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Crow Pass Crossing

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Location:

WA,

Member Since:

Feb 10, 2007

Gender:

Male

Goal Type:

Local Elite

Running Accomplishments:

I was an 800/1500 runner in high school and college, with PRs of 1:55 and 4:08. I've run as fast as 16:15 for 5k and 1:20 for a half, but my bests in recent years are 17:07 5k (Dec. '11), 37:40 10k (Jan. '12), 1:23:49 half (Sept. '08), 2:53:12 marathon (September '10), and 4:45:06 50k (March '10).

Short-Term Running Goals:

Late 2015/2016 races: 

— Seattle Soltice 10k (Dec. 19)

— Nookachamps half marathon (Jan. 16)

— Toyko Marathon (Feb. 28) 

Personal:

I'm an editor at a newspaper in Bremerton, Washington and head coach of the Bremerton Jaguars youth track and field team.

Miles:This week: 0.00 Month: 0.00 Year: 0.00
Total Distance
110.75
Total Distance
5.00

Easy five on a Sunday afternoon w/Timm, Warren-Manette bridge loop. 40:00

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Total Distance
17.00

Started the holiday off by driving north to Skagit Valley, and then heading up Chuckanut Drive to Clayton Beach. Timm and I wanted a longer trail run, and hit the Chuckanut 50k middle loop. Warmer than I've ever run this one before, which was nice. We made good progress and ran a pretty good pace, all things considered. I waited for Timm at the end of each stage, but he would have been on a sub-6 hour 50k pace, which is a good sign for Crow Pass Crossing. I felt good overall, though my hip flexor bothered me on the Lost Lake climb. Other than that the hills were a breeze. We skipped the chinscraper because we needed to get to a bbq, and when we got there I soaked my legs in Puget Sound for awhile. 3:10:00 

brooks cascadia green 

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Total Distance
2.00

Shake out run downtown, I needed to pick up my car before it got towed. 

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Total Distance
4.00

Early run on 11th-Shore Drive. 31:00

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Total Distance
5.50

Timm and I met Mike and Donnie at Evergreen-Rotary Park. We wanted to run 10, but those guys had family plans later in the morning so we negotiated the run down to 5 miles so we had time for a cup of coffee. Priorities, right? Warren Ave bridge to Lions Park, then back Old Wheaton to the Manette Bridge and a lap of downtown. Easy pace, wonderful sunny morning. 42:26

supernova glide 4 

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Total Distance
5.00

After a long day down at camp, Timm and I snuck in a pre-dinner run on a beautiful summer evening. Out and back on the Burke Gilman trail, 7:35-7:45 pace. 40:00 

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Total Distance
6.00

Manette Hills loop, with my new addition of the short uphill trail by Harrison. I went a little too far and ran into a homeless encampment where the trail peters out, I won't forget where to make that last right hand turn now. I also won't be sending any children on that particular part of the run. Easy pace on a warm day. 43:45

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Total Distance
7.00

Track workout night. After a real easy Jaguars practice (taking the kids to Hayward Field Saturday for the last meet of the season), I stuck around on a warm evening (80 degrees) for a Yasso 800s workout. I'd like to get 3 of these in before the marathon, and I have about six weeks more to do it. 1 mile warm-up, 9x800 w/200m rest between (which may be too little), then 800m cool down. The repeats started too fast, and I was without water. Still... 2:40, 2:46, 2:52, 2:49, 2:51, 2:50, 2:54, 2:51, 2:55. It's actually a pretty good set, if a little inconsistent. I'll shoot for 12 next time. 

supernova glide 4 

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Total Distance
5.25

In Eugene, Ore. for the Track City Classic, and since I'm a year away from the master's category, I settled for coaching, watching, and doing a 5-mile run around the UO campus with Henry. We went in the warmth of the evening, there were tons of people around. From his apartment past Auzten Stadium, then to the north bank river trail and across the Wilamette, then through campus and back on the trail from another direction. It's a beautiful place and a really nice city to run in. I was impressed, and next year when we bring the Jaguars down their old coach may just hop in the 800 and 1500 and see what happens. 42:02 

brooks cascadia green 

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Total Distance
4.00

Got a little lazy to start the week. But taking it easy heading into Saturday's race is probably alright. Easy morning run on 11th/Shore after a night with little sleep. 30:00

supernova glide 4 

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Total Distance
5.00

Warren-Manette bridge loop, medium pace. 38:00

brooks cascadia green 

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Race: Crow Pass Crossing (24 Miles) 04:34:38, Place overall: 77
Total Distance
24.00

