Friday, December 31, 2010

Top 10 Running Lowlights from 2010



10) Mile Repeats - These are never fun, but I guess training is not supposed to be fun.

9) Missing a turn at the Santiam Canyon Scramble - This would have been my best scramble ever...luckily, I still held off Sean Meissner.

8) Shotgun Creek Trail Blast 50K - I did have a great race here, but I wore the wrong shoes. I had heard the course would be mostly road, so I decided to wear my old Lunaracers. Unfortunately I had absolutely no traction going up the one long muddy hill and my feet got totally hammered going down the gravel roads...there just wasn't enough protection. And one foot is still bothering me today.

7) Missing the Where's Waldo 100K - I can't wait to run this race again...I think it's one of those races that will take me several years to get right. Realistically, my next shot will be in 2012.

6) 5:00.7 at the Capitol Mile - I think my time speaks for itself.

5) Missing the 2010 Boston Marathon - I had run in the race 5 straight years and was a little bummed that my streak would be broken, but it was somewhat out of my control. The race filled so fast I didn't have time to decide if I wanted to run it, so I just figured it was meant to be. In 2009 I had finally run sub-3 hours and I guess I didn't feel like I had anything else I really needed to prove there. Otherwise, I would have registered right away. The good news is my sister and I got in for 2011.

4) Sauvie Island Marathon - The Eugene Marathon was my number one highlight from 2010, but I had a dream shortly after that race of running an even better marathon just two months later at Sauvie Island. The key word here is dream. I tried to get back on track training-wise after Eugene, but it wasn't happening. All the workouts I was doing before Eugene felt so much harder before Sauvie Island...there were a few I even cut short because I couldn't get through them. In the race I managed to keep up with the leaders for the first 4 miles and then I watched them slowly pull away. About halfway through the race I even had to stop and take a crap which I've never had to do in a marathon before. By this point I'm laughing at myself and wondering if I'll even break 3 hours. As for the rest of the race, the miles kept getting slower and the pain kept getting worse. It wasn't much fun. Pretty amazing that I feel like I had a terrible race and still ran 2:54:48...makes me think that with the right preparation and good conditions this would be a fast course. I'm only smiling because I'm done.



3) Mustache for a Week - The Pain Train beat me at the White River 50 miler and we had bet that the loser would wear a mustache for the 2 months following the race. I didn't realize how much I would dislike wearing a mustache. I couldn't believe how self-concious I felt for the week that I had it. I was actually very happy that prior to our third baby being born, Tonya asked me to get a haircut and be clean shaven. I figured it was in my best interest to comply. The Pain Train understood and at some point in the future I will finish paying up on this bet. I did get to rock the mustache at the first week of the Bush Park Cross-Country Series.



2) McDonald Forest 15K - Without question, this was my worst race of the year. I guess if you race enough you're going to have at least one race here or there when you feel absolutely terrible and want to quit. The worst part was I didn't see it coming at all. A few weeks later I went out on my own and ran the course faster than I did in the race. Maybe because I didn't stop here and consider turning around.



1) Injuring Eric Jensen - I'm not sure if I really let him know how bad I felt about this. I know what it feels like to be injured and not be able to run like you want...it's the worst. He expresses an interest in trail running and I go and take him on some of the toughest runs around! Let's see...Mary's Peak, Dome Rock, a mid-week 13 miler in McDonald Forest...sorry for pushing a little too hard a little too soon. Looking forward to running with you in 2011.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Top 10 Running Highlights from 2010



10) McDonald Forest 50K - I ran my personal best time here (4:42:45) this year after running the Eugene Marathon 6 days earlier. To me, that says there's a lot more room to improve in the future. This would be higher in the top 10, but I think this "double" really "hurt" me. I certainly wasn't ready (i.e. not recovered) for the Sauvie Island Marathon on the 4th of July.



