11 April 2008

Chuckanut 50k

We pulled the car to a stop, and listened to the rain hammer down on the roof. Ugh - was this going to be like last year's Chuckanut, which was possibly the wettest, muddiest race I have run in?

Fortunately, the rain stopped just as we exited the park building where the race numbers were being handed out. The course would be muddy as snot, but at least we wouldn't be constantly soaked as we ran. Things were looking up.

(picture credit - Glenn Tachyama)

Chuckanut is another classic Northwest event, and brings out all the regulars. It is also turning into somewhat of an early-season elite shootout, attracting the best in the NW and occasionally a "furriner" from outside Greater Cascadia. (As it turned out, Brian Dayton from Colorado suh-moked the local hotshots, saying something for the benefits of altitude training and racing at sea-level - although Scott Jurek's record run at Hardrock last year also points otherwise... OK, maybe it is just talent and hard work! :-)

For me, since I was just a week away from the Coyote 2 Moon 100 miler, I decided to play it cool, run steady and not get caught up in any race. The strategy seemed to work, as I felt fantastic at the end of the race, and ran solidly along the final 10km railbed that has always proven a challenge in the past. The course was indeed muddy, and requisite care had to be taken on a lot of the corners.

One thing that caught me again this year was some cramping in my calves as I turned off the long road climb and onto the spectacular ridge trail - one of my absolute favourite sections of trail to run on. I have had the same tennis-ball kind of cramping my the calves the past three or four times I have run this race, and it is pretty frustrating. I was well-hydrated and -electrolyted with copious amounts of nuun, but despite that, I still cramped up. Maybe it is the climbing, followed by hammering some rolling twisty stuff and cold temperatures. I'll have to check it out again next year.

My Team Nuun teammates fared pretty well out there, with Brian Morrison scoring 4th overall, Devon Crosby-Holmes 1st female and 17th overall, and Olga Varlamova knocking off another great race. I shared some great trail time and chatting with Patagonia runner Jamie Gifford - it is always a pleasure to see him.

As for me, I ran a solid 5:13 out there, which is slightly above-average out of my seven times over the course. I was pretty happy with the effort and how I felt (despite the cramping) but the most fun of the day was seeing my lovely wife Martha come running smiling across the finish line again too.

Thanks to Krissy Moehl for her awesome job RD'ing again - hey, Krissy, we miss you up here! :-)

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