Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Mesquite Canyon 50 km.

MESQUITE CANYON 50 KM 
PHOENIX AZ 


This was a run of many FIRSTS: 
1.We actually booked the holiday BEFORE  I found the run (as opposed to booking a holiday around a run)
2. My husband and I ran together as a TEAM (and not competing against each other) 
3. First HOT run for me in the desert - ever. 
4. First time I threw the 'competitiveness' out the window and planned to just FINISH ! = stress free fun!

So, I summarized the run into this short video. Unfortunately, I could not video some of the more  CRAZYFUN TECHNICAL parts cuz, well, I was busy trying to not kill myself. Ha ha ! 

MESQUITE CANYON/WHITE TANK VIDEO : 


Stats for the run: for my future reference: 
Calories- about 1000. Larabar, chips, honeywaffle, carbopro
Salt Tabs- about 7 
Water- 7 liters ! yikes! and only pee'd once ! das hot! 
Time- 7 hours 
Funny: Hubby asked me to "let him win - by a second" ...so, I did. But apparently we got our bibs switched and I ended up beating him by a second! ha ha ! 
Post run- felt great, no headache/nausea, still married . Good recovery. 

Place:  Me:  1/5 age- ha! only 5 crazy ladies like me! , 12/21 Females, 43/79 OA  
           Jim:  13/23 Age, 32/58 M, 44/79 OA 


Monday, August 12, 2013

SQUAMISH 50 KM SUFFERFEST 2013


I EXPECTED Gary Robbins to make it a tough course, and he EXCEEDED expectations!
9000ft (2700 m) Up/ 9500ft (2900m) down , and like, 98% technical trail, and in 30 degree heat.
= CONQUERING a new level of discomfort!!!!


 Race summarized by my thoughts:

Start: " My calf is cramping already? Gotta slow down"
            .... " Is that an old lady and her grandchildren passing me?"
9 Km: " oh GOOD, a hill, I can powerhike and maybe get the feeling back into my foot"
13 km (and 800 m, 2600 ft up): "when will the hill stop !!, I'm STILL going up ! Up, up, up "
14 km: " Yaaay Down !!!"... Yaay, wa hoooo... hooo. hooooo..., "
20 km: "yoo hooo! hoo..oooh, OK, still going down here..still down...more down will it ever end?
             "Achilles is going to snap off anytime now. I'll pull out at 23 km aid station.
             Good idea. I'm a Physio, I know its the smart thing to do. "

25 km: " why am I still running? , IDIOT"
                                            .... Oh yeah,  THIS IS why ( Pic below ) I want to see more!

26 km:  "Its freakin' HOT up this hill !  "I... don't...feel...so..good...better eat "

              " Bar?- ugh!, try a gel?-double ugh!thank god for Carbopro or I'd fall over"
             "what, bra chaffing too? , and why are my socks falling off? anything else?" Bring it !



28 km: "This hill looked much easier in the elevation profile"



             "Thats it, I think I've passed out and I'm in a nightmare of neverending switchbacks"






30 km: "Finally, downhill to the next aid station, I'll pull out the lube for the chaffing.
   ( I  look down)-->toe grab, FLY  foreward over an embankment!!
             but my inner monkey kicked in and  I grabbed a tree mid-air and 180 swing myself back   onto the trail! Impressed with myself, Feelin' pretty cool at that point, but knowing my shoulder is gonna hurt later.

33 km:  " That was the longest 5 miles  I've ever ran in my                life" (between 15-20 mi aid stn, 400 m up)
             " Soo HOT in the back valley here! The sun is relentless, not even a breeze-thats it! I'm
                        never doing a desert race  ... take me back to the trails!"
              - I could wring the sweat out of my shirt at this point, just drenched!
              -My ears clogged up and it felt like I was running in a tunnell, ...and I find out later this is due to decreased blood volume(dehydration) affecting the inner ear fluid.http://www.livestrong.com/article/494974-signs-of-dehydration-in-the-ears-while-running-sweating-during-ironman/  K, duh, drink more! but I was already drinking almost double normal and was afraid of that old hyponatremia fear... Still learning obviously.


