I really wanted to break Connor Meakin's course record from last year and I definitely thought I had the fitness to do it. On race day I went out hard figuring #1 that no one could beat me and #2 that if anyone did have the fitness to beat me, they would be intimidated enough by my fast start to think that they couldn't.
The course consists of two 15 mile loops. Some people don't like loop courses, but I do! I think it's great to know exactly what's in store for the second half of the race and what to be prepared for. And even though it's a loop course, the views are stunning and the elevation gain and loss are substantial.
You start the race with a half mile downhill road section followed by almost 2,000 feet of vertical gain in just 4 miles. It's a tough way to start a race and believe me, it feels much harder on the second loop. After the initial climb, the course drops about 1,300 feet in under 4 miles on beautiful single track through picturesque North West forest. Without any warning, as you're hammering downhill being hypnotized by nature, BOOM! You immediately start another climb of over 1,100 vertical feet in just 1.5 miles. Once you are on the ridge though, you are rewarded with some of the most stunning scenery you will ever see in any race: expansive views of the Columbia Gorge and the surrounding mountain ranges. From that ridge you drop about 1,700ft in roughly 6 miles back to the camp/start/finish before you head out on your second trip to do it all over again for a total of 30+ Miles and 7,500ft+ of Elevation Gain and Loss.
|Ascending the second/fourth climb. Photo by Glenn Tachiyama|
I came through the first loop in under 02:10 and was fairly confident the course record would be mine, but I slowed considerably on the climbs during the second loop finishing in 04:32:06.
|Coming through the finish in 04:32:06 for 1st place|
If I had to pin point a weakness in my running right now, I would say it's my ability to maintain speed on long climbs. I live in a town with no hills long enough to mention, let alone train on, and I think that has been slightly to my disadvantage. But I've done the best I can with what I have and I do have to say that all of my tempo and speed work from Spring marathon training definitely paid off in all aspects of the race.
|Happy with my race|
I love Rainshadow Running! They put on the best events with the best scenery and the best after parties. Beacon Rock 50K is no exception. If you've run one of their events, then you don't need me to explain how amazing they are and if you haven't? Well do yourself a favor a sign up for one! It might just change your life.
You know what I did after the race? Mingled with a bunch of like minded runners, ate fresh wood fired pizza, listened to the Pine Hearts and napped in the shade with the love of my life. Seriously, why run anywhere else?
Thank you James, Matt and Kerri and all of the volunteers for all of the work you do to make these events possible. I know how hard you work and I can't thank you all enough.
Thank you Alicia for waking up at 2AM and coming out to crazy races in the middle of nowhere with me :)