Sunday, April 27, 2008

Capitol Peak Ultra-race report

My race report, at least the bits that I can remember...grab a cup of coffee, this is a long one.

This was my first official Marathon, or Ultra marathon at that. The longest official running race I had done prior to this was Bay to Breakers in SF, it's a 12K. Of course I have run farther than this, I just have not done a lot of running races. My overall goal was to run a consistent race, survive and have fun. I wanted to average around 11 minute miles and avoid my problem of fast/slow running.

Glenn, Aaron and myself headed down to the start of the Capitol Peak ultra on Friday night since the race was to start at 6:00 am on Saturday. We did not want to deal with driving before the race, especially that early. Aaron set his alarm for 5:20 and I set mine for 5:25.

Beep, beep , beep ...oh the pain of the early morning alarm. I brushed Aaron's off knowing mine would go off. I shut mine off before it was done with its first chirp of noise...thinking that Aaron had just hit snooze and his would go off again. Next thing you know Glenn has opened up the back of my truck and yells, "I can't believe you guys are sleeping through all this noise." It's now 5:44 and the pre race meeting is in one minute, it shouldn't be a problem as were pretty much sleeping on the start line.

We missed the race meeting and the instructions and I do hear something about a course change but I don't catch the particulars. I steal a couple of gulps of Glenn's warm coffee and then hit the woods, to avoid the ten person line to the bathroom. Michelle came over and gave out some pre race hugs and said hi, it was great to see her...she was running the 50 mile, big props to her.

Next thing you know Jeff, the Race Director, says, "OK Line up!". I've got my new Vasque Aether Tech's on, I've hydropelled my important parts and I'm applying the first safety pin to secure my race number (142) when I hear, "Ready, set, go!" They were off, not real fast, but they were off. Aaron and I looked at each other and laughed and Glenn threw something in the back of my truck and left with the gang.

After a couple of other preparations and grabbing a map we were out of there, DFL. We both opted to start cold and knew we would be warming up. Right out of the gates we climbed 600 feet and continued with a gradual climb for the first 6 miles. We took it easy and within 10 minutes or so we bumped into a line of 20 racers that were walking a pretty gradual hill, we walked with them for a while and then did the three man weave for a quarter mile to work our way around them. Soon enough we bumped into our second pack of 15-20 people, saw Maislen with this gang and then we topped out at the first aid station just behind 3 racers. Aaron and I were both wearing Gregory Stimulus and had enough provisions to stop at every other aid station so we passed these guys and kept trucking along.
Note, I was running very alert for most of the race due to the fact that we missed the meeting and I kept thinking that my map would get me out of any trouble that we might find. As it turned out I knew the trails good enough to understand where we were going and I never really needed it. The Adventure racer in me was ready to nav at any point, but the course was impecably marked and running the intended route was a breeze. Thanks race management.

I was feeling great and really enjoying the trail. I have biked the loop we were running before but there is something to say for running trails as you get a much different perspective and can enjoy the scenery a bit more. Soon enough we were at the 2nd aid station where I put down a couple of ounces of Coke and ate some salty chips on my way out. My Hydrapack bladder was filled with Tri-Berry nuun and it was treating me perfectly. On our way out one of the volunteers said we were five miles we left Aaron and I both simultaneously thought what a downer! All this running for five miles. Of course I checked my watch and we were 2 hours into the race and I was anxious to figure out what the real mileage was.

After a couple of miles of mostly downhill running back to the start and aid station #4, we quickly learned we were 15 miles into the race. Awesome! Both Aaron and I were feeling great and were excited to climb Capitol peak and get this done with. The next 7 or 8 miles was filled with climbing and more climbing. It felt like someone had put 5 pound ankle weights on was the climbing. Aaron jumped in front and dropped the hammer a bit on the switchbacks, I held on for dear life and soon enough we were on top of the world. At this aid station there was a 1.5 mile out and back to the peak, where you could drop your gear if you wanted and climb .75 mile straight up and then sprint back down. this was also a great spot to see what competition was within striking distance.

We had passed a good number of runners to this point and with this section we realized that there was more roadkill, probably 7 or 8 runners within 10 minutes of us. I think the fire was lit in Aaron's eyes. WAIT, what was that? Rocky, no. But, EYE OF THE TIGER, YES! The race director had a ghetto blaster playing eye of the tiger on repeat for the climb. I got to hear 2 full renditions of the song, one on the way up and one on the way down...and then it was permanently stuck in my head until I finished. Loved it. (JPC I thought you might have been behind this).

After this we hit the North side of a ridge that had a large amount of snow remaining on it. This took the wind out of my sail and slowed me down a bit, at 4:20 in the race Aaron took off. I think eventually we passed almost all of the runners we had seen on the out and back, but my low point was right around the corner and Aaron drifted off into the forest around 4:40 into the race.

I could not stay on top of the snow and was post holing every other step...feeling my pace go down and getting a bit demoralized I knew I had to refuel and keep moving. So I went into a fast walk and ate and drank just about everything I had. The snow diminished and soon I was back in the saddle. BOOM, we hit the aid station, it was a sight for soar eyes. 6 miles to the finish.

I filled my bladder with the complimentary nuun and pulled up a front row seat to the table known to most as aid station #7 and started to buffet. PB&J's, watermelon, cantelope, chips, payday candy bars...I thought I might just hang out here for a while. Oh yeah I'm racing. I felt the creep of some lactic acid in the legs and realised I had to get out of there. I decided I would try and run the last 6 miles in 60 minutes. These 6 miles were the best section of trail and made what should have been the toughest part the easiest part. It helped that it was all downhill too.

69 minutes later I came into the sunny finish line and was pumped. Aaron and Glenn finished 10 minutes ahead of me and per my watch we climbed 1,430 meters and I finished in 6 hours and 9 minutes. We'll see what the official time says, I expect it to be a bit longer (5 minutes) as I did not start my watch until I started running.

I consider the race a success and think I accomplished my goals
-Average estimated pace 10:51min/mile
-No blisters
-No injuries
-Feeling great!
Just found the race pictures here!


Anonymous said...

Nice job Ryan. You nailed it! -d

Glenn said...

You rocked it buddy. Great race. nice and steady. I won't tell anybody your little secret..oops I told JVG on the ride today. How do those knees feel.

Gary Robbins said...

Little secret...did ya use that map you carried along to bushwhack yer own route, haha!!

Nice Ryan, it's funny to hear that you had never run any distance in a specific event before, maybe we'll see ya up here at some ultras next year?


DARTvg said...

No, no bushwhacking this race ;-) But I would not count it out for future races.

Since G let the cat out of the bag I guess I can tell the world that I actually said I enjoyed running the trails better than biking them...momentary lapse of reason.

I added some pics and a note about the map.

Michmas said...

Welcome to the dark side :) Seriously, congrats on a strong finish. I think Cap. Forest is one of the more challenging races in our area in terms of technicality and stamina. You did awesome and hope to see you popping up at other running races in the future. White River perhaps!? :)


Jen Segger-Gigg said...

Ya, RVG - welcome to the ultra world. I knew it was just a matter of time before Hart, Glenn and I turned you and Rinn over to the dark side! Nice work buddy - waz next???

DARTvg said...

DWII is next...I should post a calendar on the sidebar...look for this soon.