White River 50

White River 50 Mile National Championships 2009
In the shadow of Mount Rainier, Washington
July 25

First and foremost…wow, this is some gorgeous country. A trail runners dream and I think the White River 50 is one of the most well run races I have ever experienced.

On one hand, I wasn't that happy with my performance, but I didn't really know what to expect from my body coming off the grueling Bighorn 100 just four weeks ago. This is all new to me. Having never run a 100 before Bighorn and trying to pile on the ultras with increased frequency to, I don’t know, find my breaking point maybe? I was in uncharted waters…that was and is exciting. The unknown. Well, I didn’t break completely during this run, but it freakin’ hurt, which is fine because as we know, most of life’s most valuable lessons are learned the hard way. In the end, I know, no matter what happens racing, the trial and tribulations all will pay off in the end. The more I can endure in training, the bigger payoff I will have on the mountain bow in hand come this fall. In bowhunting, those that work the hardest have the most success. It’s a cliché but the most brutally honest cliché there is. It is this knowledge that pushes me every single day to give everything I have. Speaking of which it is going to be over 100 degrees here this week. I CAN’T WAIT to get on Mt. Pisgah and run in the afternoons (starting today), peak of the heat, where I guarantee it will be 110 on the baking face of that hill. I love a test and nothing spells test like U-n-r-e-l-e-n-t-i-n-g H-e-a-t.

Back to WR50, I had high hopes and even while I was well aware of the fatigue and the aches and pains I deal with everyday, enhanced in magnitude by Bighorn and the miles of pounding lately, I was hoping if I ignored it, I could push through. Not quite. Did I unquestionably go out too fast? Yup, just like every other race. Someday maybe I will figure it out? Until then I run as fast as I can, burn out, then try to hang on one miserable step at a time. The fact is, I am entered to run Where’s Waldo, the 100k national championships, here in Oregon next month so I figured I would do White River for a training run if my body wouldn’t let me race the entire thing. I went out pretty hard and surprisingly felt pretty damn good. I got to the mile 27 check point in 4 hours and 25 minutes but from there I think the 100 caught up with me. I was able to essentially fake it through about 33 miles at a decent pace but heading up the hill just after the check point my legs were gassed (could have been the 10 mile long hill I was trying to hammer out I suppose) and just couldn't do what I needed or wanted to. No worries, I just decided that it is what it is. All I could do was grinded it out. I finished in 9 hours and 50 minutes. I have run one other 50 miler and really wanted to beat that time of 8 hours 59 minutes so I was disappointed when I realized that wasn't going to happen. For now, I am shooting for a strong, healthy performance at Waldo.

One thing I did learn was that, while I was thinking it was going to be a pretty "easy" 50 miler, with only “8,700 feet of vertical gain”, there is no such thing as an easy 50 mile race. I was really, really hurting at times. But, that is good. That pain keeps me honest and as we know, sometimes the truth hurts!

One of the best parts of the weekend was sharing it with my family….the whole crew made the road trip to Washington, which is very rare. Usually, when doing these exotic races in far away lands I am on my own…other than my fellow ultra running brothers, which is nice, but not the same. Thank you Tracey, Tanner, Truett and Taryn, your support means everything. It was fun seeing Taryn’s little shinning face at Mile 27 and the end of the race. Family means everything!!!

Next up, the Haulin’ Aspen Trail Marathon in Bend this Sunday. Then Waldo…the bow season!!! Finally.
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