Friday, May 3, 2013

Gorge Waterfall 50K

I have been wanting to run the Gorge Waterfall 50K since James initiated the event 2 years ago because everyone who participates raves about the scenery. With San Diego 100 approaching in June, I would use this race as a long training run. In the past when doing a 50K as a training run, I have often piled on the mileage and used a 50K race as a way to get a really big volume week even though it can result in slow running during the race. This year my coach gave me an easy week going into the Gorge race and suggested taking it easy for the first 10 miles or so but then after that to take some risks if things were going well. Since the race starts with a 1500 foot climb, I never really took it easy, but ran pretty hard for the entire course. My average heart rate was 155, just a little lower than the 161 I averaged during January's marathon although this event took considerably longer as I finished in 4:54.

Elevation profile

The course was harder than I expected. It only has about 5000 feet of climbing, but the trail is fairly technical with lots of rocky sections. The rockiness compounded a problem created by my own stupidity. I have orthotics which are attached to insoles and I have taken the normal insoles out of all my shoes. I forgot to bring the orthotics with me on the trip to Oregon which would not have been a big deal, but I did not have any insoles in my Salomon Speedcross 3 shoes. It turned out that Hokas would have been a much better choice of shoe to deal with the rocky trail. The combination of hard rocky trail, no insole and no orthotics had my feet sore and cramping during the second half of the race.

Photo by Glenn Tachiyama

Despite all the raves I had read going into the race, I have to admit that it is unlikely I would do this race again, at least in the current out and back format. I'm not sure why the original point to point course became an out and back. The entire route is near the highway and you rarely are out of earshot.  There is a two plus mile section where you run on the road approaching the turn around. After a mile or so on the trail to the turnaround, you have to do the road section again. The waterfalls are great, but they are a huge tourist attraction so that the trail near Multnomah falls is really clogged with hordes of hikers. We had a beautiful day for the race, sunny skies and temperatures approaching 70 and I am glad that I finally got to participate in this event.

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