Sunday, March 22, 2009

Pirates Cove 50k

Horsing around at registration with Victoria. Is it a mountain lion? No it's a leopard! Photo courtesy of Victoria.

PCTR's Pirates Cove 50k
5980 ft. of elavation gain / same for loss
5th place with a 4:37:40
Course PR by 19 mins

Big sigh of relief - Whew! It's all coming together. January, February and March is the months when I'm busy rebuilding my base, doing the strength training thing and starting to layer in the speedwork. I never know how well I'm doing until that first race because I'm just constantly tired. All the long runs seem hard, speedwork painful. Well after cramming in a week's worth of recovery, which included a night at Borders reading work related magazines, indulging in a frosted cinnamon roll and drinking a decaf when I should have been running, I can say that every thing went well with the race. The added weekly mileage and the new strength training workouts are doing their thing. My core certainly feels stronger. Not only did I feel fine during the race but I felt super post race. Today I was even able to help out with our club's trail run. Things are good.

It was chilly, drizzly but not a particularly windy day for a run which was perfect - prefer cool temps but hate the wind. Too many folks to see and greet at the start but not enough time. Soon it was time to go and I lined up in the front, something I started last year that I feel much more comfortable doing now. Chatted with some folks when I should have been listening to Wendell and then we were off, up, up and up. It takes several miles for my body to get in it's groove and I'm weakest on the uphills so an uphill start ranks down there with blisters but it was expected. At least you warm up fast on the uphills:) I focused right away on staying within myself, running my race and not getting sucked in to the faster paces of the other runners. I was too excited, too giddy and I had to focus to keep things under control. The 50k and 30k runners start together. I kept getting passed and there were a lot of people up front. I let them go. I would burn trying to hang with those who were faster and stronger, the ones who started too fast I may catch up to later and the 30k runners needn't concern me.

Everything went like clockwork. I pushed a bit too hard on the downhills on the first half but thankfully a mistake I survived. On the last downhill of the race my legs started twitching like they wanted to cramp but I finished before things got worse - lucky. I felt good the entire time. The first 30k was excellent as I'll explain later and the last 20k was strong and steady. No issues on the nutrition and hydration either. I started with a bottle of my own mix but switched to their energy drink when I ran out with no problems. I subsisted on energy gels for the rest of my calories, about 2 per hour. And no blisters, still loving the Drymax socks.

The views were spectacular as usual and what little rain I did experience was inconsequential. Only bad thing was that because of the weather folks didn't really hangout after the race. I remember lounging in the grass last year with friends and other runners after the race.

50k runners run the 30k loop with the 30k runners, then head back out again for the last 20k. I ended up running with a 30k participant who ended up being an incredible help to my race. Kristina ran strong, ran everything except the steepest hills. She'd catch me when I walked/ran the uphills and I would pass her on the steep downhills. On a particularly long downhill I gunned it and kept the pace strong through the ensuing rolling, hilly and flat sections. I thought I had finally seen the last of her until she caught up to me on another long uphill. She says "oh it's you again", I laugh. We start talking and I tuck behind, pacing off of her, best decision I had made all day. Her pace was just a tad faster but not enough to send my heart rate through the roof. The conversation made the miles fly by and we passed a lot of people. When we got to the start/finish I was gratified to see that I had made good time and she would end up first woman for the 30k race. So a big thank you to Kristina.

Will G. introduced me to Caitlin at the start of the race. I remembered her from Scott Dunlap's blog, the first woman at Way Too Cool 50k the weekend before. For those not familiar with the race, Way Too Cool is...hmm how to describe it best?... super competitive and hard to get into. It attracts some very fast runners. Anyway Caitlin wins this race outright with a 4:09:57 and Will G., who also raced Way Too Cool was 2nd with a 4:10:31. I got a chance to talk with them afterwards. Caitlin was gracious and very easy to talk to and Will went out of his way to congratulate me on a good race. He knew my time from last year and was happy for the PR.

Well another successful outing. I've been working hard in the off-season and I ran hard in the race. I'm pleasantly surprised with the outcome. The time I took off from last year's finishing time was more than I expected. I love it when that happens.

Samantha (30k) and Lisa (8k) at the start.

