Last year the Sun Mountain 25K was my very first 25K. It was a gorgeous race and Glenn took an amazing picture which ended up by the ProClub in their marketing. This year I had to try the 50K. Had a great time carpooling with Angela Vaughan on Friday night, saving me from five and a half hours of complete boredom on the drive to Winthrop (accident on I-5 added an extra hour and a half). She’s finishing her Junior year at UW and has been studying environmental science. Has spent some great summers working in the woods around Winthrop. Great stuff. Highway 20 had just opened a few weeks before and there were some impressive snow piles on the side of the road. Also wild seeing the temperature go from 67 to 44 to 67 as we crested the mountain. I spent Saturday volunteering at the 25K. Got there early for registration and ended up staying through cleanup. Too many friends and it was quite the party with 315 starters and with all the racers ending within an hour or so, everyone hung a round to cheer each other on and enjoy pizza, beer, and The Pine Hearts. Got back, got a great dinner w/Glenn at The Old Schoolhouse Brewery, and then back to the room to get ready and an early night Got up early on Sunday, grabbed a yummy scone from The Rockinghorse Bakery, and headed to the start. Ran into several friends but missed several others who had left several hours earlier to run the 50M. At 9:50AM we lined up for the course briefing and were off.
The race starts with some double-track before quickly getting down to single-track, running along Patterson Lake before heading into the woods. It’s mostly a gradual climb with occassional steep parts that I had to hike. I really, really need to work on my hill work; these things are slowing me down waaaay too much. At 5.5 miles in was Glenn in a field of flowers snapping photos. A few more miles to the first aid station, which I clocked in at about the same pace as last year’s 25K. Hoped for faster but given I was going a bit longer this time I was happy with the time. Gained about 1400′ over 8 miles. A bit more uphill on the road then there is a ridiculous scramble up and then down a small loop before continuing down, crossing the road, and heading off on the second half. The start of the second half is very runnable. I was surprised to still be running through the woods, since the 50K pictures always show grass and flower covered hills. We stayed in the woods until the turnoff for a loop back up the hill and around Sun Mt Lodge, a painful 700′ gain over 1 mile. It was amusing coming up the backdoor of the lodge, running around the side, through the parking lot, and over a grassy area before getting back on a trail. There were several couples laying out on the grass enjoying the sun who were kind enough to cheer us on. The loop circled back to the original course. Again, fairly runable until mile 24 when we started a 1200′ gain over 2 miles. Just when you thought you were cresting the top, there was another hill in the distance with little dots of runners going up (and down). Ugh. On a happy note, Glenn caught us coming down the mountain (as opposed to coming up).
Two more miles brought us down to the road and then a bit of uphill back to the Finish line. As always, James was there giving high-fives to all of the runners and I took the obligatory photo with the RD. Lots of great food and people hanging out listening to the Pine Hearts. Beautiful day and a great way to finish the race. I wore 2 watches since my new Fenix 2 keeps freezing and I wanted a backup (both worked great today), both of which showed about 29.5. Interestingly the Fenix 2 was consistently 1% longer than the Garmin 910xt, but I’m thrilled with being that close compared to the Fenix being off by >10% at the Gorge Waterfalls 50K. Total time was 7 hours and 41 minutes. I was hoping for under 7:30 but am quite pleased with the 7:41. Full Garmin track here.
Rooted on the next few finishers but needed to get back into cell-phone range for a conference call. After the call, a much-needed shower, and some FB updates, it was early to bed in order to get up at 5:30AM to get to work. Had a great room (they are all great) at the Hotel Rio Vista which was right on the Methow River. Even with the Windows closed you could hear the gentle roar of the river going by. Very relaxing. Truly a beautiful course. Fields and fields of yellow and blue flowers. Gorgeous views of the valley and distant, snow-covered mountains. I will come back as often as I can. Of course Matt Stebbins assures me that the extra 20 miles in the 50 miler is really the best part of the course. Maybe someday, although I’m actually pushing for a 20 mile race that is just the first 20 miles of the 50 miler. Nutrition: 7 Nuun in 100oz water, refilled front bottles at every aid station 17 oz pure water: too little, should have refilled hydration bladder 3 ShotBloks 2.5 Honey Stinger Chews: 160 cal, 80mg Sodium = 400 cal, 200mg Sodium 1 ProBar: 160 cal, 15mg Sodium 2 Gu Proctane: 100 cal, 125mg Sodium, 35mg Caffeine = 200 cal, 250mg Sodium, 70mg Caffeine 1 Gu: 100 cal, 55mg Sodium, 20mg Caffeine Aid stations: 2 Peeps, few M&Ms, few chips Still hungry at the end but not as bad as at Gorge Waterfalls. Unlike at that race, I took a Gu and some chomps 2 miles from the finish. Ran out of plain water with 5 miles to go having started about half full (1.5L / 2); need to either take more or refill at the aid stations. The day was warm and dry and I probably drank more than normal. More pics: