Saturday, May 13, 2017

The curse of pointy heels: Modifying shoes for Haglund's deformity

First off, Haglund's deformity is an extra bony growth on the heel, typically a little lateral to the Achilles tendon. It is not to be confused with a heel spur which is under the foot. A technical definition of Haglund's deformity would be an abnormal prominence of the posterosuperior border of the calcaneous.

If you have this heel bump you may not have known the name, but you would have certainly felt it! It would have rubbed on your shoes and gotten inflamed, or maybe you repeatedly wear through the back of your shoes on the inside. Luckily, there is surgery available to correct this if it's really bothersome. The inflammation, a bursitis of the back of the heel, is called Haglund's syndrome. It's thought that the inflammation actually leads to the bony growth, not the other way around. Nonetheless, the rubbing and pain is worst in shoes with rigid heels.
Haglund's deformity *not my foot*

Since I figured out I was a little abnormal in 2013 (I can't believe it took that long either...) I've been modifying my shoes so that I don't wear out my heels or the backs of my shoes. I have two methods for this. The first method is to simply cut a hole in the back of my shoe where the growth on my heel is. This works, but it isn't pretty and wouldn't work well for trails. I've only done this modification once, on a pair of road shoes where the inside fabric was already wearing through (see below). Be careful with cutting through the hard plastic - I found cutting pliers can be useful, along with an x-acto knife/scalpel.

Method 1 - cut a hole and leave it open.
Sew around the edge if you want.
The second method has proven quite reliable and comfortable, though it involves a little more work. I cut in through the back of the shoe, snip out some of the hard plastic making sure to keep the inner fabric intact, then sew up the incision site. Step by step instructions follow below where I cut into a new pair of Altra Lone Peak 3.0's.

Keep in mind this may decrease the stability of the shoe. Also it will void your ability to return the shoes, which is a bit of a problem since this modification is best done when you first get the shoes and the inside fabric hasn't been worn at all.

Step 1 - draw on your cut.
Step 1 is to figure out where you're going to cut. For me this is a little lateral to midline, and about the middle third of the height of the shoe (2cm). At the top and bottom of this we need to cut left and right about 1 cm, making an "I". Ideally, the top incision should be just at the top of the hard plastic inside - you can feel this by bending the top of the heel of the shoe.

Step 2 is to cut! Cut in so that you get to the plastic, but don't go through it into the inner fabric.

 
Step 2 complete, ready for Step 3. White is plastic with
glued on layer of fabric.
Step 3 is to remove the plastic. Take care to separate the inner fabric from the plastic if it's glued on, that way you don't damage it. Use your knife or your snipping pliers to remove a "U" shaped piece of plastic approximately where your heel deformity is. Make sure the piece you're taking out is as large or larger than your bump.

Step 4 is to double check that enough plastic has been removed and in the right spot. So, put on your shoe and lace it up. Feel the back of the shoe for your heel bump relative to the area without plastic. If they don't line up or there is still some plastic rubbing your heel, take that out too.

All done. Not pretty, but it works!
Step 5 is to close it up and sew the flaps together. To ensure the flaps don't rip open I use upholstery thread (Tex 75) as it's super strong, though I'm sure normal thread would work too. As I'm sewing, I only go through the outer layers to keep the inner layer intact; this seems to do the trick. A pair of pliers can be handy if the shoe material takes a lot of effort to punch through with your needle/thread combo, just make sure to use non-cutting pliers! Also, to save time, only sew the vertical cut as the horizontal ones don't seem to matter much.

Now get out there and run!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Gluten-Free Banana-Nut Date Loaf


This loaf recipe is the result of an experiment to see if we could make a super running snack using mostly nuts, chocolate and fruit, no flour needed. So yes it's gluten free, but that wasn't really the intention. As expected it's a little denser than a traditional loaf, but oh so tasty! Full recipe is at the bottom.

  
We started by blending dates, cashews, chocolate

 
Mashed our banana

Added all the wet ingredients to the blended ones.

Mixed in the baking power

Baked, cooled and cut!


PDF printable instructions for this Gluten-Free Banana-Nut Date Loaf can be found here


Ingredients
  • 1 cup, or 16 pitted dates
  • 1 cup unsalted cashews
  • 4 oz unsweetened baker’s chocolate
  • 2 extra large eggs
  •  2 large bananas
  • ¼ cup natural peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
 Directions

  • Use a food processor or blender to process dates, cashews and chocolate into a fine, sand-like consistency
  • Transfer to a bowl (optional; you could do everything in the blender) and add in eggs, beaten banana and peanut butter
  •  Mix in baking powder
  •  Transfer to a greased baking tin
  •  Bake at 350 deg C for approximately 30 mins
  • Allow to cool for 3-5 minutes before removing from pan. Cool further before slicing.
  • Enjoy!



Nutrition Facts
Per 1/8 of the loaf.
Calories 315
                               % Daily Value *
Total Fat 20 g 30 %
   Saturated Fat 6 g 28 %
   Monounsaturated Fat 0 g
   Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g
   Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 53 mg 18 %
Sodium 145 mg 6 %
Potassium 126 mg 4 %
Total Carbohydrate 33 g 11 %
   Dietary Fiber 5 g 18 %
   Sugars 18 g
Protein 9 g 18 %
Vitamin A 3 %
Vitamin C 4 %
Calcium 10 %
Iron 23 %




Thursday, January 5, 2017

A Runners Tale - When Life Gets in the Way and Doesn't Even Give You Lemons

The last few years have been a rollercoaster of classic 'life got in the way' moments, which I'm sure you've gathered from the fact that our posts ceased to exist after February 2015. This year I've got 100 mile dreams, and I want to be able to share the experience with you! But before I go big, I need to step back and walk you through a thing or two:
1) My introduction to trail running and my glorious 'rise' to a solid middle of the pack runner.
2) The reason(s) why we disappeared in 2015, complete with legitimate excuses for not running a 100 miler sooner.
3) Highlights of some of our recent adventures.
Bonus Track: The injury that has plagued me for years, that I liked to pretend didn't exist.

In 2011, I ran my first ever trail race. It was only 12k. What did I learn? You can fit a surprising number of evil hills in such a short distance! I remember flying down each hill feeling super human, and walking up every hill sadly out of breath wondering "Why on earth am I doing this". I would proceed to cross the finish line, forget the pain, and eagerly sign up for the next race vowing to train more.

For the next few years the pattern was very similar.
1) Sign up for race, planning to train ridiculous amounts
[Optional: 2a) Start out strong, train really hard for two weeks, get injured. Stop running.]
2) Realize the race is in a couple weeks and you really haven't trained. Start taper.
3) Run race, feel pain, vow never to do it again
4) Cross the finish line, feeling elated! That was AWESOME! Forget pain.
5) Eagerly sign up for longer race, vowing to train more...
6) Repeat steps 1-5
That, ladies and gentleman, is how to be a solid middle of the pack runner.

The calm before the pain! MOMAR 2016
By August of 2014, I middle of the packed myself all the way through the Fatdog 70 miler. After completing it, in true middle of the packer fashion, I signed up for the Sinister 7 100 miler in July 2015. In March of 2015 my job took me up north to Yellowknife and beyond, where I worked 12 hour days on a 2 and 2 rotation. It took a bit of getting used to, and my days were typically eat, sleep, work, repeat [insert wicked techno beat here]. My two weeks off went by so fast I rarely got any good training in. By June I knew there was no way a hundred miler was an option. With high hopes of more time to train, I deferred my entry to 2016.
The Bucket of Blood post MOMAR

2016 didn't exactly go as planned either (for me, or a number of celebrities). We decided to try our hand at adventure racing, and got all geared up to mountain bike. Which by the way is TERRIFYING. I mean, I love adventure. However, learning to mountain bike at 26 years old on the North Shore mountains isn't exactly the easiest task in the world. Then I went up north for work again, which means training (as per usual) was nearly non-existant. By the time we got to the race, I had been on the mountains maybe three times (One of which we had a chance encounter with a cute little bear). Three times DOES NOT prepare you for trails named "Bucket of Blood". It does, however, prepare you to become a bucket of blood. Luckily we went with a team of four with various strengths and weaknesses. This meant I could successfully run the downhills with my bike without getting behind... which for the record I DO NOT recommend. I had bruises on my legs for DAYS. Not to mention the bushwacking (orienteering) through thorns to finish the race that added some nice fresh blood to the disaster in the making.

