Monday, April 27, 2009

Capitol Peak 50 Mile, Olympia WA

Steve Stoyles working his way to the summit of Capitol Peak


Owen Connell at the summit of Capitol Peak

Steve Stoyles, John Pearch RD, Me! Post race bliss. (Photo by Herb)


You will need to look at page two of the results for Capitol Peak 50M to find my finishing time. If you are in a big hurry I'll save you the effort and post 11:17:03.

The adventure began Friday afternoon when Steve Stoyles and Jenny Appel picked me up to carpool to the Fall Creek campground near the starting line. Our first challenge was extremely heavy traffic on Hwy 512 and I-5 as we slowly worked our way to the packet pickup at South Sound Running in Olympia. We had started out on what is typically a 45 min drive that turned into 90 min. All pressure was off as we pulled into South Sound Running before the 6:00PM deadline. We were helped by Kris Ryding who coincidentally was the 3rd place female for the 50 mile this weekend.

With our race packets firmly in hand our next priority was food. Kris suggested an Italian restaurant just a couple of blocks from the store. We discovered Pellegrino's Italian on Cleveland Ave. in Tumwater, WA. Spaghetti was the food of choice for all of us. The server brought out huge bowls of spaghetti and meat sauce for us to devour. I think I may have managed to eat more than Jenny or Steve but we all ended up with a take out box full of leftovers.

Next we headed up to the campground to meet Dave and Lesa Overfield who had set up their travel trailer and offered us a place to stay. We arrived around 8:00PM and Dave and Lesa had camp setup and a fire going. With alarms set for the early start at 4:00AM we hit the hay early at 8:30 for a great night of sleep.

Morning seemed to come quickly so Steve, Jenny, and I all hurried to get ready and head over to the starting line that was about 1/4 mile away. We dressed, ate breakfast, and I even had a cup of fresh brewed coffee!

About 12 runners had chosen the early start option. Steve and I took an early lead but took a sensible pace up hills doing some power hiking in spots. We lost our lead when we crossed a bridge and noticed orange markers on a trail to our right. While it went against our gut feel and knowledge of the course we decided that we should take the trail. About 1/4 mile up a hill we came to a logging road with no markers on it. At that point we pretty much knew that this was the wrong trail but just in case Steve went left and I went right about another 1/8 mile to see if we could find a marker. We didn't so we headed back down the trail where we found Rick Jerabek following the same markers. As we looked at maps and directions Janet Casal came up the trail. Steve and I decided that the markers were not correct and decided to go on. We ran another 1/2 mile before we found a confidence marker but it confirmed we had made the right decision. Apparently the markers messed up the leaders of the 50K as well as others. In hindsight we wish we would have taken them down but if we were wrong we didn't want the entire race to go off course. Apparently the markers were left over from some other event.

It wasn't long and some of the speedy front runners for the 55K and 50 Mile ended up blowing past us. Among these was James Varner who high-fived Steve and I on his way past. James was originally signed up for the 55K but SUPERSIZED his race and decided to run the 50 Mile course instead earning 4th place overall in that event. You can tell when James is running well by the size of smile on his face. The course is his old stomping grounds and he tore it up!

We finished the first loop (mile 19) without any other wrong turns and fueled up for the climb up to Capitol Peak. Maybe I ate too much, or the wrong food but I started to struggle on the climb. At this point Steve was definitely the stronger runner but he kept me in sight. At the Capitol Jct. AS the 50mile runners had a choice to bail and do 55K or continue on the 50 Mile course. I didn't mention it to Steve but I gave some consideration to taking the 55K option. The AS fueling gave me enough motivation to continue on in an all or nothing pursuit of my 5th 50 mile finish. It was snowing lightly with a steady cold wind at the summit of Capitol Peak where Glenn Tachiyama was taking photographs. He must have heated underwear to be able to keep from freezing to death in that kind of exposure.

My bonk/struggle lasted for nearly 17 miles before I started feeling better. When Steve and I made the turnaround at Mile 37.5 I seemed to have been able to recover and not feel like I was going to hurl. We started the climb back to Wedekind using a 100 stride run with 50 stride power hike. We ran into Jenny as she worked her way to the turnaround on the out and back from Wedekind. She was ahead of the cutoffs and looked strong. Jenny is training for CCC and this was a milestone race for her. This worked really well for both Steve and I and we made good time up to Wedekind AS where Laura was volunteering. She was very encouraging and was able to sound convincing when she said that we only had six short miles to go. I need to correct her just a little because a couple of those miles seemed very long!

I started feeling really good in the last few miles of the run. We cruised in to the finish and enjoyed some great fellowship with the other runners and volunteers as we waited for Jenny to cross the line. We kept warm by the wood fired burning barrels and drank a beer. When Jenny finished we all hopped into the car and headed for dinner. We were joined by Karen Wiggins at Denny's where we had French Toast Slams at 7:30 PM.

NEXT WEEKEND: Tacoma City Marathon!

Thanks for reading!

14 comments:

Backofpack said...

I know it wasn't fun for you, but it makes me feel better to know that you are not superman and that you bonk too! Good job pushing through it. Wanna carpool to TCM?

Journey to a Centum said...

Michelle - We should run to TMC! It's only 12 miles to the starting line!

Laura H said...

There were a couple of extra long miles in that last leg. I swept it and wondered a couple of times if I was on the right track but there weren't many spots to go off course. Garmin said 6.53. It always baffles me though at that last turn before you head to Fall Creek, there is a sign that says Wedekind 7.5 miles. Where does that extra mile come in??? Nice job out there and way to tough it out!

Chad in the AZ Desert said...

Great job getting through the tough spots and getting to the finish line.

Good luck this weekend!

SherpaHerb said...

For feeling bad, you sure had alot of energy scrambling up the peak. Those shots that Glen took of you are awesome! Maybee you can make a high speed slide show out of them?

Thomas said...

Is that trail really as steep as it looks in the first picture? I'd get vertigo on that one!

Annette said...

Your "bonk" lasted for 17 miles?! You are amazing to have pushed through it. Nice! You are strong, grasshopper! :)

Good luck next weekend!

Donald said...

Annette beat me to it - a 17-mile bonk doesn't sound very nice at all. Way to keep plugging away at it and get 'er done.

Anonymous said...

Impressive recovery Eric! It was really great seeing you guys out there. Good luck at Tacoma!

Joe L.

Eryn said...

Great effort. Only one week rest till next marathon? You guys are amazing...

Wes said...

This is cool and all, but where is the concrete? The tall buildings? The smell? Geez!! You are so out of touch... :-)

Alaskan Assassin said...

Congrats on the solid race. That one is on my wish list for sure.

Anne said...

It's nice to know that even seasoned pros like you sometimes get lost in the woods. Makes the rest of us feel better when we do too.

Good luck this weekend in Tacoma!

Jack said...

Not every race is easy, you did a great job hanging in there! So now I have to read how you did in Tacoma...