Well, although my race at Way Too Cool 50k wasn't anywhere near what I had hoped for, I definitely had a fun trip. I picked up Bronco bright and early from the farm for the long drive south. We eventually made our way to the Auburn Running Company for packet pick-up, then hurried down to the quarry parking area near No Hands Bridge for a little jaunt with Team Eugene up to Robie Point and back. We missed the Eugenies by a few minutes, so just met them on there way back. It was fun to catch up with those fast guys (and gal - Meghan from Corvallis). We all b.s.ed over pizza at the local eatery, then piled into Craig's mom's house for the night. Carol has got to be one of the coolest, and most generous, people around. Every year, she hosts Team Oregon for WTC; I think we had a solid dozen this year.
Race day was nice...really nice. Sunny, low-50s, trail in perfect condition, and LOTS of fast runners. I predicted 25 would break 4; I was proven wrong, as 28 actually did. I was not one of those 28. I had been having good workouts and long training runs (mostly on the roads for my Boston prep), so I set my bar high with an ambitious 3:45.
My warm-up definitely foreshadowed how my race would turn out. In those 20 minutes, I had to use the facilities three times. Feeling good and ready to go, I went out aggressive, but not really hard. I passed the first a.s. at 6.1 miles in 37-something, back in about 25 place. No way did it feel like I was running 6:10s - I swear that first section is short. I felt great and kept cruising. Along the way, I picked up a train of about 5 guys and we cruised in to ALT 1, 14.45 miles, at 1:40. I still felt great, dropped a kona kola nuun in my bottle, and stalked, I mean followed, Ian for the next few miles.
Around 17 miles, my prerace foreshadowing became reality. Poison oak, here I come! Oh well. I made it to Ball Bearing Hill around mile 20, started walking and immediately puked out everything. Hm, didn't feel that one coming. I made it up to ALT 2, dropped another nuun tablet in the bottle, and noticed the first place woman arrive just as I was leaving. A minute later, I heard "Are you Sean?" behind me. "Yes...who are you?" "I'm Susannah and I read your blog." Wow, I was momentarily at a loss for words. I knew immediately that Susannah was the speedy Susannah Beck from Eugene. She's one of those fast marathoners transitioning into the trail ultra scene. I saw her drop her hydration pack at the a.s., so I knew she was going fast now. I stepped aside to let her continue on with her business. She tried to get me to go with her, but I was in no condition for that...the bushes were calling my name. Susannah went on to break Ann's c.r. in 3:55:22. Congratulations, Susannah!
I continued on this way to the finish, alternating visits to the poison oak infested bushes with bouts of puking. I slogged along at 10 minute miles and eventually found the finish line, but not before LB blew by me in the last 100 yards. I finished in 4:11:16 for 43rd place. I definitely wasn't pleased with the outcome, but self-pity quickly left my thoughts when I started hearing how the rest of Team Oregon did. They kicked butt! Todd Braje (Eugene) won, Erik Skaggs (Ashland) 2nd, Dan Olmstead (Eugene) 3rd, defending champ Lewis Taylor (Eugene) 6th, Matt Lonergan (Eugene) 11th, Scott Wolfe (Eugene) 14th, Ian Torrence (Ashland) 18th, Hal Koerner (Ashland) 20th, Susannah Beck (Eugene) 24th / 1st woman. I was very proud to be an Oregonian.
The afternoon was spent hanging out in the warm sunshine, catching up with friends, and just chilling out in Cool. Later, Paul Curran took all of the Montrailians out for some grub, and it was nice catching up with the team.
As is tradition at Cool, Team Oregon invaded the Georgetown Hotel on Saturday night for some eating, drinking, b.s.ing, and most importantly, karaoke! Not everybody sang, but we all had a blast. Some of the more notable performances came from Jurek, AJW, LB, Bronco, Carly and Skaggs, and TG. When running WTC, this is definitely something to not be missed.
Now since I've been back home this week, it's been full-speed ahead for the Fleet Feet! Rod and I have been spending way too much time together doing stuff, lots and lots and lots of stuff, for our anticipated April 3 opening date. The bamboo floors are about done, the sign is out front, the building is turning red, orders are arriving, those same orders are getting received and priced...it's getting exciting, folks! And apparently this wasn't enough excitement for Rod and his wife Katie, as baby #3 is set to be born within 3 days!