Not all things were bad, I married the amazing man that got me into this crazy trail running madness (On the same weekend as Sinister, so deferred that again to 2017). We went on a glorious honeymoon to Iceland, and would 100% move there if the weather in July stayed all year round...

The real fun, however, came near the end of 2016. I signed up for the BMO half-marathon so that I could run with my brother (Okay, fine I signed up for the full marathon and dropped to the half because I failed to train, yet again). We then took on the Cultus Lake 30k, which I've signed up for for the past two years but conveniently been away for work so never actually had to run it. This race is great. I forgot about all of the crazy hills, and as always was ill-prepared. Halfway through I got a bug in my eye that the lovely aid-station people managed to get out! Thank you! Then my calves cramped like never before and I could barely jump over puddles, or logs, or anything. I contemplated rolling down the hill to the finish. I crossed the finish line second in my category, but there was only a handful of people in my category to start! The Phantom 24k in November went as well as can be expected on very little training. I nearly didn't run the race, and wasn't sure I could even going up to the start line. I figured worse case scenario I drop at half, which is conveniently the start/finish.

This next part of my story is hard for me to write about, which is why I haven't. Here's the part where if you don't want to get to know me too well, you should pick up a novel, or turn on the tv, or go for a run (I love running)! But for someone, somewhere this may be relevant.

So, taking a step back in time to the winter of 2014... I went into emergency at VGH because 'things' were bleeding and I was in a whole lot of pain (excruciating, can't sleep, or move, WHAT HAVE I DONEE?! kind of pain). I know "things" doesn't really help much, and I bet you're sitting there wondering how many places I could have been bleeding from that would take me to emergency. I'll leave you in suspense until we get to the diagnosis in 2016. After all, if I had to wait nearly 2 years, you can wait a few minutes. For now, lets just say this pain led to a team of gynaecologists staring at me, sending Chris out of the room, and repeatedly asking if I was sexually abused.
Dr: Have you been sexually abused?
Me: No, I just run really far and play a lot of sports.
Dr: Are you sure you haven't been abused, this is very typical of sexual abuse victims.
Me: No, I just run really far. Like farther than marathons far. Often.
I basically spent my entire day explaining this to multiple Doctors. At the end of the day I was told to rest and bathe in Epsom salts and to take it easy. I left frustrated that there was no solution or diagnosis, especially considering I had been feeling pain/discomfort off and on before this. The follow up appointment was made slightly more bearable as the Doctor was genuinely excited to meet someone so stupidly active.
Luckily I survived through the rest of 2014 and 2015 running like a wild person without too many hiccups! The only race I had to cut short was my first ever attempt at the Vancouver 100 where I felt great at the 50k mark, but certain 'things' weren't so pleased with the distance.

In the spring of 2016 I was still feeling pain on and off, and by this point the pain had been affecting my running and biking and life more and more. I decided to see what a different doctor at a walk-in clinic thought. She recognized it right away and recommended me to a urologist (yay?) who only had a six month wait (double yay?). When I finally saw the urologist he said I had a urethral carunkle... WTF is a urethral carunkle? (Do NOT google this. You do not want to know.) It's basically a common ailment in older people where your urethral lining is hanging outside where it really shouldn't be. Just so happens that in 2014 it was so inflamed/bruised/bloody that nobody knew what they were looking at (triple yay!). Turns out every time I ran or biked really far in the previous 3 years it would get inflamed and hurt or bleed. So now it's 2016 and we finally know what it is. Phew. Now to fix it. Step one was a rather awkward and uncomfortable cream that did nothing. Step 2 was surgery... AHHH!

Three weeks ago, on December 14, I had surgery to get it removed! I don't wish this on anyone. For the first week after the surgery I couldn't do much other than sit on the couch (in pain). By the second week I could walk, but I am still far from running. My hope is to be able to start training again at the end of January. The best part of the surgery was when they injected the general anesthetic. You can feel burning/tingling/crawling up your arm, and then you breathe it out like fire and fall into a deep sleep. I'm not sure what my super power is yet, but when I figure it out I'll be sure to let you know!

