Tag Archives: trail running

Half-a-Million Vertical

After a few drinks on Christmas night 2012, Garett and I made a friendly bet of trail running, hiking, ski touring or mountain biking a million vertical feet in 2013. As my husband was driving us home, we calculated the average vertical gain that would be required per day; way too much for me especially if I wanted to continue with CrossFit and yoga! I texted Garett and we agreed on ½ million vertical gain in 2013.

Garett hooked me up with a Suunto Ambit watch that I wore for all my trail runs, hikes, and mountain bike rides. In the past, I’ve never diligently tracked my mileage or vertical gain so this was a new challenge for me. I loved it. It motivated me to get out in the mountains on days that I was feeling less motivated.

The outcome: 460,224 vertical gain; shy of my goal by 39,224 or 107 feet a day! Hopefully, in 2014, if I can stay injury free (I had to take some time off for a foot injury) I will reach 1/2 million. To some ultra-runners, achieving half a million vertical feet in a year is nothing (almost laughable) but for me it was the perfect challenge: it pushed me but still allowed me to maintain my other athletic interests.  (Update: 2014 results: 586,333 vertical gain and 2000+ miles)

Here are some highlights from 2013.

Devils Loop: 12,132 vertical gain

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Bear 100 Mile Endurance Run: 21,986 vertical gain
https://debsholisticnutrition.wordpress.com/2013/10/16/the-bear-100/
11_fake smile at the finish
Fat Dog 50 Miler: 10,900 vertical gain
https://debsholisticnutrition.wordpress.com/2013/08/22/fat-dog-50-mile/

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One of my favorite local hikes: Granite Mountain to the lookout tower 3,800 gain

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Squaw Peak 50 miler Utah: 10,197 gain

sculpture

Humpadayathon: 13,835 gain
https://debsholisticnutrition.wordpress.com/2013/05/30/humpdayathon-2013/

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Another local favorite Teneriffe Mountain: 3,800 gain

dave and deb

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Before work on Monday’s & Thursday’s I take my dog up Little Si.

Little Si_Zoey

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Fat Dog 50 Mile

Profile in meters
FD 50 Profile
Wow, FD 50 blew my mind. I went into the race thinking it was going to be super tough on many levels: not only was there a mandatory gear list for a 50 miler but the predicted finish times were in the 15 hour range; meant finishing at midnight. I heard the course was non-runnable, overgrown, poorly marked, technical & gnarly!

Fat Dog was the same weekend as Waldo 100km which I was originally signed up to run but bailed in June due to painful tight tendons in my feet. It was painful to walk & run. In June, after Squaw Peak 50 I went to see Chris Hall, DC and he performed active release therapy (ART) and the next day I was in so much pain I had to cancel my morning run. I continued to see Chris on a regular basis; he loaned me his calf Trigger Point roller, showed me stretching and strengthening exercises, told me to ice after every run and to buy arch supports.I did what was prescribed for six weeks: kept my ART appointments, diligently rolled out, did the exercises, iced (heat & ice, too) and wore arch supports. Race day was near and the true test would come after running 50 miles in the Canadian backcountry.

The race started outside of Hope, BC; a point to point race with an elevation gain of over 10,000 feet. The course was incredibly well marked; the first 30 miles, to my surprise, were fast & flowy and the last 20 were remote, technical & challenging but rewarded with stunning views. The last 20 miles had 7,000 + gain with most of the gain in the first 12 miles, four of the last eight were short steep rolling climbs (hardest part of the course for me) and the last four ended with a fast sweet single track down to Lightening Lake where my hubby and dog were waiting for me.

My feet felt great most of the race besides the usual beating of running 50 miles. I finished in 9 hour and 57 minutes good enough for 1st place female, course record, and 3rd overall.

Fat Dog is a very low key race & a small field of runners but they offer multiple distances: 20, 30, 50, 70, & 120 mile, as well as a relay, all point to point. The trail maintenance was evident throughout the 50 miles; volunteers obviously spent many days and hours clearing the course. The race was incredible well marked, well organized and the course is absolutely stunning.

