Author Archives: cadepearson
Last month we went to the Western States 100 to crew and pace for Molly’s sister (Kerrie Bruxvoort – Team Salomon). The entire experience is amazing. This race has so much history yet most of the figures that made this rich history are still involved and visible. I have never been to a race where there is such a high level of respect for the entire event. The aid stations each have a rich history of their own, the crews have came to participate from around the world, and each of the runners is realizing a far fetched dream by participating.
Starting off the trip we were exhausted. Part of endurance racing is the packing, traveling, and gear involved to get to the starting line. Molly and I had volunteered at the open water swim on Thursday night and got a late start on packing our gear. Finally getting to bed at sometime between midnight and one AM we were up again at 4:00 to head to the airport. I must stop to say that the drive into Squaw Valley is beautiful and I would love to spend a few days exploring the area. Once we arrived at the race start we proceeded directly to the raffle tent to purchase tickets for an entry into the race next year. No luck in the raffle but I already have a qualifying run for the lottery this year and there will be more raffles. Temperatures were high and there was limited shade at the race briefing making for an uncomfortable group. Western States singles out the top qualifiers for the race and brings each up infront of the crowd and talks a little about each one. Very interesting to see these guys in civillian clothes. Gordy Ainsleigh the man that first attempted and completed the race gave a few words of inspiration. After the usual do this not that of race briefings we were off to connect with Kerrie and eat some pizza to fuel up for the race. Once we returned to the condo at about 5:00 we both fell asleep and slept until 4:30 the next morning.
The race start of the WS100 is a very interesting place there is so much pent up energy that it feels like the world might explode, but explode very slowly. Participants and their crews know they are going to be working for the next 15 to 30 hours to get to the finish line 100.2 miles away. Amazingly the shotgun blasts and these runners start sauntering up the mountain side and the crews head off to do various tasks. Some hurry to the next crew point to aid their runner, some go get their gear ready for the day, and some (us) go back to sleep knowing it is going to be a long night!!!
Molly and I slept as long as we dared then gathered and organized our gear and headed to get food and water supplies for the day. We had an awesome smorgasbord of fruits, hummus, veggies, and lunch meat to get us through the day. Once loaded up we headed off to the Michigan Bluff aid station to wait for our runner and hopefully get to see some of the early leaders come through. While waiting we met a guy who happend to be from Lincoln (small world) and chatted for a bit trying to find some shade. Side note – the hamburgers as Michigan Bluff are cooked on a home made steel griddle and are out of this world. After a bit of waiting Kerrie came through and we found out that she had bruised her ankle on a rock and her shoe had been hitting on it for quite some time. Medical staff at the aid station cut a section out of the shoe and sent her on her way. Physically she seemed to be in great shape and the pain may have helped her limit the effort she put out early in the race. With her on her way we raced off to Foresthill.
Parking at forest hill is a bit tricky, there is not much of a shoulder and not a lot of parking lots. We quickly found a spot and set up camp so I could start getting my gear and nutrition ready to start my pacing duties. Knowing that I could be running for the next 10 to 15 hours I was diligently taking my time to thoughtfully pick each piece of gear and nutrition that I may need and where it would be stored. While placing my nutrition in my shorts pocket and taking a test jog without shoes on, I happen to look up and see Kerrie about 100 yards away and moving fast. Uh Oh time to grab and go. Luckily the test jog was a success and all my gear was ready. Molly tended to Kerrie as I gathered my handhelds and laced up my shoes. Heading out of the Foresthill aid station we met up with one of Kerrie’s teammates and headed out of town.
The section of the race from Foresthill to Rucky Chucky is pretty much 16 miles of gradual downhill. It was all very runnable and had great views. Pacing for me is all about being steady, watching for trail markings, monitoring your runner, and being a source of positive motivation. So for the next 38 miles that exactly what I did. Western States trail is really easy to navigate, I only saw one turn where the marking was not great, but if you paid attention you still knew exactly where to go.
Not much to say about the experience on the trail. It is a great trail that is very runnable and seemed to be very pretty. I only had about an hour of sunlight to enjoy the views and they were majestic. From there is was one foot in front of the other on the path in front of me. A couple of points I do remember. Walking the couple of miles up the hill out of Rucky Chucky is a great place to recharge a little and get some good calories and hydration in. The last mile leading up to Highway 49 crossing is a relentless climb that does not seem to have an end. Best aid stations i have ever seen. I know I have said it about other runs and will say it again after Run Rabbit Run but you can always tell when the aid stations are being put together by runners.
Probably leaving out tons of info that I had intended to cover but time to get this post out there.
I took some time to think about how my day went at the Topeka Tinman last Saturday.
Short story, it was a hot day and I suffered right from the start. My paces were much slower than I would have liked but it ended up being a good training day.
Now for the long story. The drive to Topeka is nice and I made it in plenty of time for packet pick up. When I arrived the temperature was about 95 degrees and humidity was high. The original plan was to camp at the race site but with the heat I decided to break down and get a hotel room. Pizza for dinner and I was off to the hotel. I laid out my race needs for the day, filled my water bottles, and changed the tires on my bike. Got in bed around 10:00 PM and while I did not sleep great, it was sufficient.
