Summer had led to fall, and the #SRCBrooks squad is still going strong, circling the state and beyond in races of all distances. You could find them at Cougar Mtn, in Utah, along the downtown streets of Seattle, and you could find a big chunk of them at the White River 50 Miler in late July. Keep reading to find out more!
My first race of the summer was the White River 50 mile. I used it, as I do every year, as a warm up to Cascade Crest. My goal was to run hard but even. I had a good 1st half. I was on track for a PR but felt like I was running with much less effort than in previous years. Right after the mid-point Aid Station I started having some G.I. problems. They lasted for about 20 miles. I was forced to walk a lot but with roughly 7 miles to go, they finally went away. I had a lot left in my tank so I flew past about a dozen people and finished with a PR.
The weekend after White River I hosted my annual Cascade Crest 100 training weekend up at Snoqualmie Pass. It is three days of running on the course. Participants run 30-75 miles. My results for the weekend confirmed my fitness was better than any previous year. I was psyched for my upcoming big race!
My summer goal race, Cascade Crest 100 Mile Endurance Run is at the end of August. I spent a lot of time running in the summer heat, while being extremely over dressed. In previous years I felt the heat from mile 24 to 39 really hurt my time. I wanted to be more than ready this year. Ten days out it was forecasted to be very hot, then 4 days out that all changed. It turned out to be the worst August storm in history. I heard a lot of people lost power.
At the start it was just warm enough to be comfortable and that continued until the Sun set behind the mountains. Then everything changed! About an hour after dark while I was climbing to the top of a ridge, the sky opened up. The rain and wind tried to force every living creature to seek shelter. I didn’t hide in any of the warm tents that were posted every five miles or so along the course. I fought some severe winds From No Name Ridge to Thorpe Mt., but I didn’t give up. I could have used an extra jacket because the one I had on wasn’t quite thick enough. I was eating as much as I could, more than I can normally eat during 100 mile. It takes a lot the extra energy to stay warm when its 38 degrees, windy, and you’re soaked to the bone. That was energy that could have been used to run faster. I lost over an hour during the night. There were a lot of sections on the course where I had to slow down do it the slippery trail conditions. As the Sun came up, the weather seemed to improve, but I was also coming down off the higher peaks. I heard runners behind me had heavy rain well into the afternoon. I finished, in a light drizzle, with my canine pacer Lola that I picked up with 50 miles to go and my three kids that always run the last 200 yards, in a PR time of 22:20. At the finish the Race Director gave me an award for finishing 10 years in a row. It’s a green jacket that says 1000 miles on the sleeve. I love it!
I jumped into a bonus race after a short recovery from the 100 miler. I ran the Crystal Mountain Sky Marathon. This is the most beautiful marathon I’ve experienced to date (and I’ve run a lot of them). It has more elevation change than you see in races twice its length. Just remember, if you’re going to enjoy the incredible views, you’ll have to earn them! The climbs are long and steep. I ran very hard the entire race. My fueling was better than my legs could handle. About half way into the race my calves started to cramp, so I tried not to use them for a while. The cramps went away. A few miles later my hamstrings started to cramp, so I stopped using them for a while. This strategy worked well for five or six miles. With 5 miles to go I had to stop three times for about 7 miles total because my whole leg would cramp, there were no muscles left to propel me toward the finish. I ended up limping down the last hill, with a cramping leg. I finished 3rd in my age group, seven minutes faster than my goal time.
My third quarter has been focused on figuring out a long-term, nagging, hamstring injury that has been bothering me for 1.5+ years. We’re on a positive path of getting things figured out, which also means I’ve had to back off regular training so it can heal properly (and more quickly!). Thus, I haven’t done much racing.
I did run and win the Labor Day 4 mile race on, you guessed it, Labor Day. I won this race a couple of years ago as well, so it was nice to be back and represent SRC and Brooks at this big, well-known event.
While I haven’t competed in any other races, I have been leading the SRC Wednesday Workouts, always wearing my awesome Brooks gear. We’ve got a huge group of wonderful people who have shown up for the XC workouts this year. The energy from this group is phenomenal and makes training fun, even on dark, rainy nights.
I do hope to be able to race XC by the end of the season. Right now my focus is on my health and my family with a focus on ramping up for next year on what I hope will be a 100% healthy hamstring.
End of summer, start of fall. Amidst the much appreciated temperature drop, I’ve continued racing well! I’m closing in on 3000 mi for the year and the last 500 or so will be during the second half of club XC season. Not the easiest November and December ahead.