This race makes the top 10 any year...it's my hometown ultra and it's always fun hanging out after the race to talk running...or bow hunting.



9) Sub-5 Minute Mile - I was pretty excited to see the All-Comers Track Meets this past summer in Corvallis on the calendar because I figured this would be my opportunity to get that sub-5 minute mile I missed out on at the Capitol Mile in January (a 2010 lowlight). I only made it to the meet in July and I only ran the mile. Even after getting horribly cut off right at the start (i.e. I got tripped up and almost went down), I ran a 4:58, but looking back, I'm not sure if it was really a mile or only 1600 meters. A big thanks goes out to Team Jensen for coming out to support me and taking some pictures. Thanks!





8) Adding to the "Crew" - This year I feel like I really started to assemble my own small group of runners at work - Eric, Gene, Roger, and Sam. It's been great to find more people excited and passionate about all things running. I really enjoyed running with you guys this year...looking forward to more.

7) Mt. Hood Scramble - Felt like I finally "ran" well at this race after years of trying. I was even lucky enough to catch the Pain Train the day after a long run and squeak out a win. This is another race that would make the top 10 any year. If you haven't tried it, you need to. One other thought...I prefer this type of scramble versus the Warrior Dash which seems to be gaining in popularity. I like the idea of "natural" obstacles rather than man made. Couldn't find any video from 2010 yet.



6) Payback - I finally won a bet with the Pain Train.

5) Sauvie Island Marathon - Got to see Eric run a huge marathon PR...by over 25 minutes, I believe! By all acounts, it was one of those "perfect" races where everything comes together. One of those, "this is the reason you run" moments. Sam also ran a half marathon PR here. For me personally, this race ended up in the 2010 lowlights.



4) 12 Hours at Corban College - I came away from this event feeling like I was part of something special. I didn't see any other 12 hour races last year, but I didn't need to. William Swint gets my vote for 12 hour UPOY, but not without a special shout out to Jason Nixon for getting him through it.
I was there early on and we were having a lot of fun...talking about the size of the field, trying to get William to compete with the relay team, telling him to try running an sub-18 minute 5K loop for a bigger donation, lighting a camp stove...but I left for Grandma Novie's birthday party after he hit 50K, I think, and I missed some of the drama around the 8 hour mark. However, when I got back for the last few laps to make 100K, I could definitely see that things had changed since I left. What I got to see in the end was a gutty, inspiring performance. I really hope they have this race again next year...I'd love to test myself here.





video

video

3) White River 50 Miler - I consider myself very lucky to have been able to go up to Washington for the weekend with Bullseye and the Pain Train to run this race in order to get a qualifier for Western States. I had a great time hanging out with those guys, the course and scenery was amazing, and I got to run with the best ultrarunners in the country. All I had to do was break 11 hours, but I decided to take a bet with the Pain Train...not really sure why. Loser has to wear a mustache for 2 months. I guess the only thing in my favor was the fact that he was training through the race in preparation for the Where's Waldo 100K. I would be running it on more like marathon training.
It was pretty interesting how the race played out. I tried to stick right with him early on, but as usual, I ended up getting ahead. I can't remember now if he caught up before the 3rd aid station (Corral Pass), but I know we were there at the same time. I left a little before he did and when I was leaving the 4th aid station (Ranger Creek), he was just arriving. Next came about 5 miles of downhill, which at first felt great, but by the end, I felt pretty hammered. He caught up to me on the way down and we arrived at the 5th aid station (Buck Creek) together. We left together too, but he slowly started to pull away. I still felt really hammered and was having a hard time getting going again. Up next was the 8 plus mile climb up Sun Top trail. I was walking a lot of this, but was surprised that I was catching a few people and very few people were catching me. At the 6th aid station (Fawn Ridge) I was totally shocked to see him just leaving as I was pulling in. The race is on! Between here and the top I finally got my legs going again and once I made it to the top, the 7th aid station (Sun Top), I was licking my chops in anticipation of the 6 miles of downhill. I ran it as hard as I could and mercifully it finally ended. Once things flattened out, I remember turning a corner and I could see quite a ways down the road. I saw someone not too far ahead in a red shirt...could it be him? Finally the last aid station was in sight. As I pulled in, he was just leaving! At that point I was completely spent and I felt like I had to stop and refuel (special thanks to Bullseye for crewing for me). The last 6 plus miles was on fairly technical trail and just seemed to go on forever. I never saw him again and was really questioning whether I would even make a sub-9 hour finish. In the end, I did, and was very happy to sit down. This is definitely a race I'd like to run again.
Look for the Pain Train's finish around 8:50 in the video. I was the very next finisher, but they decided they'd filmed enough, I guess! Look for my mustache in my 2010 lowlights!

