The #SRCBrooks Beast B-Teamers Killer B’s L’il Beasts™ have been busy in 2018, tagging summits, tearing hamstrings, handing out Gu at your fav trail races, carbo-unloading on your favorite trail courses, and swimming!
Once again thanks to Brooks Running for keeping our children shoe’d and warm!
On December 31st, 2017 around 9pm I decided to try to hike/run 10,000ft gain in a day. I woke up at 4 am on New Years’ Day for this hastily-planned adventure, even though I didn’t expect to actually achieve my goal. I wanted to try something I really didn’t think I could do. I ended up hitting the 10,000ft mark, and in doing so opened up a whole series of possible adventures I would have, before that day, believed beyond my abilities. I completed seven 10,000ft+ days (totaling 65,757 feet of climbing) and gained a lot of experience and fitness that ultimately allowed me to complete my first ultramarathon on June 2nd, the Squaw Peak 50 miler in Provo Utah with 14,000ft gain/loss and a max elevation of 9,300ft.
The complete list of 10,000ft Days
- New Year Trifecta (1/1/2018) 10,432ft
- Loup Loup Skimo Race (1/27/2018) 10,000ft
- Soggy repeats on Tiger Mountain (2/4/2018), 10,259ft
- Tiger 12 Summits (Take 1) + some cable line (3/17/2018), 10,666ft
- Cheering @ Yakima Skyline Rim 50k (4/21/2018), 10,000ft
- Mixed Bag of Adventure in Leavenworth, WA (5/20-21, 2018) 10,000ft
- Squaw Peak 50 Miler Provo, UT (6/2/2018) 14,400ft
I have been relatively inactive since the second week of June due to a knee injury, but managed to stay connected to the SRC Brooks community through volunteering, spending several hours dropping off posters at local cafes and businesses for the SRC Cougar Mountain Trail Series, volunteering on behalf of SRC on a Habitat Restoration project in Discovery Park, and handing out finisher prizes at the July installation Cougar Mountain Trail series. I made a less-than-intelligent decision to try and climb Rainier towards the end of July, and was bummed to miss out at White River. It’s now getting to crunch time (if not already past) for some huge objectives I have planned for this Fall…so here goes nothing.
2017 was my year for trying on a marathon, my longest distance at that point. So when stepping up to be an SRC Brooks Team member I made 2018 my year for trying on ultramarathons. My goal races were the Chuckanut 50k in March and White River 50 Mile in July. In preparation, I ran and raced trails with SRC friends more frequently than ever before in my Adrenaline ASR 14 shoes. I also embraced solo long runs in the city when needed. The Chuckanut 50k was a blast, teaching me about proper race attire, a need for savory fuel options, bathroom requirements, and not to trust my watch for accurate pace and milage information while on trails. The White River 50 taught me the joy of freshly-swapped socks mid-race, that no coffee before a race is the right choice, the need for a better chafing prevention system, the temptation of comfortable aid stations, to push through pure misery, and reconfirmed my love for well-earned views. Both races highlighted the plethora of supportive, determined, and fun folks that make up our Seattle Running Club community. This year I volunteered at a few local races- Bridle Trails Winter Running Festival, a few Cougar Mountain Trail Run Series races and the Brooks PR Invitational. It’s a real treat training with friends, then being a support on race day who caters to their unique aid station preferences (there’s nothing like a spoonful of Nutella to make Mariangela smile). My training plans, trail run ventures, and long-term goals led to surprising speed increases at shorter races too!
Race Results for 2018:
- 1/13: Nookachamps Half Marathon- 2nd F in age group 19-29, 34th overall, PR (1:43:58)
- 3/17: Chuckanut 50k- 26th F in age group 20-29, My 1st 50k (6:33:31)
- 4/28: Horse Lake Trail Run Half Marathon- 12th F, 38th overall, (2:13:19)
- 5/12: Cougar Mountain #1 10M- 2nd F in age group 20-29, 6th F, Course PR (1:54:37)
- 6/9: Cougar Mountain #2 14M- 1st F in age group 20-29, (2:45:32.4)
- 7/4: Carnation Run for the Pies 5k- 2nd F in age group 25-29, PR by 38 secs (21:13 mins)
- 7/28: White River 50 Mile- 58th F, (13:22:01)
Upcoming Races: Backcountry Rise 20M, the Fat Glass 50k (some number of loops), and the SRC Club Cross Country Season.
To put it lightly, 2018 has been incredibly frustrating. I started the year with some weird hip pain, and after taking most of December 2017 off, still wasn’t pain free come January. After a couple painful Wednesday workouts and a 24 mile run commute for my 24th birthday, I developed deep inner groin pain in addition to the hip pain. After an MRI, I was diagnosed with a torn labrum and osteitis pubis in the groin. I then tried a cortizone shot in my hip, which didn’t really work. I did countless hours of PT and took 3 months completely off of running. In order to not go crazy, I started doing kick-less swimming, and eventually added elliptical, then finally started biking. I’ve become a fairly devoted bike commuter, as well as spin class attendee. I’ve found that running after biking somehow warms up my hip and allows me to run mostly pain free. Since the bike->run combo was working for me, I signed up for the SeaFair Sprint triathlon. I would have liked to do the olympic distance, but the 10k run seemed a bit too far to do on about 5 miles a week of running. In the weeks approaching the tri, I added more brick workouts (bike->run) and started to really see an increase in my power output during spin class. When the race finally came, I had a blast! I am not a strong swimmer, coupled by the fact that I hadn’t been either kicking, or practicing open water, so the swim was clearly my weakest link. I had a very rough T1, and really struggled to get my wet feet into my shoes that I (mistakinly) left on the bike. Once I got into my rhythm, the biking felt pretty good, although I missed the turnaround point by about 30 seconds. Finally, I started the run! I felt pretty good, but was worried about my hip acting up so I took it out fairly conservatively. There was a hill around the two mile mark that I didn’t expect, but once I crested the hill, the last mile was a breeze. I split that one in 5:30 and finished the 5k just over 18 minutes (18:03). My run split was good enough for fastest of the day, and overall I placed 8th in the men’s division (2nd in my age group). I surely could have placed higher up if I didn’t have as many bike troubles, and if I didn’t swim breastroke. Coming up, I have the Lake Union 10k, where I would love to break 35, although I think that may be too ambitious. Hopefully, my hip will stop acting up enough for me to run cross country, but if not I’ve seen about a half dozen surgeons and am considering getting FAI surgery to fix the labrum and remove my cam lesion.
As for volunteering, it was quite easy since I couldn’t run the cougar series. I volunteered at two of them so far, helping out at the finish line. I also attended a trail work party.
The first half of 2018 has been pretty decent from a race perspective. I started off the year with a win in the Nookachamps 5k. The course wasn’t at all what I was expecting and I ended up being sick, but I made the most of the day.
My next race was the Chuckanut 50k. This was my 4th time running this race and it was the deepest women’s field yet. Training was going well until about 5 weeks before the race when I hurt one of my hamstrings. I still felt fairly strong and was excited for the race, but went into it knowing it would be my worst placing ever due to the deep field (and the injury). Little did I know what would happen during the last 10k of the race. In fact, I didn’t even know what happened until 7 weeks later! (More to come on that….) I finished in 10th place and was the top female masters runner.
After Chuckanut my hamstrings both felt pretty bad and in a way I had never experienced before. I chalked it up to running a 50k and/or getting older. The following weekend I went to do a workout found I couldn’t even run normally and was in a significant amount of pain. Not knowing exactly what was wrong, I did my best to continue to train while also getting my hamstrings (and lots of other areas)
worked on to reduce and figure out the problem.
Five weeks later I ran the Whidbey Island Marathon. I didn’t really want to do it because I hadn’t been able to train and my hamstrings (and other things) still weren’t better. It was a mentally taxing race focusing on pushing myself to continue on pretty much from the first mile. I wasn’t physically tired when I was done because I hadn’t been able to run faster than a normal easy run pace, but my mind was shot. I finished 3rd female and top master.
