Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Chuckanut 50k Race Report

This past Saturday, I ran the Chuckanut 50k trail race in Bellingham, WA. It was my first race of the year and I had been looking forward to it for awhile. I have been working with a coach this year (Ryne Melcher - who is not only a really good coach but also a super nice guy with an impressive ultra running resume - and no, he didn't pay me to say that) so I was excited to see how my fitness would be. My goal was to come in under 5 hours and if the conditions were good then I was hoping to be a bit faster than that. Well, conditions weren't good, but I still managed to finish in 4:45 (6th female overall), which I am really happy with. (Full results are available here.)
The course was quite varied and well suited to my strengths - i.e. plenty of climbing and nothing too technical - and very well marked. This was the first 50k I've done and not gone terribly off course. (Unfortunately, a couple of the top men did though!) The weather was all over the map with heavy rain, snow and even some sun for a bit so it was hard to know what to wear and I probably over-dressed. The recent precipitation also resulted in a few very muddy sections so there was some slipping and sliding (and a few minor injuries apparently). Glenn Tachiyama took some hilarious photos of people wiping out. Below I've included his photo of me heading up Chinscraper at mile 21. (It's pretty boring compared to some on his website.)
There's not much I'd change about the race. I should have carried more water and probably eaten a bit more because I ran out of energy at the end as I lumbered along the interurban trail towards the finish line, but that's about it. It's only my fifth ultra so I'm still learning a lot. Overall, I thought Krissy Moehl and Ellen Parker did a fantastic job of organizing the event and it may turn into a regular feature on my race calendar. 
Next up is the Elk/Beaver 50mi in May where I am hoping to get a qualifying time for the Canadian Trail Running Team. There's a lot of work to do before then! Fortunately, now that it's spring, I can get back out on the trails - yay!

P.S. I decided to add the following because I saw it included in a couple of other race reports and it seemed like a good idea. (Mainly so I can keep track of these details; not because I think anyone cares what I eat for breakfast!)

What I had on me:
Brooks Cascadias
Injinji toesocks
Helly Hansen 3/4 tights
Sugoi long-sleeve top
Adidas rain jacket
Brooks cap
Nathan hydration pack

What I had in me:
2 packages of oatmeal with almonds and a cup of black tea (for breakfast)
1 Clif shot and 2 Clif bloks (just before the start)
4 Chocolate#9 gels diluted in a flask (during)
12 Clif bloks (during)