Tag Archives: Race

River of No Return 50k

LINKS

Race Website
Results (PDF)

SUMMARY

The 2014 River of No Return 50k was my first adventure into trail ultras in the mountains. And it was an AMAZING weekend!

Not sure if this car can do that?

Not sure if this car can do that?

I flew into Boise on Friday morning and then had a nice little drive the rest of the afternoon along the scenic Salmon River. I stopped a few places to stretch my legs and break up the 5 hour drive. I stopped for lunch at a nice little place about an hour into the drive and then continued on my way.

After I finally arrived in Challis and checked into the Village Inn, I checked the race web site again, since this was my first time with Wifi (I didn’t have cell service outside of Boise at any point). I jogged down to the high school for the pre-race instructions and packet pickup.

The pre-race meeting was long and very informative. Some things only applied to 100k’ers, but overall it was good to have a better understanding of what I was getting myself into, since my preparation in
the past few months had consisted of looking at the daunting elevation profile 50k_elevationand not even attempting to replicate that in my training. I was a little excited about the fact that there were several water crossings on the course and that we were going to get “knee to mid-thigh deep” at some of the crossings, since it was June and was in the mid-80’s Friday afternoon. I was a little less excited that we were going to be high enough that we “shouldn’t have to run through any snow”. I mean I realized I was running up a mountain. That had fully hit me prior to registering on Ultrasignup, but I hadn’t thought about snow in months, and it kind of brought back memories of a traumatic winter dealing with massive amounts of snow. But it was good to know there wasn’t too much snow on the course.

Beautiful morning for a race.

Beautiful morning for a race.

After a quick night of sleep and waking up way early due to a combination of nerves and a couple time zone changes, I grabbed some breakfast while watching the start of the 100k race go past the Village Inn. I gathered my things, checked out and drove down to the high school track to get ready for the start.

I ran a lot of the first half of the race. I walked up a lot of the steep stuff, but if I walked every uphill, I would have starved before making it to the first aid station. I knew pushing too hard early was not a good idea, so I kept it relaxed and enjoyed the views. I could run hard later if I was feeling good and had the energy, but I definitely kept moving. There is an aid station at the top of the mountain and then the course does a 4 mile out and back to the Bayhorse aid station AT THE BOTTOM OF THE MOUNTAIN. This was great going down, I free-wheeled and pretty well ran as fast as I could while still maintaining some control over my direction. I passed a lot of people, knowing that I was going to have to walk back up a lot of the terrain when I got to the bottom. I decided that I didn’t want to waste a lot of energy putting the brakes on the whole way down, just to have to walk back up the mountain anyway. The trek back up was not as much fun. I got passed by a lot of people. Granted, most of them I had talked to when I had passed them just 30-40 minutes earlier going down the hill. They knew I was from Ohio and encouraged me as I struggled to run more than 100 meters at a time. It was a long uphill climb, which seemed to go on forever. I knew I was losing ground, but I also knew that the course was pretty much downhill to the finish, and I was OK with getting back to the aid station with relatively fresh legs after my extended uphill walk. I was super-hungry at the top of the mountain and mentally ready to start clicking off some faster miles on the decent. I may have eaten a little too much, as I felt pretty full of food after a 3-4 minute stop at the aid station. I was well-hydrated again and set off downhill with a group of guys. I ran the downhill hard and only started walking some the last 10k as I battled back and forth with another guy on the flat pavement. It was hot, I was tired, but the end was near. From the top of the mountain, only one person near me beat me to the finish. Unfortunately, he was the last person under 6 hours and I finished jsut a minute and a half over 6 hours. I didn’t really have a time goal heading in, but as I got closer to the finish, I knew I was going to be close to 6 hours, so I tried to pick it up and finish hard. I came in strong and had a very good time pushing my limits in the mountains of Idaho.