2) Spectating at Western States - Prior to White River, again I was very lucky to have been able to go down to Western States with Bullseye and the Pain Train to essentially watch the race. The Pain Train would be pacing Cameron Hanes from Foresthill to the finish. Western States is a big deal in the world of ultrarunning and it was really cool to be part of it this year. We ended up arriving on Friday and got to check out Squaw Valley where the race starts. We attended the pre-race briefing and I won a free entry into the race for 2011 through the raffle. We ran the first few miles of the course and Cameron treated us to dinner. Finally we headed to Auburn for the night.
On Saturday we were able to check on-line to see how the race was progressing. Then we headed to Foresthill to wait for Cameron. While we were waiting, the Pain Train met a friendly dog and I met Cowman A-Moo-Ha. Once the leaders started coming through, things got even more exciting. Anton and Kilian were essentially running together and Geoff Roes was more than 10 minutes behind them. When the Pain Train headed out with Cameron, Bullseye and I headed back toward Auburn. We stopped in again to check the live race update...Geoff Roes had seriously closed the gap on Anton and Kilian! Let's head for Hwy 49 (mile 93.5) to see them come through! By this point Geoff had taken the lead and was only about a minute ahead of Anton! Wow, this is close! Let's head to the finish! It was a little anti-climatic...Geoff won by over 6 minutes, but it was pretty cool seeing them finish and hearing them describe their races right after finishing. Rather than try to backtrack, we waited there for Cameron to finish. He finished very well in 22:41:07. Hard to believe I will be running this race next year. Glad to know I'll have an experienced pacer.















1) Eugene Marathon - The Rosling's kicked ass! Two marathon PR's (mine, hers) and a trip to Boston planned for April 2011.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Eugene Marathon

Guest post by Kristin Rosling

After reading my brother’s blog detailing his Eugene experience I felt inspired to do the same.

Typically I feel under-trained and unprepared on race day, and the Eugene Marathon was no different. I’m always wishing I could have got another 20+ in, but I’m a busy girl and running is not quite my life, but it’s certainly become a very big and very important part of my life. It keeps me healthy and its fun!

I slept at my parent’s house the night before, ate a good breakfast (banana and a bagel), and felt somewhat ready to take on the morning’s challenge. We picked up Michael and Will in Corvallis and headed down. Will was looking exceptionally cute with his pillow, his dog Fred, and his sweet little smile at 530 in the morning. I drank a lot of water (and a couple beers) on the days leading up to the race, but drank almost no water on race morning. I was thirsty, but I was really hoping this would keep me from having to pee. I went twice before the race started and felt good and empty at the start. I started at a fairly fast pace. I think my first mile was around 8:30 and I really had to weave in and out and run on the sidewalks at times to keep that pace up with all the people at the start. I saw my parents and Will early on, mile 2 or 3? Then again around 7 miles and 14-15 miles. It’s not easy to be a race spectator, but damn it is so great to see someone you know cheering you on! Thank you!! My first 9 miles felt great and I felt really good running around an 8-8:15ish min. mile pace. Around 10 miles I had the “wow, I still have a long way to go” feeling and started to notice my legs. I ran a ½ marathon PR of 1:47:12 and knew I had a definite fighting chance to qualify for Boston, but was still very unsure if I could keep up my pace for another 13.1 miles.