I’m stoked to have been able to run and play in the mountains pain-free thanks to doctor Chris and Aylin at North Bend Therapeutic Massage, my summer is much more fulfilled now that I can go out and play w/o pain! And, I’m sure my husband is happy he doesn’t have to listen to me whine anymore.

20130819_095638
20130819_100217  1st Place Female / 3rd Overall
medium size FD finish

As a nutritionist, I’m asked all the time what I eat before, during and after a race. In addition to the Clif Mojo bars, I like to make my own protein bars, too. Everyone is different, what works for me, might not work for you.

Pre-race: Homemade kefir with almonds, walnuts, oats, and banana.

During the race:

  • 2 Clif Bloks packets (I rely on Clif Bloks for instant energy and easy consumption.)
  • 4 Clif Mojo bars.
  • 1 homemade peanut butter and honey sandwich.
  • ½ a grilled cheese from the awesome volunteers at Skyline Aid Station -mile 30.
  • Handful of Pringles from the amazing volunteers at Skyline Junction- mile 42.
  • 3 packets of Sustain – 9am, Noon, and 3pm.
  • Lots and lots of water.

Post-race: Thorne protein powder recovery drink, hamburger with avocado, water and a beer.

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Squaw Peak 50 Mile

squaw elevation
June 1st, 2013 I ran the Squaw Peak 50 mile trail race in Provo Canyon, Utah. The course had 14,000 +/- gain and loss and the highest point on the course was 9,300 feet; a little thin for a flatlander. The day was near perfect, although a tad hot for a Seattleite and hot enough to get some wicked sunburns in spots I couldn’t reach or missed with the sunscreen.
race bib

The race started in the dark at 5am with a 2.1 mile pavement section which helped spread the runners out a little before the first single track climb. Around mile three I was putting my headlamp away and my iPod fell out of my pack. I noticed almost immediately and went back to look for it but going against traffic with 230+ runners coming at me it was near impossible, not to mention it was still a little dark. I finally gave up! Total bummer, not only do I use my iPod for most of my training runs, I now had to run 47 miles w/o music!
I continued on and I met some cool ultra ladies from California. We chatted on and off all day and hung out after the race. The aid stations were well stocked and the volunteers were helpful and friendly. The course was pretty cool with some amazing views and a spectacular sunrise. However, the course did consist of 38% dirt roads and 19% of pavement my two least favorite things. The first section of pavement was the first 2.1 miles, second section was 3.7 miles long (mile 22-26) slightly uphill and hot and the third section was 3.3 miles to the finish which I dreaded.
My strategy for the course was to chill for the first 30 miles and then pick up the pace the last twenty, the last twenty had about 4,000 gain and 4,600 loss. At around mile 39, Berryport Pass, the trail climbed 1,300 feet in 1.25 miles. I wanted to save my legs & lungs for this climb topping out at 9,300 feet and then bomb the last 10 miles to the finish which was mostly downhill w/a few rolling hills.  My strategy worked, I passed seven women between miles 30-40. I arrived at aid station 9 (40.4 miles) in 9 hours and 23 minutes and at the point realized I could go under 11 hours and possibly beat my husband’s time of 10:47 (which was actually 10:42 back in 2000 and the one who talked me into doing this race). I grabbed a potato at AS 9 and ran as fast as I could on tired legs down the rocky, steep terrain knowing that I’d be slower on the last 3.3 miles of pavement and would have to walk some of that stretch (my weakness is running on pavement). The last 3.3 miles were not well-marked so I kept asking people if I was going the correct way. There were numerous sections that had sticks with flags but the flags were blue and pink and not blue and orange (like on the course). Near the end, there was one section that I nearly turned right and up a logging road b/c there were two sticks w/flags and it looked like they were for the race, luckily a cyclist came by and said to continue on the road to the finish. However, if I would have read the course instructions I would have known there were no turnings on the home stretch!  I ran the last ten miles in 88 minutes for a time of 10:51.
Overall, I had a great day both mentally and physically, the race was well-organized and well-marked, the race director was very nice and friendly and the sunrise and scenery was beautiful.

