Posted by: pointlenana | July 26, 2015

White River 7/25/15 – Not A Personal Worst

3 miles into my 2015 White River 50 mile race, I felt a sharp pain on the inside of my right thigh.  “You’re kidding”, I thought, “how does a wasp sting me in a spot where thighs are rubbing back and forth?”  I was pretty lucky though – some people got stung multiple times and/or on the head.  The sting hurt on-and-off through the day (and got itchy while I was trying to sleep last night) but didn’t swell or affect me otherwise. It was typical of my day though.

It’s clear now that 4 weeks wasn’t enough recovery after Western States to try to run fast for 50 miles.  I felt in control and working appropriately hard for most of the race, but with every leg of the run I lost 5-10 minutes relative to my time last year.  I knew it was going to be a long day when my hips and glutes were already stiff and sore at mile 7 or 8.  My mid-point time this year was 5 minutes worse than I’ve ever run in the past 3 years which is amazing given that my previous slowest time was in the first year when I was running my first ultra, first trail race, and pretty close to my first trail run all at once.  So I was slower than that.  I thought I’d make up time in the second half – I can run downhill better now – but the pattern continued and I arrived at the mile 44 aid station on the verge of running a new personal worst for the course.  By hustling through Skookum Flats (the last 6 miles, rolling, slightly uphill, lots of rocks and roots – someone I know refers to Skookum Flats as “Satan”) I managed to avoid a personal worst by a few minutes.

The weather didn’t help either.  The White River 50 course is just outside of Mt. Rainier National Park, and at times we run within about 10 miles of the summit of Mt. Rainier.  On a clear day there are amazing views.  The forecast through the week had hovered around “partly sunny/mostly cloudy” with some scattered showers.  It started drizzling about 45 minutes before the race, and stayed wet for much of the day.  If it wasn’t actually raining, we were still getting dripped on from the trees most of the time.  It also stayed cloudy, so instead of getting expansive views, it felt like I was running inside of a small gray world for most of the day.  It wasn’t really cold, so I wore a singlet, but the two climbs top out around 6000 feet and with the rain, altitude and a little breeze, I occasionally felt a little cold.


The view from Sun Top Mountain, at mile 37, from a training run a few weeks ago. Imagine the scenery replaced by a flat gray, drizzly backdrop, and that’s what yesterday was like.

Not a great race, but as always there were highlights (besides finishing – slow or fast, I’m always thankful that I can travel 50 miles by foot):

– as I was nearing the finish, comfortably ahead of personal worst time, someone said “way to go guys!”  Huh – guys???  I looked over my shoulder and there was a guy quietly trying to sprint past me as we turned down the 50 yard finish chute.  I took off and after a couple seconds I could hear that he had abandoned his effort.  After I finished I looked at him – to congratulate him on finishing or just laugh about the silly ending – but he wouldn’t look at me.

– Janet was running too – her 2nd (and last!) 50 mile race – and we had decided to run separately.  Through the first climb I was wondering how she was doing, and hoping that we’d pass each other on a short out-and-back section near the top of the climb.  The best moment of the day was seeing Janet up there, running with a few friends, smiling and clearly happy.  For the rest of the day, whenever I started hating life, it helped me to remember that smile.  It wasn’t the easiest day for her – it’s a really long way to run, and there are two big climbs – but she finished long before the cutoff (she had worried about this), and not too long after some pretty strong runners in her age group.  She had no cramping problems and stayed upright all day, vs. Sun Mountain a few months ago.  Huge kudos and thanks go to our friend Tamara, who finished ahead of me at Western States and who ran with Janet yesterday from start to finish.  Janet told me she couldn’t even consider dropping at the halfway point (fairly common, since you pass by your car there) because she knew Tamara wouldn’t allow it.

– As usual the volunteers were great, on a wet and cool day.   Janet said that the volunteers at Ranger Creek were shivering.  Thank you for being out there for us.

Times:  Me – 10:42+ 8th out of 32 starters and 27 finishers, Janet 12:31+ 6th out of 18 starters and 13 finishers.


  1. 50 miles and 9000 ft. “meh” he says. hey at least it wasn’t 90 degrees! yellow jackets though? not good. i got stung on the arm last year and turned into a fiddler crab!

  2. […] ran White River for the 5th time yesterday, and this is the 3rd or 4th time I’ve written about it.  So I’ll cut to the […]

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