All posts for the month May, 2012

What did I learn on this race? Only red neck runners get a heart rate monitor sun burn.

The Yakima Skyline Rim 50 km has some climbing. In fact, have a look at the profile below, you see that one is pretty much uphilling or downhilling the whole race. 9263′ positive cumulative elevation gain.


One of the nice features of this race is the total lack of warm up with a transition of 200 flat  yards over the bridge across the river to a 5km, 2300′ climb that takes you to the top of the first mountain. I ran this way too fast hitting 97% maximum heart rate. This is about the worst thing you can do in an ultra as it’s impossible to hold that kind of effort. Whatever, I thought. I deal with that later.

At the top, I was rewarded with views of mountains all around and perfect blue sky. Mt Rainier stood out to the west. I traversed the ridge and  had fun dancing my way down a rocky, well overgrown piece of single track  all the way back to the river. On my way up the second mountain, I could see forever and a few guys chasing me about 300 yards back. We played, closing and opening the gap for a long time.  As I descended to the river for the turnaround, I could really feel the heat. It was 25 c and I’d been running on snow all winter. The sun pounded on my back as I returned up the mountain for my third climb.

At the top of the climb, I dunked my head quickly in a filthy stock tank and a runner passed me. Determined, I  re-passed him and gained the lead  again but he stayed behind me until I lost sight of  him on the way down the next hill. I crossed the valley bottom and on the transition up on the last climb  I looked back and Adam Hewey came out of nowhere and flew past me on a very steep up slope.  I climbed after him, redlining in the punishing sun.

Here and there between the sage and the open grass, a few flowers were blooming. The landscape was barren and beautiful but I didn’t lift my eyes to look at the top of the mountain. I needed my little zone of comfort. Serenity in the 12 feet in front of me and a buffer from thoughts of continuing the climb at pace. If I could only reach the river at the end, I’d dive in it and all this heat would instantly vanish in the cool water.

I made my way across the top of the mountain running into many people from the 25km race and some tourists. I caught the winding trail down and about half a mile in I snagged a foot and hit the brush at breakneck downhill speed. Back up as fast as I could, I kept heading down into the steeper terrain onto the rocky sections.

I sprinted the bridge and crossed the finish line in 2nd place with a 5:36:04.

The technical trail, beautiful terrain and massive climbing make this race sensational. Rainshadow running puts on a great event.