A little over two weeks later, I learned that I had been running on two partially torn hamstrings, with the tear in my left leg being the more substantial of the two. From this I was able to determine that what I felt during the last 10k of Chuckanut was the beginning of the tearing. Now I know why, despite working really hard, my last 10k was so much slower than I had expected! (At least it’s not just from getting old.)
Two weeks later I raced the Rhody Run 12k. This is a Steidl family tradition and I wasn’t about to miss it! I finished 2 nd female and top master. The best part was I could tell my hamstrings were finally starting to feel somewhat stronger!
In June I ran the Whistler 30k. I had been looking forward to this race for a few months and was excited that my hamstrings were finally starting to feel stronger in time for the race. It was fun to run somewhere I had never been before and race women I didn’t know. The course was enjoyable and challenging. I came away with 2 nd place and top female master.
My final race of the first “half” of the year was at the Seattle Masters Classic (aka Regional Championships) in the 5000m. This is a track race, which was held at West Seattle Stadium. It was a hot day, the race started 30+ minutes late, and I ran alone the whole time, but I won for the women overall.
It’s been fun running so many different types of races and different distances. I’m looking forward to finally getting some consistent training under my belt without any hamstring issues to see what I can do in the second half of the year!
On top of racing, I have enjoyed volunteering. I helped with parking at SRC’s Bridle Trails and the member appreciation party in January, worked the trails at Cougar Mountain in April, helped with registration at SRC’s May Cougar Mountain trail series race, and did shoe sizing/fitting for Special Olympics athletes at the start of July. I enjoy giving back to my club and community. Volunteering always
ends up being a good time with good people.
(Many of my race reports are on the SRC website. Check them out and submit yours, too!)
This year I’ve only run a few races. In January I ran the Bridle trails 50k in 5:01, I was the first over 50 years old to first. I also volunteered to park cars before the race. I’m sure that’s why I was slower than last year. The competition is six loops around the park, mostly in the dark. The next weekend I ran the Capitol Peak 50k down past Olympia. My time was 5:30, I struggled with some fatigue from the previous week’s race and a cold. Two weeks later I ran the West Seattle Beach Run 1/2 marathon on Super Bowl Sunday. It’s good work up an appetite before the big game. I ran 1:39 half marathon for second overall. I weather was a bit windy, but it’s a tailwind half the time.
My next race wasn’t until April. It was the Twilight 12-hour race in Cle Elum, Wa. The race starts at about dusk and ends just after sunrise. I didn’t go very fast, but I outlasted the rest. I completed one more loop than the second-place guy. In June I started to run the Needles 50k, but due to an equipment malfunction, I changed to the 25k. I was 4th overall and 1st master in a snowy time of 3:23.
I’ve enjoyed volunteering at the Cougar Series this year. I’ve been running Aid Station 3 by the water tower. I also managed to go to a couple of trail work parties. I like working on the trails; it’s excellent cross-training! And on the non-running front, I’m attending SPU for my Masters in Teaching this summer.
In 2018 my goal has been to concentrate on longer races with a few shorts ones thrown in for speed work. So far with a few exceptions, I’ve managed PRs. I’ve had a great time racing, volunteering, and hosting SRC Thursday night runs again this year while representing both the club and Brooks in the quickly vanished first half of the year.
The year started off well with a 50km at the Bridle Trails Running Festival, in Kirkland, WA, with a 2nd age group placing and PR! This was followed up by a trail ½ marathon a week later managing another PR. What a great start to the year but then I crashed and burned in steamy Arizona at the Aravaipa Elephant Mountain 50Km at the beginning of February.
After a break from racing for most of February and March to train and refocus I came back with a 3rd overall win in the 5 hour run at the fun Seattle Dizzy Daze around Greenlake. A week later my second finish of the 50 miler at the notoriously tough eastern Washington Badger Mountain Challenge ended with cutting off 1.5 hours from last years’ time giving me a 1st age group placing.
