Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Orcas Fat Ass

Well, my computer at home has died. . . . RIP. So, no photos right now and no long blog entries because I have to do this on my work computer. Whoops.

However....can I just say that the weather and the day of the Orcas Island Fat Ass was absolutely amazing. It was as close to perfect as you can get in this world. It was sunny, clear, warm and the trails were cushy and varied. We arrived Friday early afternoon. We saw Alison, Laura and Matt on the ferry and it was nice to sit around an chit chat with them. We checked in early and got our race numbers and then spent the rest of the day hanging around Orcas and generally being sight-seers (insert photos here...)and then lazy bums lounging around the hotel flipping through too many channels on the TV. I am not missing anything not having cable, I was reassured of that.

Saturday morning came around and I was a bit worried still that my calf would maybe take a dive in it's recovery cycle by running a hilly 50k. But I had been very diligent the week prior, not running, just cross training and icing it. And really, by the time I got up Saturday morning, my stomach had presented a whole new set of concerns, it was churning and churning and I was not at all excited by the thought of making pit stops as I did at Capitol Peak.

We got to the start and there were lots and lots of runners and volunteers and supporters warming up in the hut at Moran State Park. The park has 38 miles of trails, one of which goes to the top of Mt. Constitution. I was looking forward to running and prepared myself for 8 or 9 hours of running as I heard this course just rips your legs off. We started at 9 AM and it was a bit of a mad dash to the single track. I was overdressed with too many shirts and my trusty ALM fleece hat. I had to pull over within the first 20 minutes for a wardrobe adjustment. The first aid station was roughly 11 miles into the run. I did not feel so hot these first 11 miles. I felt sluggish and for some reason I was just not mentally into it. This was going to be a long day I thought. I had good conversations along the way, I did most the listening as I found myself out of breath. We looped around to the first aid station in just under 2 hours and I sheded all the clothes I was carrying, refueled and was off. We soon hit the power line climb, very steep and very long and quite beautiful. It was pretty open and the sun was peaking out of the clouds. I started feeling better and the climb seemed to go well, no calf pain and I was able to keep a fairly steady pace. At the top came the most fun part of the run. The next 6 miles or so were fast and fun. Super soft trails, slight downhill and I found myself running pretty hard here. I usually like to save myself a bit, but I thought, well, if I feel good, I'm just going to go with it and this run will be an experiment. Let's see how I do if I go throw caution to the wind. Next thing I know, I'm at the water self service station and on I go up more hills towards Mt. Constitution. Wow, it was gorgeous and I was still felling pretty good. I had my iPOD, full bottles, food and my stomach was just fine. Next thing I know, I turn the corner and I'm at the top. Spectacular views! (insert more photos here...).
I quickly refueled and started the descent. WooHoo! A bit steep and technical and mighty fun. I was starting to feel tired and asked some of the people in front of me if they knew what mile were we at. 25! Only 6 more miles. I looked at my watch and thought I could make it in under 7 hours. I just tried to keep on Wendy's pace and turned up my iPOD. That worked for about 4 miles and then I started feeling pretty tired. The last 2 miles were challenging. I was hungry but could not stand another gu. I was drinking like crazy, 6 bottles of fluid but not a single pee. But was we rounded the corner and hit the pavement, I knew the finish line was literally right around the corner. I could hear all the people cheering. So, I keep plugging away and finished in 6hr 20min. Having never done this run before, I have no idea if that's a good time for me or not, but I was happy with it because I thought it would have taken much longer.

I felt like an airhead after I finished which is a sign for me that I ran my best, I was mentally tired. It was great seeing everyone there and watching everyone run so well. James and Alison put on a great run and a great time. James had shirts made from used shirts and just put the Orcas Fat Ass logo on each one, what a great idea. For results and details of the race, go to the link just above. For photos of the race, check out Glenn's photos.

My little experiment provided lots of good data of which the conclusions of this data will be used in future runs.