White River 50 mi (7hrs 28mins). Something like that. I’m not sure many people care about the precise minute time of a 50 mile race. The first third went well, the middle third was a disaster calorically, and the last half marathon was splendid (I literally ate my way back into the race). Thanks Mom and Dad for the strong stomach genes. I won an age group award, but I can’t remember what place that was. I guess all the details wash away relative to the colossal feat of being a finisher. It was fun! First 50 miler.
Sundodger 8k (27:45). This was the XC season opener. Despite feeling worse than ever before at the start line (no breakfast, barely a warm up, a couple hours of sleep), I snuck across for a 6 second PR. Being the chief organizer for the XC team really takes a toll on race day performance. Ooof.
PLU 8k (27:32). Yeah! This was a harder course than Sundodger, but I hit a groove and paced it well. PR again! Sloppy, rainy, muggy, fun XC race. The real deal. Couldn’t find my Mach spikes, but the spikeless version held onto the mud turns just fine.
Lake Padden Trail Half Marathon & USATF Championships (1:32:46). 10th place! I DNFed this last year because of a weird knee pain at mile 7. This year, I had a faster mile 7 split, no knee pain, and the determination to hold onto the second half. Couldn’t be happier. Brooks Pure Grits feel like old friends that know how to climb and descend on their own.
It has been a hot, hot, hot training block in Arizona with temperatures often above 100F which doesn’t make for the most pleasant long runs. I also started a graduate program so it has taken great effort to remain focused on my running goals. My next race is the Phoenix half marathon over Halloween weekend; if temperatures are forgiving then I hope to make a new PR in the distance. Even though life is busy, running is my reprieve, and it has been exciting to gain fitness. Even during weeks when I am overly sleep deprived, I have still been able to hit satisfactory splits during my workouts and long runs. I am looking forward to cooler temperatures so I can test my fitness – hopefully right around the corner!
There’s something about the late summer/early fall season that always draws me in as arguably my favorite time of year to run. I raced four times and felt very strong all four times that included a hometown road race and one of the most memorable post-race celebrations.
With the Angels Staircase race being canceled this summer due to the devastating forest fire, I decided to hop into my Woodinville hometown, Columbia Winery 10k. And although my focus had been on longer mountain running, it turned out my legs had enough speed to run for my fastest time on the course (33:20) and 3rd time win at the event. Thanks to Brooks Running for putting up the race prize!
Coinciding with a friend’s wedding in San Francisco, I learned about a new race, the Calistoga Trail Ramble, nearby in Napa and hopped into this last minute too. 10 miles of rolling hills, technical sections and flat, speedy straightaways, I was able to pick up the win and a solid prize money payout. This checked off my bucket list item of getting one very large, over-sized check!
Returning to some PNW trails, I competed in the first ever Baker Lake Classic 25k, point-to-point course, put on by Northwest Endurance Events. I felt great and blazed through solo along a scenic, lakeside trail for the win.
One week later, I tested my lungs and flew out to compete in Park City at TNF Endurance Challenge – Utah Marathon. The race begins at the lowest elevation of about 7,000′ and climbs to over 10,000′. My strategy was to forget about the elevation and just get out there to compete. I started out breathing harder than usual on the first climb but told myself to relax and control it. Despite some late-race falters with my lower abdomen, I fought on to win by 16 minutes in a new course record. Later on, with an energetic crowd demanding at the podium…I went crowd-surfing. Great times!
3rd Quarter results:
Columbia Winery 10k – 1st, 33:20
Calistoga Trail Ramble 10M – 1st, 1:11:40
Baker Lake Classic 25k – 1st, 1:47:31
North Face Endurance Challenge – Utah Marathon – 1st, 3:47:07
I have been hitting the dirt in some high altitude training sessions throughout the Cascades. I have also been training in various states while traveling. No matter where I go, the soft rooty trails of the PNW are my favorite. Any section of the Pacific Crest Trail is hard to beat! I have been digging the Brooks Ghosts while doing my local training runs along Lake Washington and save the Cascadias for the longer days in the mountains. I am in love with the shorts, which never chafe!
I cannot wait to put in a little sweat equity at the next Cougar event and give back to the community! Find me climbing up Chuckanut at the Bellingham Marathon and then trying to sneak into some Turkey day races to earn my grub!
