|The White River starting line. I'm just to the right of and behind Yassine, smiling oddly enough. Race photos and views of Mt. Rainier taken by Glenn Tachiyama; finish line photos are by John Wallace III.|
|The reward for heading up the first climb: first glimpse of Mt. Rainier.|
The first flat: The first few miles into Camp Sheppard are along the river on a flat to downward-sloping trail. I started off pretty quickly, and led until after Camp Sheppard, where Meghan and Ashley Arnold floated by me going up hill. I felt fine on the flats, but once the climb started, the wheels came off quickly.
The first climb: This was my low point in the race. I had pissed off my hip flexors in bikram yoga earlier in the week, and they were really feeling grumpy, acting as if they might cramp up and stop working at some point. I also had long strings of people behind me at various times, and this always causes me stress. I don't like to set the pace for others, especially if I'm holding them up, so constantly worried about whether I should step off trail or not. I eventually got to a place where I was running alone with Matt, and he kept me moving until I eventually stepped aside and let him by. I wouldn't see him again (although I finished ahead of him...funny how that works). I eventually made it up to the top of the climb, and just as I did, Amber sped by me. She was flying, and even though I felt like I was moving up on the flats to the turnaround, never had in her sight. Despite my crappy climb, I made it to the turnaround, ended up back in 3rd as Amber was still in the aid station, and was told I was about 3 minutes back of Meghan and Amber. Not bad for as crappy as I felt on the climb.
|I swear I heard Glenn tell me "Don't smile," so I just look confused.|
The second climb: My first climb buddy, Matt, had described the second climb as much gentler and runnable. What? Maybe in Anton's world. But in my world, the second climb, especially the first few miles of it, were anything but gradual. I was running out of water quickly, and my lower and middle back were screaming at me. I couldn't decide if it was back pain, or kidney pain. There were all sorts of obstacles on the second climb: my screaming back/kidneys, my empty water bottle, a group of horses, some mountain bikers, and hot exposed sections of climb. I didn't feel as low as on the first climb, but I was definitely being lazy. I used the guy in front of me (a friendly British guy from Seattle) to gauge when to run and when to hike. He had 2 water bottles, which appeared to be over half full, and I kept resisting the urge to ask him to spare some. I finally worked my way past him and his underutilized water bottles just before the Fawn Ridge aid station, where I downed 4 glasses of water, filled up my water bottle and moved on. The rest of the climb, more gradual once you pass the aid station, seemed almost a cake walk after some fluids. The only really interesting thing in this section was a few mountain bikers who whizzed by at breakneck speed. Luckily I wasn't listening to music, as they blitzed by me flying downhill around sharp turns. Although the climb seemed endless, I finally passed Glenn, who was snapping pictures right below the aid station. Woohoo, now for the fun part!
|The views on the first climb were amazing, until you got the view from the second climb.|
|Always glad to see the finish. And psyched to be under 8:30.|
|David Horton letting me know that I was the 1st Loser.|
|The top 10 women.|
|Our Team Oregon carpool had an awesome day! Yassine and Pam both finished 5th.|