Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Squaw Peak 50 2007

Well, I have finally started feeling normal after last Saturday's adventure. It was a bit more painful than I remember from last years' edition, but that probably had something to do with the a) increased Hell like temperatures, b) the throbbing knee that plagued the last 8 hours and c) the golf ball size blister on the ball of my foot.
Both B and C were pretty much self induced but the temperature was out of control. Just to make sure it felt extra, extra hot, the powers that be made sure that there was no wind whatsoever. I knew it was going to be warmer than last year but I really wasn't acclimated to run in the oppressing heat that usually waits to show up until mid-July and August in these parts.
Since the knee had started giving me trouble in the 3 weeks leading up to the race I decided to back off the training and go in to the race without pain. That strategy worked, but my fitness took a hit because of the reduced training. I decided to stick with my original goal pace of sub 9 hours for as long as I could then just see what happened. Something certainly happened and I can tell you it wasn't pretty.
I ran the first 2 hours pain free, but after the 7 mile descent to Hobble Creek road I could feel my knee and a small burning sensation on my right foot. Leland Barker had just run past before we hit aid station 5 and that put me in 7th position by the time we hit the road. Leland took off when we hit the pavement and I tried my best to stay close but he was flat out movin'. I reached aid station 6 about 15 minutes behind schedule but I tried to remain positive. This is the section where I really started feeling the heat. I started being a bit more conservative knowing what was ahead but I wasn't drinking enough. Despite slowing down I didn't get passed until just before starting the climb to Windy Pass. The climb was slow, I had a long list of excuses why, but I'm mostly blaming it on the heat. Once I reached the aid station I sat down and Jim Skaggs helped me take care of the troublesome blister on my right foot. I took off on the 7 mile descent to the last aid station and the knee objected to that idea. I finally took my first dose of ibuprofen about halfway down in an effort to keep it quiet but at this point it no longer mattered. I have really worked hard on my downhill running skills since last year and I now consider it one of my strengths, so I think that's why I was so frustrated.
I hit the final 3 mile section of pavement with Justin Snow and made an effort to run to the last section and finish under 10 hours. The first mile went ok, but then I started feeling dizzy and I had to walk. I made it up to Rich and again tried to run but it wasn't happening. Every time I started to run I thought I might faint. I'm sure this is because I was so dehydrated but it was still frustrating. I finally made it in 10:07 which was good for 19th overall. I improved my time from last year by a little over an hour and given the circumstances I was running with I'm satisfied with that effort.
Kevin Schilling took a convincing win in front last year's winner Allen Belshaw followed by Erik Storheim in third. Birgitta Johnson finished first for the women, followed closely by Liz Irvine in second. Nancy Hendrickson rounded out the podium in third. I met all three of them just a couple weeks prior while doing trail crew for the Wasatch 100. My good friend Peter was on pace to beat his time from last year when he went off course with about 5 miles to go. Seems as though somebody started removing the flagging on the trail. No matter he still finished strong and beat his time from last year. More results here.
Next up is the Wahsatch Steeplechase on the 23rd, I'm not sure whether I'll do it or not, that will depend on the knee and how quickly it heals. After that is the Devil's Backbone 50 miler in Bozeman MT, 50 miles, one aid station, 100% trail, should be a good time.

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