Sunday, May 26, 2013

Mazama 5/10k Results

Josie rockin' the 1k, her second in two weeks! Photo by Eric Purpus.

Thank you to everyone who participated in our first Mazama 1/5/10k! A huge shout out to our volunteers and our sponsors who made it possible. Including the 1k we had over 250 runners. It was a blast to see the wide range of ages come out to run.

Results for the 5 and 10k can be found here. Please let us know if there are any problems. We tried to snag anyone who we couldn't see the bib number, but if you were in a group, we may have missed you.

Stay tuned for some photos from Mitchell Image.

Our next event is a 2.5 mile hill climb in November. We hope you'll join us!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Sun Mountain 50k

I hate writing about bad races. I didn't even blog about my good race last month, so why acknowledge this one? Though it's never fun talking about a less than stellar time, one learns much more from bad races than good. So, in an attempt to forget about the day and move on learn from experience and maintain positivity, here goes...

Local races are a bit weird for me. It's hard to have the same level of anticipation when the course is on trails I run frequently and I didn't to travel anywhere or camp at the start. Because the race starts at a quite leisurely (by ultra standards) 10am, I got lots of sleep and awoke to a beautiful, slightly breezy day. One huge benefit of a later start is I'm able to have my daily latte and still have time for the milk to digest. I enjoyed my latte, made some fresh carrot, apple, ginger and rhubarb juice (I was dubious when Sam suggested it, but the rhubarb added a nice tang and balanced out the sweetness of the carrot. I highly recommend it) and had my standard pre-race meal of oatmeal. We left in plenty of time, so we got to Sun Mountain with time to mosey down to the start from the overflow parking area and chat with running friends before watching the kids' race.
Before the race, feeling good.

The 25k and 50k share much of the first half of the race and with about 300 runners, I knew I wanted to go a little hard at the beginning to get in a good spot before hitting the singletrack along Patterson Lake. I ran with Caitlin Gregg for a bit but was relieved when she went by, given that she was doing the 25k and is a much stronger uphill runner than I (those skiers and their uphill abilities!). My goal was to run the long climb up to Thompson Ridge in a sustained manner. Each time I run this race, whether it's the 25k or the 50k, the climb seems neverending and I go beyond my limits. I felt pretty good and was happy to be able to run the entire thing. While I wasn't hating the climb, I was still glad to see The Methow Valley Nordic Team dolling out watermelon (my absolute favorite race food) and cheers. Everyone knew me, so I got a huge boost from all the encouragement. Thanks, guys! I just had a little more climbing to go before my favorite downhill of the entire Sun Mountain trail system. I hiked the really steep part before the descent, and let myself go on the down. Then, I started to feel my right knee. I love running downhill and in ten years of ultrarunning, I've never felt my knees.

The past couple of weeks have been crazy busy. After my fun Women's Trail Running and Yoga Retreat I immediately drove to Port Townsend to teach my sports massage class. I came back for more work, then drove back over to finish the class, did some VO2 max testing (a blog to follow), and back over here to work and launch my modelling career (yeah, right) with some photo shoots for Sun Mountain Lodge. And do this race. Just writing all that makes me tired. I mention all this not so much as an excuse, but as a reminder that I can only do so much. My tendency is to get sick when I have too much on my plate, so my big goal was to stay healthy during this silly busy time. I managed to do that, but it should come as no surprise that I was unable to train as I would have liked, and while all the things going on are great and add a lot to my life, something has to give. Running gave. So, as I'm running down the trail in slight pain (nothing devastating but I could tell it wasn't something that would go away), I had two options: ignore it, slow down and run for several more hours and likely have to take some time off from training while it settles down; or stop. With Speedgoat 50k as my key race this year, it was an annoying but relatively easy choice. While I love Sun Mountain and James' races, this race didn't matter in the grand scheme: I decided to run it as a gauge of how everything is going so far. And what a gauge it was. I now know exactly what I need to do to have a successful race in July and can get right back to training in a day or two. As for my knee, it's sore on my weaker side, and I know what to do to get that to respond as well.

On a positive note, thanks to my sponsors, La Sportiva and Goat's Beard for getting me to the start line. The new La Sportiva shorts are AMAZING! I've never been a tight-short type person, but I've converted. They have perfect mesh pockets on the sides for gel and are oh so comfortable. Goat's Beard, in itty-bitty Mazama, has a great selection of Sportivas as well as pretty much everything else you could possibly want for running, climbing, back country skiing, all with a friendly smile. Check it out and grab a tasty treat at the Mazama Store on your way back over the mountains. Additionally, a big thank you to James and Candice of Rainshadow Running, who put on a top-notch event as usual. The pizza, beer, soda, lounging, and well-marked trails were much appreciated. If you've never run trail races before, theirs are top-notch. If you're not yet up to ultra distances, Candice hosts the Bellingham Trail Running Series, comprised of shorter distance runs with the same great party after each race. Finally, it's always great to see familiar faces at these races. I love the trail running community and even with a bad race, it's a fun day.

So while the race didn't go as I wanted, it served its purpose. I'm still quite grumpy about my bravado in thinking I'd be able to have a good race given the circumstances, but I'll get over it. Everyone has bad races; if we didn't, the good ones wouldn't feel as good as they do.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Mazama 1/5/10km - Kids Run Too!

As Memorial Day weekend approaches and the Methow Endurance Mazama trail races come ever closer, we'd like to remind everyone that there are races for ANY AGE, and ANY ABILITY! We have a great 1km Kid's Race (free of charge!) that always draws a big turnout. We also are introducing this year a 5km Stroller category, where anyone can compete in a 5km race, the only requirement being that you are pushing a child stroller (child must be present to compete!) - with all the buff young parents running about these days, we're hoping for a great showing in this race!

The Kids' 1km provides a great first race experience!
And as always, we have the wildly-popular 5km and 10km races. The 5km this year runs on a course which initially joins the 10km runners, before peeling off in a lollipop fashion to return to the start/finish area. In doing this we are hoping to give some younger runners a chance to chase down some big boys in the 10km before they part ways on their courses.

And don't forget about the World Famous Pancake Breakfast, happening right after the race. You can purchase a ticket for the breakfast with your entry via Webscorer, or buy one at the breakfast after your race. Pancakes, after all, are the best post-race food!

We can't wait to see you all next weekend in our sunny paradise. Train well and we'll see you at the start!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Sun, Trails, Flowers and More

After planning our wedding last year and fretting about the weather (for good reason...we had two separate but lovely down-pours), I decided to refrain from analyzing forecasts, especially for events. So far it has served me well, as we had perfect weather for The Rattler in April (with snow the following day) and uber-perfect weather for the Women's Trail Running and Yoga Retreat last weekend. The mossy folk from the other side of the mountains may have been a little parched with the dry, hot air, but everyone seemed pleased, and some got a head start on acclimating for Rainshadow Running's race at Sun Mountain next week.

This retreat is my little baby; I love bringing women together to share a weekend of running, yoga, and good food. It has become one of my favorite weekends of the year and I'm already looking forward to the next one. I'm continually amazed at how a group of strangers becomes a cohesive, supportive group of friends.

The first evening we went on a little shake out run north of Winthrop, prepping our legs for the coming days. Dinner consisted of roasted veggies and lentil salad, a salmon dip with veggies and crackers, as well as a mixed green salad, followed by yummy chocolate cake. We chatted and got to know each other a bit, then dispersed for a full night's sleep. Friday morning brought a bright, sunny day, and we headed to Riser Lake for our first "real" run. We all did the four-mile loop, then most of the group continued up Lewis Butte for some amazing flowers and views. From there the group split, with one going back down the trail to the cars, another going over the west side of the mountain and back, and another doing a longer loop consisting of aspen groves and sage. We got back to River Run Inn just in time for lunch: perfect nutrient timing for quick recovery.

The day was hot by now, and the River Run Inn was perfect. They  have a huge lawn out back, next to the river, with several hammocks that are oh so comfy. Between lunch and yoga I gave some technique pointers for newer trail runners, then got ready for yoga. Becky led a wonderful practice out on the lawn, with the sound of the river as our soundtrack. Yoga loosened us up for our recovery run (or nap, depending on what people wanted), and off we went, getting back just in time for dinner. Perfect meal timing again! After our meal, one of the participants and nurse practitioner, Angel, gave a fascinating presentation on the endurance athlete's heart and the dangers of NSAIDs. It gave us a lot to think about and I'm so glad to be more informed on the topic.

Saturday was was more of the same, though we ran at Pipestone canyon. Again, we had perfectly clear, warm (borderline hot) weather, with lots of wild flowers. We all ran a nine mile loop, then some added more. Next came lunch and yoga, then Rita, the owner of Winthrop Mountain Sports, came to talk about all the different kinds of running shoes, and the importance of shoe fit. Dinner was on our own, so a big group of us went to Kelly's, while others stayed in Winthrop.

For our final run, we went to Patterson mountain, adjacent to Sun Mountain Lodge. It was again a perfect day, and the loop provided more mountain views and flowers. Thanks to everyone who made this a great weekend. I hope to see you next year! If you can't wait for next year, or want to have an adventure weekend with your husband, check out our Fall Endurance Getaway, in October!

Looking up-valley. Photo courtesy Kristen Smith, Methow Valley Photography.