Saturday, March 29, 2014

Pacific Rim One Day - Megan's Race Report

On March 15-16 Megan and I ran the Pacific Rim 24 hour race together for the second year in a row. We are a little late getting up a race report because we spent spring break in Cabo completely unplugged from the world. But we are back, and blogging as fiercely as ever, which is to say, completely sporadically. :) This is Megan's race report. 

On Saturday March 15-16 I ran Pacific Rim 24 hour race. It took place around Sacajawea lake in Longview, Washington. The course was a one mile loop around the lake. Part of the course had a bridge. I did cartwheels on the bridge almost every lap I did. The race started 9:00 Saturday and ended 9:00 Sunday. There was an aid station after every lap I did. My mom went with me. My number was 50 for my goal of doing a 50k. Mom’s number was 51 so I told her she had to do 51 miles.
Megan, on the bridge, *not* doing cartwheels

When the race started, me and mom did a slow jog for the whole 1 mile loop.Then we walked. I took a break to play on the iPad after 5 laps. Mom ran 2 more without me and then I continued. I did four more laps. At about my ninth lap altogether, I noticed some birds in the lake with a weird design of white on their face. There were signs with the names of birds around the lake so I wanted to see what the strange looking birds were named. Mom and I found out that they were called buffleheads. Mom and I used that as a joke from then on. For the rest of that lap we constantly called each other buffleheads. Also during that time I had a cookie eating contest with a guy named Zach Gingerich. I won 4-2 when they ran out of cookies! At dinner time I had a jelly bean eating contest with him. The jelly beans were served in little cups. Zach won this time, the score was 3-2. The jelly beans were too sugary for me. After that lap I took another break. That break I made friends. Their names were Joey, Nikki, Crockett, and Tass. Nikki was in the race and Joey supported. Crockett and Tass were their dogs. I got to give the dogs treats. Joey said they were all-natural gingersnap treats. Nikki ended up winning for the women with 69 miles.

Mom came back from her 2 lap run without me and then we were off. I ran 3 laps with mom and then we both went to take a break. We played 2 games of Ticket to Ride in the car. I beat mom once and she beat me once. After that I took a break every 3 laps. At the end of the day I had 30 miles! I had decided to get some sleep and do my victory lap in the morning. I went to bed in the minivan we had set up a mattress in.
All snug and warm in the minivan

Mom woke me up at 6:00 and we did 1 lap. At the end the people who were there congratulated me. I did more laps because I wanted to get 32 miles because I would beat all of the people who got a 50k. At the end I had 34 miles! Mom had 51! We both made our goals. My place was 32nd overall and Mom’s was 6th woman. She got an orange plaque. I had lots of fun.

                                                                            -Megan Smith, age 9

Megan hits the 50k mark!!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

I Am A Douche Grade Jogger: Weekend Water Slides and the Hillbilly Half

I didn’t want to have winter babies; I wanted to be able to have outdoor parties and barbecues to celebrate their birthdays. My first kid was all set to be born in early September, but a miscarriage messed things up so Megan didn’t arrive till late January. Liam’s due date was a more reasonable late March, but then the little booger showed up six weeks early, still in the mid of winter. That left us with two birthdays to celebrate when there aren’t a lot of options in the Pacific Northwest; certainly we wouldn’t be having any picnics or barbecues!

Every kid would choose this over their mom. At least mine would.

So instead we headed up to the Great Wolf Lodge in the upscale metropolis of Grand Round, WA this past weekend. For those of you not familiar with the Great Wolf Lodge, it is a ginormous hotel with an indoor water park teeming with children hyped up on sugar and the excitement of donning bathing suits at a time when the outside temps hover just above freezing. And there are water slides! A weekend in a basic room is more than a monthly mortgage payment on the average American home, and yet, the hotel is booked solid every weekend, including all the fancy (and significantly more pricey) animal themed suites with miniature log cabins for the kids. But the kids wanted to go, and well, it was for their birthdays. Oh, and what a coincidence! There just happened to be a La Sportiva Mountain Cup race less than a half hour away! I am sure the kids wouldn’t mind; it is not like it was their actual birthdays. Plus, there are water slides; they’d never miss me!

So Saturday morning, I headed off to run and the kids headed off to the water park. Due to the torrential rain during and after the race, I think I ended up getting the wettest!

The race started on a gentle uphill grade and I was holding myself back to stay with the leading women. But a quarter of a mile in, the road quickly steepened and five women went flying by like I was dragging a tire! My quads were burning and I kept thinking, “Ah, man, this should be power hiking!” I did run every step, but you wouldn’t know it for how much time the front runners put on me. Starting around mile one, I was pretty much just waiting to get to the top so we could turn around and come back down.
It's much steeper than it looks!

Ironically, I think of myself as an uphill runner. If you ask me about Western States, I will tell you without a doubt in my mind, I won it on the uphills. But this race made me realize I am not really an uphill runner. There are some fast men and women out there who can eat up climbs like gravity doesn’t affect them!

About three and a half miles in, the trail came out on another road with just a gradual climb. In the next half mile I passed three guys and one gal. “This is the stuff I am good at!” I thought to myself. And then it hit me: this was “douche grade”, the not so kind name mountain runners give to the least challenging uphill grades. And honestly, I wasn’t going much faster than ultramarathon pace. Nope, I am not an uphill runner; I am a douche grade jogger!

I didn’t catch anybody on the downhill, but I only got passed once and my legs felt strong, so I was pretty happy with the latter half of the race. I held on for 5th women - nothing too spectacular but a solid effort in a race WAY outside of my comfort zone, plus some good early season quad pounding. And perhaps the best part: I still got a whole afternoon of water sliding in after the race was over!