My racing since the Boston Marathon has been sparse however productive. A few injuries and illness have kept me on the sidelines. Of note however are the Portland Marathon on October 4th which brought a marginal result however I ran a consistent pace throughout running an average of 7:20min/mile pace. I’m looking forward to the next marathon and achieving a new PR. I recovered quickly and have had very strong training runs since. I also competed in the Salomon Valley to Peak mountain run and met some great competitors at that race finishing 4th in my age group. I completed this race solo while most completed it in stages as teams of three or four so I was happy to finish strong at this race. Lastly I participated in the White River 50 Mile Endurance run. Unfortunately I suffered an ankle injury at this race however was still able to complete 27 miles. I am proud of my teammates as there were great finishes at this race by my fellow SRC Brooks teammates.
My focus this quarter has been high intensity mountain running and I have sought out as much elevation as possible. I’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of several mountaineering trips this quarter as well including Mt. Shuksan in the North Cascades, Mt. Olympus, and a single push summit attempt of Mt. Rainier which contributes greatly to my training. I’ve also continued to pursue rock climbing with a passion and have climbed routes from the Enchantments to the North Cascades and up into British Columbia Canada. Mountaineering and rock climbing have become passions of mine so I hope to integrate these pursuits into my running and training. I believe it will strengthen my running even further.
Looking forward I hope to increase my speed for the marathon and continue to seek out mountain running challenges in the Northwest and beyond.
This quarter was solely focused on the White River 50 Mile and the culmination of a spring and summer that involved my highest mileage totals to date. Sadly, that mileage converted into both race-ready legs and a case of plantar fasciitis. Being the highly intelligent runner that I am, I decided that the benefits of completing the White River 50 outweighed the potential negatives and ran the race anyway. Fortunately, my training pulled through and I was able to achieve a respectable 7:36 for 8th place overall, chasing teammate Evan Williams (6th overall). Unfortunately, the 50 miles were not the panacea I was hoping for and I took the following month of August off to recuperate. I have been slowly getting back into race shape in the past two months and am looking forward to the upcoming Lake Padden Trail Half-Marathon in October, my first attempt at the New York Marathon in November, and the Deception Pass 50k in December.
This quarter I competed in my primary goal events for the year, The Rut races in MT and the Crystal Mountain Sky Marathon here in WA.
My goal for 2015 was to compete in as many US Skyrunning events as possible and after the Angels Staircase 60k (also a US Skyrunning event) was cancelled due to a forest fire, these were what was left within a reasonable travel distance that is.
In MT I ran both the Lone Peak Vertical Kilometer and The Rut 50k. I got 3rd in the VK and 2nd in the 50k. Turns out MT has some fast Masters runners! And I have to admit, the elevation (we were never lower than 7,200′ and topped out at 11,100′) didn’t do this sea level dweller any favors. 🙂 That said it was a blast! Sure, these climbs were super hard but it was everything I expected and everything I could hope for. And the weather was fantastic.
At Crystal Mountain we again had incredible weather and the course was unchanged from last year which meant it was again just as hard. 🙂 Here I managed to win my age division and took about 15 minutes off of my 2014 time which I am very proud of especially since I was not 100% healthy.
Skyrunning events have to meet certain requirements. A vertical kilometer has to gain no less than 3,000m in no more than 5k total distance. And like all Skyrunning events, they all have to take place above 2,000m.
Skyrunning means you are frequently running where there is no actual trail, the course simply takes the most direct line from bottom to top or vice versa. At times you are running through a meadow, straight up or down a ski slope or scrambling up or down some massive scree field. Some hills are so steep the race promoter install fixed ropes! I have learned that flat running is my biggest weakness but I sure love this kind of challenge and seem to do relatively well when the course gets tough.
I wore my Brookis PureGrit 3 shoes for the VK and the marathon and my Brooks Cascadia 10s for the 50k. As always, the PureGrit provided awesome traction and the Cascadia provided the protection for the longer run. Which was especially nice when I was bounding down scree slopes! My Brooks shorts did just what they were supposed to do, be comfortable.
What a Summer for running! In July I had what I like to call “The Greatest Running Month of My Life” which included adventure runs through London, New York City, and the Enchantment Lakes (30 mile unsupported solo). All my Brooks gear was a big contributor to this explosion of Run Happy. In addition, I won the Cougar Mountain 20 – which put me at 3 Cougar wins in a row. I ended the month with the classic Washington Ultra – the White River 50. There I experienced the highest highs and lowest lows of ultrarunning and beat my PR on the course by just under an hour – taking 23rd place in 8:31. It was my best performance in an ultra to date.
