My husband wanted to FINISH a 50 mile run the year he turned 50 and we accomplished this goal together spending a day in paradise! With over 10,000 feet elevation gain (climbing 7000 ft in the final 20 miles), Jim picked a tough one.
LEARNING from our DNF
Looking back to our Bryce 50 mile attempt (and my first dnf) , I now realize one of the MOST important things we got out of that DNF was that we TRAINED HARDER for fatdog- we had a new respect for the distance-and an increased focus on high mileage weeks and powehiking hills.
We start at Cayuse. I insist on setting the pace for my husband the first 2-3 hours, pulling him back as he often succumbs to his starting adrenaline rush. I know it killed him to start so slow, watching others pass. There was a pretty undulating dewdney trail above the highway. We already ran into some 120 milers and were already in awe of them!
TO CASCADES 8km
We get to Cascades aid station where they handed us some safety vests for a short road section.
But first, an out n' back, where we had to tear a page from the RD's "juicy novel" (to prove we did the full distance). I actually read the page- it was juicy! Then finally onto the road . It was actually kinda neat to see all the hubcaps and old wrecks off the treacherous corners of the highway.
This is Jim doing his "FORREST GUMP" impersonation. ------>>>>>>
TO SUMALLO 16 km and SHAWATUM 33 km
Into sumallo grove we went,. Jim downed some pizza, and headed over the bridge onto beautiful skagit trail running along the river. We found our happy pace and were essentially running ALONE already!
forever. Several runners were questioning if we passed the next aid or not , even smelled the food! Mmmm. Grilled cheese, must be there soon! Well, it turned out to be a waft of food that worked its way 30 min down the trail. Such a tease! Finally, we hit Shawatum aid station and I ordered up one of those cheese tortillas ! After the out 'n back from that aid station, we hit the trail again.
TO SKYLINE 48 km
The heat was bearing down and Jim's big engine was overheating, so he slowed to a powerhike- which was the right thing to do except the mosquitos were relentless at this point . Seemed like I got bit every 5 seconds! (and thats with bug spray!) Next time I will wear a bugnet cuz they really wore me down. I was
F-bombing so much , my husband started to question who I was! We hit skyline aid station seemingly quickly.
.....and an ANGEL arrived before us;
"Anyone want a fruit smoothie?" - hell yeah!
We spent some time here, changed our socks and stuffed our vests with food in preparation for what would be a grueling long uphill powerhike with NO more major aid stations for the next 6-7 hours.
Like a tank, Jim pulled me up the skyline switchbacks. This was definately his strong section.
The views were starting to arise and we were really getting into the beauty of it all !
Just my luck, I get a hole in my favorite pair of socks at the heel. obviously, since they were my favs, I wore them too much. I stopped at camp mowitch to apply some moleskin. Jim wanted to enjoy the peacefullness on the mountaintop so he asked if we could let a couple of girls pass us so he diddnt have to listen to their chit chat (as us girls do) or their bear calls. I gladly conceded and the rest of the run was almost romantic!
Leaving camp Mowich- cool 'basin' ------------------>>>
TO SKY JUNCTION 42 mi
Off to my favorite section- Skyline II & I . Epic 360 degree views!
Roller coaster up n' downs , we just kept powerhiking the hills as they popped up before us. We watched the sun slowly set on the mountains as we ran.
As darkness fell on skyline I , we could see the sun still setting mountain ranges away! .
I asked Jim to KISS me, but we forgot we had headlamps on and temporarily blinded each other. Once the spots were gone from our eyes, we continued on until the descent down skyline. (K, this is a photo of someone else, but it was exactly like this! )
FINISH ! 80 km
Bombing down skyline in the dark was fun. Thank god for Jims superpowered headlamp ! after a few hours in the dark, we were shot out into glowstick heaven. Looked like a carnival! . A little run around the lake and over the finish line in 13:20.
WE DID IT !!!
THINGS I LEARNED :
1. Changing socks is wonderful !
2. Your 'good old socks' are just that- OLD- get a new pair of your fav's before a race.
3. Listen to the Race Director. If she says 'put more bug spray on at the aid station' -do it ! If she says " carry an extra handheld" do it ! I was happy I did !
4. Training and racing together is challenging for a relationship, but it builds stronger bonds in the end.
5. Beer tastes really good after 50 miles.