I didn’t get any pictures on the course myself, so I can’t show you the pickup truck aid station atop a mountain (I still don’t know how they got up there?), the snowmelt, scenic mountain passes, the ravine I was sure I was going to fall into while sprinting down the rocky side of a mountain early in the race. I can’t illustrate how awesome the pine forrest was at the mountain top with cool snow-melt water running across the trail. There are very few pictures from along the racecourse, which I am perfectly fine with. It was an experience. It was amazing, and you really had to be there. Below are some pictures from the few places the photographers could access.

River of No Return 50k Award

First place in my age division.

I relaxed on the track infield and re-re-hydrated thoroughly and enjoyed the post-race food. I gathered my belongings, picked up my award and finisher’s rock before heading out of town to make the lovely trip back to Boise. I couldn’t help but stop to take a few pictures at some of the excellent scenic overlooks on the drive back.

I stopped in the large metropolis of Clayton to get some pictures, stayed in Boise on Sunday and started the long trip back on Monday afternoon.

If you are wondering how the race got its name, when I have failed to mention a river, you may be interested in reading about the larger wilderness area that encompasses a large portion of Idaho, the River of No Return Wilderness.

Tinkham’s 5k Trail Run

LINKS

Race Website
Results?

SUMMARY

Back in June, I had the chance to return to Columbia City, IN to run one of my favorite trail 5k’s. Not only does the $20 registration fee get you entered into the race, the standard race T-shirt and post-race refreshments, but you also get a full pancake, sausage and eggs breakfast with your entry fee. They always have plenty of door prizes to give away after the race, and if you happen to win the race or your age group, you get a piece of clothing or other valuable prize, not necessarily another trophy to share your living space with.

Tinkham's 5kThe “5k” course in almost certainly longer, but the course goes through a hilly woods, along gravel drives and through grass ways around and between fields. Portions of the course are in low, shaded areas and always seem to be wet, no matter the weather. In short, no one is setting any speed records on this course, so what does it matter if it is a little longer than 5k?

I got a solid 10 miles run in the morning of the race, going about 9 miles with my sister, before we packed up and made the mile drive over to the camp. I think I was singled out in the pre-race instructions when the race director advised people that there was always that one guy that got away from the rest of the race, so they would need to follow the course markings and not rely on being close to the lead ATV.

Having trouble finding results online, but I did win the race. By a minute or so.

ORRRC Half Marathon

Links

Race Website
Results (PDF)

Summary

This weekend, I ventured south down I-75 to visit some friends in Lebanon and run a half marathon with a  friend and former college teammate. On Saturday, we walked around downtown Lebanon and loaded up on some pre-race calories at Whit’s Frozen Custard. Sunday, the half-marathon and marathon races were to start at 8:30 am, so we made the half hour trip and picked up our race packets inside the YMCA. After a mile warm up, we changed clothes and headed to the start line. It was still a little chilly at start time, but was perfect racing weather. After standing behind the start line for a few minutes, a canon went off behind us. No one had spoken to us or indicated that the race was about to begin or even that a canon would signal the start of the race. A few guys ran out, but most of us just stood there, wondering if that was really supposed to be the start. The race was chip timed, so it didn’t necessarily matter, as long as the timing system was running when we crossed the start line. A minute or so later, shouts from behind us, indicated that we should just go, but without having heard anything from anyone who claimed to be officially involved with the race organization, it was hard to tell what the origin of that information might have been. We finally got started when a man, seemingly a bystander until this point, walked over to the starting line and gave us a “Ready, Set, Go!”, which was official enough for us, and we were off.

Ohio River Road Runners Club Logo

Ohio River Road Runners Club Logo

The course started through some residential streets and eventually looped back past the start and cut through some alleys before a stretch on some country roads. The course rolled up and down some hills on the road, but then continued onto the bike path that we would follow to the turn around and back into town. We were cruising at a pretty good pace and passed the 6 mile mark just under our goal pace. We had a few guys to run with, but as we worked towards the front, there were fewer guys to work with.

I fell off the pace the last 4-5 miles just a bit, not enough to give up 10th place, but I lost about 44 seconds over those miles on the slight downhill back into town.

Finisher's Medal

Finisher’s Medal

My friend and I finished 9th and 10th and got 1st and 2nd in our age group, respectively. We were both pleased with our races and walked away having run faster than we were expecting to. It was a beautiful day, and despite some starting line quirks, the race was very well staffed with a lot of friendly volunteers and was well marked and directed.

