Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Yakima 50km Race Report

I met Leslie Gerein 4 years back at Transrockies. Her and her wonderful hubby Keith were doing it together. The following year I went and stayed with her in beautiful Banff, Alberta and ran my butt off in the 4 days I was there. I was training for Western States and a weekend away with amazing women who loved to run was just what I needed to keep the stoke alive during what seemed like a very long training season.

The start. Photo By: Seth Wolpin
 Leslie messaged me a few months ago and told me she had signed up for the Yakima 50km (which she did the year before) and had a van full of ladies coming down. Having already signed up for four 50km races already, I was a little hesitant. However, not long after James (race director) invited me down and I just couldn't refuse. My co-worker John had already signed up and it wasn't long before there were 5 of us making the trip down to Ellensburg, WA.

Tons of wild flowers. Photo by: Seth Wolpin
A long and winding road! Photo by: Seth Wolpin
 We set out at 6am Saturday morning and made a mandatory pit stop at Avenue Bread in Fairhaven. Oh my, they make up the most amazing English muffin breakfast sandwich. My favorite is the Italian but I am sure they are all wonderful. We rolled into Ellensburg around noon and checked into the prestigious Motel 6. We got some groceries and then went to the start line to check out what lay ahead of us tomorrow. The wind was blowing but the sun was shining. We ran into Shauna who had driven down with Salt Spring Dave (who filmed the event) and we enjoyed a beer at a picnic table.

The concierge at our motel recommended we check out the university campus, so we took some time to walk around there. We then sat down for a nice pasta dinner and before long were passed out in bed!

The temperature was pretty nice in the morning but I still started with my wind breaker on. I took it off within a mile or so but I would use it later on in the race and am glad I wore it! After a 10 second count down we were off to do a little 400m out and back to spread the group apart as the trail narrowed quickly after we crossed the bridge. Immediately we started up the first climb. I was happy to see that there were some running breaks amongst the power hiking. After feeling so beat up (energy wise) during the Diez Vista 50km, I began to hit the Iron Supplements (Floridix) hard. I could totally tell the difference this day as running felt a bit more effortless like it used to. There were 2 women ahead of me and I couldn't help but want to catch up! Shauna was also right behind me and we ran pretty much 30 seconds apart until the 25km turn around. Part of me just wanted to run with her so I had someone to talk to but I just settled for doing my own thing. However, we did run together for a bit after the 2nd aid station. I got to chatting with the girl who was leading (Alicia) and turns out she is from Vancouver and we knew a lot of the same people, which was pretty cool.

Johnny O, our fearless leader!
The amazing Mark Grist!
The scenery was spectacular! Beautiful wild flowers and views of the winding Yakima River down below. With so many hills around I really had no idea where I was going as I looked off into the distance. The terrain was very rocky which made it quite technical in parts. The hills are steep and it was hard to just let the legs go on the downhill. I guess that is why I am feeling it today! Having rolled my ankle really bad a couple of years ago, I didn't push it at all on the descents. Rolling an ankle would have been pretty easy on parts of the trail and it just wasn't worth it to me to risk that.

Shauna on one of the many descents!
 There was a lot of sage brush and it almost felt as though I was dancing in between it as the trail tightly twisted and turned. We were told to watch for ticks and rattle snakes and luckily I saw neither. There were 5 aid stations, 1 every 5 miles and the volunteers were amazing. All were super cheerful and willing to get you whatever you needed. What else can I say? The climbs were tough and often when you thought you were at the top, it twisted and winded even higher. I seemed to always be around a few people so I was never alone for that long. Racers were all super respectful as they stepped aside for those in the lead and everyone was cheering each other on. Whenever someone told me I was the first lady I couldn't help but think about the white house.

The wind got a little crazy and at one point it was so strong my hat flew off my head. Shauna a few meters back didn't feel a thing! I was in my own gust of wind bubble. I kept a pretty steady pace the whole race and overall felt pretty good. I ran where I could and power hiked everything else. Out of all the Rainshadow races I have done, this is at the top of the list. I like that the hills are steep so your forced to power hike (I'm so lazy right!?) but there was enough running to mix things up. Time just seemed to tick by and I loved that we got to finish downhill. I finished in a time of 6:21 and James awarded me with a hug and a wicked framed print of the race logo. Very stoked! Then it was on to beer and handmade pizza from the hippies! Both went down very well.

Thanks to La Sportiva for providing me with the best shoes! Again, the crosslite worked like magic and I had no foot issues! 

The aid station personnel were amazing!
Where we had the post race festivities!
I finally got to catch up with Leslie and Nicki from Banff and cheer on my friends who came in shortly after me. Everyone in our crew did super awesome.We left when the kegs ran dry!

That night we all went out to a steak house and then crashed pretty hard as I was beat! Sunday was super mellow and pretty uneventful as we made the trip back home. On the way home we stopped back off at Avenue Bread for my favorite breakfast sandwich (for lunch), Trader Joe's, and Edelaine dairy for a soft serve cone. So good. For the most part I feel pretty good but my quads are definitely sore!

Mark with not one but two eggenues (breakfast sandwiches)!!!!
 Next up, Vancouver Marathon which takes place a week and a half from now. I haven't done it since 05' and I will not be tapering so it should be buckets of fun (insert sarcastic smiley!). No honestly though it should be fun to get out for a fun day with a lot of people and see what these legs can do.

Run Happy,


1 comment:

Leslie said...

Yay for sunny running weekends with friends! Great to see you, as always.