After I saw my parents and Will at the Autzen Stadium foot bridge I started thinking about Becky and was really hoping to see her! And I did, around 16-18 miles (can’t remember now). She was out there with her son Cameron and it gave me just the boost I needed to run my 8 min mile and smile and say hi. Cameron was looking very cute and confused. Becky told me later that he was asking “why, why?” Made me laugh, why are these crazy people running?!? I saw another friend Kelly shortly after on the course and this gave me yet another boost.

Things got pretty hard again around mile 20 and it felt like we were running really far away from where we would eventually finish on Hayward Field. We headed past the VRC and finally crossed a bridge to the other side of the river to head back towards campus and that felt good. My legs were hurting really bad at this point, but I was also at the point where I was almost certain I would qualify for Boston, but definitely not 100% certain. I thought my parents might be at mile 24 so I started focusing on this. I even thought I would have my mom run a little with me because I needed some help! Then something totally awesome happened. My dear friend Holly who said she would be out of town ended up staying in town and found me at about mile 22.5 right when I needed her most!! She was a vision in pink and I was so excited to see her. She ran with me for about a ½ mile and I had a serious shot of adrenaline coursing through my legs. It was awesome. I felt no pain for that ½ mile. This was the second moment where I thought I was definitely going to qualify. I couldn’t believe the pace I was maintaining. After Holly left me I was so close, but I also felt myself slowing and I was hurting real bad. I started to worry I would get that close and then miss it by seconds so I just pushed as much as I still could and told myself “pain is temporary” and “get yo money” and other good Reggie quotes from boxing. I had one more familiar face around mile 25, Lori, an occasional running buddy. I talked to her briefly and she told me I was looking great, and that was my last shot of adrenaline. By mile 26 I was breathing quite loud and snot and spit were flying out of my nose and mouth. I was in a weird state of extreme focus. Hayward Field was pretty sweet to finish on, but I didn’t have the push I expected to have there. All I knew was I had qualified, I was in pain, and I couldn’t wait to be done! My official time was 3:37:45, an almost 21 minute PR and well under the 3:40:59 I needed to get into Boston.

This was the first time I’ve used an iPod during a race and it was definitely useful for small boosts and also caused a few tears. At the beginning of the race I had a vision of an emotional race and that is what it became. Running has become more therapeutic than ever for me over this past year and this race felt like the culmination of one of the tougher years of my life. I definitely had something to prove and it ended on quite a high note! I love running more and more, and I can’t wait to see what it has in store for me and where I can take it next. Thanks to all my very supportive friends and family members!!

Next on the agenda….Amy and I will run our first ultra-marathon on September 11th, McKenzie River 50K (31 miles). Then we’ll head back to the pavement for the PDX Marathon on Oct 10th.

Friday, May 21, 2010

2010 Eugene Marathon

Eugene was my target race from the beginning of the year. I had been running the Boston Marathon every spring for the last 5 years (just trying to get it right once), but this year it filled up before I could decide if I wanted to run it. I didn't get into Western States, I couldn't run the entire Oregon Trail Series, so I decided to focus on a marathon PR.

In years past, I would start to get serious about Boston preparation in November. Last year I felt like I peaked too early, then I got hurt. This year I started getting serious for Eugene in December and tried to be very conscious of my body to avoid injury. Thankfully, I had a great 4 months of training. I was racing a few times a month and doing pretty well. My confidence was high.

