|The sweet view of the Waldo Lake from the top of the first climb, Fuji. Last year we camped right on the lake.|
Waldo starts with a nice climb out of the ski lodge. I remember walking much of it last year, and now I remember why. It's pretty steep and definitely meets my steepness gradient for walking. But once you crest the top of the hill there are some really nice runnable miles down to the Gold Lake aid station. My VHTRC buddy, Aaron, passed me right before the AS and commented that I was moving really quickly. Hmmm....Aaron is usually miles ahead of me, so was I moving too quickly? I didn't feel like it, but the fact that I stayed in front of him for 6 miles made me wonder. I could see both Aaron and Meghan heading out of the AS as I was heading in, and I kept them in sight on the climb up to Mt. Fuji. The climb was comfortable, and I ran much of it except for the steepest parts, and let Aaron and Meghan's walk breaks dictate mine. Coming down off of Fuji I calculated that Ashley, in third, was at least 8 minutes back, and the others were all back of her by a bit, so Meghan and I were somewhat comfortably out front. I started to believe that I could actually achieve my goal of qualifying for Western States. Waldo is part of the Montrail Cup, and as such, the top 2 get automatic entry into WS. New rules this year allow that to roll down to #3, if one of the top 2 are already in. Meghan finished 2nd at WS last year so is an automatic entry, which meant that as long as she was in the top 2, it would roll down to #3, so my goal was to get one of those top 3 spots. I also wanted to take about 40 minutes off of last year's time and finish in 11:20. I figured that 11:30 would likely be good enough for top 3 based off of previous years' results, and if not, then lots of people had really great days out there and that's cool, too.
Meghan and I were together for a few miles after the Mt. Ray AS (mile 20), and that section was really enjoyable. She mentioned that we were under 11 hour pace (oops), and I mentioned that my only goal was for a WS spot. It seemed counterproductive to pass Meghan heading up, when she's a stronger climber than I, so I tucked in behind. We ran together for a few miles, until I eventually moved ahead. I then bonked hard and started to have some stomach problems. I started to feel a little light headed and generally crappy and spent some time in the woods. I was surprised that Meghan didn't pass me, and arrived at Charlton Lake AS, still in first. A Portland running buddy, Randy, who had to drop because of injury, asked me if I wanted his pacer to jump in with me for the last 20, which gave me something to look forward to. I mentioned to Randy that I was starting to feel kind of crappy. About a mile out of the aid station Meghan blew by me with her pacer. Yowzer. She passed me like I was standing still, and I lost complete sight of her within about 10 seconds. I figured that was the last I'd see of her.
|One of the lovely little lakes as you head up the first climb. It was not yet this light out as we passed, nor was I planning on a leisurely run, so did not carry my camera. This was taken in July during a trail work weekend.|
The rest of the weekend was a blast. The wedding was beautiful, and what was just a 3-day weekend with friends was packed full of funny stories and great memories, and by the time Aaron, Kerry and Mitchell flew out on Monday, it felt like we'd been together for weeks (in a good way). Here's hoping we can continue the VHTRC Oregon vacation in August in years to come and that I can convince a few more to make the move. There's already talk of a Waldo weekend or CC100 weekend for next year....
Gear: La Sportiva Crosslites with Drymax socks. Feet felt great afterward. I've always suffered from blisters, but it seems I've finally found a combination that doesn't leave my feet trashed. A couple end of toe blisters that might have been prevented with gaiters.
Hydration/nutrition: Hand held until mile 20 and Nathan pack thereafter. Water and gels of various flavor/brand, mostly expired. Drank sports drink from aid stations.