"Forty eight hours after the Chuckanut 50k in Bellingham, WA and the stoke is still crazy high and I'll be honest my body may here in Santa Clara, CA but my mind is still on the Ridge Trail."
Four weeks out from Chuckanut I raced in the Fourmidable 50k (2/18/17) in Auburn, CA which also served as the USATF 50k Trail Championships and I used it as a tune up for Chuckanut (3/18/17) exactly four weeks later. Little did I know that it would be the perfect training run to test every scenario including the coming down with an intense 72 hour flu that prevented me from hitting some of my favorite workouts. I loving call Fourmidable 50k "FourMUDable" for it rained up to race day morning. Similarly, the race emails started coming eight days out from Chuckanut with a forecast of rain through race day! We got a break from the rain on Thursday but then right on schedule Friday at 3pm it started to rain again.
It is now been forty hours since my last Chuckanut and I'm listening to the "Four hour work week" as I type. Like racing. It is time to finish this puppy and ask for forgiveness later rather than ask my brain for permission to be less than perfect.
I stuck with the McMillan Run Club training plan as much as life allowed and layered with Orangetheory Fitness classes 3 x a week for 6 six weeks (Jan 16, 2017-Feb 27, 2017).
The goals for the race were set out as follows.
Plan A: Going into the race I planned on snagging a well earned PR or sub 4:55. Needless to say once I learned of the mud, rain, and colder temps of which the first two do not equate to PR conditions for me.
Plan B: ran a smart race take out the first 10k faster than I normally would, pull back the rain over the ridge and have the energy to hammer the final 15k. Looking back that was pretty aggressive but hell I was going to learn something either way might as well bring it!
Plan C: Run strong and use every muscle attached to a neural connection. Hey I may even find a few more muscles along the way. Nothing to lose.
Here is how the race played out in thirds:
Check that heart rate (1/3)
In all reality I didn't really take the first 10k faster than I normally would in a 50k. The difference is that while previously I just went along with the group while this time I struck out with intent. At the 0:54.39 I was on 4hr 25 minute pace and having covered around 6.8 miles. The heart rate spiked from time to time cresting at 182. I would back off some to keep it closer to an aerobic rate rather than hitting that tempo to all out HR.
Unfortunately, I was a little too conservative over the next 10k dealing with bio breaks and packing my Patagonia Houdini into itself and into my Nathan pack. Nutrition consumption went well as I was sucking down 200-250 liquid calories and another 70-100 calories from gels, that work in conjunction with Generation UCAN, per hour.
|Now. Now. It went down Euro style kiss to the cheek.|
So much STOKE and it awaken the inner WILD!
The Chinscraper climb (2/3)
After surviving the technicality of the ridge trail some "just get through it" miles filled the time and a little sadness set in. Chuckanut was about to hit its climax and I wasn't ready for that. In fact I wish I had magical powers like in "Out of This World" to just bring my index fingers together and pause time and soak in the mist, slide on the rock slabs, and peer over the canyon.
I was so grateful for this climb for it got us out of the rain and onto less muddy ground which meant more stable footing. I felt some, previously unknown, muscles tweaking in weird places just before this crown jewel of climbs. I subtly let the mind drift to thoughts of my friend Mike Shep, now in Naples, Italy, and wondered how he felt climbing the Chinscraper. Definitely had some of my slowest mile splits in this section. The summit kicked us back out to the "Kissing Booth" Aid Station where I loaded up with both bottles with 250 calories a piece so I blast through the remaining aid station and roll for as long the legs could hold a pace.
Trouble in Paradise (3/3)
A little voice in the back of my mind was trying to be reasonable and convince me to back of the pace a little bit so I could run a more consistent pace on the Interurban trail for the last 10k. I didn't listen and kept hammering the 4 mile descent that shot me like a sling shot past the last aid station as I thanked the volunteering, dished out high fives, and turned other runners negatives into positives.
|Hoka One One Challenger ATR 2|
I could hear footsteps. Their pace wasn't threatening so I forced the pace some. I couldn't shake'em until the sign: "Catch the runner in front of you!" caught my eye. Hell with that I am that runner! You are not catching me! Then about a half mile later I look to my left and I saw the Virgin Mary. I was home. I knew exactly where I was. I tapped my the go button one last time as the rain stopped. A negative split 50k with a finish time of 5:37 only 2 hours and 4 minutes behind Max King, Hayden Hawks, and Sage Canaday.
Alas, another adventure is in the books. New ideas are a brewing. Wanderlust has set in.
Take a peek at some the race reports interviews and weekend recap:
Sage Canaday's Chuckanut 50k video: click here
IrunFar post race interview with Max King: here
Ginger Runner Live Episode 158: aqui!