My original target for the race was 6:20 min/mile...or just under 2:46:00. But by the time the race rolled around, I figured I would take a shot at sub-2:40:00! The hardest part about it was probably believing I was capable. A couple years ago I never would have believed it was possible...I was struggling to break 3:00:00. I had run 2:52:13 (Newport '08) and 2:52:54 (Boston '09)...and I knew I could do better than that, but how much better. I had recently run a couple sub 17 minute 5Ks (16:55 and 16:43), and I was doing my Yasso 800s just under 2:40 and mile repeats just under 5:40...that helped me believe. And most importantly I had two guys really talking me up and building my confidence...the Pain Train and Eric Jensen...thanks, guys.

On race morning, my parents drove my sister and me down to the race (Will came too). On the way down we talked a little about race strategy. Basically, I believe we both agreed to "go for it" and see what happens. We got dropped off at the Hilton and took the shuttle over to the start. It was near ideal conditions. At the start I wished Kristin good luck and worked my way up to the front...even got to see William right before we took off.

I decided not to wear my Garmin during the race. It always messes with my mind when the mile markers don't match the watch. And it's also very deflating to continuously watch your mile pace or overall pace going up near the end of the race (that's usually how it goes for me, anyway). So for the first mile I wasn't exactly sure how fast I was going...first mile...5:47! Well, that's too fast. Early on I felt a little tight, but it worked itself out pretty quickly...in general, I felt really good...it was a beautiful day...everything was great. So naturally I had to let someone know it. Around mile 7 I talked briefly with a guy who was running his first marathon and his plan was to try and stick to a 6:00 min/mile pace. After hearing this, I started seriously thinking about what I was doing...I decided I too would see how long I could keep it up, even though I was pretty sure it was too fast. I wanted to try to get to 20 miles in under 2 hours.

Speaking of running too fast...I'm not sure if the half marathon split was really at 13.1 miles. It seemed like it was right at 13 miles during the race. Either way, it was a half marathon PR for me! According to the results, I ran 1:17:27...almost a minute faster than my previous best...1:18:23. You don't usually do that in a marathon, right?

I had lots of support during the race which always helps...a few miles into the race I saw Will and my parents and then saw them again after we turned and headed back toward the start. I was a little surprised to see Eric near mile 9...felt bad that he wasn't able to run the race. William and Jason were somewhere near mile 11. By that time it was becoming clear I was running a suicide pace and I let them know it. It wasn't so effortless anymore. And I saw them again somewhere after mile 16, when I started to fall off the pace. It was a weird feeling...I could feel myself slowly slowing down, and it felt like there was nothing I could do about it...that was as fast as I could go at that moment.

I ended up hitting 20 miles in 2:00:20...close. By this point the mile markers seemed to be so far apart...I was looking at my watch frequently. Around 22 miles things were getting worse and it was really starting to hurt...somehow I managed to average just under 7:00 minute miles from 22 to 26. Not bad, considering, but I'd say I got passed by about 10 guys during this stretch. There honestly were times when I felt if I took a misstep I was going to fall over. And another thing I noticed was that my head felt like it weighed about 500 pounds. That has actually become a very good indicator of when it's all over for me. Once the head goes back, I'm done. It's too bad I was so done before I even got to the finish, because I feel like I didn't get to appreciate the finish on the Hayward Field track. This picture at the finish says it all...credit to the photographer, Rick Russell...what a shot!



I finished in 2:42:51...over a 9 minute PR, and relatively close to sub-2:40. Now it's even more in the realm of possibility...I quickly signed up for the Foot Traffic Flat Marathon on the 4th of July. Hopefully I can get back on track and be ready for that race...start more conservatively and see what happens.

Once again, I was so impressed by Kristin's marathon...it's hard to put into words. She ran great at Portland last October...3:58:15. Afterwards, I started planting ideas in her head about qualifying for Boston, but I knew that would be asking a lot in her very next marathon...to take over 17 minutes off her best time. Realistically, I thought she should work her way up to it over a couple races. Well, she went for it at Eugene, alright...wow, she blew any thought I had out of the water with an over 20 minute PR...3:37:45. Boston qualifier! We definitely have to go back to Boston next April...we'll register early! Running is so dang rewarding. Work hard and it seems like almost anything is possible. I love it.

