Friday, May 17, 2013

Issy Alps "100k" Snow-a-thon

Ok, so it was just a 50k.  I think I was actually the first to say, that's it I've had enough. You see I was a bit apprehensive to do a 18+ hour 100k in the first place (a little looong for me, believe it or not I have a short attention span and so I like to go a bit faster). When it turned into a 24+ hour 100k I began dreaming of IPA's and the cold coke in my car... 24hrs plus?!?! you say.  Let me paint a verbal picture. Our first 5 miles was up Mailbox Peak. Who knew a trail could go up 4,500 feet in just 2.5 miles?  Add in some snow. Ok, a lot of snow and you see how slow the route can be.  I loved it.  Even the sharp as glass top layer on the snow was okay. I left a trail of blood down the mountain by my bare ankles.  I didn't mind, the sun was out and the group's energy was high.  I settled into the first group and we picked up the pace on the downhill and ran most of the hills to the first mobile aid station (thanks lovely volunteers!)
I was not exactly prepared for spending most the day in running shoes in the snow. But it was an incredible day: perfectly clear in all directions, pretty rare for Seattle.
I was just coming off a 4 week long health crisis of sorts and part of my enthusiasm was being able to actually run!  There's no better way to appreciate the present moment.  Truly there was nothing I'd rather be doing. That just happens to be how I live my life. I cannot see any good reason to spend my time doing something I don't enjoy.  Which is why I'm cutting my ankles making tracks through crisp snow on a Wednesday morning.

As it turned out, the epic snow trek was to continue throughout the day.  Our second big climb was also covered in snow.  Even more postholing, seemingly endlessly steps--- at times as slow as 1 mile an hour, a line of adventurous ultra "runners" excited to reach the summit.  Not to worry, one gal said, it's 7 miles downhill from here on a logging road. It will be fast.  By now, we were averaging less than 3 MILES AN HOUR!  We'd gained some ungodly amount of vert and the road that was supposed to be fast was a blanket of snow that we sunk up to our thighs.  By the time we hit bare ground at the base of Big Si, my feet had been numb for many hours and I worried that maybe I had frostbite. Slowly they unthawed on that painful descent.

Climbing up Si I told the group, trying to convince myself more than anyone, that I would be stopping at the 50k mark.  By 50k, the rest of the 100ks had decided to call it a day. 12.5 hours, 31 miles, and 13,500 ft/vert. looking back, it was a damn good day.
mailbox peak climb, see it was pretty steep!

What incredible beauty. View from mailbox Peak.

Clearly, it's Mailbox Peak.

This was an interesting happening-- one runner sunk in to their hip, when he was pulled out, we discovered a large cavern just under the snow.  Close call!

There's the hole

Pigtails leads runners up the peak.
Chris Fagan and I follow the "trail". Photo by Tim Mathis

One of several aid stations that local runners were kind enough to set up for us. Thanks!!!!!!!!!!

Cute Jamie, steal the show :) If you can't tell, she is actually leaping in front of the camera.

Heading up the second climb, Tim enjoys the view. or he's cursing Rattlesnake ridge in the distance...
Rattlesnake Ridge

Looking down at Chris and the other runners coming up the trail.

Hmmm.... where's all that water coming from.

Mt. Rainier was in full glory

Alison Moore postholing up the second climb

Jamie waits for us at the top

Almost there...

What an amazing aid station, thanks Chris and Maylon!

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