Cascade Crest 100 Mile Endurance Run

45 miles into the 2014 Cascade Crest 100. My mind went back to a year ago, when I was dealing with my first race DNF: the prior year’s edition of the very same race.  I had spent the better part of the year preparing for this race, but now I had come to terms with a second DNF.  Maybe 100 milers just aren’t my thing? 50s had become simple enough; I should just stick to those. Running through the Snoqualmie Tunnel on the John Wayne Trail, I picked up the pace, despite the pain.  My headlamp shown into the darkness, not yet finding the end to the dark, damp walls.  I weaved between the water streaming from the ceiling of the old railway tunnel. It was time for this race to be over and I wanted that to happen ASAP.  I just had to move forward for a couple of miles, then I could go home and get a good night’s rest.

However, my friends were waiting for me at the end of the tunnel with other ideas…

(more…)

Can Ultrarunning Videos be Interesting? Enter Hyperlapse.

That’s the question. To clarify, I don’t mean excellent race films, like the talented guys at Project Talaria create (go ahead, take 9 minutes to watch – I’ll wait here). I mean: Go Pro on the chest, “running” 13 minute miles for 6 hours, DIY, trail running videos. I’ve always assumed the answer was “no.” Until I learned about Hyperlapse today… (more…)

McClellan Butte / John Wayne Trail

Three weeks out from Cascade Crest, I wanted one last big weekend.  Yesterday I ran over to Seven Hills Running Shop to join their Saturday morning group run, managing to get a lot of distance in around Seattle – although it was mostly flat.  Today I wanted to cap off a 40 mile weekend and make sure to get some vert.  I’d yet to run to the top of McClellan Butte (snow stopped me a month ago), so I figured it was time!  The John Wayne Trail is a great way to get to some of the trails on the south side of I-90, while adding some runnable miles, so I drove to the Upper Twin Falls Trailhead in Olallie State Park. (more…)

White River 50 Miler

About the Race

The White River 50 is one of the classic ultras of Washington.  While there’s not enough prize money to attract the “big names”, there are plenty of super-fast runners that show up to go after the glory of winning this one.  I kind of like it that way.  My race report won’t really get into the battle at the front, because I don’t really care.  One of the things that I love about ultrarunning is the egalitarian feel of it.  No celebrities – everyone is out there together.  I hope it stays that way!  Here is the only reference to the front of the pack: A picture of the start.

Clear, cool morning.
Clear, cool morning.

The Course

“It’s just two climbs.”  Every White River veteran knows this phrase.  Just two climbs.  Two steep, long, punishing climbs that take up about half of the 50 mile course.  The course starts at the Buck Creek Airstrip, meanders through some beautiful woods, crosses the road, then goes up.  And up.  I had forgotten how high the first half of the course went.  We pretty quickly got to the 4000′ range and kept on pushing.  The course tops out at just under 6000′ in the miles surrounding Corral Pass (Mile 17 aid station).  There is then a long, soft descent back to the start/finish to start the second loop.  The grade down is so comfortable and the ground so soft that it’s tempting to just open up and go fast.  Do so at your own risk!

(more…)