Posted by: pointlenana | October 22, 2012

Defiance 50k and Ft. Steilacoom Trail Marathon

Two weekends, two more long trail runs.

Last Saturday I ran the Pt. Defiance 50k trail run, near Olympia.  It was my second ultra.  3 loops through Pt. Defiance Park which lived up to the description at the link.  We have some friends who live up on Lopez Island and we are fortunate enough to be able to run through their absolutely spectacular property along the shoreline when we we are up there.  Pt. Defiance is the only place I’ve found in Washington that rivals that Lopez run.  Big trees, views of the water and the Tacoma Narrows Bridge (which famously blew apart in high winds in 1940), pine needle-covered trails surrounded by salal.  Really nice and fun running.

I think I did well – 5:30:07 – and the thing I was happiest with is that I ran strong for the last 4-5 miles, at least 8:30/mile and maybe faster.  I never really had despair even after I passed 27 miles for the second time in my life.  My body felt fine during the run and decent later that day and the next – I was even able to do a short easy run the next day.  About the only incident is that 2 out of 3 times my feet slid out from under me while descending Nelly’s Gnarly Descent.  Fortunately they string ropes up so while my feet slid my body was relatively supported by the rope and other than picking up some dirt it wasn’t an issue.  When I crossed the finish line, Tony Phillipi (Main Maniac #3) announced my name and declared that I was taking some Deception mud home with me.  A very fun run and another one I’d love to do again.

Today Janet and I did the Ft. Steilacoom trail marathon.  We briefly considered the 50k but Janet wisely said “I have no need or desire to do that”.  So given her ambivalence on which to do we opted for “just” the marathon.  We didn’t know what to think going down – it’s a small park in Steilacoom, a bit south of Tacoma again, and the Evergreen Trail Runs people are super-creative about cramming big runs into a small park.  From looking at the pictures it looked like we might run in grasslands by play fields.  The other big worry as we drove down this morning was the weather – forecast for wind and showers, it rained last night, and it was raining as we drove down.

Reality turned out much better than our concerns.  The park was actually nice to run in and the trail was a highly-varied mix of single track in forests, single track in grasslands, wider paths, level roads near a lake, flat, steep uphill/downhill, gradual hills, running through salal, running through blackberries, running through horsetails, etc..  The trail is made up of a short loop and a long loop – we did a short loop, a long loop, short, short, long and one last short loop.  Again, variety that made it fun.  The weather also cooperated – it stopped raining before we arrived, the ground mostly drained, and there was no rain at all while we were running.  It even got sunny for a while, and although we had a little breeze at the top of the big hill, wind wasn’t an issue.

We were both flagging towards the end, but still managed to do ok – somewhere around 4:42, placing somewhere around 12th (tied since we crossed the start and finish together).  Amazingly, last year the winning time was something like 4:47, but this year we were about 12th.  Shows that it all depends upon who shows up at these small runs.   No new hardware today for Janet, but another good day.

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