White River 50 Miler Race Report! Long post with pics.

This was by far the most difficult event that I have ever experienced!!  I did this same race last year but this year was much harder.  Many ups and downs.  Many calm and chaotic moments.  In fact, it seemed as though I experienced just about everything during this race.  It was an intensely humbling and cleansing 11 hours and 48 minutes.  I have several pictures and stories of the race so keep reading.

WR50 001

Here I am at the start of the race at 5:30 a.m.  I have my three drop bags in my right hand and my water bottles in the other.  At this point I am a bit nervous about the journey but also very excited.  The early starters took off in into the mountains with a calm spirit.  Two miles into the race my watch beeped to let me know that the signal from my foot pod (the thing that tells me my pace) was lost.  I stopped for about 10 minutes to look for it and finally found it.  Then I looked at my shoe to find the clip that holds the pod onto the shoe and it also was gone. I got mad and threw the foot pod out into the forest.  About a mile later I realized I was looking at the wrong shoe and the clip was still there. DAMN IT!!  I thew a $100 foot pod away for nothing.  This was mentally discouraging because from that point on I never knew how far nor how fast I was running.

WR50 009

Here is a nice shot of what much of the 50 mile trail looked like.  Lots of roots, lots of elevation change, and lots of dust.  My legs were almost black at the finish line.  The fact that it was a trail run is also a major factor in what and how sore I get.  My ankles are very sore now because of the different terrain.  There is also a lot of leaping and jumping involved.

Miles 1-8:  After losing the foot pod my mental side of things kind of pooped out.  Around mile 6 my legs were burning on the up-hills.  This was also alarming but I knew I had to press on.

Miles 9-17:  This was basically the first climb up the first major hill.  It is a very steep and long hill that occasionally had ladders/stairs to get you up to other parts of the trails.  I was still in pretty good spirits though and I usually pass a lot of people going up because my walk is pretty fast.  The down hill sections are the ones were I usually get passed by others.  Once I got to the top of the first hill it was a relief but I knew that it was still only the beginning.

WR50 003

Here I am at the 27.2 mile aid station.  It took me 5 hours and 23 minutes to get there.  My wonderful wife met me with some water and socks.   I washed off my feet and changed socks.  What a refreshing feeling it was just to change my socks.  I had a blister developing on the ball of each foot at this point.  These blisters were not show stoppers by any means but they were still there.  At this point I told my wife that I was having a tough time with the run and that it was harder than last year.  It did feel good to be half-way finished but the long down-hill tromp took a tool on my legs.  The turns at the switch backs were really hard because you have to come to almost a stop to make the turn and that takes a lot of leg power when going down hill.

WR50 004

After a 3 or 4 minute rest, I am off again to tackle the second major climb of 8 miles.  The second climb is a bit shorter but also a bit steeper.  By the time I got to the top I was stumbling around a little. HAHAHAHA  Feeling a little fresher from my rest felt good mentally but I knew that the next 8 miles was going to hurt.  This section is also mostly exposed to the direct heat of the sun.  This complicated matters for my attitude.

Miles 27-37:  This was gruesome.  I inched my way up that gigantic hill running any flat or down hill portions.  This hill also contain lots of rocks which frustrated my ankles and hips.  When I got to the top one of the aid station volunteers was worried about me because I was stumbling and maybe swaying a little.  I told her that I was stumbling and that I planned to sit down for about 10 minutes to rejuvenate.  So I did just that.  At the top of the mountain I sat down and the aid station people when to work on me.  They sponge bathed my head, arms and legs.  Got my water bottles filled up with my calorie drink.  Got me some Mt. Dew to drink to get me pepped up right away.  They asked me questions to make certain that I was coherent and ready to run again.  After that I was off to tackle the most difficult section of the race in my opinion.  It is a steep 7 mile down hill on a gravel road.

WR50 007

Here are two photos of the view from climb #2.  That is Mt. Rainier with the snow on it.  Keep in mind that the trail that I was running on was basically a ski resort without the snow so that gives you a small glimpse of the steepness of the trails.  And believe me, running down the trails IS NOT EASIER than running up the trail.

WR50 008

This is just another view of the majestic wilderness of the Mt. Ranier National Forest.

WR50 015

My beautiful wife came to the race with me.  Boy she makes it so much more fun.  I love my wife so much and her presence at this race made so much difference to me.  You know when you are a kid and you hurt yourself out of the presence of your mom. You don’t cry at all but the moment that you see your mom you start to cry.  Well, that is exactly what I did.  After I finished the race my wife asked me how it was and I told her it was the hardest thing I had ever gone through and started to cry.  I held it in because so many people were around but if they weren’t I would have just balled right there in her lap.

WR50 016

Crossing the finish line was a major relief.  I thought probably 100’s of time that I just couldn’t make it but I did.  Races like these go much deeper mentally than shorter ones.  It was a very trying experience but I would certainly do it again.  When I finished, there were still about 90 people out on the course and about 50 of those would eventually finish.  The rest either did not make the 14 hour cut-off time or just had to stop running for whatever reason.  Whatever happens, everyone who gets to the starting line is a winner in my book.

WR50 017

Moments after the finish I took a much appreciated rest on my wife’s blanket to take in some hydration and watch others finish.  The after glow was nice and the amazement of the accomplishment was very heavy in this picture.

33 Responses to “White River 50 Miler Race Report! Long post with pics.”

  1. July 27, 2009 at 11:36 am

    Congratulations! It’s amazing what you can do when you put your mind to it… running is such a mental sport…

    • 2 run4change
      July 27, 2009 at 12:11 pm

      YOu are right Cyndi. Regardless of the distance, running definately has a mental aspect to it. i guess everything that requires “endurance” requires a mental fortitude.

