Sunday, September 21, 2008

time for a new post

well folks it's been a long time since i last wrote and not because i haven't had anything to say, it's just hard to find the time and i've had very little internet access especially for the last month or two when my laptop was outta commision.

but the events of the last two weeks has made me make time. i've ran my two best 50k performances ever and possibly two of my best races of any distance ever. first was last week at the 13th running of cle elum where i ran in the lead nearly the whole way and after getting passed with 7 miles to go i held on to finsih second and in the 4th fastest time ever. and then yesterday on tired legs i won the 7th annual baker lake 50k breaking the record by ten minutes!

i took opposite approaches at the two races. at cle elum i went out aggressive hoping to be stubborn enough to not give up the lead in the 2nd half wich was mostly down hill after the first 18 miles were mostly uphill. after the long uphill though my legs were too tired to make the most of the downhills and gary robbins of n.vancouver, bc flew by me like i was standing still. in hindsight maybe i should have saved a little for the downs but oh well... i'm pretty darn happy with a time of 4:37 on a course that few folks have gone sub 4:50.

at baker i wasn't even sure if i would race or just run for fun. so i decided to let other folks set the pace and if i felt good at the half way point i'd start to pick it up and try to pull away. about 12 miles into the run i moved in front of the 3 man lead pack as the former leader slowed to a walk on the biggest climb on the trail section of the race. i kept running and so did the other guy, shwan bussert, but about a mile or so after the first turn around i noticed he was falling back just a tad. also at about this time i was able to see how far back the chasers were and there about 3 guys withing striking distance, including chris twardzik (4th at cle elum) and terry sentinella(3rd twice at past baker lakes). so i took the oppourtunity to put some distance on everyone and opened it up for the 7 mile section back to the trailhead where we would turn back around and run 5 miles back on the trail to the 2nd turnaround. i wanted to have significant lead when i saw my chasers again-- i wanted them to feel like i was too far ahead to catch. but i only had left the turn around by a minute or so when i saw shawn and chris and the others were close behind him but i must have felt that that was a good enough lead because on the 3rd trail leg i let up a bit. and when i saw them again at the final turn around it seemed like they were less than a minute behind me. but that was enough kick in the butt for me and i went all out for the final 6.7 miles to the finish-- winning by almost 18 minutes.

i'm pretty excited about my times they're way faster than i expected and compared to times at other 50ks i've done i've made some major improvements. i felt like baker lake was probably a little easier and cle elum a little harder than washington's biggest 50k: chuckanut. if i was able to run the way i ran at these two races at chuckanut instead i'd probably run somewhere around 4:10 to 4:17 which most years would have put me in the top 5 of the washington's most competitive 50k a pretty stinking good place to be!

up next: race wise--probably hal koerner's new 26.3 mile trail race in ashland on alison's favorite trail there in early nov. and i want to get out and keep running new places in the paysayten wilderness and north cascades national park before there's too much snow.

7 comments:

SherpaHerb said...

Way to go James, I'm glad you found your jets, you're just kickin ass!

Laura H said...

Really cool James! It was fun to see you having so much fun out there!

John Pearch said...

Awesome race James! Great to see you back in your game.

Journey to a Centum said...

James - How do you make your eyes glow when you put the hammer down?

You looked strong as you passed us on your last 6.7 mile section. Glad our hoots and hollars helped give you a boost.

Sorry we missed you at the finish but we were making the most of our time on the trail! Michelle had some ups and downs but the last few miles went well for her. I think the pressure of making the cutoff at mile 20 caused some anxiety but once we passed that mark she settled down and actually ran well the last 6.7.

I'm trying to set up a Norse Peak Wilderness run next weekend. The loop is about 17 miles long. If we don't get up there soon the snow will fly and only the elk will be in the area.

Cheers!

adam said...

Right on James! Glad to hear that you are running well and having fun at the same time.

Don't forget though, that Brandon's record at Baker Lake was on a different course (2004)! I hear that the course this year was harder but I have no idea since I only ran the old course.

Steve S said...

How thrilling. I'm jazzed you've found your stride and are running so strong. That good country life and Allison's support are doing you well. You are one of the NW's finest, both running and in spirit. Run with joy and health.

saschasdad said...

Dude, you da' frickin' man! Those are two very impressive performances, James! Way to rock. I expect to see you kicking some ass in Ashland in a couple weeks. The brothers Skaggs got nothing on you!