Help, I Race Too Much

We're having another baby in August and I think that I'm subconsciously trying to fit a year's worth of racing into 7 months! Right now I'm on pace to have 3 races per month through June, and I'm seriously considering running two 5K races on the same day to make it happen.

Here's what I've done so far...

January - Capitol Mile (5:00.7), Cascade Half Marathon (1:19:12), Willamette Mission Trail Challenge (40:26)
February - Hagg Lake 50K (4:13:28), Buck Mountain Mudslinger (47:23), Tumor Shooter Trail Run (40:32)
March - Spring for Kids 5K (16:55), Santiam Canyon Scramble (48:24), Shotgun Trail Blast (3:22:06)
April - Peterson Ridge Rumble (4:45:01), Sophie's Run 5K (16:43)
May - Eugene Marathon (2:42:51), McDonald Forest 50K (4:42:45)

Right now my legs are telling me to take a break...only problem is I signed up for a half marathon this weekend!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Run Wild Adventures 2009/2010 Trail Run Series

I'd like to give a shout out to Run Wild Adventures for a superbad series of trail races this past winter. Gary Terlecki and Shandi Maxwell really went above and beyond and created something special. Great job guys...I had a lot of fun. Thanks for letting me get involved.

Here's a quick recap on my performance...

12/5 - Shellburg Falls - It was a bitter cold morning...freezing fog in the valley. The drive up to the race with Matt Nahorniak was exciting when my truck got squirrelly on some ice. That really woke us both up. I had a bet on the line with the Pain Train and I figured my only shot to beat him in his own backyard was to put a gap between us before the big climb. I started off at what I felt was a very fast pace. I could hear a few guys behind me, but I didn't look back to see who it was. When we got off the trail about 1.5 miles into the race I looked back and he was right there...crap. He gapped me going up the falls trail and mountain bike trail and I could never catch up. There were a few spots where I would catch a glimpse, but he ended up finishing over 20 seconds ahead.







1/30 - Willamette Mission - One thing I remember distinctly from this race was that my stomach was off...it was really sloshing the whole time. I ran almost the whole race with Mark Robins right behind me and he got me right near the end again (same as the Capitol Mile). This course measured at 10K so I did have sub-40:00 in mind, but didn't quite make it. There was some pretty crazy mud in some sections of the course. I think I need to work on the mud running. A lot of times I feel like I'm fighting it and wasting a lot of energy. From the pictures it looks like I also need to work on my log jumping.







2/27 - Buck Mountain - This was definitely my best race of the series. Actually, I had a great weekend. I was one of several people who did the Buck Mountain/Tumor Shooter double. Two races in two days and both of them went really well...it was a big confidence booster for me. Going up that big hill at Buck Mountain, it just felt like I had an extra gear. And finishing up with those big downhills was fun. This was also the race where the Pain Train had to pay up for losing the Cascade Half Marathon bet. Good times all around. Looking back, the only negative was actually the fact that Erik Skaggs showed up and kicked everyone's ass. My point total for this race would have been a lot higher otherwise!





3/20 - Santiam Scramble - I decided to "take a weekend off" from marathon training, have fun, and try not to get seriously injured. Aside from almost being impaled by a tree limb...mission accomplished. The course was great...everything you'd expect in a good scramble. I can't believe I took a wrong turn right near the finish. This was almost my best scramble ever.





As I hinted at earlier, I took the liberty of calculating series points Oregon Trail Series style. Below are the nine finishers of all 4 races and points for each race based on the winning time of each race.



Your 2009/2010 champion is Alex Mcgladrey!

