Where does the time go?? Nearly a week later and I'm finally writing something about my race. I went straight from Seattle on Sunday to San Diego (my hometown) and then onto Tulsa until today. Whew! Since the time has past I know I have lost most of those intricate details that make up the race so I will do the best I can:
The week leading into the race I had traveled to Oklahoma City and Grand Junction but I managed to get my daily runs in so it was nice to finally get into Bellingham and let the mind settle a bit. I got out on the trail with Josh Brimhall, Darcy Africa, and Dan Brillon for 45 minutes to shake the legs out. Seemed OK. The weekly mileage dipped a bit (63) but that was by design to get ready for a fast, fast race. I remember feeling confident in my leg speed but also envisioned about 15 guys making a separation along the flat 6.3 myles to the hills and trails. I have been building a huge base and very little leg speed but still confident I could crack off 6:45s on the front and back side of the 6.3 flat myles.
Sure enough the race started and a group quickly formed. I tagged along on the back side and then looked at my HR - yikes 170 already and I was breathing pretty easy. I did the best I could to bring it back down but I as I did they slipped away. My HR dropped to mid 160s by the time I got to the first aid at 6.3 and my split was right on 42ish (6:43 pace).
Now the climbing and single track starts and I was thrilled! I ran with a guy who was wearing racing flats so I made the assumption it was just a matter of time before I snuck ahead. We probably climbed for 1500 ft and I felt like I was just hitting my stride, although my HR was tapping out at 173 bpm. I wasn't concerned because I was racing and knew this monitor was for data collection only. No sooner did we get to the top did we drop to the next aid, around mile 11, and then start a long gradual dirt road. The road (Cleator I think) was pretty straight so I could see about 3 runners up ahead and I made a point to close the gap. 3 myles later I only caught one guy but the other two were right there.
Aid station 3 was about 13 myles and this is where I come ALIVE! The start of some technical single track on Chuckanut Ridge trail. I was buzzing and soon came up on two runners, teammate Josh Brimhall and Joe Uhan. Josh wasn't feeling it in his legs but still moving well. We ran together for a couple myles and then separated. Now I was running behind Joe Uhan, who was running really well uphill. The downhill I would close the gap and yo-yo with him all the way through Chinscraper where he would finally gap me.
The single track I had no problem keeping pace with Joe and so I assumed I would be gaining on anyone in front of me but just as the single track started, it ended. Andthus began Fragrance Lake road. Joe slowly pulled away and that was it. At the bottom we are now back at the fast, flat 6.3 myles we started on. My goal going into the race was to have an exacting split in and out. Not quite but pretty close - 45 minutes coming back (7:10s). Another goal of mine was to place top 10, not quite either - 15th overall. Results
Photo by Glenn Tachiyama. More photos
I am extremely pleased with this race! I'm pleased primarily because I have done literally no leg turnover stuff but yet I was able to hold my own. Even if I had done leg turnover stuff there was waaay too much fastness going on up front for me to hold pace. I am amazed of the talent at this race. You look at the top times ever at this race - 5 of the top 10 times -EVER- were clocked this year - simply amazing! I feel very good with my current fitness, especially my ability to hold my pace 4 hours into a race. I was steady all day with solid energy thanks to my two flasks of EFS liquid shot - the only calories I took in all day. And to cap off the race recovery I took my Ultragen in immediately following the race.
That night I got a chance to hang out with my Pearl Izumi teammates, fun times all around. Next year Chuckanut is going to celebrate it's 20th anniversary so put it on the calendar now, you won't be disappointed with the race or the nightlife in Bellingham. Thanks to Krissy and the amazing crew of volunteers.