So 2017 brings with it the hope of finally running pain free! A chance to train (or not train) and run some fantastic races that I've put off for a couple of years!

It's time for running to get in the way of life, forget the lemons.

Happy Trails!
J.B.Resting

Friday, February 13, 2015

Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud - My recent lack of motivation and surprising success at the Orca's Island 50k

Mud, mud, glorious mud
Nothing quite like it for cooling the blood
So follow me follow, down to the hollow
And there let me wallow in glorious mud!


Before we dive into the glorious mudbowl that was the 2015 edition of the Orcas Island 50km, let's step back a few months so that we can apologize for our lack of riveting blogging material.

Cascade Falls along the race course
I'll attribute my lack of writing to a few roadblocks I hit in the final months of 2014:
September - My failure to complete REDFAM left me rather disappointed (Probably not the best way to recover from a big race, but I'll keep dreaming!). 
October - I had to work the weekend of the Cultus Lake Giv'r take 30, which left me further unmotivated. 
November - I chose to go for the short 12k Phantom race to work on my speed a little (I've previously done the 19k and 24k). My ankle was giving me a bit of trouble so I wore my ankle brace, unfortunately this resulted in my right leg going numb for the latter half of the race (Is it worth stopping to take off your ankle brace in such a short race, or do you just suck it up?). I still set a PB for the course - so it's not all bad!

Hardly events to brag about - and nothing I was motivated to write about at the time.

In December we had begun training for the Orca's Island 50, and we'd rang in the new year with a solid 15 mile long run distance.
If I thought the end of 2014 was frustrating, the start of 2015 brought in a whole new bag of surprises.
I started off the year feeling a little tired/dizzy. I had myself convinced I was iron deficient right up until the doctor told me I had a low platelet count. This led to a few more blood tests, and a whole lot of worrying. Needless to say, with the start of January came very little running.
After a few more visits to the doctor I was assured that everything was fine and I could run along as usual (it was probably just a nasty virus).  This left me a whole two weeks to train for the race! Who needs to taper? We'll just train through it and hope we survive!

View from Mt. Constitution - the highest point in the race
Had to go back the next day for this view!
With at least one 18 miler under my belt in the last few weeks, we headed over to the island the night before the race. Had we been a little more prepared, we may have managed to get on a ferry that got us to the island before 11 PM. Lucky for us when we got to the island all the campsites were full too! Thankfully we had set up a nice little bunker in the back of the new outback to snooze in on the ferry and we were able to park right next to the race start to get in a good six hour sleep (Who can actually sleep the night before a race, anyways?). Not me! The pouring rain all night was not a sleep aid. 
We woke up to the pitter-patter of raindrops on the roof, and with little time invested in training for the race there was VERY little motivation to get out of bed that morning.
Somehow I managed to pull myself together, pull on a rain jacket, and start the race. 
I did not regret this decision.... yet.
The first hour of the race I was a small child stomping through mud puddles without a care in the world. And then the first uphill came. The uphills were relentless, and the downhills were so mud-logged none of us knew whether we were running or skiing.
A few hours into the race I had a pretty good idea this was going to be a full day affair. And then the uphill came. The real uphill. By this I mean straight uphill practically crawling through the mud, and just when you think its over you turn the corner, look up into the sky, and see people. WAY. UP. THERE.

I don't know how I kept going. But I do know a good part of my motivation was knowing that if I finish I can say I've done it and I will NEVER have to do it again. Never again until next time, right?!
Zoomed shot of Mt. Baker!
I don't remember what I ate, though I'm confident it wasn't near enough. However, I do very clearly remember the second aid station, where it was announced someone had gone to the hospital as they had fallen and been spiked with a branch. 
I managed to only fall once the whole race - but I did have several Matrix like near-fall events.
I would like to thank the nice runner who lit a fire under my butt at 12:25 when he says "I think the aid station cutoff is 12:30." I ran the next few miles a lot faster than I needed to, at least until I realized that was the cutoff for the previous aid station.
After nearly 8 hours of sliding around in the glorious mud, I crossed the finish line!
I still can't believe I did it!! Not too bad considering our longest training run was about 3 hours!