 34 km:

 " what? ANOTHER HILL ? Gary Robbins (course designer) is a Very Very BAAAD MAN".   Nice guy, but starting to think he is a SADIST!" Oh, look how sweet  and happy he looks in this pic on race day... but if you look DEEPER, there is a Glimmer of evil in those eyes.

Only those who run his races, truly know that glimmer.
 
40 Km:" Oh, starting to cramp up- grab more trusty salt tablets... what! they fell out! really?
               ( I held myself together by sucking the salt off my pretzels.)

43 km: " Quads cramping BAD... but they look kinda cool
                   .... really muscular...wish I took a pic. " 
                  But it FELT like they looked like this   ----------->>>>

44 km: " I thought we DESCEND into Squamish, why am I STILL going UPHILL? "
             " I got Nothing, I'm walking up the hills"
- Looking at my splits, this last  10km was super slow. I guess the heat/cramping got to me and  'the wheels fell off ' at 40 km. Could only march up the hills, even walked some flats. Ran out of Drive.

46 km: "Finally, Down to the finish"
49 km: (on the road, into town) " Thats it, I've lost interest, its too hot,
               I'm going to DNF now"(joking)
                
       So, I start walking, then Mr. Jason Louttit (amazing runner) see's me walking, gives me crap and says 'its only 400 m away, run it " Fine, I ran it in, only cuz he told me to.



I felt like the 'running gods' threw the book at me this race. So many running issues I never experienced before  ALL happened on this day. Maybe it was the 30 deg heat, the tough course, or maybe just a bad day for me. In the end with my 8 hour finish time was my slowest 50 km time ever,I should be mad,  strangely,  I'm very  pleased with a  new milestone: overcoming pain, nausea, cramping etc. I've done several 50 kms, but this one is the first to really PUSH my limits, really, thinking " I can't go anymore" ... but I did, I FINISHED !!!  and learned so much!


Kudo's to the Race directors of Squamish 50, if it wasn't for their great organization,  aid stations/volunteers, and beauty views to keep me going,  I probably would not have finished the  super challenging, technical course they presented.

GREAT THINGS ABOUT THIS RACE
-You'll conquer a new level of 'discomfort'
- You will be challenged! your limits will be pushed!
-Fabulous trail markings... you will NOT get lost
-Amazing view's
-Great Race directors, they have it ALL covered.
-Excellent aid stations. Even a suprise Freezie station!Loved the freezie guy.
-Beer gardens at the finish.
-Nice Swag bags
-Meal ticket at the finish line .
-Beautiful medals

So, if you're in for a Sadistic, Punishing,Challenging 50 km, where you're safely taken care of, sign up for this next year:  August 9, 10, 11 for 25 km/50km/50 mile... or all 3!
http://www.squamish50.com/index.html

Heather V.
As I get more pics of the race, I'll add them. I tried to add Mr. Robbin's athlete site, but it appears to have been hacked, will try later.




Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Sunny Day at Sun Mountain 50 K


SUNNY DAY AT SUN MOUNTAIN 50 K


 

First off, the scenic drive through the North cascades  and methow valley was absolutely amazing! Beautiful views everywhere I looked, but the best was yet to come....


 RACE DAY !

 

THE FIRST STAGE  ( to 8 mi aid stn) started  at 10 am with beautiful rolling trails alongside   lake then tucked into a cool creekside trail.


 

I had a nice visit with my friend Sara, but as the hill grew steeper, I couldnt keep up with her , so had to temporarily "unfriend" her as I struggled up the long incline.  I also had a brief chat with my training partner Lara as she passed, and  then met several others on route. Up I went, through fields of beautiful yellow flowers, looking back to the valley views below. As usual, my calf siezed up, then my foot went numb. I kept run/hiking, pondering "if it was circulatory would my toes fall off if I kept going?"  Thankfully , I got my feeling back on a nice flat section. Another little hill, then the first aid station! It was well used as the heat of the day came down upon us earlier than expected.


