Monday, January 12, 2009

Bridle Trails (!!!)

Oh man, I'm fairly confident that I'm unable to fully express how grand a time I had Saturday afternoon/evening, but, for the blog's sake, I'll try...

Around 2:40pm I arrived on the (way) outskirts of Bridle Trails state park in Kirkland, the 50K start would be at 3:10pm, so I had just about the perfect amount of time to get signed in, use the facilities, find a spot for my drop bag, and say 'hi' to any one I recognized (and be introduced to some new folks as well). Long before the race started I became aware that I had failed as far as preparation was concerned. Right out of the car in dawned on me that I had forgotten gloves of any sort, when I got to the drop bag location it occurred to me that the top I had on would be too warm under my water proof jacket but, of course, it was raining, so it was either, too warm but dry or comfortable but wet. I ended up running the race with cold hands and a (very) wet top.

(Just arrived at the finish -preparing to be cold)

Despite the the poor prep, there I was, ready to run. The run began with a conga line that lasted the first quarter mile or so, there was a wee amount of mud but nothing that lived up to this run's reputation. Right at about the point where the real running could begin came the first instance of mud, this put a big halt in the trail as some tried to make their way around the puddles, taking the opportunity, I went through the mud and past a few folks. The rest of the first lap was spent (probably) going a bit too fast and chatting with Thomas Tan. At the end of the first lap, I stopped and used the rest room (how odd to use a rest room on a trail run), grabber my (useless) head lamp and flashlight, and headed back out while eating a Gu. Just as I got away from the aid station, on to the trail, I realized I really should have eaten my Gu while there were trash cans around, with no real pockets for trash I did the next logical thing, I toke off my hat, set the wrapper on top my head and put my cap back on. It was about this time I had a brief meet and greet with 'Marty' that turned into 4 and a half solid loops.

(Fun in the mud!)

Marty is an RN in the real world, but in this context he is and an adventure racer who had run an ultra in ages, together he and I ran through the dark until on the 5th loop we were joined by 'Doug.' Doug is a former snowboard designer for Burton turned Doctor by way of the Army, having served almost 4 years at Fort Lewis (where he is currently stationed) we had some common ground and were able to chat as well. The 3 of us stuck together the entire 5th loop and the beginning of the final loop, at the aid station Marty was joined by another adventure racing buddy of his who planned on pacing (?) him. Slowly, as the first couple miles past, Doug fell further and further behind us and somewhere around 3 to 3 and a half miles I lost sight of Marty and his pacer friend. It was odd to be out on the trails on my lonesome after 25 odd miles of conversation, but it was nice in it's own way, sort of a chance to reflect before I had even finished. I decided that the final stretch of trail wasn't going to slow me down, since I hadn't felt any sort of bonk yet, I'd just give what I had and see where that got me. In the end, I believe I only finished about 5 minutes behind Marty and his pacer, with a 5:17:46. For all the horror stories I had heard about this race I was thrilled with my time (not far off from my standard 50K time) and I was happy to have finished strong without feeling like I had ever quit.

(Yup- the mud can make it through shoes and socks, no problem!)

At the finish I came to find my drop bag soaking wet (my fault - no one elses) and it's contents, including my 'dry' pants and hooded sweatshirt, in the same shape. I grabbed my camera took a few pics (and had a few taken), snagged some ramen noodles, said a few good-byes, and headed to the comfort of my warm car (waaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyy down the road ;-) . When I got to the car, I put the heat on full blast, took off my soaking shirt, and wrapped up in an REI towel my wonderful wife had gotten me for christmas, though not yet warm, I was well on my way. I called my wife and headed home. Due to a little more poor planning (yup - there was plenty of it), I was unable to get my ice bath at the end of the night and am definitely feeling those results now, but other wise recovery is going well as usual and I'm looking forward to the Capitol Peak Mega Fat Ass!

1 comment:

*tc said...

Nic, I don't know how you puddle jumpers do it. You and Shawn ran about the same times you did at the Ghost 50K (flat road), and yet I added over 1.5 hours. As I said out there on the trail, I suck at night time running, runing in rain, and especially in mud. Despite all that, I had fun running out there the entire time by myself.

For future mal-preped races, you can use socks as mittens, and you could have run with you jacket and no shirt. Those are personal decisions but I just thought I'd suggest in case you hadn't thought about it.