Wednesday, September 12, 2007

McKenzie River Invite



Why would anyone invite so many Rogue Valley Runners to a central Oregon party? Probably because they knew we would give their course a run for it's money, and that in part is exactly why RD Phil Vaughn decided to have the Mckenzie River 50k invitational on Sunday. The allure of the Mckenzie river 50k has grown greatly in my mind over the years based in part by the fact that it fills so quickly year after year. On the day that entries are taken, it fills leaving those who want to experience a first rate NW race on the sidelines watching. This year, Eric Poole, Joe Griffin, John Leuthold, Todd Ragsdale and myself provided the SO contingent and became the exception to the rule as the MRTR hosted a special invite for it's 20th anniversary. The race was as billed; fantastic single-track, cascading waterfalls, nice temperatures, fast course, easy crew access and all the lava rock you can handle. The race started way too friendly and as the morning progressed I found myself waking to the realization that if I wasn't too careful I could let some of the excited folk get too far ahead. And that is exactly what happened as the eventual winner gained 10 minutes on me in some 20 miles. However, as is the case with speedy sub 2:20 marathoners that shouldn't be out running for 4 hours they start to "come back." Unfortunately for the invite I could only regain 8 minutes. Oh well, there's always next year and the hope of breaking that inconceivable CR. Congrats to Todd, John, Joe, and Eric for making the A standard and for putting up with all the razzing that preceded the race.

3 comments:

Todd said...

It was great being out there with the guys! So much for the fast, downhill 50K I was dreaming of... It was definately alot more technical than I was planning on (probably why I hit the ground twice). After John and I went an extra mile off course and found ouselves going from 5th and 6th place to bringing up the rear, it was hard to get up the motivation to keep up the fight. Once I decided to start going for it I probably let too much out for the next 10 miles but I passed several runners with the effort. Had to pace myself for the last 12 miles and caught two more people, but still not enough to keep from getting "chicked" by Megan Aborghast. At Haulin' Aspen I got "chicked" by Kami Semik, so I've decided I won't rest until I've been beaten by all of the best female trail runners around. I'm off to a graet start!!!
I think we are all looking to try again next year, so look out top female competetor.....

chris said...

Why wasn't I invited, Hal?

Rogue Valley Runners said...

John said...McKenzie was my first Ultra and thanks to Todd and Hal, I was able to get in to the Invitational because the Sat. race was full. Everything seemed to be going good during the first 6 or 7 miles; we ran with Hal at a comfortable pace. At that point, Hal decided it was time for him to go and me and Todd were comfortable letting him get away from us. We both figured if Hal ran the race the way he's capable of running, he would win, so me and Todd found ourselves alone in 5th place. Then we took a wrong turn and got lost and by the time we got back on course, we were in last place. At that point, I was very discouraged and just wanted to quit, but Todd wouldn't hear it and took off and left me stewing so I figured I would just drop out after two hours and call it a good training run. Not very sportsman-like of me, was it? But I'm old and cranky - just ask my wife if you don't believe me. Anyway, after two hours, I came to an aid station I thought would be a good place to get out of this crazy race and when I got there, everybody was cheering and giving encouragement, especially Tim Turk and I realized I didn't have the heart to just quit so I ran on. I found myself running with some of the women runners, which might have been discouraging but was actually quite inspirational to me. I gained a new respect for what athletes these women are and for their mental toughness. One woman in particular, Penny, who I'd passed earlier in the race, had come back on me and was breathing down my back the last 2 miles. Anyway, the whole thing was a good learning experience for me. I definately plan on going back next year; me and Todd both feel like we have "unfinished business" at McKenzie and we'll both be under 3:50 or my names not Mosquito. If you're wondering about the nickname, see my comment on Todd's 100-miler.