When I went to sign up for the Peterson Ridge Rumble, I had procrastinated a little bit. It turned out the race was already sold out even though it was only February with an April 10th race date. I had not expected that but it seems many Ultras are now selling out quicker and quicker. I decided to email the race director Sean and see if there was a waiting list to get on. He informed me that there was not and the race was oversold anyway. Bummer, time to start looking for another race to run. I was only planning on doing one race this year and was excited to have the possibility to do one close to home. About a week later I received an email from Sean and it turns out a couple people had dropped so he let me sign up. I had already been training for this race and though I took a week easy after finding out that I was not going to get in, it was only one week and I was able to resume my training.
Coming into this race I had done one other Ultramarathon, the Cle Elum Ridge 50k, so I am not exactly an expert at ultra running. My goal was to finish feeling good and work my way up to eventually running a 100 miler in the next couple years. In my last couple races I have bonked so I did not want to go through that again.
I was really psyched that I was able to sleep in my own bed before a race. Most races have been destination races for me. The start of the Peterson Ridge Rumble is about 20 minutes from my house in Bend. Race morning was uneventful, Melissa and I were maybe a bit too relaxed getting ready and before we knew it we were a bit late leaving the house. Fortunately getting to the race and to the start line was really easy and we could not have timed it better. One of the things I always need to work on during a race is my nutrition. This has derailed a couple races for me and I need to get it in check before my next Ironman. I was wearing my new Salomon XT Advanced Skin 5 S-Lab Pack and had it stuffed full. My plan was to take a drink of First Endurance EFS Drink every 10 minutes and take in some gels, bloks, or pretzels every 30 minutes or so. I chose the EFS Drink because it has extra electrolytes and a light taste so I figured I could handle it for the whole day. Also stuffed in the pack was a rice burrito for some “real” food (not as yummy as I had hoped), a lightweight rain jacket (which I did not need), and my iPod if I needed motivation later on in the race.
The Peterson Ridge Rumble has 2 distances, a 40 miler and a 20 miler. The 20 miler starts one hour after the 40 miler and you can run with your dog (pretty cool). At the start there were about 100 runners, others took an earlier start. In my first ultra I started out way to fast, so this time I planned on keeping my pace the same throughout the entire race. Race morning was around 40 degrees and a thin overcast, just about perfect for a race. I believe the high temperature only got up to 55 degrees with a little sun, a great day for a run. After a low key start to the race we were off down the dirt roads into the forest. The course consisted of about 75% trails and 25% dirt roads. Basically there are two road sections, one covering the first bit of the race and a second larger section in the middle. There were two loops up into the forest, neither with too much climbing for an ultramarathon.
As for my race it started good. After about 4 miles my plan was going well and I was in 2nd to last place =). I was running at my 10 minute pace and everyone else had taken off. I figured I would see some of them later on and just planned on running my own race. It was fairly uneventful for the first loop. There were some great single track trails and views of the mountains to take your mind off the running. My pace was good, walking the steeper sections, and I was slowly making my way up through the field. I decided after a while that every 2 hours I would skip a nutrition break. My stomach was not at 100% and I did not want to overdo it. While this seemed to keep my stomach in check, in the future I will not be able to do this during longer races. The first loop is in the Peterson Ridge Trail Network outside of Sisters; it was recently created single-track and was expanded over the last couple years. There was a little bit of mud and snow up high but for the most part the trail was dry and perfect for running. On my way back down from the first loop I was feeling good and starting to see some of the runners of the 20 mile race. Their loop was only a portion of the 40 milers first loop. At mile 20 when I checked my watch to see I was halfway I managed to catch my foot on a rock and take a little tumble into the bank. Nothing serious but made me laugh a bit. (note to self: watch the trail)
Between the two loops is a section of dirt roads. Loop 2 starts 25 miles into the race and is 5 miles of dirt roads before finishing on 10 miles of trails. Here is where I was definitely being tested mentally. Not sure if it was just the boringness of the road, compared to all the single-track or just getting tired, but after a couple of miles on the road it was time for the iPod. It is amazing what music can do, it helped me slowly plod along up the hill and before long I was at the top ready for the last section downhill, 10 miles left to the finish line.
At the 6th aid station I stopped to tie my shoe and realized I had tore the whole front of my shoe in half. My Pearl Izumi Streak XC’s were on their last legs going into the race and had given up the ghost; I think it was because of my blazing speed! This gave me a laugh and by no way effected my race, just got my socks really dirty. Reaching the single-track portion of the 2nd loop really lifted my spirits.
While this section of the trail was more technical and remote than the first loop, some of the sections were really cool. At aid station 6 I had grabbed a swig of Mtn. Dew, it sounded great at the time but once again did not like me later on. I need to quit doing that. So for the last bit of running I had to battle a bit of side cramps but felt relatively good considering and even picked up the pace pretty good over the last 3 miles. I barely stopped at the last aid station as I was feeling good. Before the race my goal had been to finish around 8 hours. Pretty slow, but I figured it was better to be conservative. Melissa planned on getting to the finish about 7 hours after the start to watch me. Well I came in at 6:56:34, 71st place and averaged a 10:25 mile. Not too bad for a couple of nature breaks, aid stations, and walking the steep hills. Melissa did not make it in time. =)
Afterwards I was a little worn out and needed some fluids but felt much better than after some of my other races. As I was relaxing on the track near the finish, Melissa arrived and was surprised to see me finished already. She was bummed not to have been able to see me finish but at least the race went well. Going forward I still need to work on that nutrition thing and hopefully can do a longer race next year. Hope you can get out and enjoy, your mileage may vary.
- Pearl Izumi Peak XC Shoes – Comfortable shoes even though the top tore up. If I had not had to tie my shoes I would not have noticed. No blisters over 40 miles is a good testimony for these.
- Salomon XT Advanced Skin S-Lab Pack – Still trying to figure out the nuances of the pack. Was comfortable the whole time but I need to practice filling the hydration reservoir on the go.
- The North Face Impulse 1/4 Zip – Good all-around running top. It kept me warm at the beginning and did not overheat when it warmed up.