What a fantastic event! After Chuckanut last year, Krissy told me she was cooking up something special for this, the 20th Anniversary year and her 10th as RD. She wasn’t kidding. A huge number of runners, including the deepest field I’ve ever seen as well as an inspiring number of first-time 50kers, toed the line on Saturday. I think the official count was 696 starters or thereabouts. Logistics were flawless and the vibe was really special. Conditions were prototypical Pacific Northwest: rain, sleet, snow, mud, with “sun-breaks” later in the day.
Before the race I offered the Goal Matrix…let’s review and see how I did:
1: PR (Yes! 4:09.45…about a 4.5 minute PR on what I would argue was a slightly longer course and relatively slow conditions)
2: Don’t get chicked (Fail! After reeling in Ellie just before Chinscraper, I gapped her just a bit on the climb. She then BLEW by me on the downhill and I futility tried to catch back up on the Interurban trail. In the end, she got my by 18-seconds. Geez Louise she is fast! I guess she’s not the Western States and World 100k Champion for nothin’)
3: Outperform my UltraSignup rank (Yes! I think I was ranked 41st on the list of entrants and I finished 23rd. That’s my worst placing ever at Chuckanut and perhaps in any ultra, but it has to rank as one of my better runs. Sure, winning a smaller race is fun, but getting to toe the line with the top guns and be a part of that racing is much more fulfilling.)
4: NOT pass Paps in the last 1/2 mile. (Yes! After a bit of scrambling, I spotted Paps at the start line and made sure to line up in front of him. Apparently that’s all it took!)
It’s not at all surprising that Goal #2 turned out to be the most challenging. I had a feeling it would take more than a PR to beat Ellie.
I’ll spare you all the blow by blow minutia. Overall the race was a pretty steady effort. I had some weak moments in the first 10 or so miles, but found a good rhythm on Cleator Rd and kept the throttle down all day. Pretty happy with my 1:05 closing split for the last 10 miles.
Patagonia was the title sponsor of the event and it was great to catch up with so many teammates and folks from Ventura. Congrats to Tucker, Josh, George and Tom for solid performances and great thanks to Mark for manning the finish line booth. The post-race Patagonia presence was impressive!
Shirt: Patagonia ForeRunner shirt - an excellent choice for the conditions. I was comfortable all day in this single-layer short-sleeve, coupled with a pair of armwarmers.
Shorts: Patagonia Ridge Runners (circa 2003) - I keep saying “That’s my last race in those shorts,” but I can’t quite quit them. Working on some custom pockets for the new (and quite fantastic) Strider shorts. Those will be the race piece moving forward.
Hat: Patagonia merino skull cap sample. This is a fantastic hat that I very much hope makes its way to production.
Socks: Patagonia Ultralight merino 1/4 socks. Perfect for the sloppy conditions. Not one problem with my feet on a day when many came away with severe trench foot.
Shoes: Brooks Racer ST5: Solid shoe for this course, particularly with the Interurban trail and Cleator Rd. Felt a road shoe was the better choice and it seemed to work well.
Bottle: UltrAspire Isomeric pocket. Holds 5 gels and fits great!
Grub: PowerBar gel, PowerBar Endurance Drink, Nuun.
As a final note, I must give a big thank you to my most important and beloved sponsor, Maggie. It’s been a wild few months on the home-front. Between the two of us we are chasing around 2 young girls, working full time (Maggie), trying to complete and publish a dissertation (me), sell our house, and prepare for our move to Missoula, all while healing as best we can from the recent loss of Maggie’s father. It’s his birthday today and as I write this I am reminded of how his spirit and character shaped the incredible woman, mother, wife, and friend Maggie is every day. Great thanks for letting me persist in this relatively silly pursuit. I think it makes me a better man, father, husband, and friend…though it might not always feel that way…