Post-race amenities included an assortment of, oddly enough, 16+ different canned beverages ranging from Dr. Pepper to Fanta but also included a buffet of food inside the YMCA, with a variety of soup, fruit and snacks.

Post race.

Post race.

 

UPDATE (6/14/14)

I received this fancy plaque in the mail today.

Xenia 2nd Place Plaque

I think there is a typo here.

Seamus O’Possum 30k

LINKS

Race Website
UltraSignup Results

SUMMARY

This morning, I had a great opportunity to ease into my 2014 race schedule with a shorter trail race at Delaware State Park, the Seamus (SHAY-mus) O’Possum 30k (18.6 miles). I found the inaugural event on UltraSignup, which is pretty much the most expensive website I can spend time on. (I am going to get on that trail, even if it is 7 states away!) I want to run all these races. Anyway, the hilarious FAQ page alone was enough to get me to sign up for the race.

With an 8:30 am start time and an hour and a quarter drive from home, it was no surprise that I was still waiting in the bathroom line 9 minutes before the scheduled start. I checked in at the start line just before 7:45, and there didn’t seem to be a lot of urgency on the staff’s part. Didn’t they know I really needed to get to the restroom before the race started? Unfortunately, there was a single stall in the only men’s restroom near the start line. This race wasn’t starting things off on the right foot, for me. After listening to the last like 35 seconds of race instructions (I missed all of the important stuff while at my car getting stripped down to race clothes), the race director told us to turn around and start. No gun. No “ready.” No “set.” Very informal. And people were everywhere. I wasn’t sure this was all real until half way up the road to the top of the dam wall.

After running up the hill to the top of the dam, I wasn’t real impressed. There were like what, 100 people in this race? And I was in the top 5 already? It wasn’t looking real promising for having people to run with for the rest of the race. The first mile, I was really questioning why I had actually paid money for this. Not for port-a-potty rentals, that was clear. Three of us broke away from the pack during that first mile atop the dam wall. Clearly, none of us were in overlapping age groups. One kid looked like he was training for high school track and the other guy was clearly at least 10 years older than me.

The second mile finally had us dropping off the dam wall and in to some real trails. See the course map for elevation and details. And the trails quickly got narrow, winding and muddy. Now this race was looking promising.

Things got a little muddy out there.

Things got a little muddy out there.

There were streams in the woods with steep muddy sides and a long muddy section along the beach. Then a path through the disc golf course and up and down more creek beds near the reservoir. Eventually, there were only two of us, trading the lead at several points when one of us hesitated to find the next course marker (it was very well marked, but the rising sun made it difficult to see the markers heading east) or stopped at an aid station.

I had the lead (by ~2 feet) at the 9.3 mile turn-around, but Jay (I learned his name after the race) dropped the hammer and pulled away along the next mile and after 4 miles, was completely out of sight. The out-and-back nature of the course meant the trail was extremely torn up and slippery on the way back after all ~100 competitors had run through once. Some of the hills were extremely tricky to navigate up, but I knew I had a comfortable lead and barring disaster ahead of me, I wasn’t on pace to catch 1st place even if he slowed his pace dramatically over the last few miles.

I ran the majority of the way back without anyone accompanying me, but with a lot of friendly racers going the opposite direction and offering encouragement. I raced against the clock on the way back and was a little surprised when I finished just under 7:00/mile pace. Under the conditions, I felt really good about that.

I got a sweet finishers glass and hat and an awesome trophy for second place.

I had to put something in it to contrast the green logo. Also, I was thirsty.

I had to put something in it to contrast the green logo. Also, I was thirsty.

 

"a unique finisher’s award."

“a unique finisher’s award.”

That is right, the trophy has a karate man on top. It kind of stands out among my trophies. Fun day, great weather, awesome race!

Post-race with my fancy trophy. The finish line banner was not cooperative.

Post-race with my fancy trophy. The finish line banner was not cooperative.