This year at White River 50 mile I had a plan. I was going to run, not race the first 35 miles and if I felt good, I'd race the rest. My goal was to run smooth and happy and not burn my legs out before the Tahoe Rim Trail attempt two short weeks hence. I kind of also wanted to crack top 10 and top 3 in the masters division. This was my fourth Whiteriver. It was also my first Ultra back in 2008. I have a lot of history here and I have sponsored the event for the last 5 years though you wouldn't know it by the race shirts this year. Anyhoo, every year I've watched the front pack blast up the first climb, get dehydrated, the true competition keeps the pace, the rest end up in the fetal position on the side of the trail going up the second climb to Sun Top. Dear future competitors, negative split and bring plenty of water. You are welcome.
I ran the first climb at solid speed but no stress with Shawna Tompkins and Chase Mueller. We chatted and stepped aside as the dehydraters passed us. Shawna dropped back and Chase and I stuck together through the entirety of the climb to Corral Pass then up and over the new reroute. I lost him on the descent much as Ellie Greenwood lost me and disappeared into the woodlands below. I rolled into Buck Creek A.S. feeling downright perky, had some watermelon and proceeded on stopping only for a visit to the loo. Onward to the climb up to Fawn Ridge where I started to find burned out shells of former "runners" along the trail. At Fawn Ridge I asked Laura Houston what position I was in, she looked at her clip board and said, "Uh, I dunno". I saw a lot of names on the list. I decided then and there to start racing. I figured I'd need to pass about 10 people to have a chance of top 10. I hustled out to the trail slurping on delicious watermelon. I passed #1 soon thereafter, then #2, then #3, then #4. #4 stuck to me. Huh? I pushed hard up a hill to shake him, he pushed too. I slowed, he slowed, I bombed a descent, he did too. I had a Clingon. I started to grump a bit until I spied #5 & #6 running together up ahead. Being passed by one person sucks, being passed by two is demoralizing. Clinger and I passed both of them and hit the hot, winding trail up to Sun Top Summit. On our way up, we started to talk, he had an accent which ended up being Swiss, his name was Chris and I started to like having his company. We headed down the fire road and got maybe a mile down before #6 flew past us at break neck speed. Holy Fondu! What can you do, we let him go. Then, half way down we came upon William Emerson and passed him thereby making him my new #6. At the bottom of the road we finally got to the Skookum Flats Aid Station and I saw friends working and I looked for watermelon of which there was none? S**t! I grabbed the best substitute I could find, Mt.Dew and a peanutbutter cookie. I still had legs. I hit the Skookum Trail hard and found and passed the old #6, now #7 early on. I gotta say, if you are feeling good that trail is a blast. If you're not, it's Hell. I rocked and rolled and ran and smiled and felt great about 5 of the 7 miles worth. I passed #8 somewhere in there and finally shot out onto the dusty road to the finish, gave shit eye to the people camping in the usual finish area and sprinted in for a 7:48 finish. 11th overall, 10th male, 3rd Masters. I still felt great.
White River was a great lesson on patience and priority. I now feel way more confident about my fitness and preparation for the Tahoe Rim Trail Speed Attempt.