A Run With A View
Few runs stand out in my mind more than the White River course. Maybe it is because it was my first ultramarathon, or the extensive time I’ve spent on it training for and running (as of now) one WR50 race there. Regardless of why, this course is unbelievably stunning. However the views come at the cost of persistent elevation gain giving breathtaking a totally new meaning.
I recently went down to run the course with my best friend and training partner Paul. We met up with a lot of other WR50 runners to run the second portion (23 mile loop) of the course. We were told that there was significant snow and we would have to be completely self-supported. I was fine with this until we hit the snow. I had no idea there would be this much still lingering in the beginning of July. Seriously, there were points where Paul and I just stood there in the snow trying to find any sign of footprints. We eventually made it to the top to this amazing view and back down to my car. But we were not done yet.
After running the second part of WR50 we relocated to Buck Creek to gain access to the first part, a 27 mile loop with a very steep incline a few miles in. I knew which trail # (1198) we needed to take and set off. I was feeling great and wanted to push myself. However, I had not eaten since breakfast and it was after noon. All I’d had was a banana after the 23 mile loop and gels along the way. My excitement for my running abilities was no match for lack of nutritional energy. I saw a trail sign and turned. The trail quickly started with some switchbacks so I was certain I had taken the correct one. Right? Wrong. After gaining most of the elevation at fairly quick pace, I came to a stone staircase. I knew that was not a part of the course. So we turned around and headed back down to the main trail. 1189! I’d taken trail 1189. Bah! Now that we were beginning to be pressed for time (daylight) we decided to not run up to the Ranger Creek point of the course, but just charge up the Palisades trail (1198!) passed the wooden staircase, as that is the majority of the incline for that section of the course. It was tough going for me, having forgotten how brutal and long the ascent is and my ever fading energy levels. I had also acquired a horrible set of blisters on my left heel from running through the snow. Running uphill had become extremely painful, but downhill was fine. Once I caught up with Paul at the top of the stairs, we bolted back out to the car ready to take on the next challenge of the day: soaking in the White River. I’ve spoken before on how I feel about the miracle of ice baths and since this river is just glacial runoff, it is the perfect ending to a long day of running. In theory. Scott Jurek is known for his love of soaking in White River for 15 minutes. I think Paul and I lasted about 2 minutes. After which we took our blue toes to the car and headed for Wapiti Woolies.
In keeping tradition with the WR50 preview runs we were a part of last year, we made the obligatory post-run stop for a milkshake at Wapiti Woolies. They also have the raddest chairs made from old skis.