The Crow Pass Crossing was easily the most difficult and humbling race of my life. I have my excuses, like having underestimated the course during my own training on trails, rough weather, some poor gear choices and struggling mentally during the second half, but I'm also convinced that this 24ish-mile route was just an incredibly tough course that Alaskans handle better than some (relative) flatlander. I'm glad I did it, and more glad I'm on vacation this week to rest up. 

The race started in a downpour at the Crow Pass trailhead past Girdwood. Timm had picked me up the day before, and we got our friend Heidi and went to the pre-race meeting. More than a dozen people had already dropped, so she got a spot and her husband drove us all down to the start at 5 a.m. Saturday.

The race starts in the parking lot, so you run about 100 yards and then everything bunches up on the trailhead. After walking 20 feet the group spreads out and the first uphill climb begins. The climb (advertised as 3,000 feet over 3 miles) actually wasn't as tough as I thought. Very runnable and a decent gravel trail until the last 3/4 of a mile or so, where everybody hikes up until the Pass flattens out. I made the Pass at about 39 minutes, depending on where people consider themselves "making it."

The course flattens out at that point, but then you're on an snow field. I took a break to rearrange my hip pack, which was a bad choice for transport. It centered poorly on my hip and bounced around too much, and I could have used more water. Should have went with a backpack. After crossing the snowfield there's a creek crossing. The race organizers tell you about the river crossing and one major creek. They don't tell you about the two dozen other small creeks where you get wet. So now it's rainy and really windy on an exposed face, with soaked feet. The first glimpse of a glacier is here, which was pretty spectacular. Maybe I shouldn't say glimpse, since Raven Glacier is huge and right in front of you, and the trail kind of follows it downhill. 

Speaking of downhill, this is where I got drilled. The footing was sketchy on the rocks and scree, and then periodic snow fields were thrown in. So you're running sideways in and out of the snow, and then the snow turned into a steep downhill. I think there were three of them, and by the third I had given up and just slid down on my butt. Hot-footing it quickly kind of works but beat my legs up, and I always ended up slipping and falling anyway. 

Coming off that the trail goes through a really muddy stretch, where the grade levels out to something runnable but the trail doesn't really. I was hoping to get going here, but the course just doesn't allow that (at least for lower-48ers like me). This part was really overgrown (which especially sucks on a rainy day) because hikers have been discouraged from thru-hiking all summer. There was a moose kill and rangers were worried about bears in the area. 

I passed a few people through here, but the going was really tough. There's no straightaway to stretch out your stride, it's really windy and muddy with grass-covered rocks popping up every so often. It's probably an amazing hike. I admit I got a little mentally beat up here, the soaking was getting me down and I slipped a lot on the slick rocks, and I ended up alone for a good stretch. When I stopped for a bathroom break Heidi and a group of three or four passed me. I quickly caught up to them when the trail opened up a bit and hooked in for the river crossing. 

We linked arms and waded across as a group of six, which calmed me down in the thigh-high glacial water. The water was actually really refreshing, even on a cold day. After crossing you end up running in a little creek for 100 yards or so, so we were soaked thoroughly by then. The group followed a guy through the drainage, which was also fortunate because I really would have lost the trail there. Stuck with a little pack along the river for awhile, which was nicer footing and a good view.

When we wound back into a spruce forest I took out with a guy named Bill that I had met the night before. I would have liked to stick with him, but as we neared the 3-hour mark I started to hit the wall. This was a bad sign. I was about out of water and really cramped in the quads. I lost Bill, then ran with a girl for awhile until I kicked a root and tore open the toe of my shoe. The little insults were starting to add up, and my quads were completely shredded. She left me, then Heidi and two others passed as well. I went through a pack of shot blocks to get some fuel in me (I hadn't paid really good attention to fueling because I was so focused on not tripping), but ended up doing a pretty slow pace with multiple walks on the uphill portions. It was so difficult to find footing, and even the little high-steps or jumps over logs were killing me. 