At the end of it all, I have to say I would go back, despite telling Chris I'd never do another one of these when I crossed the finish line (what's the definition of insanity again?). I would hope for a little less mud next time, but what's the fun in that?!

I left Orcas island motivated as ever - and ready to plan our next running adventure!

Let's go lets go lets go!!!
 
J.B.Running

Friday, September 26, 2014

RED FALMOST

On September 1st I took on a challenge I thought would be extremely rewarding. Two weeks after my 70 mile Fat Dog adventure I decided to take on REDFAM - Run Every Day For A Month.
I was excited to get back running after two weeks off - and what better way to get back to running than doing it everyday?
It's safe to say that after twenty-five straight days of running - only 5 days away from making the full month - I'm giving up.
Though I'm not sure giving up is the right way to put it.
Running everyday is HARD!
It wasn't long until my legs were sore. Every. Day.
It's hard to be motivated to run the next day when your legs are still sore from the day before. And the day before that. And the day before that.
Long runs became nearly impossible - and I began to settle for shorter and shorter runs.
Lesson learned: you don't need to run every day to be well trained. I certainly don't!
So tomorrow I will be proud and somewhat relieved to take a much needed day off - and rest up for a nice long weekend run! :)

Monday, September 8, 2014

Surprise! Bonnevier trail is beautiful

Along the forestry road section!

In doing the FatDog trail race for the last two years, I have never had the chance to see Bonnevier Trail in the daylight. All I’ve ever seen is a bright patch of trail with a pair of feet plodding away up the hill. This weekend I finally got my chance to see just what I’d been up against.
The turn onto Bonnevier Trail

On Saturday, Jenna’s mom dropped us off at the bottom of Bonnevier Trail just east of Manning Park, and planned to meet us up on Heather Trail at the top with her grandma.
Beautiful single track near the top of the false peak (Kandahar Peak)

After the initial forestry road section, we turned onto Bonnevier Trail proper, and, surprise! It’s beautiful! The trail is a nice single-track, that gently winds upward, with a few downhill and flat sections. Having climbed through super dry areas, lush forests and swathes of deadfall, it seems like you’ve reached the top of the mountain. Of course, this is part of FatDog and that would be too easy! So next comes a significant downhill section that drops about 200m over a couple kilometers. The good part is that it’s totally runnable! Too bad I’ve always been too tired to run it.

Gorgeous views of the surrounding valleys and mountains!
After the drop, the trail continues switch-backing upwards, eventually reaching open alpine meadows with beautiful vistas of the Three Brothers peaks and the surrounding area.

View of Big Buck Mountain and the First Brother in the distance
One thing that didn’t differ from the race was how long the alpine meadow section felt! It’s only a few kilometers, but it feels like it goes on forever!
Running through the meadows
Reaching Heather Trail we caught up with Jenna’s family and hiked out to Blackwall Peak, concluding our adventure for the day.
Hiking out to Blackwall Peak with Jenna's family

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Less pain, more fun, and my love of aid stations

Even before the race I knew things were going to be different at this year's FatDog120. Training was going really well, we managed to get out for a number of runs on the course, and we put in some really long back-to-back days through July. All that training gave me the confidence to go into the race without a pacer or crew, plus I knew that if I went really slow my dad or Jenna would catch up to me, so all was good.
On Thursday the pre-race briefing in Manning Park was a real eye-opener... there was five times more people than last year, so many that they were spilling out the doors! And thanks to Peter, (assistant RD) they all knew I was 'the guy wearing the silver skirt in last year's race video', yay...
Hoards of runners at the start line!
Anyway, we stayed the night at Stemwinder campground near Keremeos, and somehow managed to get a full 9 hours of sleep!
The morning of the race we were greeted by throngs of people! We had two bus-fulls driving to the start, which I thought was a lot, but arriving at the actual start was something else entirely. Vehicles were lined up all along the small dirt road by Lakeview Creek Campground - We're definitely not in Kansas anymore!

At 10:02 AM on Friday, the gun (bear banger) went off and it was time to hit the trails. Things went fairly smoothly up the first climb to Red Mountain through Cathedral Park. I wasn't having any foot or shoe problems like I did last year at this time so I was hopeful! Also, it only sprinkled on us for about five minutes before clearing up for the rest of the day. Thanks to Sam for the company on this section!