 

THE SECOND STAGE (to 17 mi aid station) started off on a hot, dry  road, ugh... Thankfully it tucked back into a little hilly trail that led me out to a knoll with amazing vistas up TWO valleys! The knoll, the valleys, the flowers- I broke out in song "the hills are alive with the sound of music". With pure glee I barrelled down the fun single track, wahooing away, feeling at one with nature, folicking in the woods. At the bottom of the hill, about 14 miles in, my legs were telling me to stop having so much fun and slow down or they'll blow up. So, I took it easy to the 17 mi aid station, where I spent an extraordinary amount of time reuelling, refilling my pack and dousing myself with water as I was feeling the heat at 1 pm. Spring training in Vancouver did not prepare me at all for the heat the  day.


 

THE THIRD STAGE (to 25 mile aid station) had a very enjoyable single track trail undercover and out of the sun. It seemed to go down forever at a nice decline I could just relax into. Occasionally I would get an open flower filled section that would remind me how hot it really was. Then i'd get a reprieve back into the forest. The happy down didn't  last forever,  I was slapped back into reality powerhiking up a series of switchbacks under the blaring sun.  it was pleasing to know we got to do 2 loops, meaning I'd be back in the happy forest again. After the second loop, instead of going up, I followed the usual exceptional marking along the side of the mountain, the sunny, HOT north east side.  I was running through beautiful hillsides of flowers.

 Not only huge yellow flowers, but purple lupines, and some white cactus type flowers. Of couse cactus type flowers, cuz it was so HOT, and there was no cover.  The heat was getting to me, literally, as my quads started cramping. Yikes, I've never cramped in a 50 km, let alone only 3.5-4 hours in! So I started taking my salt tablets every 1/2 hr instead of hourly, simply because I would cramp up every half hour.  After pushing through one of the many cow gates, and climbing over a fence using  some man made steps, I was getting that real cowboy feeling of Winthrop!


 FRIGGIN' 4TH STAGE ( the last 5 miles) included a lot of F-bombs in my vocabulary. The volunteers at the third aid station were most helpful, sending me off in good spirits for the final leg. After running 25 miles, the RD added to the "Fun" by having us crawl UNDER  a barbwire fence!. I felt sorry for the tall guys trying to get back up again. I headed off into the sagebrush, heading up what I thought was the final hill.  It was so hot on this section of the

trail, even the flowers were wilted and curled up! Rounding the corner, I see runners comming down a steep hill and signs for an out and back. Argh!. Too steep for me to run,  and feeling a bit woozy,I concede to powerhike it. It was one of those relentless, character building hills,  where you think you're summiting it only to see the next wave of people getting smaller and smaller as they go up into the distance (Insert more F-bombs here). 



Finally, THE TOP ! worth every step with its 360 degree views- AMAZING !  I had a brief "I'm the king of the world" moment, then, "oh, gotta go back down now". 

I let gravity pull me down the hill as fast as I could control! Essentially a controlled fall.  Hitting the road at the bottom was like, well, hitting a road... and Wading through thigh high pavement. Meeting some friends and family on the road was a huge boost...amazing how things like that pick you up. On the 1 mile trail to the finish I chose to run in the sun, walk in the shade.   Crossing the finish line in 5:20, I exclaim "wheres the lake!".

As per usual, Rainshadow running put out a beautiful, well marked course with great post race festivities,  laidback supportive atmosphere, and pre dravvn prizes.  I've done 2 of his races and highly recommend his series!


It was so great to reconnect with so many other ultrarunners at this  event !

 

Heather V

Friday, April 12, 2013

Staying Inspired

How to Stay Inspired

My first 'Burnout' 

I started with a 5km, then 10 km, worked up to 50 kms, and a few 50 milers ....usually finishing midpack to top 10.  I  was super keen initially, but I realized that to REALLY excell at running  and 'place' I had to make MAJOR committments. Plus  I did not want to continue to give up my  entire weekend  training  for longer distances at the expense of my family/social life, and... just so many OTHER things I want to do in life.
...so why run if I'm not aiming to 'place"?.. get points, maybe even a $2 medal ?
...so why run if I'm not going to conquer new distance limits or get faster?

