Saturday, January 20, 2007

Capital Peak 50+K

Time: 7:14:50. The Fat Ass Capital Peak 50K is a course that climbs a grand total of 18,400 feet up to 2676 foot elevation combining two 17 mile laps. We had a great day for the run with mostly sunny skies with the odd cloud cover blowing over. The first 7 miles of each lap for the most part involve climbing to the microwave towers on the top of Capital Peak. This first section the single track trail was in good shape with an average of two to three inches of snow on the surface. As we climbed the last steep section up to the microwave towers the gravel access road was frozen solid with about a 10-15 mile an hour tail wind as we climbed. We ran to the top, looped around the towers and then got to do the slip and slide down the steep road. Just as we passed the first aid station which was staffed by some great volunteers from Search and Rescue we got to start another climb which was fairly steady for about 4 miles. After this section the course got fast and generally had reasonable grades with a few steep sections, two stream crossings, and a bugger of a section on the trail that was basically a ditch shaped like a "V". I was able to run this V section the first loop but had to walk/run the second loop with a lot of slips and slides along with some cursing. The V section of the trail was muddy. The mud was the kind that sticks to the bottom of your shoes and starts getting heavier and heavier. I had my only fall in this area on lap two however my speed was slow and I just sort of plopped over into the snow. Fortunately this section only lasted for about 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile.
This was the longest and toughest trail run to date for Michelle and her friend Jenny. The both successfully completed a 17 mile lap.

I ran the first loop with Matt DeBoer, Steve Stoyles, and Tom Riley. Tom ran WS100 last year and offered up some good advice for me as we ran. I think the best nugget of advice he gave me was to make sure I reserved a ground floor hotel room after WS100. Matt got in one full loop and about 12 more miles. He turned around at Aid Station #1 because his hip started to bother him. Steve made it about 4 miles up the second loop before deciding to turn and go back. He's run a three marathon or greater distances and one half marathon in the last 4 weeks. He got out of cycle with his fueling and really just felt like he should not continue. I'm sure If I had pressed him he would have made it but I need Steve healthy so he can pace me at WS.

I did a lot of walking on the climbs on lap two but was able to run well on the flats and downhill. TC also ran the 50K but has recently been ill and didn't pull out his best time ever. He pushed himself and finished in good physical shape.

After our painful leg experience the week following the Tiger Mt. 50K Steve and I decided that when we got to our homes we would soak our legs in an ice bath. I filled our tub with water deep enough to go over my waist, put on a fleece jacket, fleece hat, and held two hand warmers when I jumped in the water. I was able to soak for about 20 minutes and my legs feel much better. I spoke to Steve and he also braved the ice bath for 15 minutes with positive results.

Van "Pigtails" had a nasty fall in the last mile or two from the finish. She ended up doing a face plant which scuffed up her right cheek, blasted her contact lenses with mud, and wrenched her neck. She has a massage scheduled for Monday which I'm sure will be greatly appreciated.


Jenny said...

Great run. great times, great report! Gotta love(hate) the "V" trench mud! :)

Backofpack said...

Your screams as you lowered into the ice bath scared me almost as much as the gunfire. I thought the icy shock might give you a heart attack or something! Thank goodness you survived it.

Thanks for encouraging me to give this a try and for the bits of advice you dropped here and there. It was awesome!

olga said...

OK, I'll try here after Michelle ate my first comment:) I am so glad you had that twisted fun, and I know very well about the gunfire - this is the opening date for hunters or something like that. Last year they emailed John (who I stayed at) that if he proceeds with the race they'll shoot people (or close to it). Sheriff and newspapers were notified, and I was scared out of my mind to swip:)
But - you made it, in all the snow, and had seeing what the CP is all about for the April run! Good day!

Darrell said...

I was going to say that I thought that the ice bath sounded like the worst thing of the day. Michelle's comment confirmed that.

Your plan to keep your pacers healthy and happy seems prudent. ;-)

mtnrunR said...

I was thinking on my three hour drive home. Your goal time to finish States is too SOFT!!! Sub 24 is in the cards for you. I see Silver in your future!!! Great job.
tom riley

robtherunner said...

Awesome time and I wish I could've been there with you. This sounds like it should be a big confidence booster for you. I agree with Tom that your "just finish" is a bit soft as well. Keep on training smart.

Sarah said...

Great job on a tough course! I've had those kind of falls where you just sort of plop. You just have to laugh. : ) Glad you survived your ice bath. I don't have the guts to do them in the winter.

S Lawson said...

Eric, you are doing so awesome! I am so proud of you. From a non-icer, I have to echo the earlier comments and say that the ice bath must have been the toughest part of the day. Thank you for the report and allowing me to relive the day through you! :-)

Thomas said...

Never mind the run, I'm totally in awe of you ability to last 20 minutes in an ice bath!

Meghan said...

Just thought I would put in a comment to say hello. I was out there on Saturday also. Was a great time, yes! In case you saw me, I was a girl wearing a yellow ball cap. Not sure who you were! :) I apparently missed all the drama with the gunshots. I heard them in the distance, but they were never close to me. I feel lucky!


Wes said...

What a grueling race! I've heard some things about the ice bath. Most of them painful. After running in that cold, I couldn't imagine you not being able to take a little cold water! Nicely done!!

Meghan said...


Ok, so who were you out there? I figured out who mtnrnR Tom was, but who were you? (There were so many nice gentlemen out there.)

Reference your comment over on my blog, I'm actually from Wyoming. I flew into Portland with another Wyoming runner, and we drove up to Capitol Peak for the race. There's so much danged snow over here in Wyoming, it's near impossible to trail run without snowshoes. We needed a training race with real dirt underfoot, so we came out for the weekend. However, I dug this race, so I think I might come out again soon!

Happy trails!

angie's pink fuzzy said...


and hope van is ok!

runliarun said...

A famous British photographer ( has taken once a riotous picture of a bunch of men in an ice bath, fully clothed, toasting drinks, having a grand time. I try to bring that to mind when I think of icing.

Anonymous said...

These winter trail runs sound pretty brutal. Although, I do think the ice bath may have been the hardest part. :) You're a madman!