Pano of the top of Red Mountain in Cathedral Park! (Sam in the left corner)
Coming into Ashnola, the first major aid station, I was right on track for a 40-hour finish according to my pace chart from UltraSplits. The second climb up to Trapper Aid went well and I got in a few minutes before my pace schedule. From here I ran up to Flattop Mountain with a fellow from Victoria - the people are great at these races. Near the top I was warned by another runner that if I wasn't careful I'd take off 10 hours from last year's time. All I could think from then on was that if I was careful I could take off 10 hours from my time!

Calcite Aid Station was in a slightly different spot this year which was a little confusing, but it had some really great food nonetheless - salted potatoes, cheese quesadillas, and some sort of greasy fried bread... so yummy!
On the descent into Pasayten River I saw the first hint of sun all day. It was just the motivation I needed to run the final bit to the river crossing. The water felt so good I could have stayed in there for hours, but instead I had to settle for a refreshing rinse off. At this point I was half an hour ahead of schedule, uhoh!

Reaching Bonnevier Aid, I was pampered by the volunteers offering all sorts of foods and drinks as I changed my socks and shoes and got my night stuff ready (bear bell, music, headlamp, shot bloks with caffeine, etc). I probably should have taken them up on the offer and eaten more at this point because by half way up the climb to Heather Aid I was feeling extremely tired. From 10pm to 12am, it was all I could do to keep moving and not fall asleep on the trail! Luckily, there was another runner that I was able to tag along with for a little extra motivation. The real motivation though was the cheese quesadillas waiting at Heather Aid Station! And trust me, they didn't disappoint!
I tried not to stay long at Heather because it was rather chilly - we were in the clouds and there was a breeze over the alpine meadows. However, I did end up staying for nearly 15 minutes while drinking hot chocolate and eating.

Running towards Nicomen lake was certainly an adventure! The mist from the clouds made it hard to see more than several feet ahead on the trail. The only good part about the clouds was that they kept the day's heat in, at least when the wind wasn't blowing. The final descent into Nicomen Lake was the most treacherous part, given the rocky, scree-like nature of the trail and a slight lack of flagging for the misty conditions. At times I truly wondered if I was on the right trail at all! I did pull out my Suunto and reassure myself using the navigation functions that I was on the right track a couple times.
Finally at Nicomen, I enjoyed the most delicious piece of bacon I have ever had!! It was exactly what I needed at that point. Somehow I spent 10 minutes at the aid station, what could I possibly be doing for that time?! Continuing on I was feeling great, if not a little worried that I was still going too fast as I had reached Nicomen Lake 50 minutes ahead of schedule!

The descent into Cayuse Flats seems to take forever. Fortunately, my feet were still mostly intact (only a couple tender spots), unlike the fellow that I ran part of the descent with. I changed my socks at Cayuse and told myself I had to get them taped and fixed at Cascades if I didn't want to hate myself for the rest of the race. It was great to see Tim's mom helping out at Cayuse (she makes the best jam squares in case you were wondering!). Skagit Bluff Trail, and all of its glorious hills, wasn't nearly as long this year as it was last! Clearly, our training was paying off.

I managed to reach Cascades an hour and fifteen minutes ahead of schedule, yikes! But then I spent 45
Hanging out at Cascades aid station
minutes at the aid station drying my feet and getting them taped (thank you!) and eating everything I could! Potatoes, broth and watermelon are seriously fantastic!
Back on the road, it was time for the second highway section, which I managed to run at a reasonable pace and gain back some of the lost time from my prolonged stay at the aid station.
A quick stop at Sumallo Grove to use the bathroom and I was off and running. Yes, actually running! Not fast, mind you, but I'm fairly sure I did 11 or 12 minute miles for several miles. All this was spurred on by the fact I (momentarily) thought I could make a 36 hour finish. All I had to do was run the 10 miles from Sumallo to Shawatum in 2 hours, then the next section to Skyline in 2 hours, and that would leave me with 8 hours for the final 20 miles from Skyline to the finish. It sounded doable... until I got tired of maintaining a 12 minute mile pace halfway to Shawatum. Maybe 36 wasn't quite so doable, but sub-40 was still a possibility. It was at this point that I got passed by one of the 50-mile racers who encouraged me to run with him... yeah right!

