Thursday, August 15, 2013

El Vaquero Loco 50k- Race Report

Wassup? (Photo: Forrest Stuart)

It has been awhile...not just since my last post but since I last raced. I wish I could say I forgot my password to log into my blog but that isn't the case. It has been a mixture of being busy and lazy - I will call it 50/50. Either way a lot has happened since my last post- post race foot injury from Buffalo run which kept me out of solid training for a couple months, a few DNS and then an epic trip to Silverton for Softrock. Between all that, I got some new major responsibilities at work and I tried to be a solid dad and husband. I think with juggling all those things I didn't reach heights in any of them. So lets call March until August mediocre. Enough of that let's get to a report about my favorite race- El Vaquero Loco!

This race found its way into my heart last year and I have been excited ever since to get back. You combine the stunning views with a well organized race then throw in a solid course and top that with an amazing RD and well- you get a trails runners piece of heaven.
I headed up early Friday morning with Curtis, Jim and Corey to make sure we got a good camp spot for us and the rest of the HUMR crew. After last years debacle, this little piece of the story was a must and very critical. We pulled into the Cottonwood Lake CG and found just the spot to call home. We set up camp and headed back into town for some lunch. After lunch we headed back to camp to wait for the rest of our HUMR family. Our crew brought all kinds of food and we started a fire and began our a nice little HUMR potluck- campground style. After we hit the buffet we set off to check into the race. We collected our nice race SWEATSHIRT and got our bibs and chips. We then headed back to Camp HUMR for the night. After a few hours of "story time" we all headed off to get some much needed rest....night-night time.


Saturday morning 5 am- Camp HUMR came to life- sort of. You could hear tents unzipping and trailer doors closing and the steady flow of morning relief. After we got ready we all headed over to the start line and eagerly awaited the start.
Mr. Ty Draney got us underway and as I ran by Camp HUMR I stopped to grab my UltrAspire Alpha vest before I headed up a solid 3 1/2 mile grinder up the mountain. I saw several familiar faces and places on the climb and just wanted to take it steady. No rush, no push. After reaching the top I tightened my laces for some fun singletrack switchbacks. The views are amazing and since I was familiar with the course I was excited to get going as I anticipated every turn. As we came up to the first of the 2 alpine lakes I was reminded of the biggest reason why I run these races. After the climb out of the 2nd lake it was time for 7+ miles of downhill with a couple little rollers thrown in near the turn around in order to keep us honest. A few miles before the turnaround I saw the 50k leader and eventual winner -to no ones surprise, Luke Nelson. He is truly one of the great people in the sport and it is always a pleasure to see him. Sometime after seeing Luke the 25k runners started coming through. This is where it can get spooky on the singletrack. As I got the a stream crossing I saw a line of 25k runners lined up ready to cross on a log bridge. I wasn't in the mood to wait so I plowed right through the creek with out breaking stride. It felt great and made the 5th grader in me smile. As I was exiting the creek a few runners got a little upset that I apparently splashed them and for that I am extremely sorry ;).

How I felt before the race.

How I felt near the end of the race.

At the turnaround I was greeted and heckled a bit by the RD as he complimented me on my calves and posterior. He knew it was all due to my Skecher Shape-ups he accused me of wearing. At the AS I saw Lane and Steve with a amazing HUMR AS of their own. I grab a couple slices of bacon and chugged a itty bitty Coke- it made me feel like a GIANT! I waited a few minutes for Jim so I would have someone to pull me up the 7 1/2 mile grind back to the lakes. Jim and I ran together for most of this section and as we saw a waterfall he said- "most people will never get to see that". How true and more on that later. As we left the second lake something happened that has never happened to me before in a 50k- I started to get sick. I let Jim go and I started to walk to figure out what was going on. Here is where I began to think:

  • Where I was in the race? 
  • How much time was I wasting? 
  • How many people are gonna go by me? 
  • Will there still be PBR at the finish when I get back?
  • Why is my stomach in knots?
I hit the last AS and spent about 30 minutes sipping on a Coke to see if that would help. I decided that my Whole Food diet I had been on for 4 weeks may have made my stomach a little too snooty for race food. 
I decided I might as well get up and crawl up the last climb and see what happens on the 3 1/2 mile torturous downhill. Right before the climb Breein came up behind with a big smile (yes a real surprise she had a smile) she asked how I was, I mumbled and she then charged on by. About half way up the swithcbacks the my stomach finally started to settle so when I hit the top I took one last look of the amazing view and the feet downhill and just ran..ran to the bottom of that damn mountain. I ran the last couple miles with Breein and when we hit the campground the HUMR crew was there with some cheers and beers. I dropped my pack and headed to the finish to get me some Huckleberry soda.
As I crossed I was glad to be done. Glad to get that one behind me in my preparation for Wasatch. 
It wasn't the race I was hoping for but I got a real god reminder that I hope to carry with me from here on out.
  • Don't worry or think about where you are in the race, think about where you are.
So here are a few things that I thought about throughout the race.
  • This is the most beautiful course I have ever been on.
  • I miss races like this that DO NOT get too hyped.
  • I miss camping.
  • Wonder what Luke could do on this course with someone really pushing him.
  • Being a HUMR is pretty special.
  • I bet a raspberry filled powdered donut would help my sick stomach.
  • I wish Wasatch was 2 months away.
  • Squirrel!
All in all not a great race but I hope to keep in mind more the real reason I do this.
Congrats to all the HUMR's and runners. And to you Mr Ty Draney if you ever stumble on this blog post, I want you to know I am starting a new campaign to make sure you "KEEP EL VAQUERO LOCO ALIVE!"

Post race: Lake Yoga (Photo: Jo Agnew)


lindsay lauck said...

I love that - Don't think about where you are in the race - think about where you are

Harry said...

Great report! You'll be ready to for Wasatch.

Harry said...

ready to go that is...

Anonymous said...

I have missed your posts ! I can't wait to see ya @ Wasatch ! I love you ! I have said too much ! :)
Danny Widerburg