This was the fourth time I’ve run and finished this race. It never gets any easier either. This year’s race was the USATF 100k Trail Championship Race for Open and Masters Division. It brought out a good field. We were having high temps that week and race day morning was no different. Usually this race starts with gloves and arm warmers at 5am. This year was sleeveless jersey, no gloves and sweating within 5 minutes of starting. The day was good and hot.
I went out with faster splits than last year and went up Fuji smooth and under control in the top 10. Nate McDowell and Hal Koerner went out together in the lead and quickly had a good gap by the summit of Fuji. I was about 11 minutes back on Nate and Hal going up Fuji and 7 minutes behind 3rd. I just settled in…it’s a long race. I don’t think anyone has ever (save John Pearch the first year) summited Fuji first and gone on to win overall. With the hardest climb at mile 52 going up Maiden Peak, this course is deceptive, as Fuji’s climb, as well as the other climbs, are mostly runnable, but long at a decent elevation.
I had a rough patch (which seems to be the usual on this course for me) from Mt. Ray to Charleton (approx. 20-30+ mile markers), then another hard spot going up the twins. Most of this low was due to not enough salt intake. Once I went to 3 succeed an hour in the heat, my stomach and my mood straightened out. I was running with Ian Torrence going up The Twins and we were both complaining quite a bit, probably not the best to be together at hat point. He had just run Tahoe 100 and Mt. Ashland Hill Climb, and we were both bonking and feeding each other’s bad moods. I soon pulled ahead and filled up at the spring about half way up the Twins and Ian caught back up. We didn’t take much after that. Brad Mitchell soon caught us and we all came into The Twin aid station together, running in 7-9th. I was first out and didn’t see Brad again until the next aid. I was just on survival mode, but starting to smell the barn.
Dagan, Krissy Moehl’s boyfriend, had hiked up to Maiden aid and said Prudence was in the lead and Krissy not too far behind, maybe 5-10 minutes back (which turned out to be not true, as Prudence finished over 35 mintues behind). But, at the time, I didn’t know that…Crap! I told everyone there I had to get going so I wouldn’t get “chicked”. I had jokingly made a comment at the Friday night pre-race meeting that was serving it’s purpose then and there. Here’s the background story:
Last year with the course marking tampering, Meghan Arbogast won overall, as everyone if front of her went the wrong way on the PCT. The year before, Krissy Moehl, 10-days fresh off through hiking the Colorado Trail, won overall. Two women had won two years in a row. I was sitting with what would be the top 3 women finishers this year (Prudence, Krissy and Meghan…Krissy and Prudence both of whom are from Bend and I train with on occassion). So, Craig Thornley (the Co-RD) says, is a woman going to win again overall? I yelled “NO!”…in front of everyone. Now, that was because I know the ladies very well, and I wanted some pressure. I told them I would puke before I would let them beat me this year! It got some laughs, but also, pressure was on…
Fast forward to Maiden Peak aid station…
The girls are not far behind (so I thought). That got me moving. As I was going up Maiden, Brad Mitchell caught up to me and we were working together to get up Maiden. He mentioned that one of the guys in front of us (Joe Grant) didn’t have his USATF membership. Hm, that meant that one of us (either Brad or I), had to catch 6th place, as USATF was giving cash for top 5 USATF finishers.
Brad was having some stomach issues in the heat and soon pulled off for a pit stop. I just kept plugging away up Maiden and as I approached the top, I ran into Sean Andrish…6th place! He was walking downhill and was filthy. He looked like he had taken a spill. I caught him just before Maiden Lake aid station, where he later dropped. I guess he was pretty out of it…confusion and was very, very bonky in the heat.
From there, I just kept plugging away to the finish in 10:36 for 6th overall, 5th USATF and $100 cash. Nice to get something for a hard, hot day. Thanks to Joe Grant (3rd overall) for not buying a USATF membership. Bummer for him, but a nice surprise for me. Thanks, Joe, I owe you a beer.