the knife would jab me hard in the side.

Part III - I can't fight this feeling anymore.

Higher and higher we climbed Scout Mountain and even though I was moving slower than I wanted I continued to pass 50k and 20 mile runners. Then I tried to jog a flat section shortly before the summit and the side pain crippled me. Walking was the only option and with a long cruiser descent in front of me I was not very happy. I took 5 minutes at the top and sat down to at least enjoy the view, looking over the course from the high point. As I stumbled off the top I became light headed at which point I would have to stop or at least slow down so I wouldn't fall. Once I was down in the trees I mustered a jog for a few minutes before I suddenly became overwhelmed with nausea and dizziness. I desperately looked for a tree to lean on and then let everything out. Within a few minutes the scene was over and I sat down on the side of the trail to collect myself. For reasons I can't explain a song popped into my head at that moment. The really odd thing is I can't even remember the last time I heard the song, but the lyric kept repeating in my head.

How corny is that? I continued to stumble for what seemed line an eternity down to the last aid station, Big Fur, where I knew I was going to pull the plug. That was until I saw Roch Horton. He was putting me back together before I even sat down. But I was too far gone, puking again while I was in the aid station. Just after that Peter rolled in looking a little rough around the edges and took the seat next to me. Cheryl Meltzer showed up around the same time and the two of them coaxed me out of the chair for the final 5 miles, 4 up, 1 down.
The three of us set off down the road and within minutes it was pretty clear that I couldn't hold the pace. I had figured out that I hadn't processed any food or liquid for nearly 5 hours and while I wanted to finish, I just couldn't muster anything more than a stumble. Just then Peter slowed down and waited for me. I told him to just go on without me, but in reality I was hoping he would run it in with me. Peter refused to go on, telling me it would be "good time" to finish together. I was relieved and tried hard to keep moving forward but shortly before the top of the last climb I was dizzy again and had to sit in the shade for a few minutes. As terrible as I felt I shared the music lyric moment with Peter and we had a good laugh. Even though the bugs were swarming us and our legs were twitching from cramps I was happy right there in the shade with my friend.
We eventually stood up and stumbled the last 3 miles to the finish where everyone else jumped in to put us back together. I sat on the grass happy to be finished and grateful to have such great friends.

Thank you, you guys are the best.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Pocatello 50 Mile Race Report (Jay)

I have a love hate relationship with the Pocatello 50 Trail Race. The feelings of hate emanate from the toughness of the course, the weather (which inevitably seems to add some extra challenges), and that I always seem to show up a bit broken and tired – making completing the difficult 53 mile course feel a bit like a chore.

As for the love… Well, that comes from the beauty of course, the impeccable organization and logistics, and that the race draws a super cool crowd – many of whom I consider good friends. Despite my mixed feelings – the Pocatello 50 is not a race to miss.

I usually have quite specific goals for a race. Yet, when posed with the question, “What are you hoping to do at Pokey?” I really couldn’t answer the question. As I thought more about it, it seemed my motivations were to just be there and have fun.  Though, I did think I had the ability to run under 9 hours.

The race started at a conservative clip with nobody wanting to take the lead. My inexperience showed when I got suckered into leading the front group up the initial climb. So much for my plans to ride Karl Meltzer’s wheel for the first part of the race.

At Gibson Jack AS (mile 8.3) I was slow in filling my bottles and was now at the back of the 7-person pack. This was where I wanted to be. Our group of seven started to spread out as we power-hiked up the first big ascent of the race – with Justin Yates and Andy Dorias breaking away. I checked the compulsion to try and stay with them.
Justin and Andy topped the ridge first and would continue their lead through City Creek AS (mile 16.9).

I caught Andy shortly after the City Creek AS. Not too far after at Ruth Hara AS (thanks Evan Honeyfield for the GOOD advice to top off my bottles), Karl caught me and passed me. I hopped onto his wheel for the second big ascent of the race to the top of Kinport Peak Ridge. As we reached the ridge we could see Justin about 2 minutes ahead. Once we began to descend, Karl started to pull away. I knew that if I didn’t keep him in sight – he would be gone for the day. I pushed hard to keep my eyes on his back.

Karl and I caught Justin at Midnight AS (mile 25.9). Karl was first out with Justin and me close behind. Just as we crested the small saddle after the AS, Karl stopped to clean out his shoe. I think both Justin and I realized that while it was still early in the race, this was our opportunity. We picked up the pace.

