The Ultra Experience

Here's to the adventures of my life which are usually ultra marathon trail running or fly fishing but may include other trips, experiences, thoughts, opinions, or pretty much whatever I want. As co-founder of Altra Footwear my life and adventures seemingly revolve more around developing and promoting the best footwear in the world...and I love it!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Squaw Peak 50 2009 Race Recap

Well, it never did rain. I had hoped for some rain. The weather was nice though and what a competitive year! It was fun seeing so many familiar faces and spending time with such quality people. I'm also quite proud of my race predictions. If Christian Johnson hadn't taken a wrong turn I would have been even closer. Of course I didn't hit my goal time but I'm OK with my race. I broke the A-standard of 10 hrs which made me happy. Some years are better than others but the race broke down like so:

It was a bit warmer then expected at the start which I thought would for sure end up in an afternoon thundershower. I started off slow and was amazed at not only how fast but how many runners sped off the starting line. I took it easy but almost too easy. I got backlogged after two miles as the running path led into a narrow single track. I passed several groups including team member Davy Crockett and found myself right were I wanted to be with Dave Hunt, Phil Lowry, and Leland Barker. Here I ran for many miles. I saw and talked with these guys and many others. It was fun running with so many people around me.

We passed several more people putting us around 25th place. I got a bathroom stop out of the way which was nice and I motored along. As we hit the rock canyon aid station I was feeling good and relaxed hitting my desired split of 2:00 hrs. The next section was great as I caught and ran with Roger Smith, Greg Norrander, and Peter Lindgren. Along with Dave Hunt we ran together for quite a while. I had a drop bag at AS 4 mile 16 which I fumbled with for too long. But I got in stride and time went quickly.
Heading down into Hobble Creek I decided to quicken the pace and make good of this long down hill section. Not too long though and I was heading into the bushes...again...and again. Commonly called 'the craps' it did not bod well for the race. I made the best of it and made good time...until I got stung by a bee! I screamed in pain and killed that proclaimed SOB. My right quad is still sore from what looked like one of those large bumble bees. I ignored the pain and it gradually dissipated. I still had plenty of water heading to AS5 so I blew right though it.

I was still feeling good although my pace seemed a little labored as I motored up the asphalt passing 7-8 more people. I ran with friend Scott Kunz for a while as well as Ben Corrales both of whom are improving hugely and great runners. I was only 4 minutes slower then goal pace at mile 26. It was great seeing family here as my wife, mother-in-law, and cousin Josh came to cheer me on. Here is where I feel the real race starts.

I headed up the dirt road at a good clip and ran with Leland for a good stretch passing 2-3 more runners. Leland's pace was a bit quicker though and heading up Sheep Creek I started feeling a little sick to the stomach. Another bathroom stop I thought would take care of it but it never quite went away for the rest of the race. Sheep Creek was a lonely section seeing not a soul but I held pace. I quickly filled up and got my drop bag at Little Valley to power through those last 17 gruelling miles.

Shortly out of Lilttle Valley Christian Johnson suddenly appeared out of no where. He had taken a wrong turn while in 4th place and ran several miles off course. He was in a surprisingly good mood despite his unfortunate setback and left me in the dust as I told him to get back after it. I continued to run solid for 2-3 miles but my stomach pain was growing and I was having a hard time eating and drinking. Soon I was struggling. I kept moving but I was slowing down and getting passed by many of the same people I had passed in the middle of the race. Scott Kunz, Peter and Greg, Dave Hunt, and Chad Brackelsburg (glad to see he finally committed!). Bozung Hill was a killer. I vowed never to stop and didn't but that hill seemed to go on forever. 1,200 ft of vertical in a mile is ridiculous. Reaching Windy Pass was a relief but with stomach problems and not eating much since Little Valley, I was pretty spent. Matthew? Christensen Jr helped me out like usual. How come I didn't know you could volunteer to hike up to such an amazing place and help out at ultras when I was 16? Very cool.

As I looked at my watch I realized that a sub 10 hr finish was still possible. It motivated me greatly to finish hard and plow down the mountain. For the first time in a race I tried some ginger chews which I threw in my belt last minute. They surprisingly worked! It noticeably took the edge off my stomach issues but I was still breaking zero speed barriers heading down the mountain. Usually I'm strong on downhills, especially this one, but I was struggling just to keep running on this rocky decent. I got to the final aid station and gave my wife an emotional huge. I knew I would finish in under 10 hrs running a tough race.
No need to stop though as I didn't have any more ginger and couldn't stomach eating or drinking anything. I enjoyed those last couple miles getting passed only by Sandy White. We ran together for a few minutes commenting on the tough race we had run. Those meadows are always so green and Timpanogos so amazing. Good friends Heath Thurston and Karl Jarvis were out on the course cheering me and others on to the finish. I pushed to the end finishing in 9 hours and 55 minutes, 22nd place.

I felt overwhelmed but happy. Happy to finish, happy to have been supported by so many people, happy to experience the existential endorphin pain referred to as ultra trail running. I felt blessed to have so many friends and family who are 100% supportive of my weird hobby. I wasn't overly happy about my time and race placing but not upset about how I ran. In fact it was really fun seeing so many people and having so many different conversations. Congrats to Scott Jaime who held off a late surging Kevin Shilling. Props to all my friends but especially teamates Ron Greenwood and Shane Martin who finished 6th and 9th respectively. As well as Marci Lameroux and Eve Davies for finishing 5th and 9th. Full results here. I ran hard and had a great time! The pathetic part was in the shower having only finished a couple hours earlier when I found myself making calculations and already planning next years race!

Congratulations to all finishers, a huge thank you to all volunteers, and happy trails to everyone.

4 comments:

The Shep Family said...

Brian I somehow stumbled across your blog. I have enjoyed reading it and look forward to following your ultra career. This is Tyler Shepherd, I am friends with Dan Mitchell and ran 40 miles last year on the 100 with you and him. You ran a great race, I enjoyed the report.

Manners said...

Well done Brian! Great race. Congrats. I hope to see you in the mountains.

Brad said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brad said...

Holy Shit Brian!!!! You look so damn good on that hill! OMG! I wish I could have kept up with you during the race. Heaven knows I wanted to chase that thang all the way to the finish line. I love to watch you run. I wanted to shout when I finally got to the finish line, "Hands off ladies! He's mine you bitches!". Well nice blog hon! I will be here to visit often to see the new pics. I'll see you on the mountain mountain man.