Tuesday, October 18, 2011

8/27/2011 Cascade Crest Endurance Run

This happens to be my favorite 100 mile race because of a lot of reasons:
- The RD (Charlie Crissman) does an AMAZING job with the race.  Perfect course marking, perfect aid stations, etc!  Any ultramarathon put on by a SERIOUS ultrarunner is always going to be good, besides he is a helluva nice guy!  Charlie outdoes himself every year!
- Since I am an Alaskan I love the outdoors, and Washington outdoors reminds me of the forests in my hometown Valdez Alaska.  I just can't get enough of the beauty of this area!
- Friends, friends, and more friends, it is amazing to see people you know at every aid station and along the course.
- The degree of difficulty in Cascade Crest is such that you are forced to walk much of the race.  This race has mountains forcing you to walk when you really should walk.  The course has down hills and flats when you should run, it has the perfect combination. 

I had a super time this year because I really took it easy.  It is amazing how much more you see on a course when you take time to actually look around.  I remember thinking many times "wow look at that view".  I never noticed that the last two times I ran this.  

My BIG goal this year was running Badwater, once that was over I really went into melt down and couldn’t
Convince myself to train like I should for Cascade Crest.  I went into Cascade Crest with only 1 long run since Badwater (34 miles on God's Country Course) and an average of 40-45 miles a week running.  Of course I was so oblivious to this I didn't realize this fact until I was 15 miles into Cascade Crest.  I remember stopping and saying to myself WTF are you doing out here. Up until that point I was running with Shawna Tompkins (the eventual winner), stupid, stupid, stupid. 

After that I decided to take a different approach and just enjoy the race.  My goal from that point was to get to Hyak where I would pick up my 1st pacer William Worrell and I would be more than ½ way done.  Once I knew ½ of the race was over, and I had someone to talk to, it would suddenly get a lot easier!  William finished Cascade Crest last year as his 1st 100 mile race.  Having an experienced ultrarunner was exactly what I needed to get me through the long road section from Hyak to the “Trail from Hell”.  I think this is the worst part of the course, 15 miles of long boring road, in the middle of the night, the best part about this section is knowing the “Trail from Hell” is next. The “Trail from Hell” is one of my favorite sections, it is so technical, tons of trees down, sharp cliffs, really eerie to run at night, and at the end we get to cross Mineral Creek, good luck keeping your shoes dry!!  Shortly after Mineral Creek is the Mineral Creek Aid Station where my friend Pablo Cabrera was working, it was cool to see him there!  A few miles later William was finished and it was time for my friend Dylan to pace me.

Dylan Owens is an amazing new ultrarunner, he has only been running for a few short months and is able to keep in the front of the pack in most of the races he runs, imagine what he is going to be like when he is seasoned!  Dylan paced me up to “No Name Ridge” where my wife Delores met me with my “secret“ drop bag.  It is always nice to see her at the aid stations especially when I am tired and really just want the race to be over!  The "Needles" section to "French Cabin" is my favorite section of the course because it is truly a B_ _ CH, the needles go on and on and on, but in between there are runable sections, so I just muster up the needles as fast as I can and run the runable sections, then on to the next one, then the next one, then all of a sudden you're at French Cabin.  Once you leave French Cabin there is one more serious climb then it is all downhill and/or flat, Yes Yes Yes!

Dylan did a great job trying to push me to run, except for the fact I didn't care about my finish time.  I was kind of getting a little owly towards him as he suggested we should pick it up because of this reason or that, I don't even remember, all I remember is I really didn't care what time I finished this darn race, I just wanted to finish "whenever", until we finally crested that last hill after French Cabin.  Then I realized all I had to do was run a 9 minute mile for the rest of the race and I would finish under 24 hours.  If he hadn't prodded me to finish under 24 hours I probably wouldn't have done so.  For this I am very thankful "now"!!  All in all it was a great experience for me to have William and Dylan pace me, and I think it was good for them as well. 

My 3rd attempt at this amazing mountain course was a success thanks to my wife Delores, William, and Dylan! Anytime you need a pacer all you have to do is ask!  Next year I will be running an Aid Station (hopefully Mineral Creek) and watching my good friend Joseph Tompkins finish his 5th Cascade Crest.

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