May started with a boost at the inaugural Lake Hills 50km in Bellevue with an 2nd overall and yet another PR for the distance. June and July have given me a few more PRs in shorter distances. Unfortunately as I’ve been dealing with some health issues, the last two long races of Yakima’s Grey Rock 50km and the White River 50 miler have ended in official DNFs. But that’s ok, me and my PureGrits will be back stronger than ever in no time at all!
The next month and a half I’ll be concentrating on training for an FKT attempt on the eastern Washington Columbia Plateau Trail that spans 130 (often primitive) miles of pure fun!
It is so difficult to sum up 6 months of awesome running in a short story but I’ll share with you the best! It has truly been an honor to run and race representing SRCBrooks. This year was about getting out of my comfort zone. I started the year out with a bang, having my first race a 35k with 6500’ elevation gain. By far the most challenging race I’ve attempted thus far. It resulted in my successful win for the women! Numerous races have followed in various destinations and across multiple distances, all equally fun and challenging in their own ways.
This past month (July) marked my 7 year recovery from a nearly fatal eating disorder. Every year, that day is no less monumental for me. I run and race because I’m alive, I’m strong, I’m determined. And simply because I can. The most meaningful aspect of my running is sharing my story with others in the hopes of inspiring anyone who is struggling. If I can change even one life, I consider it mission accomplished. People struggle to believe that I went from a wheelchair to podium finishes, supported by SRCBrooks. It is my testament to the power of this hope and community, which I share on a daily basis. So on those days I don’t feel like running, I still do BECAUSE I CAN. The fact that the Seattle Running Club and Brooks believes in me is absolutely phenomenal. It has given me a whole new hope of touching the lives of others, and has helped me stay strong in my recovery.
I had the privilege of volunteering at the Special Olympics in July, and it was quite an experience. It was so wonderful to see all of the athletes work so hard and feel so accomplished. It was also a great reminder of what being on a team is really about. I always know there are people cheering me on and it has helped me summit some big mountains in my life. For all of these experiences, I am truly grateful.
I look forward to enjoying my wonderful running community in the coming months and years. Plenty of stories to come!
Coming off an abbreviated early season race schedule in 2017 (thanks to a fractured fibula), I was eager to flip the script in 2018, so I filled my calendar and dug into training. In addition to racing—see recap below—I was stoked to volunteer at the infamous Chuckanut 50k, as well as to join my fellow SRC members and SRC-Brooks teammates in fine-tuning the trails of Cougar Mountain with some good old-fashioned grunt work. In each case, whether training, racing, volunteering, or working, the biggest thrill has been meeting new people, sharing our love of the sport, and celebrating together—win or lose. Looking ahead, I’m chomping at the bit for more of the same.
CAPITOL PEAK MEGA FAST ASS 50k–Jan 20
It’s risky to sign up for a race in January. I learned that the first time I ran this one—back in 2015—as I became near-hypothermic thanks to ceaseless freezing rain and a foot of standing water virtually everywhere. This time around, there was a chill in the air, but the trails were in relatively good shape—as were the old guys. The 40+ crowd snagged the top 4 spots! Speaking of which, it was a thrill to run and chat with local legend Adam Hewey—until he pulled away for the win!
RUN FOREST RUN 50k–Feb 17
Another early season race with early season weather. Bone-chilling rain and ankle-to-shin-deep mud made for slow, miserable progress and, ultimately, ultra misery. Nonetheless, if I could weather such conditions with steely resolve, I figured it would have a fortifying effect, preparing me for the physical and psychological trials ahead—chief among them my spring goal race: The Badger Mountain 100.