I did manage to run the last couple miles into Shawatum, though this was really only possibly because walking was hurting the calluses on my heels - I thought those things were supposed to help?
Coming into Shawatum I was 1h20m ahead of the 40 hour pace, but I again spent a bunch of time at the aid station. Over 20 minutes, in fact, while I had my toes re-taped. This did give me time to refuel and rebugspray.
The next section to Skyline seemed to actually take forever, even longer that the part into Cayuse! I just wasn't going very fast; my feet were starting to get sore and the hills (I forgot that they were there) just weren't expected. I also may have been getting a little tired and delirious as I mistook a couple different stumps/bushes for people on the trail, oops. I was still doing 20 minute miles, so it could have been worse!

34 hours into the race, still looking fresh!
Skyline aid was a very welcome sight. Here I took the time to dry my feet and get them taped properly (thanks guys!) and change into my Altra Olympus shoes, a recent addition to my collection. I also took the time to devour some exceptionally delicious food. Really, it was heavenly! There was bacon and eggs and hashbrowns and smoothies! This really got me fueled up for the climb to Camp Mowich, which was fairly uneventful. I managed to reach the top in 3h15m, the same as when we hiked it in training! And the best part was that the sun didn't set till I was just out from the aid station.

My attempt at photographing one of the two owls I saw on
Skyline 2 trail. The two bright spots in the middle are its eyes.
At this point I was still an hour ahead of my 40 hour schedule, and I was still feeling fairly fresh. However, sitting at aid stations was starting to feel a little too good, I never wanted to move. On the trails the only thing that was bothering me were my feet and it was only really the downhills that hurt. I could still truck along on the flats and ups without any discomfort, but heck, whose feet wouldn't be a little sore at this point.

Peter and Nicola at Sky Junction!
After a seemingly long hike from Camp Mowich, I could finally hear familiar voices emanating from Sky Junction up through the trees. Things really started getting going at this point - I kicked it into high gear and ran (I think it was a run...) up the final switchbacks to Sky Junction aid station. I was greeted by the wonderful sight
and heckling of Peter (from before) and Nicola (also extremely involved in FatDog). These two are seriously awesome!

Fed and ready to go, I hit the trails. With only 8 miles left I could sense the finish line was getting close. And being nearly 4 hours ahead of my 40-hour schedule was a great feeling. Downhills still hurt a bit, but that was subsiding, surprisingly! I know some of the other racers were complaining about the last sections, but it seriously felt like I flew up some of those false peaks!
Coming down through the burnt out forest I could see there was potential to come in exactly 9 hours ahead of last year's time ie. do a 39h01m, and darn if I wasn't going to try for it! At about 2 to 2.5 miles from the finish I really kicked, getting down below 8 minute miles for the final portion around the lake.
There's not much better than that final 'sprint' to the finish of a race. Everything that you've done to get there, whether it's in training or during the race, sort of culminates in a final hoorah! and that just feels plain amazing!

I finished in 39h02m, 1 minute after my goal time of 39h01m, according to my watch that had been going since the second the gun went off so very long ago. (The finish line clock showed 39h04m)
Unfortunately, there was basically no one at the finish line since it was midnight. But after a little bit I look up from my seat by the propane heater and see my mom has come to cheer me in... Her and my sister finished the 30 mile distance several hours before and had been sleeping in the car, so you really can't blame them for not being there when I finished. Thankfully they brought clothes for me to change into
Post-race relaxing!
though!

Post-race celebrations included a delicious midnight bacon cheeseburger from the wonderful volunteers at the finish line, and the awards ceremony at 10am the next day, from which I got a watermelon (score!) and a free trail race entry (double score!)
Overall, much more fun was had at this year's FatDog120 trail race! And turns out, I spent over 3h20m in total at aid stations!!! I think I know where I could shave off a little bit of time in the future...

A BIG THANK YOU TO ALL THE VOLUNTEERS AND ORGANIZERS OF THIS YEAR'S FATDOG EVENT! YOU ROCK!