The 6-mile descent from Midnight AS to Mink Creek AS (mile 32.5) gets me every year. I run it TOO fast and then end up paying for it. This year was not an exception. Marge Yee was waiting at Mink Creek and quickly had me on my way (thanks Marge). I had originally planned on swapping a single bottle waist belt and handheld for a Nathan hydration pack at Mink Creek. I debated whether this was a good decision – the ability to transition through aid stations more quickly vs. having more fluids. I opted for the bottles. Would I regret this decision?

Justin and I left the aid station together. Immediately, the heat hit me like a hammer. My heart rate was elevated. My legs were weak. I felt a bit lightheaded. Once again, I had run the descent too hard and would now pay for it. Despite feeling wrecked, I could tell Justin felt no better. The next miles were weird. It was like I was in an alternative reality. Justin was clearly struggling, and intellectually I new this was my chance. Yet, I couldn’t muster any more speed. Justin kept glancing back at me and I was sure he was thinking, “this is my chance to drop this guy,” but he couldn’t muster any more speed either. It was like we were both stuck in a slow motion vortex in the midst of a sea of energetic, chatty and cheerful 20-mile runners who had just started their race minutes before we left the Mink Creek AS.

I just couldn’t rally. I knew I should be able to run most of the ascent to Scout Mountain – even if I was tired. Yet, I kept letting myself walk – justifying it because I could see Justin walking ahead – but hating myself for it. I drank both my bottles and had a couple of gels thinking that perhaps nutrition would allow my to escape the vortex. I still dragged. I waited for Karl to blow by me…

Justin and I left South Scout AS (mile 38) together. He seemed to have finally found his legs and started to pull away. I was feeling better too, but was unable to climb as fast as I wanted, or was necessary to stay with him. While still low on gas, once I reached the top of Scout Mountain I was able to pick-up the turnover. I was perplexed as to why I couldn’t see Karl or any of the other lead runners behind me. Perhaps they had struggled on the climb to Scout Mountain as well??

At the top of Scout Mountain I realized that I could possibly place second if I just kept moving. I pushed hard to Big Fur AS (47.1) where I learned that Justin was 14 minutes ahead. He had rallied! I was super dry having depleted both of my bottles by the top of Scout Mountain and knew I needed to drink heavily even though only six miles remained. I took the time to down about 12 oz of Coke (thanks Evan for letting me use your personal cup – very kind!) and immediately felt much better.

It was at this point that I looked at my watch for the first time in the race and realized that I was going to be able to break 9 hours. It was a real surprise given how slow the last 15 miles had been for me. I was stoked and began to run down the road with newfound energy (and some high fructose corn syrup entering my bloodstream). I glanced back several times to check if Karl was behind me. No Karl in sight!

I worked my way over the Nordic Center hump cursing Jared and Ryan for adding one last climb to the race.  I was excited to be on the home stretch and was looking forward to getting out of the sun and heat. Then suddenly out of nowhere I heard a runner. I glanced back and there was Karl. He blew by me just as fast as he appeared, inviting me to stay with him.  I picked up my pace and kept on his shoulder for about 100 yards, but I just didn’t have the leg speed or spunk to race him. I let him go and watched his back for the final mile and quarter!

I finished in 8:42:43, 36 seconds behind Karl and 7 minutes behind Justin (8:35:50). While I was not happy about getting passed in the last mile of the race, I was pleased with my time. But most importantly, as I had wanted – I had fun!

Congratulations to Justin for running a great first 50 miler. Karl – next time dude! And, a big shout-out to Jared, Ryan and Luke and all the volunteers for such a well organized and run race. Thanks for letting us runners have so much fun!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Pocatello 50 Mile Race Report ( Erik)

When Jared first announced his intentions of putting together the Pocatello 50 back in 2009, I knew it was a race that had to be done. Unfortunately, the first three years were on Memorial Day weekend, which is family vacation time, so I was excited to see that this year I would be able to get it in the schedule!

