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  • Writer's pictureChris Toepker

Trials: First 1/3rd to The Pass

Updated: May 15, 2020

Now that wayfinding for the training path is done, it's time to train on it!

The route from Lake Washington (or so) to Snoqualmie Pass should be approximately 60 miles one way. Michael and I know we can do at least that much in about 30 hours. We've done it before, going from Kenmore to Snoqualmie Falls and back.

But 30 hours is not going to get us into the Hong Kong Four Trails Ultra Challenge. We need to do the distance - at speed.

And that is what these trials are all about - getting there, faster.

In that sense, I feel like yesterday's outing was a disappointment. I was only able to get 20 miles, not even a full Marathon distance. I felt exhausted too. Not the usual running exhaustion, but actually worn out. Worn down. Out of sorts.

Looking at the numbers, I was doing OK. Not going to be a record marathon time, but given the ascension, I was on pace to match some earlier times. Again, given the ascension- not bad!

It got me to thinking: what was going on? First and foremost, I think it was food related. I had an equip mishap. I often carry a Hydro Flask of homemade sport drink, and this time I added ice. The Flask keeps things hot or cold really well, and one of the reasons is that the lid seals really well. Too well, in fact. I couldn't open it! As a result, when I normally would have been hitting it, at about 10 miles, I couldn't. I kept going of course, but the calories and salt help wasn't there. By the time I got to Preston, I had that familiar pre-cramp feeling, and had to do something. So, I stopped for Gatorade. I had to do something!

Thankfully there's a bit of downhill which allowed me to recover a bit. Still, I could feel the burden of the deficit. When the uphilll began again, I was really feeling it! And by the time I was climbing up Snoqualmie Highlands - whew! My heartrate was OK, but I was huffing and puffing like the big bad wolf.

The climb of the Snoqualmie Highlands

Ultimately I decided discretion was the better part of valor. If I had kept going, it was only going to get darker. And I was heading into places where it was harder to get help. It seemed better to take away the lessons and get better prepared for next time!

What preparations? First, I'll change up the lid on the that Hydro Flask. (Stupid thing!). I like the homemade stuff because it's cheaper and I know what is in it, so I'll stick to my sport drink formula. To that I'll now add a honey, salt and...something...squeeze tube. Recipes and reports will be forthcoming!

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