THE BADGER MOUNTAIN 100m–Mar 30
Including the previous races, I managed to put in a solid 2-and-half-month block of training, and I figured—if all went according to plan—that I was good for a sub 22-hour finish. To my surprise—thanks in part to the perfect weather and the adrenaline of being relentlessly pursued by SRC’s own Dale Peterson—I went sub 20 hours, in 19:32, good for 5th place overall (2nd masters). Aside from puking up a quesadilla the second time up McBee, I felt like an apex predator pretty much all day—except at the turnaround. Not surprisingly, I had be warned that the turnaround is the hardest part of the race, especially psychologically, because you have to face the cold, hard fact of Damn, I have to do this again!? Indeed, the 100-mile course traces the 50-mile course twice over, so you have to go up and down Badger Mountain, Candy Mountain, McBee Ridge, and Chandler Butte twice each. Ouch! The turnaround was doubly difficult given that the 50-milers were celebrating their finish as I retraced my steps. Thankfully, I found my momentum again, spurred in part by the awesome volunteers and a change of shoes (into my trusty Brooks Launches—see finish line picture).
CAPITOL PEAK 50m–April 29
4 weeks post-Badger, I was surfing Ultrasignup and saw The Capitol Peak 50 miler—a race that holds a special place in my heart, being my first 50—was to take place early the next morning. On a whim, I decided what the hell and clicked “Register.” I knew what I was getting myself into, right? I had run the race before. I could even visualize the course…the final descent anyway. Given my relative success a month before, on a slightly bigger stage, at double the distance, I was primed…wasn’t I? Recovery had gone reasonably well, consisting of a zero week, followed by a 31-mile week with easy runs of 4-7 miles, followed by a 61-mile week that included a 30-mile fast-packing trip in the Olympics—though I wondered if I hadn’t overdone it there. Also, there was all that beer to consider. Following Badger, I really craved beer. We all have our post-race cravings, and this was mine, except the craving didn’t subside after the first taste. After all, I was severely calorie-depleted, and there’s arguably no better calorie-delivery concoction, so I kept those hazy IPAs coming. I’d earned it! To hear tell, it’s hard to lose fitness in the first month after a big training block, even if you’re pretty sedentary, but given the aforementioned nutrition plan, I was worried I had beaten the odds and done just that. In any case, I was soon to find out.
It was an early, 6:00am start, so I woke up at 3:30am, ate a can of sardines in olive oil (go figure), drank a black coffee, hit the head and then the road for Olympia. I warmed into the drive with a basketball podcast, amped the mood with Mobb Deep, then throttled into Pantera (bizarrely, the only 2 cds in my car). Yep, I was primed. When the gun went off—i.e. the RD yelled go—I went out hot like a poor man’s Jim Walmsley (or so it felt). Thinking the first aid was at mile 7, I brought one handheld and one GU. When mile 7 came, to my astonishment it was merely a water-drop. Disappointed and confused, I blew by without stopping, thinking that the real aid station must be shortly thereafter—2 or 3 miles at most. Unflagging, I continued to push the pace. A young buck named Nolan Atchley, who I had pegged to be a frontrunner (he won!), was out ahead, but I was comfortably in second…until I wasn’t. That putative aid station never materialized—until mile 14. By that point, over 2 hours had elapsed, and I was full-on bonking. “I thought the first aid was at mile 7,” I blurted. “Just water,” one of the volunteers countered. I pounded some watermelon, grabbed 3 gels and a handful of chips, thanked everyone, and continued on. Rather than get better, the bonk got worse—even after 2 back-to-back gels. Not only that, but the Heed—my least favorite energy drink—wasn’t sitting so well on top of those oily sardines. My head lurched, and so did my stomach. Unfortunately, it only spiraled from there. Before I knew it, I’d been passed by half a dozen runners and could barely even hike the second big climb. It was amateur hour. All I could think was how arrogant and foolish and unprepared I had been—and, perhaps worst of all, how little I cared to finish. It wasn’t just my head and stomach that weren’t in it—my heart wasn’t either, and that was the deal-breaker. At just beyond the halfway point, with a mixture of self-contempt and relief, I declared myself a DNF.
Reminders (speaking for myself)—all of which are obvious enough.
- Give yourself sufficient time to recuperate after a 100.
- Ramp your mileage back up gradually.
- Don’t sign-up for a race the night before. Plan on it well ahead of time and let the excitement build.
- Do your research (e.g. know how far apart the aid stations are!).