Jo-Lynn and I, happy to be done. If you look closely you can see rain.

Post race meal at the Dipsea Cafe with friends. On my right is Lori from SoCal. We adopted her for the afternoon, a friend of a good friend - Jon Gunderson.


  1. Top-5 and ~20min PR(!)...well done, the near even pace splits on both loops is awesome/impressive as well.

    You keep geting skinnier & faster.

    Great to see you again.

    Cheers, Will G.

  2. Wow, idol. Congratulations! Awesome.

    More power!

  3. Awesome race Rick! Your hard work and discipline is surely paying off.

    It was good to see you again.


  4. Way to go Rick ! Congrats on the course PR !

    I'm loving the post-race feast.

  5. Congratulations, Rick, on your great race and course PR! Will's right about the 'skinnier & faster' part - it's so cool to see how well you're running, how all your training is paying off.

    Thanks for coming out again - it's always so excellent to see you, and we really appreciate your support and friendship.

  6. Congrats...I think it's longer middle of the pack running...I now consider you a front of the pack guy...5th place....great job.

  7. Fantastic job, Rick! Don't ya just love it when everything comes together the way you planned? That doesn't happen to me very often! haha Congrats on 5th place and the new PR! Peace!

  8. Phenomenal race, Rick!! You absolutely killed it out there. A 19 minute PR is amazing. Congratulations.

    Good luck with all your upcoming races. I'm sure you'll absolutely destroy all your PRs this year. If you're ever in SoCal and need a pacer or crew, you know who to call.

    (Thanks for adopting the orphaned Chinese girl -- it was great hanging out with you all. Great food, and even better conversation - haha)

  9. Great job and congrats on the new PR! Looks like the high mileage is really paying off.

  10. Nice work Rick! See you at the races!

  11. Great running on Saturday-- you are definitely an inspiring runner! I can't wait to see what this season brings for you.

    And that picture cracks me up every time I look at it. Oh the dorkiness...

  12. You are such a strong runner Rick. I am in awe of your abilities. You just keep getting better and better.
    In all fairness, I was wearing five layers of clothes in that photo - I look like a friggin' sausage. LOLOL

  13. I am with those who said "skinny". You sure are, and I would be jealous just a month ago:) But as with my running, I am not fretting about my weight anymore either, I can';t afford that emotional energy be channeled elsewhere not life-threatening. But you, my dear - it's fun for you, getting better, faster, hanging out with big dogs, challenging yourself, improving...don't you wonder where your limits are? Until you know, you may not stop. And if your life allows it, keep on going. It is fun for sure. I am thrilled to have seen you grow, I feel like a proud mama. May be that's why my own downfall is not so important - I live through all of you guys and gals:) Thank you for letting me be part of your lives.

  14. Hey, isn't Jon Gunderson getting married soon?

    Congrats you stud!! There is no limit to you! It was great sharing the experience. Thanks for finishing so quickly so we didn't freeze drinking beers in the rain. It's inspiring to see your evolution!

  15. Dude! Killer job as usual. Look at you with all the lay-deez ;-) I'm tellin ya Mr . . . that was NOT a night at Borders. You're just cleaning up for Moms :P ;-)

  16. Great run and congrats on the PR! Super glad to have met you briefly at the start and to chat for a little bit post-race. I'm sure I'll see you again soon.

  17. Great job Rick! You absolutely bombed those downhills.


  18. Rick, when I grow up, I want to be like you! :) What a performance! My congratulations to you. Obviously your winter training regimen is paying big dividends. Great job, fantastic photos, and that post race meal looked darn tasty as well!

    A wonderful report. Continued success to you!

  19. Wow, Rick, awesome time!!


  20. It's all coming together, for sure. Great Race, Rick.

    P.S.. The Dipsea cafe rocks!

  21. Great job Rick!! You have worked hard in the off season and it's paying off already!

  22. Great race Rick and congrats on the course PR! I'm going to have to hit you up for some training tips next time I see you.

  23. Wow BIG BIG CONGRATS to you Rick! All the hardwork has paid off! When do we see a photo of those stronger abs? Just teasing! :)

    I was in the pool with your brother Dondi and we were just talking about you. You have to give us some tips on tri and trail running if and when we decide to do it.