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!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Squaw Peak 50, Timp Trail Marathon, and the Adventure of a Lifetime

Its seems like yesterday but its been a few weeks since I ran back-to-back races.  I'll try to be quick in my recaps but this is a LONG post.  I've had a great but crazy couple of weeks!

Timp Trail Marathon- 
  • Cons: One week before Squaw...I run these trails every day...and thats about it.
  • Pros: I LOVE these trails.  Even though I run them everyday, they are awesome.  The climbing, the runnable sections, singletrack, doubletrack, mountain views, close to home, well priced, well marked, great organization, and just a ton of fun.  The first 11 miles are somewhat vanilla but I don't believe there are 14 miles of more beautiful running from the edge of city in the world!
I decided 2 days prior to run this race.  I knew that I wouldn't be in A shape for Squaw so I thought it would be fun to do both on back-to-back weekends.  I started out relatively slow as I didn't want to overdue it.  I basically had it on cruse-control for 18 miles.  (aside from the wake of bathroom wife made awesome homemade chili the night before.  I had 3 bowls...never again before a race). 

I was also a medical station handing out salt pills, Tylenol, Pepto, and Tums to various people.  The craziest was a half-marathoner sprawled out on the trail cramping.  After hurdling her, I turned around and gave her a salt pill and water...she looked at me like I was crazy saying nothing but doing what she was told.

I felt great going up Grove, floated through the meadows, and plowed up Curly Springs.  At the top (app. mile 18) I finally decided to push the pace a bit.  I flew to the finish!  It felt sooo good.  I finished feeling like a million bucks.  Even had a sprint off with a 1/2 marathoner....I won!  Ended up 6th place in a time of 4:14.  The year I won it I ran a 4:12...of course that was the mud year and I figure my time would have been approximately 15 minutes faster.  Considering how easy I took it, I was very pleased with my time.  Partner Seth Wold CRUSHED the course winning in 3:40!
I beat him, too much pumping up the crowd...

Squaw Peak 50-

6th finish at Squaw.  This is an annual pilgrimage for me now.  I love this race.  This year I knew I wasn't in PR shape but I wanted to go run well anyway.  My calf was a bit sore from pushing the downhills too fast the week before but I was ready.  However, I almost missed the start!  I couldn't find a piece of gear in the morning and was frantic.  I finally left without it but it turns out that my freeway on-ramp was closed until 6am.  I speed through the city and up the canyon on an alternative route.  I quickly parked, sprinted 300 meters to the start, gave some random person my only drop bag, and got to the start as John was counting down 3, 2,1...

Sucked being so rushed at the start but it was fun having friends all around running and chatting.  I accelerated right before the singletrack and climbing we went. Oddly enough as we reached the Rock Canyon aid station mile 10.5 I wasn't feeling great.  I got their slower then I ever had (my plans were to start slow).  After the next climb I had slowed even further.  Soon I was weazing and having a full on asthma attack.  It was scary.  On the flat bowl everyone ran away from me and I found myself walking struggling for breathe.  I have been having some respiratory issues recently but for how fast I was going, it shouldn't have flared up.  Odd and a bit scary.

I was in no-mans land.  The chase pack I was in had left and there was no one behind for quite a ways.  As I walked for a couple miles I decided to drop out at Horse Mountain Aid Station mile 15.  I couldn't breath and there was no way I was going another 35 miles in my state.  I entered the aid station and went and sat down.  Several runners came and left then John and Rory, some early starter friends of mine, came in and asked what was wrong.  I told them...and Rory pulled out an inhaler!  I took three puffs and decided that I would continue on albeit slowly.  I ran with them for a mile then Cory Johnson and Kendall Wimmer came by.  I decided to go with them.  We chatted as we ran down the canyon and I was feeling much better.  I was monitoring my breathing, relaxing, and floating down the mountain.  At the next aid station I quickly filled my bottle and kept it up.  I found myself alone again and moving well.

I ran the whole way up the asphalt.  I began passing back the people who had passed me at Horse Mountain.  At mile 26 I felt like I hadn't even started!  I watched my breathing very closely but kept plugging forward and I was picking up speed!  Passed several people at Sheep Creek and noticed something: as they were hopping over the water/rivers I was bending over and splashing myself.  Despite the warm weather (hottest Squaw on record) I was managing to stay cool.  I was smiling as I motored onwards feeling great.  Thankfully my drop bag somehow managed to get to Little Valley AS mile 33. 

I loaded up with fresh gear, drank an entire bottle of water, changed my socks, and headed up the mountain.  I was surprised how much I was able to run.  I ran maybe a little too much as I looked up Bozung Hill at mile 39 breathing pretty hard.  I knew that breaking 10 hours was almost impossible at this point due to my asthma attack delay so I did the smart thing, I sat down in the last patch of shade, took a gel, drank most of my leftover water, and caught my breath for 5 minutes.  As I was about to get up, Nick Sourlos came up.  We hit Bozung Hill together which was great.  I was up and over shockingly quick and entered Windy Pass aid station pumped!  I flew down the mountain with runners coming back to me like flies and finished in 10hrs 21min in 16th place. 

Considering the situation and how much time I lost around Horse Mountain I am very pleased.  My splits from the bottom of Hobble Creek, mile 22 to the finish were my exact planned splits for a 9:30 finish.  I ended up having a great time and loved seeing so many familiar faces.  Thanks to all the volunteers, Rory, friends, and some great gear!

Adventure of a Lifetime-

Riley Richard Beckstead was born Tues June 12th.  7lb 12oz 20in.  Healthy and happy we are so excited to have this little boy in our family.


Hone said...

Congrats on the new edition!

Jared Madsen said...

3 Great stories, congrats on each.
Nice running into you this morning the GC trail.

Thanks again for the chat - good luck in the Pacific Northwest in a few weeks!