Monday, May 12, 2008

McDonald Forest!

Time: 5:35:49
Place: 52 out 163 finisher, 3rd Masters, 7th Girl
Acsent 6260 (by my altimeter)
It was a beautiful day at the Mac. The course was completely dry lacking the sloppy mud it's known for making it a fast day. The course is never the same and that might even be a tradition but I am not sure. It’s not exactly a 50K and the twists and turns on the various trails never seem the same. This year the course was 31.6 miles and I barely recognized some of the trail systems. We definitely covered the same area but in a much different pattern. I would have to say this year and last year the run equaled in difficulty but it was just slightly farther.

Micheal, Steve and I met to carpool. Kris was supposed to join us but is having a stress reaction on her shin bone. After a bone scan she was advised to not run and let it heal up before it turns into a stress fracture. The temperatures for the day were forecasted to be perfect for running ranging from 48 degrees at the start and topping out at 60 degrees. The skies were overcast but no rain! I felt really good after Friday’s hill repeats. I mean physically I seemed to be recovered but I wouldn’t know just how much until about 3 hours of running. I was excited to have Micheal running the whole race with me, sort of like a pacer for the whole race. I knew he would make me run faster and work harder. With all of us dawning our Black Saturday shirts it seemed appropriate to buckle down.

At 7 a.m. we were off for the short gravel road section before we hit single track. The field was out fast as usual and Micheal and I were in the middle of it. Once we hit the single track it’s a gradual incline for a few miles. Sometimes the trail dips down but then rolls right back up. I was running almost all of this but forced myself to take some walk breaks. This is time for catching up with friends who are all around. This is a long time Oregon event and most everyone is in attendance if not running they are volunteering. I was being passed on the uphills but would re-pass on the downhills. This went on for about 5 miles before we popped onto a gravel road the descended for at least 2 miles. Micheal and I were busting down the road, talking but working hard. The course then takes a sharp right onto steep technical trail. We were already in the groove moving very fast on the single track into the first aid station at 6.9 miles. I needed some water then we were off. The course then climbs on a gravel road for a long time which Micheal I ran the whole way. After about 2.5 miles on the gravel road it was another quick turn onto single track which goes up and down for about a mile into the next aid station. “More water please”! Leaving the aid station it was up hill on steep single track which during a muddy year can be a difficult to climb. This section was hard for me because my climbing was inhibited by my glutes. They were tired from the hill repeats. I still managed to keep Micheal in my sights but I complained about my tired butt. He just pointed to the back of his shirt which read, “NO EXCUSES give it all you got”. I shut up and laughed because he was right. After we climb for about a mile the course begins a rolling traverse on what seems like a deer trail. I did better than I thought I would on this section. After the traverse is another plummet on technical single track. We just flew on this stuff and I would have to say this would be my strength for the day.....downhill running. Micheal and I took no prisoners on any of the downhills and played leapfrog with runners all day that would get us on the climbs. At this point we are heading into the 18.6 mile mark, have climbed at least 4000 feet and we are right on schedule for a 5:34 finish which is what I have on my pace chart. We have drop bags for more fuel here. We are quick but take time to enjoy a Red Bull, yum…. We are taking gels on the half hour as Micheal watch beeps to remind us. We are working hard and I feel my 95 mile week but I can sustain the rhythm. Leaving the aid station we enjoy some of the best downhill single trail of the day. “Suicide running” would be the only way I can describe Micheal and I’s behavior. (picture by: Matt Nahorniak's wife..see whole album at It was crazy fast, passing people and barely touching down. This trail switchback’s downward with the perfect grade and canted corners leaving us no need to brake whatsoever. It was pure pleasure descending with such confidence and speed. At this point we see some of the front running heading home as we are heading into the aid station at 22.6 miles. We have to climb a bit to get up to the aid station but it’s nothing very steep. I need nothing and we just run right through. With 8.8 miles to go we are very close to pace and can smell the barn. The course begins climbing again on an old road, then on single track and finally on a very rocky road. We are maintaining our position and even gaining a bit on this climb. Micheal could have run this entire section but I had to take some walk breaks. We climbed a little over 1000 feet in 3 miles before we ran downhill on a gravel road into the last aid station. I need a little bit of water for our 4.8 mile journey to the finish and no matter how the Mac course is changed this section is the same every year. After leaving the aid station its 3 miles on a gravel road then 1.6 on single track. We began the climb on the road and I had to take walk breaks which I counted out 10 steps per. This seems to help my legs come back to life and when my climbers are spent I can go faster. Last year I ran this whole section. We worked it hard catching up to Liz who took the early start. She also did hill repeats on Friday but she had to start hers at 2:15 a.m. so she could get to work. Now that is amazing! She is training for WS100M and is obviously going to do well. She screams, “I hate you” because of the hill repeats and the pain in her legs but I know it’s really “I love you” in disguise. I let her know I am feeling pain as well...which I am. Finally arriving at the single track which heads up for about 2 tenths of a mile then falls perfectly for 1.4 miles into the finish. Again Micheal and I tore down this finishing in 5:35! Wow, what a wild ride, thanks Micheal. One of the visions I can’t seem to shake is Micheal up ahead glancing back at me while he appears to be running in place…..argggggg. It was great day, a great run and an awesome time for me. I couldn’t be more pleased! I got a the cool mug pictured above for my 3rd place masters finish. I got the same award last year so maybe this is a streak. :)
When I got home it was another 18 lb ice bath. My body gobbled up the cool treatment leaving me feeling pretty good. Sunday and Monday will be off but I might go a little jog with Alex on Monday afternoon. That was the end of a peak week. This week is recovery then only 2 more big weeks before the Bighorn 100M taper. It is coming fast!


  1. Great job sticking with your race plan, pounding the downhills and not making excuses :-)

    I am just training to be able to keep up for pacing at Big Horn!

  2. Nice Run. You're going to rock at Bighorn! Way to pound the downhills. Those hill reps are paying off, both ways, huh?

    My wife got some really good pics, including some of you, Michael, Bushwacker, etc - check 'em out at:


  3. hey, how am I doing on prediction? LOL! Did anybody had any doubts you won't pull it off? Awesome time, glad you had fun, and also found your shirt, and you just wait, I'll come back from NM and make the final "time/place" guesstimate for Bighorn!

  4. P.s Do I see normal toenails on your feet?? Wow! An accomplishment in its own right:)

  5. R

    Stellar performance! Love the fast road are flying!!! K

  6. Ahhhhh Ronda, Awesome report... Congrats on Pushing it hard!! Love the pics!!

  7. Great report, Ronda! Love the flying picture - could be an Ultrarunner Magazine cover!

  8. Great race! Big Horn here you come :)