Last weekend I participated in the Peterson Ridge Rumble 40 miler, outside Sisters, Oregon. It turned out to be a perfect day for trail running. Temps were in the upper 40's starting out and then gradually warmed to almost 60 degrees. After taking almost 2 months off from late January to early March due to a pretty severe injury to both my feet I was happy to have even finished the race. It was my longest run to date by about 3 miles. To be honest, it was probably a little too much too soon, but I'm still glad I ran the race. It gave me a taste of what to expect later this summer when I run the White River 50 mile. I'm very accustomed to spending many hours at a time out running in the mountains; however these runs are much more relaxed. I like to take pictures; rest at the best viewpoints and springs; and really just soak in the beauty of my surroundings. Racing for several hours is so very different. It requires an enormous amount of strength and mental toughness to maintain pace and form when the body starts hurting later in the race. I feel I had a good race - I didn't bonk at least. I managed to finish in 4th place, about 13 minutes behind the winner, Max King. Max seems to win just about every race he enters. In 2011, he added to an already impressive resume by winning the world mountain running championships. It seemed that at each aid station he would wait for us to refuel before setting off again. He finally began joking with us saying we were the slowest people he'd ever seen at an aid station. He was using a small hydration pack, while 90 percent of the other runners, including myself used a small water bottle. After running with Max and Zack, the second place finisher, for about 20 miles they opened up a small lead. We turned off a dirt road and onto singletrack that paralleled a small creek. I was so focused on the creek that I missed a turn to the right and ran at least 1/4 mile in the wrong direction. Damn. I retraced my steps and got back on course. The course had been relatively mellow up until this point. It then began climbing very steadily for 3 miles to the 26 mile aid station. I had to stop halfway into the climb and dry heave repeatedly. This has never happened to me. Although I seldom eat gels, I had one at almost every aid station. I'm pretty sure they were the culprit. I spent the rest of the race with an annoying side stitch on my right side. I don't think it slowed me down that much but it didn't make the rest of the race very fun.
When the course topped out at around 4200' the views were spectacular. The snowy mantles of Broken Top, the Sisters, Mount Jefferson and Three Fingered Jack were all visible. The race finished up after one loop around the track at Sisters Middle School. There was a great feast afterward of salmon, burritos and desserts catered by Longboard Louie's and Nancy P's. Sean Meissner organized the race which benefits the Sisters Cross Country team. Thanks to all the volunteers and sponsors for making the race such a success. I'm really glad I took part.