Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Yakima Skyline Rim 50k's & 80 degrees

 Friday night, after a frantic day of kid shuffling and work I found myself in a van down by the river. The Yakima river that is, trying to figure out what to wear for the morning's 50k. I was sleeping 3,000 feet below the morning's first climb.
     The Yakima Skyline Rim 50k was the first Ultra I had won. 2011 was the first year James Varner and his Rainshadow Running put on the event, so by winning I had set the Course Record at 5:29:34. I really wanted to see if that record would hold or if it was a soft time on a hard course. The allure of returning as champion outweighed my better judgement as I should have been tapering for Miwok 100k in San Francisco two weeks later. Instead I was lacing up the Montrail Rogue Flys to defend my title and waste my quads on the nearly 11,000ft of climbing and descent this bruiser of a course had to offer.
     The day dawned bright and clear. The jacket and gloves never stood a chance. I went with light sleeves, two handhelds and a fannypack of peanut butter crackers. Teammates Allen and Sara were lined up and ready, Joe who got 3rd last year was there as was Matt Hart up from SLC and a bunch of Ultra characters known and unknown. 3,2,1 Get out of here and we looped the lot, crossed the jumping bridge and headed for the first monster climb. I felt good, the day was beautiful and two guys took off hard on the first climb. I was happy to see them try to win it on the first of four major climbs. I hung on in 3-4th, we topped the ridge and I fell in with some super nice guys from Walla Walla and Missoula. The second big climb is where the sun finally set it's teeth. It bit hard as I climbed and by the top and the 10 mile aid station I was feeling pukish and had to walk a bit to settle. I settled on the fact I don't do well with Nuun. I decided to stick with water from there on. I was in 3rd and the guys in front were putting it down, then Oliver the kid from Walla Walla flew past me on the rockiest of downhills and I just watched him go. I felt like I was not taking the bait to chase... yet. the turn around found me 8-10 minutes behind the leader. I loaded up on water and hit climb #3. Now I felt good. I passed Oliver and spent the rest of the climb saying "nice job" and "thanks" to all the runners coming down the trail. I peaked and hit the downhill trying to keep pace with the boys ahead. I came to the only flatish part of the run where it wends it's way through a valley of sagebrush and to my surprise I saw the guys in front of me, then I caught the guys. We hit the last huge climb (3000ft) and they stepped aside for me. I took two steps up the steep and both legs cramped. I couldn't let them see me cramping so I faked it up the steep slope until the cramps subsided, then I pushed really hard to put some distance on them. I figured if I could get 1/2 to 1 mile ahead of them by the peak, they wouldn't catch me on the downhill. I put my head down and just climbed. I was hot, it was dry, it was steep. I climbed more until I saw the final aid station and Brandon Sybrowski there filling my water bottle,
 the dude is a legend and he was asking my name- kind of like having Shane MacGowan buy you a pint. Up the final false summits and finally the turn to drop like an elevator to the valley floor. I bombed as fast as my liquified quads would let me, nearly tripped down the cliff just like last year, thought a stick was a rattlesnake and yelped, almost passed out after tying a shoe and finally saw the bridge, the river, the finishline. I crossed in 1st place with a new CR of 5:19:03! Thankfully Gwen Scott was there to walk me around until I could sit, James gave me a new coffee mug for winning. The next guy came in 19 minutes later at 5:38.
     My conclusions: I love this race, sunburn trumps foam roller, I will recover by Miwok and yes, last years CR must have been soft.


  1. Awesome and funny! Congrats, way to run smart. We felt your pain running the entire course monday, the hottest day of the year (89 in Ellensburg). Would've LOVED to have an aid station. Good luck at Miwok!!!

  2. Awesome job, good write up and great running!