Sunday, July 19, 2009

2009 SpeedGoat 50k

Not posting much this year since its an "off" year for me (no 100 milers, no hard training) so I can stave off the burnout and knee issues and get ready for a 2010 "on" year. I ran the Antelope Island Buffalo Run 50 miler on my b-day - I try to run at least my age every year. Also had a great race a couple weeks ago at the Logan Peak 28 mile trail run finishing strong and making some new friends.

This last weekend I started my third Speedgoat 50k hosted by Karl Meltzer at Snowbird ski resort. I had plenty of time left to finish it, but decided to drop at the mile 22 aid station (but still had to jog the 3 miles back to the finish). I started too fast and mixed with seasonal allergies (wildflowers? cottonwood? who knows) I enjoyed a rare visit from my pal asthma and had a good struggle on the first climb to the top of the hidden peak tram. I backed off the pace and had a great come-back on the way up and over Mt Baldy - one of my favorite peaks to hike and ski in the spring after Alta closes for the season.

After a screaming fast descent with my buddy Olaf into Mineral Basin, up Sinners Pass and down Mary Ellen Gulch I thought the worst was behind me. I caught quite a few people that passed me earlier and I was making up all the lost time from the first climb. I knew from last year that the climb back up to Mineral Basin would be hot and miserable so I spent some extra time in Roch Horton's awesome American Fork aid station cooling down. Unfortunately, the 90+ degree heat and the long, dusty climb up rugged jeep road conspired against me and respiratory problems were the order of the day. Normally I can find my "granny gear" and grind my way uphill at a slow, steady pace no matter how bad I'm feeling but the chest pain would build until it would force me to come to a stop and sit down. Immediately upon sitting the swarm of mosquitoes that were chasing me caught up and went to work and motivated me to stand up and move on - thanks to them I made it out eventually.

While moving at the glacial pace of about 1 mile per hour, I realized that any hope I had of finishing in a timely manner was shot and I would be lucky to make the generous cut-off time, so I decided to just accept my death march and try to enjoy the scenery along the way. Near the top of the climb back to the top of Sinners Pass, I found a great little patch of old snow in the shade with a panoramic view of the Southern portion of the Wasatch 100 course as it makes a dip close to Mt Timpanogas. I sat down in the snow, put some reggae on my ipod, pulled out some snacks and invited the hot and ragged looking runners passing me to stop there at Ryan's Oasis for a few. I'd probably still be there, but I knew that there were aid station volunteers waiting for me to get my butt in gear so they could go home, so I finished paying my sweat and blood penance, crossed Sinners Pass and topped out at the 22 mile tunnel aid station (colloquially known as the "Basshole" after Snowbird owner Dick Bass).

Somehow, I managed to make it to the aid station with 10 minutes to spare before the 3pm cutoff but I was worried about Lindsay who had yet to catch up to me so I decided to wait for her. 3-o-clock struck and she still was nowhere near, and I knew that the course sweeps would take care of her, so I decided that I would run for a mile and see if maybe my chest pain would subside so I could eek out a finish. It didn't, and I didn't, so I enjoyed a leisurely jog down single track to the finish area to drop officially and enjoy watching my friends finish. It was tough telling everyone that I had dropped and its weak to try and list off excuses for why I wasn't up to the task of finishing. I thought for sure that the Speedgoat would be in the bag for me, but the last year has been a humbling lesson in a series of dnf's. Like most of my beat-downs - I'm just trying to find the pieces of wisdom that I can keep and use next time. By the time I'm 70, I might even be good at this sport!

1 comment:

Christian said...

Tough race Ryan. I hope you're feeling better now.
drop me a line when you get a chance,
skinnytires at gmail dot com