I renewed my position as The TimeLord, keeper of the 4th dimension for the Baker Lake 50k again this year.
Some things were the same. Long drive from home to Concrete. Same stop @ Starbucks to get a coffee box for the race. Cold morning.
Some things were different. Brought my guitar and portable stove with some food to cook with (although barely played the guitar and didn't eat anything from my stove or practically nothing at the race except for a roast beef Subway sub). Had some company this time with Arthur who was racing this year.
Other different things: Lots more stuff! When I got to the campground, they had a few coffeemakers running along with music from an iPod docked in a speaker. There were pastries (cakes) everywhere it seemed. Someone else also had gotten Starbucks coffee too in a box like I did. Other folks that were helping out this year that I didn't see last time were Jay (Shawn's bro), Michael & Tamera Cartwright (Tamera was running this also), Steve Stoyles, and a few other guys that I didn't get a chance to introduce myself to.
A dark and cold morning, things were moving along very well. I have to say that this is probably the most organized I've seen races done in remote places. Usually, there is some kind of chaos. Things forgotten, things misplaced. Jay and Steve were working the check-in's in the dark. There was plenty of coffee for everyone. My buddy Stan Nakashima gave me a ton of produce from his farm (Thanks Stan!). Shawn and tc* were busy taking care of the last minute things on the course. Much better than last year for certain, I believe we learned from the last time.
Soon the early starters were getting ready and I sadly didn't have time to get my airhorn (the signal for last year). So with keeping time like last year, I had to substitute. In this case, my countdown ended up as:
3, 2, 1 - HAUL ASS!!!!!!!!!
Not quite the same punch as an airhorn, but good enough with my ability to project my voice thanks to years of vocal music training.
More check-in's and another countdown for the regular starters and the start was virtually empty of people as usual. Checking around the table, I was surprised to see the amount of cakes that Haggen Foods provided (20+, seriously!). I begged for us to do a Cake Walk, but that idea died quickly. Tried playing my guitar to kill time, but my fingers got seriously frozen from the cold. It was one of those days where if you were in the sun, you felt warm. You got in the shade, you were a frozen fishstick.
I got to run about 90 minutes before the first runner (Terry Sentinella - YAY TERRY!!!) came through and I got in a good 4 mile run along the trails. I noticed that I wasn't nearly as winded when it came to those rolling hills and my leg muscles were able to take the abuse without feeling beaten up. I was even able to run virtually all of the inclines with little difficulty. I can only assume that my strength training cycle of heavy lifting is responsible for this. However, I do notice that my aerobic conditioning isn't as good as it could be. I am confident that this will be remedied as I continue to progress in my training plan and move into future cycles that have more metcon and sport-specific conditioning.
I got back about 40 minutes before Terry showed up and was kicking myself that I could have gone a bit longer. Oh well, there's always next year.
About 15 minutes before the 5th hour, Terry showed up and won first place overall and first masters - a 2nd Baker Bear award for him. Funny thing is that the next several folks that came through also snagged Baker Bears for 1st Women Open & Overall, 1st Women Master, 1st Male Open, and 1st Male Senior all within 30 minutes of each other. Some of those runners had done other events a week before, especially the 1st Women (Shawna Wilskey) who WON 1st woman at the Hundred in the Hood the previous weekend! Yeah, she ran 100 miles a week before and then ran 31 miles more the next week, winning both 1st place spots for the women! Some people were built for speed, Shawna was built to make you eat her dust and like it.
As everyone started coming in, I was doing what I do best - playing the role of the timelord. However, this timelord got an upgrade and we were actually doing the timekeeping on a laptop this time, using an excel spreadsheet to enter the time in via keyboard macro. I tweaked out the form even further by making it calculate the start time against the time they came in - giving us a total time in hours and minutes. This was a great benefit for us and allowed the results to be posted practically the next day!
For the most part, everyone was pretty cool...except for two dudes. One guy who bitched about the course being about a half a mile longer than he expected and another guy who wanted us to adjust his time to match a 50k finish. Damn! Can't please everyone...although I was REALLY tempted to put DQ on their names. Maybe next year I'll be more brutal if someone acts like a dorkus.
Time eventually was winding down and towards the end, we had a few folks that were struggling to come in. Our final finisher came in just under 10 hours with an early start. He was given the Dead F*cking Last Baker Bear award. In these events, when everything is falling apart, sometimes the heart is the thing that pulls you through to the finish line.
After our final runner and sweepers were done, we tore down as fast as we could to get the hell out of there. I was there for almost 12 hours and up for about 15. Others were there for nearly two days. A nice place to visit, but you really don't want to stay around any longer than you have to. A final goodbye and Arthur and I were headed back south. Lots of chit-chat along the way home and I did enjoy the company for a change.
Another day of race volunteering done. I should have enough good trail karma now to complete 5 Cascade Crest 100's. :-) I kid, but I enjoy helping out (yes, even when there are some ungrateful people that always show up at races). Folks that really appreciate the help on the course, those are the people that I like. My buddies who work along side me at these things, always a party when we're together. Running, especially ultrarunning can be a very selfish thing. Helping out at events seems to balance things out a bit. It would explain why trail work is starting to become more of a requirement at races than ever.
Anyhoo, next event is November (not Ron Herzog, apologies to tc!). A nice 26.2 mile (or 31 mile, haven't decided yet) friendly fun-run we like to call the Seattle Ghost. It'll be my first event back in quite a long time. I don't plan on smashing PR's or anything crazy like that. I plan on getting some serious time on my feet, enjoying the camaraderie, and eating some of that yummy post-race food that completely trumps the so-called post-race food that the actual Seattle Marathon provides. Scott Krell's post-race food rocks!