About four miles out there was a campsite and the women there gave me cookies and some water/gatorade, which was good for a little boost. Then at 3 miles another guy helped me with some water. The last three are actually pretty nice miles through a thin forest on a wider dirt-and-rock road, though I was pretty mentally beat by then. As the road started both legs completely cramped up and I had to stop and take a little walk. I was passed by three or four guys through there, though I caught up with one with a mile left. But the last stretch is insult to injury: a steady uphill mile on a gravel trail to the visitors' center. Me and this guy were running side by side, both of us going "ugggghhh" every time the trail turned and we didn't see the finish. I took a slow step just before the last bend as my hamstring cramped one last time, and he beat me by two seconds or something. 

But the death march ended eventually, which is when it really started pouring again (or maybe I just noticed it again then). Some friends were waiting and taking photos, and they hand you a Snickers bar for crossing the line. I was dead, and freezing, and cramping, but also smiling. Timm ended up just five minutes behind me, which is really awesome for him. He's a tough Alaskan, what can I say?

I realize this blog makes it sound like a death march, but the story is worth it and I really did have fun, all things considered. What a gnarly course, what a tough group of people, and what an amazing place. 

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Total Distance
2.00

Up in Noatak after a day off. We had a really nice morning and Timm and I are both still pretty sore, so we did a real easy shake-out to the Pit and back. The Pit is the gravel bar where boats are launched. 

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Total Distance
2.00

Another short jog to the Pit, then bailed some water out of the boat because Timm has a small leak, then back. A little windy out there, hopefully the weather lifts a bit this afternoon. Feeling recovered now, no more soreness. 

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Race: Whale of a Run 4 mile (4 Miles) 00:23:42
Total Distance
5.00

Given that I ended up home and in bed after returning from Alaska at 12:30 a.m., and that I'd only run twice since getting the crap kicked out of me by the Crow Pass Crossing, I showed up at Whaling Days for the company more than the competition. Henry is in town and I had convinced him to run, I hadn't seen Mike in a few weeks and I knew he'd be there, and some of the kids on the Jaguars were planning to race so I wanted to support them. I was in a daze the whole time, woke up maybe an hour before race time, didn't get a chance to use the bathroom, and warmed up maybe a quarter mile. Brilliant strategy, I realize. 

I had convinced myself that I'd just run slow with Henry and chat, but when the gun goes off I couldn't help but be pulled along on Silverdale Way. I just can't let high school girls run ahead of me, at least not yet.

So the start was slow but by a half mile in I was kind of finding a pace. I had let the leaders go to far to really compete, but I figured I'd just pass people and see what happened. First mile in 6 minutes even, and I actually felt loose and energetic after waking up. I passed a few more on the way up Newberry Hill and hit the second mile in 6:10. Then I tracked down two or three guys on mile 3 and settled in maybe 10-15 yards behind a guy in a green shirt, with another pack (the one I should have been with) in view. Mile 3 in 5:50. We turned to head down Anderson Hill there, but between really having to go to the bathroom and starting to feel Crow Pass at that point, I decided to just settle with the guy ahead and finish strong. I held my spot and ran a 5:42 to finish, and looked healthy and strong crossing the line. Not exactly where I'd want to be, I supposed, but not bad all things considered. 

Then Henry, Mike and I watched everyone else finish, jogged a cool down mile toward the mall and -- rather than doing one or two more miles, like I probably should have -- stopped at a coffee shop and sat outside chatting for an hour. What can I say, I was still on vacation.  

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Total Distance
4.00

Warren-Manette bridge loop on a warm Sunday evening, but from my office so it was a mile shorter than from home. Easy, easy pace, my legs were heavy getting going. But I wore my new air-conditioned shoes! 31:45

brooks cascadia 5 -- the ones from Crow Pass that are soon to be retired 

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Total Distance
8.00

Evening run to Tracyton Beach Road turnaround and back through Lions Park. A little stiff getting started, but a comfortable pace after I got moving. 58:05

supernova glide 4 

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Total Distance
110.75
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