Sunday, May 20, 2007

Big Dreams in a Small Town









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.







30 comments:

Backofpack said...

What you failed to mention is the fact that we partied till 11:00, got to bed at 11:30 and got up at 5:00 to be at the start of Capitol City to cheer on our friends. You are definitely a tough ultra runner! And I am so impressed and thrilled that you came to the party with your dancing shoes on! I really didn't think you'd have it in you after 100K. You rock!

shawn said...

Nice work out there Eric, and Steve too! There are two things I can't believe: 1) That you kept it to one beer at your luau! and 2) that was the first time Steve had run beyond a 50k! Amazing. And I agree, Steve Barrick's pace IS deceptive...I said the exact same thing yesterday after trying to keep up for 2 loops. Again, good job, you are well on your way to a fine showing at Western States.

olga said...

Yes, Eric and Steve!!! Awesome job you guys! WS is a piece of cake now!!!

wendy said...

Good job Eric, and Steve! And Bob!!

It's awesome how you always manage to keep your sense of humor, at least, in your reports you do. I love how you write about your "cat-like reflexes", Bob being 78 years young, and of course, the carbo loading party. =)

Sounds like it was a perfect goal, and a great day!

aquaasho said...

Big well done to you and your friends Eric! I'm inspired.

Jack said...

You make it sound too easy, you must be running too slow ;-) Seriously, you are a fantastic runner, very inspiring!

Wes said...

I think you all are nuts :-) But as long as some of that rubs off on me, I'm OK with it!

Thomas said...

I would say this is fantastic and you did incredibly well, were it not for the fact that you do it practically every week. Well done, man.

Bob Gentile said...

OK before I congrats you & Steve, WHAT ABOUT BOB?!!! Geesh way to go Bob you YOUNG 78 yr old running with NO water bottle--strong!!! something to be said about the old school free spirit runners, WOW Way to GO Bob :-)

Congrats Eric & Steve (pr miles, sweet)...Great job Eric, u are getting in that WS feeling huh, well I know U had it for a while but party before & dancing afterwards well now were talking :-)

King Arthur said...

Is Bob older than Keith Wood? I think Keith is also 78.

Journey to a Centum said...

Arthur,

I'm only going by what Bob told me. There was one other runner that was signed up but didn't show that was older than Bob. Perhaps that was Keith? Did you see Keith on the trail?

Eric

mtnrunR said...

great job eric.

you should be able to get all the way up to robinson flat this year. the fast dudes got within two miles i believe two and a half weeks ago. have fun next weekend

mtnrunR said...

oh, way to go Steve!

Steve said...

It was a fantastic experience and I finished exhausted but thrilled. I have run 50 miles but it was over 10 years ago.

Thanks Eric for keeping me company, driving us home and being a great friend.

Have a great time at the Western training camp next weekend and then let's figure out what's next.

Thanks Eric for the company, encouraging me to keep going, driving us home and being a great friend.

King Arthur said...

I talked to Keith several times as I passed him on the trail. He was out there for all 12 hours.
Check out this funny picture of him finishing Lake Youngs last year but then he couldn't break the tape.
http://photos.lakeyoungsultra.com/GalleryFilmstrip.aspx?gallery=2909&photo=75485
I hope I'm still moving when I'm 78!!!

When I saw you going the other way on your last loop, you looked so strong, I thought you were going to catch me. I think you are going to do well at Western. Now you just need some Heat training.

Journey to a Centum said...

Arthur -

Yes, Steve and I saw Keith on the trail. In fact as we climbed up the one hill near the long grassy clearing he heard us coming and started to run up the hill as we walked not allowing us to pass him for about 100 yards. He seems to be a real card. I guess that we will just need to see what the results show when they are posted regarding who the oldest competitor was.

King Arthur said...

I was just joking and giving you a hard time about who was the oldest. ;) I thought it was funny that there were 78 year old guys out there.

olga said...

Now that I looked at the pictures I have to admit the trails look very nice. May be I should run local next year? And yes, Bob is amazing! As for WS - I take my words back now. Lets shoot for 24, Eric. Don't relax here, you've got it going well, reach for the star!

robtherunner said...

Great job to you both out there. Looks like some nice trails.

Meghan said...

Eric,

Your pics are beautiful! I agree, you are totally set up for Western States now. Awesome job meeting your goal this weekend!

Meghan
www.running-blogs.com/meghan

Sarah said...

Wow...you are really packing in the miles! Nice job. Pretty trails too. : )

Bruce said...

Wow, 100k then out dancing for a few hours. Top effort Eric.

runliarun said...

You danced after an ultra ultra? You are a prince of living.

mtnrunR said...

the heat was a non-issue at Silver State.

Jeff said that they got a couple of 90 degree days at their training camp at michigan bluff two weeks ago. they even got it on one of their 50 mile days.

You should get a day or two of it down there I figure.

Oh, you might see them pass. they do a 52 mile run one of the days on memeorial day weekend. ed willson will probably be their rolling aid station. it is better than the states aid stations. i saw them at the swinging bridge last year on the first day.

it is a blast

Gotta Run said...

I read this and think.... WILD!!! Love the post and details of the race. Amazing pace and can hardly believe that you went dancing that night. Michelle must have been thrilled that you up for some dancing moves.

Just amazing!!!

Darrell said...

Man, you are one crazy, gifted runner. Congrats on 100k on some beaturiful trails (unless your pics are like a movie traliler and only show the best stuff).

Run well at the WS preview.

Dori said...

Great job, Eric! Looks like you're learning some survival tricks for WS100. Congratulations also on your 5 star, you maniac. Enjoy your camp this weekend.

Ryan said...

Another great run for the books Eric! It’s great that you have so many nice pictures from the trail…….Keep going strong this weekend at the WS training camp!

angie's pink fuzzy said...

yay, that's awesome!!!

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