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.
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.