Results: 5th place Female/1st Master’s Female. Overall 31/266 starters.

My Suunto Ambit stats:
http://app.strava.com/activities/57704665/overview
Strava: Overall time: 10:49, Mileage: 52.2; Elevation gain 10,197
Movescount: Overall time: 10:51, Mileage 50.87; Elevation gain 9259.

Finishers medal

sculpture

sculpture plaque

Race day food –
Travel breakfast: banana + Greek yogurt (normally this would be homemade kefir w/raw milk, berries, and nuts)
During the race
1 peanut butter and jelly sandwich (cut into fours)
2 packets of Clif Shot Bloks
1 Clif caffeinated gel (this is only the second time I’ve used a gel during a race and it went down well)
4 red potatoes with salt
1 Mojo Clif bar
1 Kind bar
1 cup Heed @ an aid station
½ banana
6 Sustain electrolyte tablets
Felt great all race –no bonking, cramping, bloating, or stomach issues.

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Colorado 50 Mile Race

North Fork 50 Mile Profile

                    North Fork 50 Miler Finisher Award – 3rd place Female Overall

The North Fork 50 Mile race was much harder than I expected. I flew (solo) into Denver, Colorado the night before the race; Denver was experiencing record high temperatures and I felt like I was in a sauna, it was suffocating. (The locals at packet pick-up were laughing at me.) I did the necessary pre-race preparation (Cobb Salad and a beer), had a great night sleep and woke up at 4:30am (3:30am Seattle time) to eat, tape my feet and drive to the start (45 min.) I arrived at the start around 6am and my stomach was, “off!” I do not recall ever having stomach issues in past races including adventure races in the French Alps and The Canadian Rockies. It was a different feeling than altitude issues or nerves.

The race started and I figured the stomach upset would go away, but it didn’t; it didn’t go away all day. My game plan for the race was to go out “steady” and stay “steady” all day! “5 rounds of 10 miles,” if you do CrossFit you’ll understand. I wanted to run a consistent race; a training race for Wasatch 100 www.wasatch100.com. The race started off with a climb and everyone started running up the mountain. I was being passed left and right. I hiked. It was not fun being passed but I knew it was going to be a long day. I did not want to waste my energy this early in the race, especially with an upset stomach. I stuck to my strategy and continued to power walk up this climb and all the climbs. Once up the first climb, it was sweet single track, fast and flowy…that was pretty much the course…a climb and sweet single track with a few logging roads thrown in. I was envious every time I saw a mountain biker.

The heat at times was unbearable, but luckily the clouds rolled in a few times over the day threatening thunder showers. The volunteers at the aid stations were amazing; they took my pack and filled it with water & ice while I grabbed food. I have never experienced this much assistance at a race; they were encouraging, energetic and friendly. One aid station offered me a beer; do you know how hard it was to pass up a cold beer at mile 40 when it was so bloody hot out?

The race was a suffer-fest for me because I didn’t feel very well. As I crossed the finish line I was handed a 2nd place plaque for my age group and told I placed 3rd Overall Female. Although, it made me feel a little better; it was a tough race mentally and physically. I’m not sure how to describe it, even though I placed, the race personally was not very rewarding and made me second guess my decision to run Wasatch 100.

I trying to put this race behind me and start mentally preparing for Wasatch 100 (Utah). Wasatch 100 has 26,882 feet of climbing and tops out around 11,000 feet.  I have 36 hours to run the 100 miles. I feel if I go out slow and stay steady…I can finish in the allotted time.  (I’m mentally working on “I hope I can finish” to “I will finish!”)

Above: Wasatch 100 Course Profile

Pictures below: North Fork 50 Mile Endurance Run; Pine, Colorado

      2nd place age group; 3rd place Female Overall.

*Thanks Tony Maldonado for the pictures.

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