Monday, June 21, 2010

Sun Mountain Race Report 2010

On the Road, Freedom!
Knowing I had a 4-something hour drive to Sun Mountain from Whidbey Island I borrowed my mom's zippy little gas efficient car. I mulled over my decision for days before going for it-- mostly because I would really, really miss having a CD player, especially on a 4-something hour drive. Nonetheless, the thought of 40 miles per gallon seduced me.

Ah... little did I know there were some fun tapes in the car that kept me busy fast-forwarding and re-winding throughout the drive. I won't soon forget that there was a horrible repeat of "Buttercup Baby" on one side of the tape. Two Buttercup Babies ad I didn't even like one... somehow the tape always seemed to stall on those two repeated songs and I would get lost in which way to rewind or to fast forward, get me away far away form Buttercup Baby!!! It was enough to drive me crazy. I rocked out to Tom Petty, Neil Diamond, ABBA, Stevie Nicks, and more, you get the genre right?. Somehow it was the perfect pairing with the zippy little car, the fast winding mountain roads, the rain and trees.
 Winthrop, Methow Valley, WOW!

And yes, I am in love with Winthrop. It reminds me of Lake Tahoe and a bit like Mt. Baker: the alpine feel, the rolling green hills and wildflowers. Beautiful lakes... Wow, what a special place. It really is in the middle of nowhere though. There must be as many second homes in Winthrop and Mazama as there are single family homes. It seems to be the ideal "get away from the city" location, just far enough away with excellent winter sports and summer heat to draw tourists and sports enthusiasts.

Back to the race.
Me and my Whidby 25K  running partners, L to R: Nick, Jason, me, Seth adn his son Emmett.

I traveled to Winthrop to do the Sun Mountain 50K. James Varner of Rainshadow Running organizes many races each year, the Orcas Island 25K and 50K, Sun Mountain Trail Races, Cle Elum, and this year the Winthrop Road Marathon. And he does put on a great race. Sun Mountain Trail races offered a 1K kids race, a 25K, 50K, and 50 mile. I fully expected a fast, hot course, but got a very wet, cool, and slow course. The race may be a mile longer than advertised according to a friends GPS.

The night before the race I changed plans and opted for the 25K. It was a difficult decision as I really enjoy the 50K distance, but with a nagging hip injury, some other minor health issues, work the next day, and a 4-something hour drive home I decided on the 25K, 15.5 miles. I know, not very hard core. Only 15.5 miles. But how about 15.5 miles in the rain climbing a mountain, and running?
Amanda and Nick's awesome REI tent--- I want one!
 Kathy and Jason's Mazama cabin-- the best host and hostess' possible.

As I was driving the the race at 9 AM, it started raining. By the time the race began at 10Am there was no end in sight to the rain. It was coming down hard enough that I expected to be soaked in 10 minutes.

Happily after a half hour of running the rain abated and the sky cleared briefly to expose incredible views of foggy green mountains, meadows of wildflowers and even a wee little peek of sunshine here and there. The course slowly and steadily crept uphill with some nice flats and short downhills to Aid station at mile 8.5.

After the Aid station the trail turned into more of a dirt road that wound its way uphill, dropped rather briefly and then scrambled uphill for a stretch. Soon after this the trail was mostly down hill, with plenty of flat and rolling type hills. When I thought I had just 10 minutes left, 10 turned into 20! The course may be longer than advertised...

All said, I really recommend the Sun Mountain Trail Races. Plus, beer and pizza at the finish? Priceless.

Here are some pictures from Kathy nd Jason's cabin to the river a short walk away.  Such a pretty place...

I soaked my legs in this water for all of...1 minute...I know I am pretty hard core. But damn it was COLD!!!!!!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Race Report for Sun Mountain...on its way

Sun Mountain Trail Races
(1K kids race, 25K, 50K, and 50 mile) were incredibly scenic, unusually rainy, and a bit harder than expected. Full race report coming in the next day or two, Check back soon.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Sun Mountain Here I Come

I'm running at Sun Mountain this weekend, July 20th. I haven' t been this excited about a race in a while. It has been ages since I went to Winthrop, so long that I 'm not sure if I have eer been there. So part of the excitement is traveling to a new place. And I think, I hope, the sun will shine down with all its glory! Over here on Whidbey Island we have been a bit sun deprived.

The Sun Mountain trail races, organized by James Varner of Rainshadow Running boasts 4 categories this year: 1K for kids, 25K, 50K, and 50 mile. Visit the website here: Sun Muntain Trail Races.

I will most likely be doing the 50K. I have two major races next month that I wan to be ready for-- Grey Rock 50K and White River 50 mile. See you on the mountain!

Lake Youngs 50K

I completed the Lake Youngs 50K last weekend, June 12th. It is a fast rolling hills course just south of Renton. The race follows a trail that winds around Lake Youngs, the city's water supply. The lake is circled by a chain link fence and "No Trespassing" signs. Every so often the fence boasts a sign that tells how many miles one has traveled.

The loop is about +/- 10 miles and you do 3 loops, which makes the race just short of a 50K. The view is of trees, grassy hillsides, muddy trail, and oftentimes the road that closely follows the trail. You can see the large water municipality pipes through the fence and at one point as I rounded the trail counter clockwise, I saw the lake! Not the most scenic course. The loops did make it easy to have drop bags with energy gels and Nuun electrolyte tabs ready in the same spot at each loop. No complaints there!

Somehow despite the lackluster view, the race was really fun... the other runners were quite talkative and supportive, wishing each other a good job and chatting. Maybe it was the absence of serious mountain climbing, or the beautiful, sunny day... either way it was a nice reprieve from the monotony of the run.

The post race food was wonderful... fajitas! With many choices of toppings. Too bad I wasn't feeling hungry until I reached the ferry. Overall I was glad to have completed the run and I enjoyed it. The course was so fast that I PR'd by a ridiculous amount. So if you want a PR for 50K, this is your race.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A Fish

Julianne Moore as The Little Mermaid, Michael Phelps, from

It is strange to feel so comfortable in the water swimming when I feel so good running on solid ground. Still, I can't complain. If we have multiple lives then perhaps I swam in a previous one. I say this because I taught myself how to swim and it was pretty easy and fast. Just from watching other people swim. I am not interested in competitive swimming, but as cross training it is perfect for me. The combination of swimming, yoga and calisthenics helped me develop my core. I have never felt more solid and strong in my core than I do now.

I swim 2-3 times a week. I would swim every morning if I could step out of my bedroom and dive into a pool. Then I would go for an hour run. Voila, ready to start my day! As it is now, I swim at an athletic club and when the weather warms I will also be out swimming in the lake. The lake is my favorite place to swim. It is especially fun to swim with friends like a school of fish!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Lake Youngs 50K Coming Right UP!

The next race in the Washington Ultra Series, the Lake Youngs 50K, is this weekend the 12th!  I am excited to be getting back into running after a month of swimming, trampolining, yoga, and dancing.  As far as I can tell, all my hip and knee stuff is healed.  I will post a race report post race.  See you at 7 AM!!

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