Thursday, August 2, 2012

Joy at White River 50

My overall race experience at the White River 50 last weekend can be expressed in 2 words – sheer joy.  I can honestly say it is the most fun I’ve ever had at a race. 

So… what made it so fun? 

  • Camping with friends can’t be beat.  It’s nothing but you, clean mountain air, campfires, talking about running (and other things) and laughing together.  Obligations slide for the evening and you go to bed knowing you get to run in the woods all day the next day.  Honestly, I still have trouble sleeping the night before trail runs because I’m so excited for the fun!  I went to bed with my jaw aching from all the smiling.  And the race hadn’t even started yet!   

  • All the people at the race were amazing.  Old friends, new friends, volunteers, runners, race director and staff, random people on the trail… they all were awesome.  Everyone was so happy and smiling and having fun and if you can’t smile along with them you can’t fully enjoy the experience.  Aid stations were stocked with food and packed with volunteers ready to fill your pack or get you some grub.  And they filled your pack with ice water! A little taste of heaven on a warm day on the trail!
  • I hadn’t rested or tapered for this race in the least.  (I ran 120 miles last week including the race)  When your legs are tired from training and not rested for a race you don’t expect much.  I expected the race to hurt and push my limits.  But the race felt easy.  I felt strong.  My legs never felt wiped out and my mind was fully engaged the whole race.  Climbing was easy – I was able to run (slowly) 90-95% of both major climbs.  Running them slowly felt easier than hiking and expended less energy.  I’m really psyched that my climbing has come this far.  I couldn’t seem to wipe the smile off my face the whole day, including when I was racing.  I know I can run that course faster, but I was pleased with what I accomplished on such tired legs.

  • The VIEWS!  We started the race under a blanket of clouds.  About half way up the first climb we found ourselves above the clouds and Mt. Rainier was RIGHT THERE staring at you.  Although I live near Rainier I never get tired of seeing her.  I expressed my awe when I saw her and thought to myself “this is why I run mountains.”  Well, one reason anyway…

  • The post-race food and socializing was amazing.  Scott McCoubrey does an amazing job making a finish line in the middle of nowhere seem like the place to be.  That’s because it is.  The food is great and the atmosphere of all the happy runners just can’t be matched.  Everyone brings a camp chair and cheers for incoming finishers, talking about their day and other running adventures. 

  • Last year I met Dr. David Horton at this race and somehow he took me under his wing.  The great ultrarunners are like that – it’s part of what makes our sport so awesome.  Dr. Horton has given me advice and smiles this past year and I don’t know how I deserve to know him.  He’s a legend!  It made my weekend to see him at the race again.  He truly brings out the best in our sport and when I’m around him I really feel like I can be myself.  Happy and just oozing my love of running. 

  • When it was all said and done I finished in 9:21, 6th place female.  Over an hour ahead of my time from last year.  I look forward to seeing what I can do someday on this course with rested legs!

    • There’s only one way to find out what I’m talking about… Run the White River 50.  And see if you can wipe the smile off your face.  I dare you.


    1. You are a rock star. Seriously. I ran 41 miles in 24 hours at the Ragnar a few weekends ago and I thought I was dying and walked most of it because I'm lame. I am not cut out to be an ultra runner.

      I admire your accomplishments so much! Great job!

    2. Reading your entertaining recaps almost...almost makes me want to give it a try, but then I come to my senses and remember that I am not even one tenth as awesome as you are! Congratulations again on this accomplishment and good luck at CCC!

    3. Great RR. Congrats on shaving an hour off your time!!

    4. I'm so proud of you.....seriously....beastly weekly mileage, strong mental and physical power right there! You are going to conquer CCC like nobody's business!!! CANNOT wait to see how that turns out. congratulations Jen...really happy to say I know you. :)

    5. At the end it is the thing that it worth the most that you have an amazing experience like you haven't had before.

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