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!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Squaw 2010

Squaw Peak 2010 was probably my most disappointing Squaw. Here's how it went down:
Great pics from Norrander Trail Shots!

It was warm at the start. I took the first mile and a half easy before surging and getting into position on the singletrack. The next several miles I was with Todd Schmidke, Shane Martin, Dave Hunt, and Karl Jarvis. This didn't change too much for the rest of the race in all reality. It felt good to run especially with how green the mountains were. It stayed warm so I ended up dropping off my arm sleeves at Hope Campground and kept motoring up. Rock AS came and went then came the snow. Definitely muddier and snowier than usual. I got to the typical AS#3 at 1:57 which was perfect. Todd dropped off but the 4 of us were still together.
Shane seemed particularly ready to fly which right after Horse Mtn he did. Dave soon dropped off and Karl Jarvis and I ran down Hobble Creek together. I was feeling solid if a bit warm. I wasn't peeing nearly what I usually do but I kept drinking and eating accordingly. Karl dropped off and I slowly reeled Shane in. I felt a blister forming which frustrated me for not even being half way. Shane and I ran up the road together until the top of the asphalt. I swapped socks because I had 2 or 3 hot spots now, and my socks were soaked with sweat, mud, and snow. I started feeling a little fatigued after Hobble but my pace was solid. I started to cramp a little so I downed all my salt pills and the rest of my water. When I got to Sheep Creek I knew I needed to catch up on liquid and salt. I drank and ate a ton in a short time and grabbed a handful of salt pills generously donated by Karl Meltzer for the road. Thanks Karl I needed those. Needless to say I felt awesome going up Sheep Creek. It was the best I felt all day! Soon I was catching glimpses of Shane and by Little Valley I had passed him.
I grabbed everything I needed at Little Valley and was on time to break 9 hrs in a solid 3rd place. Shortly out of Little Valley however my left calf which had been giving me problems for the last couple weeks really started to flare up. I pushed through it and continued to make great time. Shane caught me and we ran together around big mountain but soon my right knee started to throb and my blisters flared back up. I kept thinking to myself that I had one big climb left and then it was all down hill. By the time I made it to the snow 1/5th of the way up Bozung Hill I knew I was in trouble. Shane was now nowhere in sight, and in the distance I could see what looked like Dave Hunt behind me. I kept pace thinking that I could hold on when next thing I know I had no clue where I was! After a few seconds I realized I veered off the ridge too early. I then proceeded to bushwhack straight up the mountain and who was there to greet me? Dave Hunt the guy who always scrapes me off the mtn. I was pissed that I got off course. It didn't help that I knew the wheels were starting to come off as well. I followed Dave for a while but soon I was getting light headed and feeling really short of breath until finally 200 feet from the top I had to stop and sit down. Karl Jarvis came stumbling up the mtn at this time and gave me words of encouragement. I finally decided to get moving again but was soon overcome with emotion. It was strange but by the time I got to Windy Pass I was hyperventilating and really freaking out. It was exactly how I was when I DNF'd at the Bear 100 in 2008. The crew up there was awesome and really got me sorted out. I was able to sit down for 7-8 minutes composing myself and downing some food. Everyone there was so supportive of me! Thank you very much. I then headed down what was one of the worst muddiest descents I've ever done down Windy Pass. There was so much snow and yet it was so hot making everything a slick muddy wet slop. Between my blisters, calf, knee, foot, and persistent hyperventilating it was a pretty ugly mess getting to the finish line. Thanks for all the support from friends, racers, and aid station crew. I painfully ended up finishing 10th in a time of 10:03.
I'm not sure what went wrong. It was almost like that perfect storm where everything combined at the right time to make it a catastrophe. If one or two things had gone wrong I probably would have salvaged things. However, I think I wasn't quite recovered from Timp Marathon (+all the running I did last week/the week after Timp), I never run as well in heat, I went back to caffeinated gels for the race which I think had an effect on the shortness of breath/hyperventilating, my legs had some nagging injuries that flared up, and I had lofty goals. When you put everything on the line early in a race you are committed. I did that and fell short...which is ok. I really wanted to break 9 hrs but it wasn't my day. The guys I ran with all day finished great. Shane, Dave, and Karl 3rd-5th. Kevin Shilling won with an incredible time of 8:05. Course seemed at least 15-20 minutes slower than last year due to conditions (gaging this can be a crap shoot though and no excuse for my performance). For me it was frustrating because I felt like I was better prepared than any other year yet I ran my worst time. At least last year I knew I was in crappy shape whereas this year I trained much harder and felt way better entering the race...yet I still ran slower. Squaw 2010 will haunt me for awhile I'm afraid. Full results can be found here:


Anonymous said...

Hey Brian - where did you find the final three pictures? I didn't see those on gnorrander's Flickr site.

Erik said...

Tough break Brian. I was pulling for you to go sub-9. It's a good reminder to me that no matter how well prepared you are, 50 miles is 50 miles. Congrats on a solid finish and holding it together through the finish.

Anonymous said...

fyi karl j. was 6th.

4 of the top 5 finishers were masters runners. that doesn't happen often.

Kristen said...

You can't win them all. Still, great job! Love ya!

slickrock joe said...

Brian, you and the others are just animals. I was happy my knee didn't flare up and I had finally dialed in nutrition, but my 12 hr run is a finish. just wish I had half the talent you guys do! congrats

Brian Beckstead said...

The last couple pics were taken by Golden Harper that last mile before AS#10.

Thanks to everyone for the words of encouragement.

My mistake on Karl. thx

Anonymous said...

Brian-I enjoyed running with you and the other guys, especially early on when we all felt really good. I was really hoping for the two of us to go under 9 year buddy!!
Way to buck up despite some major adversity and finish as strong as you did. I know your pains...take care man!