20 December 2010

Pullman Winter 50k #2 - Race Report

Mother Nature made sure our first Pullman Winter 50k met all the proper winter requirements.

Warm temperatures the past two weeks melted 100% of the snow and ice that had covered the 7.75 mile loop course since November.  The course is a single loop through and around Pullman, WA. Participants have the option to run one, two, three, or four laps.

Seven runners and an ultrarunning dog lined up for a cold 8am start.  Within 15 seconds of the start, the first snowflake fell.  The rest of the morning was a battle against the winter storm that came in fast and hard.

Four of the runners opted for the single loop option, which was (besides not running at all) probably the smartest thing to do Saturday morning.  Three of us weren't so smart.  

The snow wasn't so bad...compared to the wind.  About 4 miles of each loop were straight into the constant snow gusts.  The kind of wintry wind that makes you wish you were had a pair of ski goggles.  And a cup of hot cocoa.  And a Florida address. 

Sadie helped power me through.  She has endless energy and excitement when it's snowing.  It's easier for me to keep running when Sadie loves it just as much (okay, probably more) than I do.  We fought through the wind and snow and finished in a 50k PR of 4:45:26.  Granted, this was my first non-mountain trail 50k, so I expected to PR -- but it was still hard earned.  I must note that the Brooks Utopia Soft Shell jacket is the best jacket I've ever run in.

Enjoy a few ultra-winter images.

Mile 3.5 of loop 1 -- wind and snow.

Mile 5 of loop 1 -- relentless wind.
[VIDEO] Conditions at mile 5 of the first loop. Wind!

By mile 6 of loop 1 there was this much snow on the ground.
With Sadie after the first loop.

Frozen face.

Sadie playing in the bushes.

A few inches of snow piled up fast.

"Look, Ma! I can't feel my toes!"

My Brooks Racer ST 4's after 50k.

After-race beers at Palouse Falls Brewing Co.

We have another Pullman Winter run on Jan. 15.  It probably won't be warm.

Keep running!



  1. so, how do you keep your feet warm and dry (or at least tolerably so) in that weather? I always wonder if there's something I'm missing for how people in colder/wetter climes deal with that because my feet get cold even if it's only 30F and dry.

  2. Beth:
    Maybe I just have weird feet, but no matter how wet they get in the snow (and they get very wet sometimes), as long as I'm running they don't get very cold. They were wet for about 23 miles of the 50k.

    My dad and a few others I know swear by Drymax socks. I've never used them though, but I hear they do a great job at keeping feet dry (and warmer, I assume).

    My fingers are a different story...

  3. After seeing your video, I guess I better get out there and run...no matter what the weather. I can't believe you ran in that! Hardcore!!

  4. Nice work. I will remember this run of yours next time I don't want to run in the wind. That beer looked like the highlight....

  5. i'm sorry but that looks miserable!

  6. It looked cold and windy and completely crazy. Wish I was there!! Congrats on your PR. Very good time for such conditions.

  7. Miserable run. Great company for the after-race cheer.

  8. Now that is one hardcore run. I would have worn my trail shoes in that stuff but you didn't really start in the big stuff. Awesome!

  9. That looked really tough!
    Glad you got some well earned beers at the end, but what did Sadie get :]

  10. Great run and excellent time in those conditions, well done! That video really makes me feel like a wimp.

  11. That's just crazy... :-) Glad Sadie was there to keep an eye on ya!

  12. holy cow... that video really gives you a good idea of the true condition of that run. COLD!!! Good thing for beer at the finish.

  13. That is a survivor race! Great pics.
    Merry Christmas to you, family and Sadie from Italy.

  14. Wow, that white stuff sure piled up quickly. congrats on the PR. Happy New Year!

  15. You are hard core. I run in the rain, and I have run after a snow, and with snow flurries, but 50k in those conditions. Yikes! Awesome! Congrats on the PR.

  16. Wow..you've inspired me. I've been feeling blue and depressed. Seeing the video and pictures is helping to get my butt in gear. Thanks!
    Maybe I can talk my training buddy into a road trip to Pullman. Would love to run with a bunch of other crazy's! BTW: We have a very nice 37 mile ultra here in Spokane on March 5th if anyone is interested. It follows the Centennial trail from Idaho Stateline up to 9 mile dam. It's flat and they say they will plow the trail this year. (1st year they didn't, but last year it was.)
    Thanks again!