Up and off to the race site at 5:30. One of the first to arrive I found my spot in transition and got most of my stuff ready, checked out my bike, and settled in for the 7:50 start. Watching the waves that went before me, I had figured out that there was a good place to line up on the right side where I could take a nice wide path to the first buoy. At the horn I jumped in and pushed to the first turn with the leaders of my wave. Once I made the turn my race started to unravel. For reasons I still don’t quite understand my form fell apart and I really started wasting energy. Compounding the wasted energy I also had decided to take advantage of the buoyancy and wear my wetsuit even though the water temp was 76. About halfway through the swim I realized what was going on but did not understand just how bad I had fallen apart and that I had started to overheat. I focused on ten strokes between sightings, a nice easy long stroke, and trying to get my kick going. Attempting to limit the affect the swim would have on the rest of my day, I set out distance goals with breaststroke breaks but I never fully relaxed and swam like I am capable of. 2:00 per 100m pace is way slower than the effort I put into that swim.
Trying to run up the beach was the absolute worst I have ever felt coming out of the water. I literally walked about half of the way up the hill because my legs were so tired. Even at IronmanAZ ,sick with the stomach flu, I came out of the water smiling and gave a thumbs up to my friends. Saturday there would have been no thumbs ups! Quick transition and off on the bike. I was really looking forward to the bike ride, first race on my new Quintana Roo CD0.1. This bike is a small rocketship that has produced some moments of sheer speed on the few training rides we have done this spring. Highlight of the day was getting my shoes on while riding without incident. Try as I might there was no power coming from my legs. Every trick was implemented, higher cadence, sitting up, stopping to check my back wheel. Nothing worked because I was plain old tuckered out. Again the theme was set small goals, pick up some speed when my body would allow and granny gear up the hills. Complicating matters, my nutrition had fallen off my bike and I only took in about 100 calories during the ride.
Overheating is one of the most horrible feelings ever! Somewhere in the middle of the bike I noticed the tell tale slight headache that means I am overheating. A little squirt of water on my head and I felt a lot better. Most of the ride I kept thinking about getting to the run. If I could just get there I could run easy and still feel good about my finish. Coming into transition, I slipped off my cycling shoes, dismounted, and had a really quick turn. Another highlight of the day. Running out of transition I heard one of the volunteers tell me how good I was doing and I had the quick thought of “if you only knew”.
I decided to head out on the run at 7:00 minute pace to gauge how I was feeling and thought I could cruise there or drop it down a little if I started feeling better. About 1 mile in and I really started feeling cooked. Knowing that pacing duties at Western States were only two weeks away I decided that every time I got goose bumps I would walk until they went away then pick it back up again. So that meant about .9 of a mile at 7:30 pace with a .1 mile walk and repeat.
All in all it was a tough day for everyone. I could have done better, but I also could have called it a day. I’m happy with a 6th place age group finish and am looking forward to the next race.
Things are still running through my mind about that swim. I really think I was carrying a lot of tension from my lower back to my feet. During the bike my lower back was aching (not normal) and I think I was clenching it during the swim while flexing my legs trying to kick. Oh well I am going to take a little two week break from swimming and see if I can reset a little.
Shout out to Topeka Tinman for putting on a quality event. Highlights include a sweet bike course, tough run, and great volunteers- especially at the water stations on the run. The only negative was that they did not check bikes out of transition.
Just is a word I hear way too often in relation to accomplishments. Typically it is used in conversation regarding an upcoming race or the training planned for the day. I am just doing an Olympic Triathlon, I am just running a 5k, I am just sitting on the couch. All of the work we do and races we compete in are great accomplishments and should not be minimized but should be celebrated. Even the sitting on the couch is an important part of the endurance athlete life. So next time you are telling an Ironman about the sprint tri you recently signed up for be PROUD! Having the courage and determination to toe any line is a win in my book.
In honor of our 9th anniversary (6/12/13) I thought I would share with you three couple memories from our endurance life. I am sure there are tons more that are equally important.
Picking up the kittens we have found out riding the country roads. Two of them that each found loving homes. One of them rode about 5 miles on the bike with Molly while i sprinted home to get a car. The other we went back to find. Molly followed in the car as I rode along looking for it. Quickly I realized that it would not know I was there if I was not making noise. So I talked to myself for the 400 yards it took to find her. She had been thrown from a car, had road rash, and a broken hip.
Running down the mountain (approx mile 47) of the 2011 Run Rabbit Run 50 miler and having a yeti (Molly) come bush whacking across a mountain meadow to join me for the last 3 miles of the run. Still cannot believe the amount of luck involved in her timing and sense of direction. We always seem to be pulled together.
Cheering Molly on as she pushed through the pain of an Ironman. Even though it was not my day, getting to be there and experience it with her more than made up for the fact that I had to pull myself from the race.
Wonder what Molly will think of?
Love you dear!
Saturday, I will return to Topeka to race in the Tinman. This was the first USAT race that I ever participated in and at 33 years one of the oldest triathlons in the country. My main memory from the race is sleeping in the car on the way home because I was so tuckered out! Second memory was marveling at the distance that the long course swimmers went! 1000 meters I could never do that. Third memory was how do I get a tshirt on when wet (ditched the shirt). Fourth, holy cow these people are fast on those fancy bikes, again I could never do that.
Goals for this race are pretty simple, hammer the swim, hammer the bike, hammer the run. If I blow up, recover and start hammering again. Things are a lot different than they were back in 2008. Back then I participated in the sprint distance and was happy to simply be there. Started in the back of the swim, hung out, and just got through it. Rode a rented bike with a wal-mart helmet. Actually walked a little of the 5k run. Today I am still simply happy to be there, but I like to go fast and get shiny awards. Goal pace for the swim is 1:45/100, bike 23 MPH, run 6:20 pace. Going to be fun trip and if all goes well I will be in the hunt for an age group podium.