I had such a great time here last year that I just had to sign up again. It does mean 3 marathons or ultras in 3 consecutive weeks, but I really want to do each of them. This is week two and I would like to save something for Tacoma next week. There is a new, tougher course this year so I can not compare my time from last year anyway. Last year I finished in seven and a half hours, so it will be a long day today.
Rainshadow running has taken over the event. Cost more than doubled and it was switched to a Sunday. But I am over that now and ready to have a good run. 6AM start for the 50 miler. They are off before I pull into the Tacoma Cruisers property to check in and start running at 8AM
Sixty something people registered in each race. May rain later today. For now it is cool and mostly cloudy/foggy, but not too bad. I will wear a jacket and tie it around my waist as it warms up. Say hi to Roger and Kurt and then we start.
Mile 1 - steep uphill and rocky so lots of walking. As in every long run in Capitol Forest there will be a huge diversity of terrain and trail. It is almost 9 miles from the start to to Capitol Peak and it is a little discouraging to be going downhill now. Back up again. Lots of early walking and I started very far back so no one is passing me. I like the easy pace just behind a couple of people, including Evan from Oly.
Mile 4.1 - Water only aid station. Short bit on the logging road and a quick turn onto a trail. This looks familiar and Evan mentions the Mountain Marathon. I did not know for sure where we would overlap, but here it is. Fun to run here where I was six weeks ago. Should be easy going for a couple of miles and then the grunt to the top. Pass the little bridge where that woman almost pushed me off of, when I startled her at MM.
Mile 6.5 - Out onto a dirt road. Off of the MM course. Long uphill climb. Jog some, walk some, pass a couple of people. Sharp right turn onto an abandoned narrow road. Obstacles to go over. Then easy running to the "Grunt". Much shorter grunt section than at MM. Take my time and feeling good. Reach the top of Capitol Pea and have a look around. I can see Mount Adams, St Helens, Rainier and Baker.
Mile 8 - Now it should be just down the hill to the aid station. But we go down and down the road. It is farther than I thought it would be. Nice to finally get there, stock up (PB+J) and head to the Cresttline Trail.
Mile 10 - After a few bumps it is on to the smooth gentle downhill Crestline Trail. I love this rock free and mud free route. This was my favorite part last year. But with the downhill I start to feel soreness in my quads. This is the lingering effect of the hilly Bremerton Marathon. Downhills will gradually get more and more difficult and uncomfortable.
12.8 - Wedekin aid station. Stop for a minute or two here. Great volunteers and snacks. Then on more downhill to Falls Creek. I ran all of this part last year and enjoy the waterfalls and runnable trail. Into the burned out clear cut area, then back into the woods. Quads getting worse, it should be easier going down these hills. Hit a bit of a low point. After the next aid station it will be a huge uphill back to the top. I could drop out there and save my legs for next week. I really consider it. Finally I decide that chances are good that I would have to wait a long while and it is a long drive back to the start. I may be near last place in my race, but there are plenty of 50 milers out there and I have lots of time to make the cut offs. I could pretty much walk it in from here and still get the finish. So I won't dawdle at this aid station and keep on moving.
Mile 19.2 - Quick break at Falls Creek and get back out there. Now the Greenline Trail back up to the top. Plodding along. Nice trail. Then the large steep clear cut with switchbacks. All alone, but every 10-20 minutes a fast 50 mile runner comes past me. Climbing up the switchbacks. Jen Edwards sighting (pacing a friend). I can look down and see runners five and ten minutes behind me, now that I am near the top. Cap Peak still looks a lot higher up. Really more like a hike than a race now, but it levels off and I get running again. Into the forest and more switchbacks up the last slog to the road.
Mile 24.7 - Enter the road and see the aid station ahead. So glad to be at the top. Even better news is that we are directed to stay on the road and go around the grunt, rather than quite a bit more up and down. Road is level and then slopes down. Soon it connects with where we went up so many hours ago. With fresh legs I could run so fast here, but my quads are sore and my feet are uncomfortable. No real pains, but I can not move as fast as I'd like. Run slowly a long way then walk a little. Should not be walking on a road downhill, but that is how it is. Now I think of the end. Finish the road, hit the trail that is the same as the MM course, then I will be at the last aid station. Trail is uneventful, just slow. Think I could beat 8 hours, but maybe not.
Mile 28.7 - Last water stop. Fill up. Evan and his friend pass me for good. Down slowly for two miles. No tripping, not even close to a fall today. Watch battery dies at 7 hours 35 minutes. 50 mile woman passes me, but now is the last big uphill and I pass her. She will get past me as soon as we start going down again. Then a 50K runner who I thought would be slower than me, come cruising past. Just a few more miles, and people are "sprinting" to the finish, but I just can not get the legs going. It is fine. Must be close but I don't know the miles or time now. Finally hear some finish line cheers and isn't that a great sound? Still a ways to go, but finally make it to the end.
I love the opportunity to go for such a long run in Capitol Forest. But I do not want to not be near my best for this one or Tacoma. I will do something different next year. Skip this and run a strong Tacoma? Or skip Tacoma and Bremerton and run the 50 miler here? We shall see.
8:13:04 (6th longest race of my life)
40th of 48
Capitol Peak Ultra#2