Feb. 6th was the Orcas 50k. Feb.2nd I was on Kauai eating a papaya. Between the travel and the lack of focus I wasn't sure what to expect when Jim Norton and I rolled into Camp Moran to pick up our numbers. I know the Orcas 50k is not to be taken too seriously or too lightly. The glory of winning Orcas is small, the first place award is a cup of bean soup as is the award for last place. The race is an early season gathering of 500 or so runners in a summer camp atmosphere with beer.
Friday night included eating a pizza, changing a flat tire, having a load of laughs with Gary Robbins, Linda Barton, Laura Houston, Owen and Allison and Jim on the ferry ride. Camp Moran held more fun and stories with Ellen Parker, Allen Skytta, Jeff Browning and Scott Wolfe. Eventually I had to retire to the van to snooze.
Race morning I donned my new Team FleetFeet Seattle / Nathan jersey, Brooks Cascadias, water bottles and headed over to the Lodge for some for Cafe Vita coffee. I was relaxed, ate a bagel, hung out and awaited the start which came at 8:30 ( a rather civilized time to start a race). We were off and I decided to keep the lead pack in sight for as long as I could. I fell in with Bill Huggins and Kevin Douglas. We kept the pace solid and by the first aid station Bill and I had caught up with Justin Angle, Jeff Browning and the other guy up front. I nibbled a bit then headed out, around the lake and up the first major climb where Bill Huggs and I passed Jeff and stuck together through the descent and around the lake to the water drop. By this time I had grumblies in my tumbly. I was hungry and still had all of the climb up Mt. Constitution before I would sniff food. I ate a GU chomp and headed up, it got cold, I started to bonk, then I ate another Gu Chomp, then I bonked worse. My eyes started to get the warbles, the trail started to lose focus and I slowed... way...down. Then I saw Glenn Tachiyama and his camera, I tried to muster a smile but didn't have the energy, Bill passed me shortly before the aid station. I came out of the forest and straight to the food table wherein I demolished half a plate of PBJ's, about 8 cookies, a cup of coke and some other liquids of unknown origin. I stuffed a Baby Ruth in each hand bottle and headed out. By this time, Jeff and Scott had come and gone and Kevin was just coming in. I ran down the trail and instantly started cramping. The food sat fine in my stomach but my legs had nothing to feed on and kept cramping. I slowed and ran all crampy style as both Kevin and another guy passed me by. I figured my race was over and my lesson was learned. I continued on up to the last climb and down the other side. As I was descending the neverending switchbacks, I looked up and saw Krissy Moehl coming down. It was then I realized the cramping was lessening and the food was starting to work, I turned it on and blazed down the hill renewed. I hit the neverending lake trail and thought I'd hold my positon, until I saw Kevin up ahead. I realized I could catch him and pushed the pace. I came around a bend of the lake and there was Kevin, Bill and Scott coming back towards me! "We think we went the wrong way. Do you know if we were supposed to take the first bridge?" I said, "No. We keep going this way and thanks for coming back for me." The four of us headed around the lake, the race was on. Scott started pulling ahead, I passed Kevin. Eventually I stepped around Bill and made an effort to close the distance between me and Scott. We hit the paved road and his sprint matched mine. I saw Van Phan who took the early start and powered on to catch up and finish with her. My time was 5:19 good enough for 6th place, about 18 minutes slower than last years 6th place here but the course was about 20 minutes longer this year. Congratulations to Justin Angle for the win.
Post race hanging out was super fun. Wish I'd been able to stay another night and celebrate Dan Sears' birthday properly. The ferry home was more quality time with tired friends. Paul, The Gallants, Matt Hagen and Betsy Rogers. As a bonus I got to hear Laura Houston play her new Uke.