Thanks again, Run Wild Adventures...I'm looking forward to next years' races.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Payback

Well, I finally got the Pain Train to bet on a road race and it paid off. The pay up was at the Buck Mountain Mudslinger. Thank-you Run Wild Adventures for getting these pictures...I forgot my camera. During the race he sported the "I Love My Bump" T-shirt and the "Winner Winner Chicken Teriyaki Dinner" shorts. Pre and post-race he really pulled off the muumuu...people were starting to believe it was some type of new ultra running gear.









And I just had to recap for myself...this was my first win after four losses.

1) Lost a team bet on the Mt. Hood Scramble in 2008. Had to wear this at the Stayton 4th of July 10K that year.
2) Lost a bet on the Pain Train Challenge at Shellburg Falls in 2008. Had to wear this at the 2009 Cascade Half Marathon.
3) Lost a bet on the TOE 50K/Mt. Hood Scramble double in 2009. Had to wear this at the Stayton 4th of July 10K that year.
4) Lost a bet on the Shellburg Falls Trail Run in 2009. Had to wear this (sorry, the video is no longer available!) at the 2010 Cascade Half Marathon.

Finally winning was pretty sweet...when and where will there be a next bet?

Friday, February 26, 2010

Hagg Lake 50K

The Pain Train is back…he’s running well and getting the publicity he deserves. He ran a great race last Saturday…finished in 4:04:11! I’m glad I don’t have any bets on up-coming races with him…I would be nervous.



By the way, I’m not impressed with the winning caption for this picture. There were several better ones…in particular, by William’s Aunt Darlene.

All things considered, I felt like I had a pretty good race too. I’ve been telling myself that I’ve got a singular focus this year…the Eugene Marathon. My plan was to stick to the plan…that meant a high mileage week before Hagg Lake and not surprisingly my legs were feeling heavy. I could tell right away going up the hill on the out-and-back…there was no spring in my step. I ran the out-and-back and several miles of the first loop with Will Kalenius…enjoyed catching up with him.

Once we hit the trail, I was trying not to go too fast, but I ended up needing/wanting to pass a couple guys, and Will didn’t come with me. We unexpectedly did not take the detour for the bridge that is out…that was more fun than running the road, but was noticeably tougher on the second loop. A short while later, I could hear the Pain Train, not far behind, discussing with Will how he was lucky someone saved him from taking a wrong turn.

The Pain Train and Will caught me at the dam aid station. At that point, a group of five of us ran together for a few miles. Then the Pain Train decided to make his move…about 10 miles into a 31 mile race! One by one, our group broke up. I was trying to keep the Pain Train in sight and eventually I was by myself. Every now and then I caught a glimpse of him and then we hit the muddy section about a half mile from the start/finish area and he lost a shoe so I caught up.

All day I was making a point of going right through the mud/water on the trail…not worrying about getting wet feet. It worked well except at one point not too far into the second loop. I tried to go right through the middle of a big mud puddle…it ended up being a lot deeper than I expected and I went down. As I went down, there was a lady carefully making her way around the puddle and she accused me of trying to mud wrestle with her. Pretty funny. I shook it off and tried to get back in a rhythm…very hard to do on the Hagg Lake trail.

Before the dam aid station, I passed a couple guys and when I finally popped out on the road just before the dam I could see the Pain Train. He was about a dam length ahead of me, but I knew I had no shot at catching him. Mainly because after the dam aid station, I could tell I was slowing down. There are some short/steep ups that were tough and I was expecting someone to catch me at any time…surprisingly, no one did. I had finished the out-and-back plus first loop in about 2:12 and I was hoping for a second loop in at least 2:00. I actually ended up being pretty close, though there were points when I was trying to estimate finishing time and I was thinking I would be lucky to break 4:20. Then the good old one mile to go sign appeared at about 4:04…alright, I’m going to be faster than last year! I finished in 4:13:28.

After the race there was a lot of good trash talking between The Pain Train and The Colonel. They’ve got a little wager on the Buck Mountain Mudslinger and Tumor Shooter trail races this weekend. This should be fun.