Driving up to the race with Jason Berry and Pete Stoughton, I felt unusually relaxed. I knew that the race would be hard, of that there was no doubt, but never having run it before, and with some talented runners signed up, I felt that the best strategy was to not stress about anything and see what happens. My main apprehension was my left rectus femoris (hip flexor). Two weeks ago, I was forced to drop out of the Zions 50 at mile 28 due to a sudden and acute flare-up of this muscle. Thanks to ice, rest, and some anti-inflammatories, my leg felt great, but would it hold up over 53 brutal miles?

My preparations were to look over the course description, prepare a small mileage chart/map (Thanks Christian), and get a good night sleep (after eating a bag of peanut M&M’s). No drop bags, no complicated calculation of anticipated splits. I woke up feeling very well rested, ate a PB&H sandwich, applied appropriate band-aids and lubricants, and chatted with friends who were waiting to start running. As we gathered at the start, thunder started to rumble from up canyon and then a beautiful double rainbow appeared just above the start line. I hoped it was a good omen of the day to come!

To summarize, it was a GREAT day, on a HARD course, and it was HOT. I ran with Peter and Greg for the first few miles, then ran by myself and took a Cat IV fall that is still bugging my hip as I write this. I slowly caught up to Joelle Vaught and Cody Draper on the descent to Gibson Jack, watched Joelle effortlessly pull away on the gentle climb as we left the aid station, and then I closed the gap once the first big climb started. This would be a familiar story throughout the day. On the descent to Mink Creek I caught up to Matt Hart and we ran together for a while. I clearly remember thinking -and commenting to Matt- that 26 miles was a good run and I’d be content to be done for the day, having seen some amazing new country. Luckily that thought didn’t last too long, and I pulled away from Matt who had hit a low spot, and ended up passing Andy and Christian on the descent as well. Christian said something about a stitch in his side and having to pull cactus spines out of his foot, but I was a little foggy at this point and don’t remember much more than that. I was surprised to find myself in 5th place at Mink Creek, thinking that I should have been more like 10th or 12th. I left with two bottles full of ice and HEED and a popsicle and started the long trek up to Scout. I wanted to run, but the heat was pretty oppressive and so I thought I’d power hike and see where that got me. Cody had been running well uphill all day, and sure enough, he came trotting by me just before the Scout Mtn aid station. That motivated me a little bit, and I did what I could to keep him in sight. A couple minutes after Scout Mtn, Greg came trotting by me like I was standing still. He looked fresh and strong and I was psyched that he was doing so well. I don’t like getting caught in a race, but in this case, I was truly happy to see Greg do it. I continued a power hike all the way to the top of Scout Mtn, putting some distance on Cody, but losing sight of Greg as he kept his steady trot going, then Matt Hart came bouncing by like he had just started the race. I don’t know how he does it, but it’s not the first time he’s come out of a low spot to pass me and have a spectacular finish. Coming down Scout, to Big Fir, my quads and the top of my left foot (anterior tibialis) really started to scream and my mental energy started to flag. Just when I needed it most, I saw Joelle through the trees and I found a new gear. It was hot and exposed through this section, I was out of water, and I could feel my heart hammering more than normal, but I figured if I was going to catch her, it had to be now. I caught and passed Joelle a couple miles before Big Fir AS and managed to increase the gap by a couple minutes. At Big Fir, Roch and Chad misted me and had cold wash cloths. Awesome!! Thanks guys. I downed a Red Bull (the only time it ever tastes good), filled my bottles with ice and took off with instructions from Roch that it was 4 miles of downhill, followed by a climb for the final mile. 1 ½ miles down the road, the course went through the Nordic Center and started to climb, and climb some more, and then some more. What the…? I cursed Roch many times over the next 2 miles. As I was cresting the last climb I looked behind me and saw Cody 100 yards behind. That’s what I get for walking and now I had to RUN! That last 1 ½ miles hurt. Bad. And then it was over.

The rainbow at the start of the race was indeed a good omen. I ran in some of the prettiest mountains I’ve been in, met and ran with friends new and old, never had a stomach issue (unheard of for me), never for a moment wondered if I was off course ( again, unheard of) and learned new things about myself and what I’m able to push myself to.