This lack of direction in addition to  a few nagging injuries resulted in a lack of motivation and/or what one would call 'Burnout'. 

Now, how did I wrap my head around things to get back into it?  This is what worked for me:  


1.TAKE THE PRESSURE OFF:
It was always a PUSH. More, longer, better, faster.... You name it.  For the first time in years, I have STOPPED pushing.  This does NOT mean I have stopped TRYING ! It means I have STARTED ENJOYING even MORE !













2. VOLUNTEER !!!!
Anyone suffering from burnout, should SERIOUSLY volunteer. 
You get to stand outside that fishbowl and look in. You truly appreciate how hard it is for the elites, as much as the last place finishers.. AND you have EQUAL respect for them ALL !  I shake my head at how I was once hard on myself for a not so great run, when I've seen people go thru tougher times and still finish, sure, not top place finishers, but top notch runners! 


As an added bonus, you get to meet other GREAT people with a similar mindset!





 3.ASK YOURSELF : WHY SHOULD I  KEEP RUNNING?

a)Just to run:
 Just running aimlessly seems so, aimless.... and free....like a kid in
the woods... and isn't that wonderful!
   
b) To Enjoy the scenery  Somehow in my maturity, I can now accept however I finish in a race. I
can have either  a good day, or a bad day, it doesn't really bother me anymore, cuz,  I was just slower that day for whatever reason...maybe I took more time to take pictures, enjoy the scenery and meet other runners !  This is me running with camera in hand at the Gorge Waterfalls run, ended up with a great video at the end ...and one of my more enjoyable runs



c) Use your fitness to enjoy life !
Using the fitness worked on for years to adventure through life and enjoy its splendours!
Like,
             running from Palm Springs to Pines ... that other people take the tram up to!
             Running 10 miles barefoot on the beach in Maui ! (tho my calves hated me later)
YEAH , I want to do MORE of THAT !


d) My Friends !


 They are the reason I'm still running. It is really the only time I get to visit (AND get a workout in!)  On occasion, I might even have time to go for a coffee (or beer afterwards) ... in case I diddn't get enough visiting in over the 4 hour run ! lol !




My friends also INSPIRE me. Some have gone through tougher times than myself, some are newbies
that are not afraid to push their limits, others truly enjoy their  races, taking their time to take pictures and FULLY experience what the race has to offer!











4. CHANGE IT UP ! ...
Signed up for a few half marathons to scare the crap out of me, ! Maybe even a triathalon.... hitting the bike ( but having a hard time getting to swim). M ust admit, the change of intensity and type of training has been beneficial to muscle balancing, dissolving some old nagging injuries.

4. ACCEPT LIFE !
On review of my past events in prep for this blog , I realize that in the last 2-3 years, I've entered almost
EVERY race with either a life STRESS ( tax audit, family death) or a personal ILLNESS before  the run or INJURY during the race. I realize a large percentage of the OTHER ATHLETES , are probably going through the SAME  thing!! So we should just accept there there will ALWAYS be something going on, but  NOT use it as an excuse ! 
JUST KEEP MOVING FORWARD !

 

 REALIZE THE BIG PICTURE:

Those in training think of microcycles, leading to macrocycles, periodization, B-races leading up to A-races, points, you name it.  In all this scheduling, what is forgotten is the BIG PICTURE ! (I guess you could call it the "MEGACycle")

 I WANT TO GROW OLDER AND BE ACTIVE  TOO !  WHEN I'M RETIRED AND HAVE THE TIME TO PLAY OUTSIDE, I WANT TO BE VERY CAPABLE OF DOING SO !
... and the only way to accomplish this is to take care of yourself and STAY FIT !


 
Excellent, I'm Psyched... time to go for a RUN !!!!
 
Heather 
 


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Whistler team 50 mile Relay Run

Flashback: 2011
I tried to get a team together, it fell apart, so I ran the whole damn 50 miles myself. Great personal experience, but I was too tired at the end to go to the party!

