Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Green Lakes Trail

I've been meaning to run the Green Lakes Trail since I moved back to Bend but somehow missed last summer's window of opportunity. It's a trail close to town that's very famous, even nationally, and starts near Mt Bachelor then heads up between Broken Top and South Sister. The quickest route up is around five miles and plenty of hikers go on this section, but then it's possible to go out as far as you want. That includes summiting or circumnavigating several mountains, depending on how much time (and fitness) is available.

Last Sunday I went up there and added on some extra miles to get away from the main tourist sections with Mario Mendoza, fresh off his 3rd place team overall at Trans Rockies Run with Jorge 'Mr Smiley' Maravilla. Unfortunately I had my camera set to the lowest resolution so I'll have to take it out again. Any excuse will do.

Saturday, 18 August 2012


After three weekends in a row of racing I'd not been running well at all this week and things didn't look promising for Waldo 100k. But with hardly any running and plenty of rest for a few days I hoped I'd pulled a quick recovery off.

Hal Koerner and Joe Uhan were DNSs but with on-fire, new Dad, Timmy Olson, and a host of other fast guys (see irunfar), plus forest fire diversions to make the race 65.6 miles long, it was bound to be a fast race. So I couldn't avoid giving it a good effort, since it's a fantastic course and race director, Craig Thornley, had pulled out the stops to adjust the race at the last minute.

Unfortunately I felt lackluster on the way up the starting ski slope but cruised down the other side and was with the leaders at the first aid station. That seemed like a good sign, but I felt like a drained battery after that point and by about 13 miles I was as tired as at the end of a 100 miler, just without the soreness. Walking and taking on food and drink didn't help so at 20.5 miles I stopped.

Excuses aside, DNFs don't ever feel good, but I know it's important to pick and choose the hard efforts, both from a mental and physical recovery stand-point. This one should have been a DNS but I do have trouble saying 'no' to races, especially ones I know are excellent and have beautiful courses. I feel like I'm in great shape right now but I needed an extra week to recover for this. Hal's illness and Dan's post-WS fatigue made them make the smart choice...but they didn't get to see the view from Fuji Mt just after dawn (I still don't regret giving it a go as you never can tell when a good day may materialize). 

The coming weeks are busy with more races, so a DNF was a better option than grinding out a 15-hour finish just to prove to myself I could. Just a shame that the bad day had to be for such a fun event. 

As I write this in front of the TV, the runners are reaching the later miles and several people will gain a spot at Western States. Jacob Rydman started off leading and looks good for either the win or an entry spot, at least. Course record holder, Joelle Vaught, was in 5th overall at 44.7 miles so she should punch her ticket for the Big Dance too. Good to catch up with and make new friends on the trails today and as soon as I dropped I switched to 'fan mode' to follow it on Twitter and ultralive.

Full results and a race write-up on irunfar.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Crater Lake, Oregon

This weekend Amy and I were at Crater Lake National Park in Oregon, one of the most beautiful places in the US. I had the Crater Lake Marathon, a road race around the lake finishing down at Lost Creek Campground with the last four miles on a fire road. This would be a great location for a trail race too, but the road one was hard enough.

Definitely the toughest road course I've ever run, thanks to the elevation and amount of climbing - 2,579ft of uphill, 4,180ft of downhill and a high point of almost 8,000ft. Full results will be on the race website and in the local paper, and I ran a 2:54 thanks to the fast downhills.

But the most enjoyable part of the trip was seeing the lake from so many different view-points. In particular, pre-race I hiked up a little to look out over Wizard Island (the big cone in the lake) as the sun rose. Wish I had my camera then to capture the peaceful, warm glow or the deer which were just out of view of the other runners and looked at me apprehensively.

At least Amy and I had more time after the race to take in the views, even if forest fires in the region made the mountains look hazy. Here's some trail porn:

The race start area the day before, at 7,600ft

Wizard Island

The 'Phantom Ship'

Deep blue water

Speedgoat 50k probably needed a few of these signs