I'll admit that it was my running buddy Steve Stoyles that established yesterdays goal of 100K for the 12 Hour Watershed run in Redmond Washington. The run consists of a big loop and a small loop. The big loop was 5.375 (including the small loop) was open to running for the first 10 hours. The small loop which was .72 miles was where the folks running for longer distance or for the longest distance possible in twelve hours finished the race after 10 hours.
My morning started with a 5:00AM alarm. Six hours sleep after a luau party at a friends house Friday night. I behaved myself and limited my consumption of beer to a single bottle. The cheesecake and apple pie I had fell under the category of carbo loading. I took a quick shower, dressed, ate a banana, a bowl of oatmeal, and was race ready!
5:30AM Steve and his 78 year young dad pulled into my driveway. I quickly gathered my drop bag and other gear into his car and our adventure began.
The race start was scheduled for 7:00 AM. We made the drive of about 40 miles in just under an hour. Traffic was not a problem at that hour but we were somewhat concerned about the amount of rain we were driving through. The sky became brighter as we got closer to the race and it was dry and just a little breezy at the starting area.
Most of the trails were at least 4-5 feet wide with a decent gravel or pine needle surface. The small loop was single track with roots, rocks, and other garbage to maneuver around. The trails were located around the watershed of Redmond in lush 2nd growth forest. A very well stocked aid station was located at the end of each loop.
The weather could not have been any better with temps around 50-55 degrees F with broken clouds and sunshine. We had a cooling mist of rain around 6:00 PM.
All the usual ultra running suspects were gathered at the starting area. Van Phan, tc, King Arthur, Shawn Lawson, James Kirby, Steve Barrick and many others. It was a typical low key ultra event. This run allows you to run any distance for up to 12 hours. Some runners elected to run marathon distance, 50K, 50 miles, 100K, or as far as they could run for 12 hours. A 10 hour cutoff was established for the large loop. If you made it in within 9:59 you were able to make one more large loop before finishing with short loops.
Steve Stoyles and I ran the first five loops averaging around 50 min each. We had played cat and mouse with Steve Barrick on loop number 5 but he kept taking short aid station breaks and getting out in front of us. Steve Barrick is about 6'6" tall and just sort of lumbers along with deceptive pace. We would catch a glimpse of Barrick every now and then ahead of us and we seemed to be making up the distance very slowly. We finally caught him with about two miles to go to the aid station and we all ran together. Stoyles and I started to head out for lap 7 but Barrick decided to call it quits with 32 miles. Stoyles and I had worked hard to catch back up to Barrick and it was disappointing to see him drop. Stoyles was tired and upset that Barrick had dropped. We decided to back way off on our pace and have a recovery lap. We walked most hills that had a steep grade and also tooks some walking breaks on the runnable sections as well. Stoyles had not really hydrated or fueled very well on laps 3 and 4 and it had caught up to him. As Steve and I were cruising along a long flat smooth section of the trail at about mile 3 of the large loop I stumbled on an embedded rock and found myself laying in the brush on the side of the trial. My natural cat-like reflexes allowed me to roll and flop over into the brush unhurt. I've hurt worse catching myself after a stumble and not falling down. Steve struggled on lap 8 but seemed to be feeling and running better on lap 9. Lap 10 was do or die if we wanted to beat the cutoff and be allowed to make another large loop. About a mile into lap 10 Steve suggested that I run ahead to make the cutoff. He was doing much better but we both knew that it was going to be close. I took off and found that our conservative running had left me with some surprising horsepower. I was able to run all but the very steep hills and was at about an 8:30 pace. I managed to beat the cutoff by about 15 min. Steve worked his butt off and managed to get in 3 min. before the cutoff as well. I ran another strong large lap passing a number of runners and finished lap 11. I was a bit confused about how many small loops I needed to run to complete the 100K. For some reason I thought is was 6 when in fact it was 5. I managed .75 miles of extra credit.
Steve came in about 10 min. later finishing his first 100K. Not only that, his longest previous distance before this event was 32 miles. Some new ground was broken but not his spirit. He was exhausted so he drank and ate a bit then I drove home.
What about Bob? Steve's 78 year old dad ran 6 loops for 32 miles. Bob is a creative free spirit runner so instead of following the course that we all used he created another. Turns out he missed the turn to the aid station on his first lap and ended up running two large loops before making it to the aid station. His only complaint was that he didn't have a water bottle with him so things got a little dry while he was out there.
When I got home I showered and headed to a friends annual Hat Party. Michelle and I did some dancing, socializing, and headed home around 10:30 PM. Needless to say I slept very well.
Thanks to Steve Stoyles for setting a great goal and making it happen!
I feel great and I'm looking forward to next weekend's training runs on the WS course.
Note: If you think Steve and I are crazy Van Phan ran 64 miles yesterday and then finished the Capitol City Marathon today. Montrail found a person very worthy of her sponsorship. I'm sure that North Face will love the pictures they took of Van in front of their banners with her Montrail jersy on. tc got in around 72 miles. Bob Stoyles was the oldest participant in the run.