Saturday, March 15, 2008

Covered Bridge FA 50K

The Rose Garden at 7:00

This morning my brother Brian and I left at around 6:30 to meet Dan Kuzma at Mill Creek at 7:00. We decided to get a head start since the official time of the Covered Bridge FA 50K was at 8:00. It's always nice to get done early. When we got to the Rose Garden, the gate was locked since they didn't open until 8. We were going to park outside on the street, but decided not too since there were "no parking" signs all along the road. We drove down to park below the Rose Garden, not too far from the log cabin.

Me, Dan & Brian (left to right)

It was a beautiful morning. Good temperature and it wasn't too dark when we started. We started out going counterclockwise around the lakes in hopes of running into Jim Harris and Kurt "Opod" since they started even earlier. In the middle of the loop, however, we realized that we probably went the wrong way since their cars were parked right by the trail outside the Rose Garden, the same direction we were headed. We knew we would run into them at some point along the trail though.

The first loop went by pretty easily. The dark at the very beginning made it a little tricky in some spots. The trails had a mix of everything from slush to ice. The monkey hills by the steel bridge were especially hard since you couldn't get any footing. Going down the hills was more like skiing than running. It was actually pretty fun as long as you didn't crash into a tree!

Waterfall by Pioneer Pavilion

Waterfall by the mill (tons of water!!)

I can't remember when we ran into other people, but somewhere during the first and second loop we saw Jim, "Opod", Kim and Frank. The second loop went pretty well also, and I didn't start feeling sore until the end of the loop. Brian, Dan and I joked around alot which made it go by faster. One of the things that past the time was joking about a made up character who was a hillbilly. We said he threw TVs and fridges over the Stone Bridge with his family (since there used to be a TV on the trail beneath the bridge). His son was named Johnny and was an albino. Johnny also had a brother named Bobby who constantly pedalled a bike in the basement to provide power to their house. It's funny the random stuff you talk about on the trails.

At the end of the second loop, we ran a mile in silence for Mike's mom. It was really peaceful and I noticed alot of sounds of nature I hadn't noticed earlier. A bird was flying overhead occasionally making noises.

On the third loop, I went ahead of Brian and Dan about a fourth of the way into the loop around the steel bridge. My legs were tired and sore, but I still felt I had some energy. Right when I went ahead of them, I slipped and rolled into the drifted snow. I realized I had to slow down a bit. Those sections where there was drifted snow on the trail was really tough. The trail was really skinny and dropped off into the water. The drifted snow was pretty solid (especially before temps got warmer) so you couldn't even run on it and make a trail if you wanted to.

I got done with the loop and had told Brian and Dan earlier that I would wait for them at the cars. I ate a trail mix Powerbar in a matter of seconds and then refilled my water bottle in the Rose Garden. After that, I sat down in the car with the heat and radio on. That was a mistake! Brian and Dan got back about 20 minutes after I finished the loop. I got out of the car and my legs were really stiff! I could barely walk much less run. I thought about calling it quits, but figured I would see if I loosened up on the 4th loop.

We walked alot on the 4th loop but I noticed my legs loosened up a little. They were still aching alot though. We ran into Kim towards the end of our loop near Pioneer Pavilion. She was on her last loop also. She showed us this energy gel called Lava Bar. It's a melted chocolate bar in a pack. It looked really good and I contemplated snagging it but figured I wouldn't make it too far the way my legs felt.

We finally got back to our cars and I was so glad to be done and that I stuck with it. We finished in 8:55 which was pretty slow, but the conditions weren't good at all. Doing the monkey hills 4 times was a task. Each time we did it, it got worse and worse and more slippery.

Brian and I were starving, so we decided to get some hot dogs at A&W in Boardman. They had the $1.50 special on footlogs today. I ended up getting the yard hot dog (3 footlongs) and a rootbeer float. Brian got two footlongs. What a good recovery meal! I had a great time today and can't believe I've already done 3 ultras.

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