2012 rolls around
 I meet MORE great runners and  the "Buntzen Burners"  team came together.  A mish mash of ultrarunners and hill climbers- this speed event would surely challenge!
Now the afterparty... THAT was an endurance event!

Race Morning:
Wake up to SNOW !! ! I'm soo excited! first snowfall of the season. Then my husband calms me down "its only 5am" he says... " but first runner is at 8 !" I say.. soo excited! 

First Runner: 8am -  looking for team timing chip, line up... and CLAYTON  is  off to run on the frozen ground and ice for 13 km !  Trooper!
... He is a blurr in this picture cuz he is running so fast !






Second leg: Our saviour, JILL  stepped up for the team to replace a member and  rock her 7 km section in the freezing cold- so hard on the lungs !

Third leg: Jills husband WARREN  takes her running chip in exchange for their children. ( Who Were our excellent team cheer leaders!) . He ripped up his  13 km section too.  Amazing for a guy who only trains up the Grouse grind! He was just to fast to get a pic!
Fourth Leg: MY husband JIM takes off. for his 7 km run as it started to snow . 
Fifth Leg: He hands off to ROB who also rocked it with a great time on his 13  km run.  We  planned on exchanging his timing chip for my hotel room key  so he could shower after. I changed plans last minute- not too wise mid race. Fun confusion as he handed me the chip and waited for the room key, but I took off! (he got the room key in the end, and thankfully showered)


Sixth Leg: MY 7 km run - so happy nothing cramped uphill- that was all I wanted.

Seventh Leg: I handed off to a smiling MARC who  ripped up a great time of 13 kms  in the SUN  to hand off to his wife at the end.





Eighth leg: JANET-  she kicked butt   to anchor the team to a great finish!



SUPRISE 
So, just expecting to show up, do my run, go home, done. It was a great suprise to be  LOVING IT ! looking forward to  meeting friends at exchanges, cheering them on, more fun than I imagined!

EVENING
So  much fun hanging out, recapping the days events .  So many modestly putting themselves down, excuses for their  lack of  performance,  and WHAT !
SAY WHAT ?
In the end our 6:28 time set us as 2nd 'open' group... hey , thats against young'uns, 20 yr olds... and were all over 40! Might have to do the 'mixed masters' group next year.
... and then there was a party and dance aftewvards, lets just say, what happened in whistler, stays in wistler ! I certainly made up for the lack of partying the year before.  Double time.
At the end of the day, though we have ran together for hours on the trails, this was a different sort of team bonding experience.  Supportive of everyones individual  performance, and greatful for our volunteer's time. Definately 'feeling the love" by the end.

I reccomend this event for all types of runners, serious and recreational. All levels Where present, and everyone enjoyed! It had more of a team accomplishment atmosphere, than a  Who Wins atmosphere.
Heather V


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Getting away for 80 K, Squamish 50 mile "Holiday"


STRESS
I've been preparing for my 'random' CRA TAX AUDIT , my SEPTIC is backed up, and a RETAINING wall may be collapsing. With all the stress, I thought it was  the WORST  time to try run a 50 miler.

My mind was NOT on the race,  but in a million different places at once.
I was EXHAUSTED the week prior and barely had the energy to make it through the workday.

I hated to see all that training go to waste,  but planned  to PULL OUT.,

Thats what "FRIENDS" are for: 
Thanks to the support of my wonderful running group, I was given some great words of advice, such as:
" for the well being of your family, who will have to listen to you go on and on, and on ,about your regrets, ---do it ! "
and,
" Just turn your mind off, and let your legs do the work"

So FINE, I showed up at the start line.... with a detailed map of every stage I could pull out.
It was a BEAUTIFUL start in front of the Chief on the oceanfront !


The first 10 Km " Tour de Squamish" stage (these are the names of the relay stages) 
I jogged along, enjoying a lovely visit with a running friend Kristie. Took in the nice trails along the river.

