Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Cougar Mountain Marathon

Craig-Szablewski Wedding PC Johnny Vogel
After a nineteen week hiatus from competing in a race, it was finally time to toe the line once again. It was far from an uneventful break however, in the time between races, I passed my PT board exam, traveled back east to get married, traveled around Peru for a month and landed my first PT position in Okanogan County.
I decided that the Cougar Mountain Marathon in Issaquah, would be the best choice for a tune up race before the IMTUF 100. Although the race location required a lengthy drive across the state, Apryle and I were able to stop in Peshastin Pennacles State Park for some climbing the day before the race which broke up the monotony of the road.

Climbing Peshastin Pennacles
The past two months I have been focusing intently on vertical gain, time on the feet and a weekly long run. In my first two hundred mile attempts I focused on high weekly mileage without a standout long run, which gave me subpar results. Therefore, in the lead up to my third hundred mile race, I have been altering my approach.

The Cougar Mountain Marathon would serve as a measuring stick in terms of pacing on a hilly course and also serve as one of my weekly long runs. I had run in the area a few times prior when I lived in Seattle, so I was familiar with the trails. However, I have rarely run at Cougar Mountain without getting lost, the race was no exception.

Adam & I Pre Race
I started out quick to build a lead early, that I could hopefully hold onto throughout the later stages of the race. Unfortunately, I took my first wrong turn about 7 miles into the race and lost my lead. I was forced to back track and reel back in my competitors. I was able to build up a few minute lead before the turnaround section when I was able to see their position on course relative to mine.

Onto the Trail
Around the halfway point in the race on longer loop section I realized that I made a costly mistake taking only a 17 ounce handheld. I assumed after running in 100+ weather on the east side of the Cascades, I would be well equipped to handle the cooler weather on the west side. Furthermore, I can think of very few times I have even taken water with me on a race as short as the marathon, let alone a hydration vest. But I believe that my abysmal pace in the last few miles was due in large part to dehydration.

Apryle & I at McLaughin Canyon
Not only was I dehydrated, it seemed that the course was swept in some key areas for the final loop. I took a few more wrong turns, and was forced to use the map feature on my garmin to navigate the course. This worked fairly well and at the final intersection I caught a glimpse of the second place runner who was also having a difficult time navigating the course. I kicked it into gear on the last mile and managed to pull out the win with a few bonus miles along the way.

Course (Strava)
With the exception of my poor hydration strategy, the bonus miles, and the slow time; I really enjoyed the day. As always my wife was there to support me and cheer me on to the finish. My good friend Adam Braddock was there running the 14 miler and cheering me on to the finish as well. The aid station volunteers were extremely helpful and course terrain, scenery and topography made the entire journey a worthwhile experience.

Cougar Mountain Marathon
Elevation Profile (Strava)
Post race recovery consisted of a 20 mile run on the Tonasket back roads and Carter Mountain Natural Area trails. This was made much more manageable with some company from Apryle on the latter half of the run. In the end I was surprised how well my legs recovered from the previous days effort. Overall I was quite happy with my 26/20 back-to-back and look forward to a few more prior to the hundred miler in mid September.

Training Stats

Month Dates Mileage Time Vertical (ft) Long Run
April 3 to 9 21.36 5:43:35 4,085 8
April 10 to 16 49.26 8:04:11 5,918 7.11
April 17 to 23 68.67 11:01:07 7,680 20.01
April 24 to 30 47.54 6:33:28 4,750 20.05
May 1 to 7 68.14 10:18:53 7,805 12.63
May 8 to 14 74.31 10:20:52 9,937 16.96
May 15 to 21 68.63 9:43:18 6,959 10.07
May 22 to 28 62.46 8:54:01 5,178 10.01
May 29 to 4 77.76 10:52:51 3,675 16.16
June 5 to 11 51.91 13:13:21 12,844 12.41
June 12 to 18 25.82 9:41:11 8,464 8.99
June 19 to 25 83.21 22:49:55 11,539 17.43
June 26 to 2 63.14 8:31:58 2,982 10.1
July 3 to 9 95.55 18:31:29 13,494 26.1
July 10 to 16 75.52 11:33:38 10,643 18.37
July 17 to 23 75.75 12:51:59 7,779 20.06
July 23 to 30 89.36 17:25:04 23,556 39
August 31 to 6 61.62 8:32:27 10,640 11.6
August 7 to 13 66.87 10:28:29 10,883 26.25
19 Weeks 1226.88 215:11:47 168,811 39

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