(photo courtesy of Allison Moore)
Correction: Uli Steidl was the winner! I apparently listened to the wrong source. Congratulations Uli!
For the first time I was able to participate in the annual Bridle Trails 50K which as usual was a mudfest. This race is put on by Seattle Running Company and attracts some very speedy characters.
This race is unusual in that the start time is 3:10 PM. The race is held at Bridle Trails State Park. The trails are a combination of single track and wide gravel paths. The race includes a 5 mile, 10 mile, 50K, 50K pair, and 50K relay which are run on a 5 mile loop. Between the snow melt and rain we have been having in the PNW conditions were ideal for mud and deep puddles. The course did not disappoint. The mud has a strange thixotropic consistency which is probably caused by the through mixing of horse poop by the bombardment of running shoes.
Our carpool got together at 1:00 PM and five of us headed north to the Kirkland area. We stopped on the way for some much needed Starbucks and continued north only to miss our exit. After some brief stress we called one of our lifelines (Michelle) and she verified the exit number for us and we pointed ourselves in the proper direction to allow "Insane Jane", to do a day of race entry and Steve, Jenny, Rob, and I to check in and get our numbers. Thanks to Steve for driving.
Participation was high this year with over 500 runners toeing the line. The majority of runners were doing the shorter 1 loop and 2 loop distances. The 5 mile race started first at 3:00 PM. All others started at 3:10. Nothing like having 500 people churning up the trail so we could get the full enjoyment of all that it offered. Did I mention that it started raining fairly hard just before the start and continued to do so for the entire evening?
Somehow I had it in my mind that the 10 mile race started before the 50K so I was lallygagging around the starting line when I suddenly realized that 50K runners were standing on the starting line. I jumped in at the front of the pack and we were off.
In my everlasting spirit of being a stupid runner I found myself running with Arthur Martineau, Alison Hanks, and Devon Crosby-Helms. Arthur ended up sixth overall in the 50K. Devon has qualified for the 100K World Championships to be held in Europe this summer. Arthur left us on the first major hill and I hung near Alison and Devon for the next three laps. To be honest it was apparent that Devon was really just out for a training run. I'm guessing when she's really got the jets going that she doesn't chatter away with friends. When I asked them why I was still with them after three laps Devon boosted my confidence by telling me "they sucked". They left me in the dirt on lap four. I must really suck.
I ran my first four laps at what I would consider race pace falling only once but in a good area that did not involve deep mud or water. The water and mud took it's toll on my tired legs from my other recent running escapades so the final two laps involved some race pace, some shuffle and slog through the mud, and some er um... power walking.
I was passed by running legend Uli Steidl during my 5th lap. He was on his way to a rare defeat and only 5 miles ahead of me when he finished. Results have not yet been posted and I've heard the drop rate for the "Winter Trail Running Festival" is higher than for the Hardrock 100.
Rob, Steve, and Jenny had decided to run the 50K together. The plan was going well until Jenny slipped in the mud an tweaked her knee that was surgically repaired in the last couple of years. They were in their third lap when she hurt it. Jenny decided to let Rob and Steve go on and take another lap at a more cautious pace. Rob and Steve finished in around 6:30:00. After four laps (20 miles) Jenny dropped. She will be back next week with her knee brace. "Insane Jane" has never bragged of speed but she does have determination. She was in dead last 43 minutes behind the next runner when she started her last lap. She came in before the 11:30PM cutoff finishing strong and very very happy.
I should mention that while Jane was running her last lap the four of us in the carpool took off to get gas in the car and grab something to eat. We ended up at McDonald's where we watched "Rattler" consume two Big Mac's, a super sized fries (he left some of those) and an apple pie. We called and made our appointments with our cardiologists and should probably plan on bypass surgery as the crap we ate embeds itself in our arteries.
Finish time for me: 5:26:20 or so.
Next weekend: Capitol Peak Fat Ass 50K
I'm back! I'm back!
2 days ago