10-20Km  " Up up and away" stage to Alice lake
We hit trail,  and a bit of road going up Debecks hill to 1486 feet. I did not pack much water as I hate packing it uphill, but with the heat of the day hitting already, I went through it faster than expected, and then I met a girl who missed a turnoff and did the hill TWICE! so from then on I decided to fill my hydration pack FULL at the major aid stations.

20-30 Km "Wed and wild" stage  - around the lakes

Lovely single track up and down to about  500 ft. Meeting lots of people, chit-chatting along the way. Hit 30 km back at Alice Lake  easily in 3 hrs. Then, BAM! my left ITB starts seriously paining me. I had calf/glut, and even some old fracture/metal plate issues in training, but never my ITB! suddenly, I could not bend my left knee.
Lovely.
In this pic, I was focusing on ways to land my left foot to avoid the stabbing knee pain.

But still, the photographer Glen Tachiyama makes it look good!



30-42 Km to Quest University

A beautiful portion of trail  up to dead end loop. Ran past a beauty raging river, through peacefull forest, Back up to 1300 ft FUN technical downhill- that I would have normally loved to hammer down but my knee prevented me in doing so.  For entertainments sake I actually started counting how many times I stubbed my left toe on a rock (25 times), because the knee just wouldn't bend to lift it over!  I hit Quest University, a great volunteer handed me my drop bag and I just instinctively grabbed my fuel for the next section and kept going on.

42-58 k "what goes down must go up" stage (Or more like "Down, but not out" for me)
Open road in the heat of the day- woot! (not) I was feeling pretty low at this point. I knew I had to cover this forest service road 3 times, and it really brought me down. I pulled out a sponge that I packed for this section, dipped it in the river, dabbing it on my face/ head,  bragging to another runner  (Downie) " I may not be fast, but at least I'm going 5-star" . So, back up to 2046 feet I go on yet more beautiful singletrack . I loved the trail named 'Freds"  on the way down-woot !


Hitting some beautiful views at the top! . !

By this point, however, the knee was annoyying. I drug it uphill behind me, and held it in front downhill, hopping on my other leg. This obvioulsy slowed me down, and heading back into the major aid station at Quest University, I had decided 'this is stupid' and was going to pull out/ DNF. The FIRST time, such a though has crossed my mind in a race.

But for some  reason, I opened my drop bag and decided for the first time EVER, to take a single Ibuprophen (and rub some topical gel on my ITB).. and kept going, figuring I can always DNF at 60 km.

58-64 Km I'm BACK ! 
Damn road again.  Even though the RD told us multiple times, we go left twice, then right on the third time, my fuzzy mind  had to clarify with a volunteer, who patiently explained it to me yet  AGAIN- thank you!. This  second time after climbing only 1000ft,  we get to cut down some lovely switch-backs  (Pseudo-Tsuga trail) . Hey, I can RUN down this trail, hey, I can bend my knee!  Holy crap, I feel great!  I pop out onto the road for a third and final time, telling the poor course marshall that I am happy I will never see his beautiful face again, and motor up, ready to finish this !

64-72 km+ km "Plunger"
Woot! more singletrack plunging to the bottom, feeling great! (a little too late to feel great, but I'll take it). Lovely run and visit with Judy from Quesnel who tried to make me feel better about my slow time at this point, saying she did  "Stormy in 9.5 hrs, and this is harder".

72 km-80+km "Guts"
Even MORE beautiful singletrack, taking us back into civilization, bypassing rock climbers en route and back down to sea level.  At the last 4 km my right quad cramped. Interesting, that was new for me too- probably from the one legged  hopping previously in the race. I walked it off, took a thermolyte, regrouped, then  I 'gutted it out' , well, more like, casually jogged at a tolerable pace across the finish line.

The FINISH  12 hrs 20 min 
(An HOUR longer than I expected, but it was apparently the same for everyone else too- whew!)
Running toward Gary Robbins voice, I had the greatest sense of satisfaction. My time diddn't matter, my finish did. Although I had my aches and pains to work through (as did everybody), I really felt like I was comming back from a little holiday I went on in the woods that day. I did not think once of any of my stresses, it was like I was comming out of the twilight zone and back into reality. Pure Joy.