- Don’t get too cocky. Past performance is perhaps an indicator of future performance but no guarantee.
- A nutrition plan can—perhaps should—include beer, but only in modicum.
- Bring some of your own race-day nutrition.
- Don’t eat oily sardines on race morning.
- You’re no Walmsley, not even a poor man’s.
FRAGRANCE LAKE 50K–June 9
Hoping to redeem myself, and looking ahead to my summer goal race—the Wasatch Front 100—I thought it wise to sign-up for a couple mountainous 50ks as tune-ups. Put on by Destination Trail—the same folks responsible for the Triple Crown of 200s—the Fragrance Lake 50k takes place in Bellingham’s Larabee State Park and traverses Chuckanut Mountain. Having run the Chukanut 50k, I can say that the FL50k is significantly harder. Lacking the flat out-the-back on the Interurban trail, it gains nearly 8,000 ft (as opposed to Chuckanut’s 5,000). Thankfully, the resulting suffering was periodically broken by sublime views of Samish Bay and out to the San Juan Islands. Feeling strong from start to finish, I placed 2nd overall behind blazing fast newcomer Thomas Kean. Speaking of which, standing on the podium was a treat. More races should make this a finish-line tradition.
NEEDLES 50K–June 30
My last official race in my buildup to Wasatch was The Needles 50k, a most “brutiful” course—straight up and down with many creek crossings, snowfields, and panoramic views into the Cascades and down to Cle Elum and Kachess lakes. I couldn’t recommend this race enough. Put on by Cascade Crest 100 RD’s Rich White and Adam Hewey, it consists of 33 miles with over 10,000 in gain along rugged ridgelines, including an ascent of Thorpe Mountain. However, just as remarkable as the epic terrain is the epic sense of community this race fosters (despite there being only 2 aid stations). Two nights of camping are included in the entry fee, and I’d say most racers stayed the first night and late into the second day to celebrate and talk shop post-race. Given the competitive field—including local speedsters Jesse Lang, Brian Rakestraw, Maxwell Ferguson, and Duncan Hoge, who placed 1-2-3-4–I was thrilled with 5th place (1st masters), good for the 6th best time in the race’s 3-year history. I don’t know if I’ve ever felt as comfortable pushing that hard for 6 hours. Here’s to hoping I can hold onto that feeling.
2018 Results (so far…)
- Capitol Peak Mega Fat Ass 50k—4th overall
- Run Forest Run 50k—5th overall/ 2nd masters
- Badger Mountain 100—5th overall/ 2nd masters
- Capitol Peak 50m—DNF
- Fragrance Lake 50k—2nd overall/ 1st masters
- Needles 50k—5th overall/ 1st masters
- FKT attempt in Olympic National Park–TBD
- Wasatch Front 100—September 7th
- Cougar Mountain 50k—October 28th
This first half of the year might take the cake for my most memorable stretch of running, racing and adventures to date! This was also the first time I had a coach since the days shortly after college. I’m going to say that this was not a coincidence but rather a direct positive impact to my training, fitness and stoke factor.
I was able to pick up 8 race victories and several PRs/CRs. However, out of all the races in 2018 so far, my most proudest performance was one that I did not win but rather my 7th-place finish at the Chuckanut 50k (link to race report) in yet another deep field. I was able to take 12 minutes off from 2017 and race hard from start to finish, feeling strong most of the way.
A few weeks after Chuckanut, a friend and I took on the 47-mile beast that is the R2R2R (S. Kaibab->N. Kaibab->Bright Angel) in the Grand Canyon and the first hot day of the season. This run is probably worth its own race report containing several stories and photos but long story short, the canyon got the better of me.
Exactly one month of barely surviving the Grand Canyon, I was miraculously able to get my legs back underneath me to run a new 12k PR at the super-stacked field of the Bloomsday 12k / WA State Road Championship. This started a string of more PRs at the Rhody Run (link to race report), NODM and the Millerslyvania 50k (link to race report). After building the road marathon strength, I carried that over in the 50k distance to run the 5th fastest time in North America in 2018 so far.