Thanks Jared, Ryan, Luke and all the other volunteers for putting on one of the best organized races I’ve ever been to. I’ll be back again, for sure!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Pocatello 50 mile race report (Greg)

Going into Pocatello 50 I was unsure on how fit I was to run a fast mountain ultra. My training had been a mixed bag of good and poor results, one week feeling great setting P.R. on training runs the next week feeling slow and out classed by the growing pool of local talented ultra runners. Doing training runs with the rest of the MRC crew plus other local talent like Karl Meltzer, Ben Lewis, Matt Hart, Meghan Woolley and Mick Jurnyec to name just a few makes you a better runner but it can also make you feel slow. It seems like all the local runners regardless of age and ability seem to get faster and smarter every year. I have been trying to hang on for the ride and hopefully get a little smarter and faster myself.

Peter, Erik and I ran the first mile together with Peter setting a perfect pace to start the first climb after a short road section The weather was warm and muggy for a 6:00 am start but it felt really good to me though it made me worried on how hot it would be later in the day. Eventually Erik started to pull ahead and I tried to match his speed but soon realized he was moving to fast for me. I settled into a nice pace running between two groups of people which was perfect because I could run my own race but could also get a sense of my pace by catching glimpses of the runners behind and ahead me. The wild flowers were out and the trail was in stellar condition. A perfect morning with the sun rising over the town of Pocatello in the distance.

The first major climb coming out of the Gibson Jack aid station at mile 9 I took what felt to be slow pace and managed to get down 300 calories while climbing, this is something I tried to do all day, climb quickly but at a level were I could drink and take in calories. I used a flask for the first time and I think it really helped me take in more calories than usual, I would guess I was consuming 400 calories per hour for most of the race. I came into City Creek Aid station mile 18 at 2:50 in about 12th place, I could see Peter just 2 minutes behind looking strong.

Out of City Creek I felt really strong and probably pushed a little too hard. The trail climbing beside, over and around City Creek is for lack of a better word “fun”. The trail shaded and cool with the refreshing creek next to it is awesome and with good tunes on the shuffle it was easy to forget I was racing, it felt more like a weekend training run. After the short but very steep climb up to the ridge I passed 3-4 runners and pushed the pace on the rolling down hill as I headed into Mink Creek. 3 miles before M.C. A.S. the heat started to get to me. I started to stop at the creeks soaking my hat and splashing water on my face and chest. I really believe this help save my race, I was able to dramatically drop my body temperature though I must have looked like a complete goof coming into Mink Creek Aid Station soaked from head to toe, though the way I sweat I look like a goof most of the time anyway.

Marge as usual got me in and out of the aid station quickly, as I left I thought I had a good chance of running a strong final 20 miles. I started playing mind games with myself on the long climb leaving the aid station, I would talk myself into running to the next flag promising myself I could then walk for 10 minutes, I would walk for just 1-2 minutes than play the game again. I passed Matt Hart who was moving slow but other wise looked good, next was Christian who was having stomach issues but otherwise also looked okay. I came into Scout Mtn. Aid feeling tired from the gentle but never ending climb.  Luke Nelson took care of me, gave me a update on who was ahead of me and how far the lead runners were. I was 20-25 minutes behind the leaders and 30 seconds behind Erik. This gave me motivation to keep pushing hard to try to catch Erik, and I did, though it took me 5-10 minutes to make up those 30 seconds.  Erik was moving well but I was running the hills just slightly better. We didn't say much to each other, we both had our heads down trying to get ourselves up the rolling climbs and there wasn't much to say anyway. We passed the 3 crazy fans out in the middle of no where who gave us all high fives and lifted our spirits as we ground our way up to the top of Scout Mtn. I looked back about 1 mile from the top and Erik was just 2-3 minutes behind me.

On the the steep descent off Scout Mountain I realized my quads were shot and at risk of locking up. I was moving well and had lots of energy but my legs had a mind of their own and were only going to move so fast.  Just before Big Fir Aid at mile 47 Matt Hart passed by me moving very well, though I was bummed to loose 4th place I was happy to see Matt rally back and run so strong, boy can that guy pound the down the hills! (I also heard later he ran the whole uphill from Scout Mtn Aid to the top of Scout Mountain). Big Fir Aid station was awesome with cold towels and water misters, I sprinted out feeling good knowing I only had 6 miles to go to the finish.

I ran the last section fairly strong, no drama just a steady and consistent pace to try to hold my position. I finished in 5th place with a time of 9:18. This is way better than I thought I would do and it was great to have a race come together that turned out so well. Thanks to everybody associated with the race, the trail markings, aid stations and volunteers were absolutely perfect. If you haven't done this race you should, put it on your list.