In August I ran the fourth race in the Cougar series and finished in fourth place – breaking my streak of wins but still won the overall Long Series by 1 hour and 10 minutes. It was a tough race for me as the cumulative damage of all the other long races leading into it finally caught up with me.
In September I ran at the Sundodger XC meet and a had a lot of fun running with the team although my performance was not what I would have liked it to be. All those college kids are so fast!
The Brooks Pure Grit 3 was my go to shoe all summer.
My late summer/fall began with the Labor Day Half Marathon. After a nagging injury kept me from racing in the summer, I built up consistent training. Many workouts were related to the Half Marathon, so I signed up for the Labor Day Half. I then realized it’s actually been nine years since I’ve raced the distance.
Wanting to maximize my chances to go fast, I brought out the Brooks T7s for the race. Many think of the shoe more as a 5K-10K racing flat, but I figured it would serve me well over thirteen miles as well, and it turned out to be a great choice.
Once the race was underway, I settled into a great pack with Nicholas Bowden and Gabi Kliot. It was a great feeling to trade off the lead, and move up in the race as a peloton feeling strong the whole way. I finished 7th, in 1:14:45, which is about where I hoped to be at that stage in my training.
Since then, I’ve ran a few Cross Country races. At the University of Washington’s Sundodger invitational, I moved up among the college athletes to finish in 27:06. Then at the Emerald City Invitational, I dropped 25 seconds off my time from last year to finish in 27:40 on a very tough course.
Earlier in the summer, I helped with an aid station at the Cougar Mountain half marathon & marathon race. It’s always great to see how much fun everyone has at those races regardless of the pace they are aiming for or how their race plan is going.
I look forward to the races and events throughout the rest of the year.
Q3 started off with a bang, settled into a whimper, and is just about to the light at the end of the tunnel. Sort of.
It started wonderful, but hesitant. I was healing up from an overtraining injury (I suspect) that started about a week after running the Boston marathon.
But! a week after the second quarter ended I toed the starting line (albeit further back in the pack) at the White River 50 miler. I ran in my Cascadia 10s (again! my favorite shoe of all time) and not enough clothing. (I should’ve thrown on my a pair of Brooks arm sleeves.)
The race went better than expected, but came crashing down again as I tried to run a few days after. (I was feeling cocky that I was “up for running” the Tuesday after; my knee injury was back, but on a different leg!) I write a lot more about it here: http://derekr.net/blog/white-river
The past three months have been spent running about every other day, 4-9 miles, waiting for the pain to go down to zero. Right now I’m about a 1 out of 100 on that pain scale, but so close to zero.
I switch between Cascadias and Ghosts, Ghosts and Cascadias. I love these shoes.
Bonus Points: rallied two more friends for the Brooks fanwagon—Ghosts and Glycerins win favor in the midwest.
Summer running is my favorite, primarily because of the long days. It’s just a bit easier to put in those extra miles when the sun is still up…or it’s still light out…or it was light out not too long ago but is still warm. I’m feel like running faster in the summer and my Brooks PureFlow fit the bill and are, of course, awesome to train in! They are a great combination of support and agility and I put in many great miles.
My first race of the 3rd quarter of 2015 was the Seafair Torchlight 8k. I’ve been fortunate enough to win the event 3 times in the past and tell Chris Francis over at KIRO what a great race Seattle can put on and how great a club Seattle Running is! Could I do it again? Well, no, unfortunately my 26:16 was only good enough for 6th this year. That’s ok though, the event is always fun. It starts at Seattle Center and goes down the parade route so kids want to high-five you and everyone cheers. Then, you get to run on the Viaduct (not much longer!) and finish back at Seattle Center. Brooks was a major sponsor for this event again, and I got an awesome Brooks Pirate hat… that my son promptly put on his head an wore proudly.
The following race I entered was the Pacific Lutheran University cross country invitational on October 10th. The first PLU invite cross race I participated in was waaaay back in 1993. Yeah, I’m that old. The race is no longer held over at Fort Steilacoom but is now held on the old PLU golf course. This make for much better restroom access pre and post race, but there aren’t any hills. Instead there is fun rolling terrain that can be very, very muddy. That’s the way it was this year and I was slipping and sliding all over even with spikes. I also managed to get enormous blisters on both heels, so that wasn’t fun. Oh well, such is cross country. Next up: more cross country! Stay tuned friends and remember: Run Happy!