I finally capped off the month of July with my first shot at the White River 50. Despite the warmer temperatures and a couple early race mistakes, I was happy to pull off a podium spot with a 3rd-place finish.
With taking so much from the running community, it’s always rewarding to give back as I volunteered at a Cougar Mtn. trail work party as well as working the aid station at the Lumberjack 100M/100k/50M trail races.
2018 1st Half of Year race results:
- 1st – Bridle Trails Winter Running Festival 10-Mile (59:09)
- 1st – Capitol Peak Mega Fatass 26k (1:40:58)
- 1st – Run Forest Run 25k (2:00:40 – CR)
- 7th – Chuckanut 50k (3:51:18)
- 37th male – Bloomsday 12k (39:37)
- 1st – Trillium Trail 10k (38:06 – CR)
- 1st – Rhody Run 12k (39:24)
- 1st – North Olympic Discovery Marathon (2:34:44 – CR)
- 1st – Millersylvania 50k (3:12:13 – CR)
- 1st – Bainbridge Island 4th of July 5k (16:24 – CR)
- 3rd – White River 50-Mile (7:34:19)
This year has been marked by some sluggish running training. When I find it hard to commit to a running plan or schedule I generally turn to some form of cross training. This has worked out pretty well for me so far! While I haven’t raced many times this year (only 3) I have had great results in each.
At the Yakima 25k in April I ran a little faster than last year, although the top end of the race was more competitive. Last year I had finished 6th male and this year I fell to 8th male. This race was one I had looked forward to coming back to after running it for the first time last year and I had even more fun this time! It is a pretty grueling event with huge ascents and descents but I was really happy with how my body handled it on the pretty low mileage I have been doing. Most of my cross training has been focused on strength and high intensity aerobic intervals. This paid off great in the climbs, and not so great in the traverse. I made the top of the first ascent (which is about 3k ft up) five minutes faster than last year, but lost most of it in the two traverses.
In May we went to another Rainshadow running event at Sun Mountain, where I raced the 25k. This race was a lot more difficult for me, given how I have been training. The ascents were still very challenging but a larger portion of the race was just flat or mostly flat running. Since I have been mainly focusing on my strength for climbing this didn’t turn out well. So while I didn’t run as fast as I would have liked I still finished in the top ten men, eleventh overall.
Heading into the rest of the year I am hoping to run a couple more big races (big for me) and close out the year strong. For me, this year has been all about getting strong and healthy again and to really start building back up my base fitness. So far so good, I haven’t been hurt at all, and I am stronger than I have been since college. I am taking the long term approach and learning to be a bit more patient!
The first half of 2018 brought some big highs and lows in my running career. I started my racing season with the Sean O’Brien 100k, hoping to score a Golden Ticket to Western States. Instead I got myself an ankle sprain and a DNF. Fortunately, I had a big race coming up to keep my mind off of that disappointment.
In May I joined Team USA for the Ultra Trail World Championships in Penyagolosa, Spain. I had worked through a solid training block after my injury and managed to finish 37 th , scoring for the team, and helping us achieve a 4th place team finish. I loved the entire experience; from getting to march with the team in the opening ceremony to meeting all of the international runners at the team hotel and seeing which squad took down the most donuts at the breakfast buffet. Running through small mountain towns full of cheering crowds was also a very special experience.
After the high of Worlds, I’ve unfortunately had another dip down. At this year’s White River 50 Mile, I was hoping to log my third win in three years and improve upon a just under seven hour finishing time from last year. My stomach, however, felt a humbling was in order and I spent a good deal of the first half regretting food choices. I still managed to finish, but was unable to perform to my ability and expectations, so am looking to rectify that at this year’s The North Face 50 Mile in November.
Apart from my racing, I’ve enjoyed supporting the Brooks Team and Seattle Running Club by volunteering at the club’s aid station at the Chuckanut 50k and helping out at aids stations at the Cougar Mt. Trail Run Series. I have also volunteered at some of SRC trail work parties at Cougar Mt.