  2. 3 Ms Oblivious
    July 27, 2009 at 11:50 am

    I am amazed by ultra long distance runners like you! So much of is not physical but mental, right? Thanks for taking us through the mental process of each section and the pictures are amazing. Congrats on your 50 miler!

    • 4 run4change
      July 27, 2009 at 12:12 pm

      Oblivious: Yes, so much of it is mental. Of course there is physical pain, but that starts to happen much earlier in the race than the mental pain. After a while, the physical just gets to a point where it is what it is; then the fight for the will begins.

  3. 5 Cecile
    July 27, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    So proudddddddd of you! you are awesome! Great pic’s.

  4. July 27, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    That is just awesome, Jason. How wonderful for you that your wife is there by your side. That is invaluable. You are incredible – your fortitude, determination, persistence. Congratulations to you for finishing, and thank you for sharing the journey and the amazing pictures!

    • 8 run4change
      July 27, 2009 at 12:42 pm

      Thanks lil’ miss for your awesome encouragement. You are also so right that my wife is invaluable to me. You know, after all the intesne emotions that I went through especially in the last 6 miles, to see my wife at the finish made me completely fall in love with her all over again. I am blessed to have that woman in my life.

  5. July 27, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    I was wondering about this morning. Wondering how you did. I am just in awe of this accomplishment of yours. How sweet of your dear wife to be your cheerleader! You are very lucky. I loved the pics. I didn’t realize it was on a dirt trails in the mountains. That is SO MUCH HARDER. Isn’t it?

    Hope you had a great celebration!

    • 10 run4change
      July 27, 2009 at 12:53 pm

      Dana, it is hard if you are not used to running on trails and I am not used to it. I prefer road races by far but most ultra’s are done on trails. Thanks for your encouragement.

  6. July 27, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    Wow amazing race! And beautiful pictures.
    I’m so amazed that you were able to complete the race. And of course the bonus was having a gorgeous wife waiting for you at the end 🙂

  7. July 27, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    Hey Mr. Beastly,
    How great is this? I LOVE the part about your footpod… OMG crack me up!!! I think that running sometimes kills brain cells. (I’m living proof after all these years.. just ask anyone.)
    Way to go…
    Coach Dean

    • 14 run4change
      July 27, 2009 at 1:52 pm

      Oh the story goes even deeper than that Dean. First I throw the pod into the forest. Then I realize I still have the clip. Then I throw the clip into the river later on. Then I actually run by the foot pod around mile 42 only to realize I have no clip now. DAMN!

  8. July 27, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    Congrats on a great race. I am amazed at ultra running, especially on trails. Really tough. I have enough trouble with 26.2 on the road 🙂 so the longest ultra in my future may be a 50K racewalk.

    Anyway, great job – savor the success!

    • 16 run4change
      July 28, 2009 at 5:15 am

      5K or 50K!
      They are all great events. I 50k would be a wonderful experience for you though if you ever so chose to go for one.

  9. July 27, 2009 at 5:13 pm

    Congratulations on your steadfastness and focus! I know another person who did that race and worried about the heat for the both of you. The elevation sounds just wicked.

    Thanks for posting your pictures and thoughts during the race. Again, my most enthusiastic congratulations!


    • 18 run4change
      July 28, 2009 at 5:14 am

      THe heat was hot but it was not horrible you know. Only in the clear cuts did it get REALLY hot. Thanks for your encouragement and support on my blog seujan

  10. 19 Courtney
    July 27, 2009 at 5:49 pm

    Way to go Jason!!! What an amazing race to have done! Congratulations!

  11. July 27, 2009 at 8:02 pm

    Congratulations Jason! Man, that jsut sounds like an excrutiating run! So proud of you for getting to the start and then for finishing it…THat last photo…you jsut look exhausted!

  12. 23 Shannon
    July 27, 2009 at 8:46 pm

    Congrats Jason!! Great job! The footpod part, that is so something I would do!! LOL I loved your photos and it was great your wife could be there. I could almost feel the emotion of you crossing the finish line…I was a bit teary eyed!! Again, great job!

  13. July 28, 2009 at 3:50 am

    Wow, what a great accomplishment!! Congratulations! The pictures are absolutely beautiful. Enjoyed reading your race report.

  14. 27 AmyJoGo
    July 28, 2009 at 5:56 am

    It amazes me that you got blisters even after all the training you do on a regular basis – I’d be a walking blister if I did what you do! I’m so happy for you that you succeeded in going and completing. Your response about how much you love your wife really touched me. You are each lucky to have each other!


  15. July 31, 2009 at 9:46 am

    Amazing Jason!! Congrats on your finish! You’re an inspiration! The pictures were beautiful and so glad to see your wife could be there with you. Brought back all the memories of my marathon in March. Although not near the distance you went, the struggles were the same!

    • 30 run4change
      July 31, 2009 at 9:55 am

      That is the beauty about being in the running community. Although you may not have run 50 miles, you are right that the struggles are very similar just a little different in magnitude. Thanks for your encouragement.

  16. August 1, 2009 at 9:23 am

    I’m late as usual, but I had to say *congratulations!*
    You sure are an inspiration to me to keep training
    and never say never. Thanks for honoring your wife
    in words, pictures, and in deeds–isn’t it the truth
    that we’d never get to the first aid station w/o
    a supportive home team? Congrats again on your
    endurance–physical and mental.

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