Friday, May 25, 2012

Sun Mountain 50- BEAUTIFUL!

Sun Mountain 50 miler, with 50K and 25K options, is another fabulous Rainshadow Running event.  I feel so lucky to live here in the Pacific Northwest and to have so many great race options, especially from Rainshadow Running.  Their events are always top notch! This race is held in Winthrop, WA; a place I love to visit.  However, I hardly ever make it there and so this was a great excuse to get out there.  We signed up way ahead of time which was good thing in the sense that we probably would have never made it there if we didn't.  This month has been absolutely crazy and fitting in time for a 50 miler seemed absurd.  BUT...we had signed up so we were going. 

The race was on a Sunday which gave us Saturday to get over there (about a 4 hour drive) and hang out.  Winthrop is a fun western town.  We didn't have much to time to explore, but we saw bunches of friends we hadn't seen in a while and so that was awesome.  It gave us a nice reprieve from the on-goings in Seattle.  Owen's dad, with whom he was quite close with, passed away on April 29th.  The funeral was held May14th and the Memorial is scheduled for the 26th of May.  We are moving at the end of this month and why not just throw in a 50 miler 4 hours away.  Sounds reasonable??
Sunday morning we all gathered at the start.  The 50 miler started at 7 AM and the 50k started at 10.  It was so fun seeing friends!  (ALL PHOTOS TAKEN BY MATT HAGEN)
Sara Malcom, always good for a funny face

Gwen Scott and I all smiles right before the start

 I warmed up as usual to get things moving, boy do I feel my age in the morning sometimes!  Then we started promptly at 7.  James sent us on our way and everyone took off to the right, which was hilarious because the course actually went to the left.  There was some confusion and some laughs at the start that's for sure.
But within 30 seconds, we were all headed in the right direction.  I was excited about a day out on the trails and had no real idea of how long it might take to complete this particular 50 miler.  Last year the course was about 4 miles short because one of the markers was taken down and so that particular turn was missed.  This year, the course was perfectly marked, even a directionally challenged person like myself did not get lost. 


We got it right now

What can I say about the run?  It was beautiful, there were lots of flowers, the climbs were challenging, the trails were nice and bouncy, the course was really quite run-able.  I ran most of the day with Sara and Owen, probably 43-44 miles and then were got separated but still finished within 10 minutes about of one another.  The second to the last climb was up to the Sun Mountain Resort and around it.  Looks like a fabulous place to stay.  The very last climb at about mile 45 was tough.  It was long and quite steep and satisfying.  It led us to the top of Mt Patterson and then back down.  I thought the finish line was farther than it actually was, I love that.  I asked the woman who was pointing us runners in the direction we were to go and I asked her,; 'how much farther to the finish?' She respond, 'about 2 miles'.  So I was prepared for that mentally, but in fact I think it wasn't even a mile!  I love that!  I didn't need to eat that last gel I guess.  I wound up eating 19 gels total.  Foul, but it works!  I came in to the finish line in 8:41 and pretty happy with that time.  I think that might be a 50 miler PR for me! 

Beautiful course

A short ladder to climb over the barbed wire on the last descent

Coming down from the last climb

The view from coming down from the last climb

 On a whole other topic, my dad sent me this awesome little tidbit about dogs and I absolutely love it. My dog is a creature that I can learn a lot from.  In memory of Don Connell (Owen's dad) I thought I would post this for him.  In the 3+ years I knew him, I found him to be someone who tried hard to be the best person he could be.  I think the lessons we can learn from dog, (written below) are lessons that Don tried to live by. 

Don Connell

People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life -- like loving everybody all the time and being nice. Dogs already know how to do that, so they don't have to stay as long.

Lessons from Dogs:

Live simply

Love generously

Care deeply

Speak kindly
Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:

When loved ones come home, always run to greet them

Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.

Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure Ecstasy

Take naps

Stretch before rising
Run, romp, and play daily

Thrive on attention and let people touch you

Avoid biting when a simple growl will do

On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass

On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree

When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body
Delight in the simple joy of a long walk

Be loyal
Never pretend to be something you're not

If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it

When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently

There comes a time in life, when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it. You surround yourself with people who make you laugh, forget the bad, and focus on the good. So, love the people who treat you right. Think good thoughts for the ones who don't. Life is too short to be anything but happy. Falling down is part of LIFE...Getting back up is LIVING...