Meanwhile: 
My husband, on the other hand, also had his own " endurance event" going on. The RD's set up a fabulous finish line party with beer garden and all. My 'poor' husband had to wait for me in that beer garden all afternoon  on a beautiful sunny day. Lets just say he was more giddy than I was at the finish line.

In the end, this was the BEST time to run 80 K, I totally felt like I got away from the real world for those 12 hours. It was bliss.

 There wasn't even the stress of 'getting lost' as the course markings were amazing- as you can see with this tongue in cheek video below:

THANKS!
Thanks Kerri Ward and Hassan Lotfi-pour for the hilarious video. And thanks Gary Robbins and Geoff Langford for presenting such a challenging, fun, and incredibly well organized event ! The organizers and the Volunteers were all amazing!

My Stats:  51 miles, almost 10,000 feet elevation gain
*Calories- about 1500.  A variety of real food: cliff bar, chips, pepperoni (which was yummy!) ., Carbopro          in my water.Only a couple of gels near the end of the race. Stomach great, brain great the whole race.
*Salt tablets- 7
*Ibuprophen-1
*Water- a lot, I have no idea, just kept re-filling it and sipping/pouring it over me. The added carbopro doubled as a great hear styling product. Kept my hair in place when it dried.


Till my next adventure.
Heather







Thursday, March 29, 2012

Spring has Sprung at the Gorge Waterfalls Run

THAT WAS SOO MUCH FUN!!!! 
Is exactly what I said when I crossed the finish line at the Gorge Waterfalls 50 km run.
Going into this 'race' I was worried, that I wasn't worried... only because I was more excited about seeing the views than my actual performance. This attitude served me well. 

I was more excited for two relative 'newbies' who were doing their first 50 Km race. Wow, couldn't have picked a more beautiful course!  The poor race director had to deal with last minute course changes due to snow up to the day of the race... and THEN, he got a  FLAT TIRE en route to the start! It STILL ran very smoothly, with a fun and laidback atmosphere. I highly recommend Rainshadow Running races after this experience. 

CUT TO THE CHASE- Here is a Video synopsis of the course. BEAUTIFUL!

Y

My Race Experience: 
First hill always hits me hard. I started powerhiking it with everyone else. It was a great time to have a visit with Jackie ( a great BC ultrarunner), and Clayton (who stop-started all the way up to take pictures).
We finally hit the downhill, then some rolling hills. Here I met Yitka, who I ran with  for a large majority of the middle section. She was such a positive person to run with. And near the end, with only two miles to go she pulls off this! I could barely step over a log at this point! Huge respect!       Photo: Glen Tachiyama 
(
There was a short road section,( I would rather forget), a beautiful turnaround at yet more waterfalls. With the out and back it was fun to see the 'Elite' runners ripping it up!! AND High five my great friends including Sarah, Clayton, Ed, Megan, Marc, Janet, and Marianne ! No wonder my arms were sore.  I made it back in similar time with a run/powerhike up the last hill, visiting with my new running mate Bunky (from Oregon) . Then a   fun fly downhill to the end screaming out my token BANCHEE scream  "ay yi yi yi"... and finally end with a rewarding high five from the Race director. Sweet! 
Some guy told me at the end my scream scared the crap out of him and it made him run faster. Glad I could help. 

My Stats (for future reference) 
Time: 5:04  (a PR, but it was slightly shorter than a typical 50 km, but respectable elevation gain-I'll take it)
Calories:  about 900 including breakfast bagel 
Splits: 
First 'mountain'  1:18 on the way out/ 1:20 on the way back  
No name aid station to Yeon Aid station ( 7 miles):  1:03 on the way out / 1:03 on the way back. Weird
Yeon to turn around: 8:53 on the way out, 7:43 on the way back. 
Fun: 100%  (well, except that short road section) 

GOOD TIMES! Its going to be hard to top this one for a beautiful course! 

HV