Born to Rumble

Born to Rumble

The 2011 Peterson Ridge Rumble 40-mile trail race held in Sisters, Oregon took place this past Sunday and, since I won the race last year, I was invited back to "defend my title."  It's crazy how much and how quickly things change in 365 days.  Last year we found out the gender of our baby the day before the race, and Erica barely had a round tummy as we made a weekend trip to the low-key central Oregon event. This year we had an extra traveler (Farah, seven months old) and, with all of our gear, our weekend getaway looked more like a Mt. Everest summit!

We ended up staying in the Best Western Ponderosa Lodge, which is the same place we stayed last year.  The fact that there are friendly llamas right outside of our room and that we're a quick jaunt away from the start/finish area makes it really enjoyable and convenient.
(The lodge even has little bowls of feed for us to bond with the animals.  Photo Erica Wagner)

Once we got settled into our room we realized that we were serendipitously four doors down from Dan Olmstead. It ended up working out nicely too because he provided lodging for three other runners and we enjoyed ourselves just hanging out the night before.

Race morning wasn't as cold as the prior year but still a little nippy. We made our way to the start line area and ran into many familiar faces.  Before long we were directed to the trail head where Sean gave us some brief instruction as spectators gathered around. He counted us down and we were off....Peterson Ridge Rumble 40-miler was underway!
(Rockin' the red Inov-8 x-talon 190' fact I saw a few people wearing 'em too....good choice! and as usual thank you Drymax socks for a blister-free ultra! Photo: Erica Wagner)

I took off of the front after about 30 seconds and didn't run with anyone until over an hour later. I just felt that since I knew the course that I would try to take it out hard (which I do often) and then just settle into "cruise control." Eventually Dan and Jace caught up after aid station two and we got a chance to chat a bit out on the trails. Despite the friendly chatter we were moving pretty good and a little voice in my head was saying, "I hope I don't completely bonk three hours from now!"

At about mile 15 I realized that my Amphipod water bottle carrier's elastic band broke causing the bottle to fall out too easily. I ran for a bit just holding the bottle but eventually made the decision to drop it to an aid station worker, who just happened to be Kami Semick! From this point on I was just running free and it felt so nice....nothing around my waist or in my hands, but I made sure I quickly slugged down a couple cups at the aid stations.

(Zipping along through the ponderosa pines at around mile 24....Photo: Erica Wagner)
At this point I was actually just behind Dan and Jace, for the time being, right before we hit the long dirt road.  Once we got into the road I pulled ahead just a bit before we turned into the trails again. Jace hung pretty close with me but by mile 26, and now back in the forest, I made a move. It was sort of strategic but mostly because I started feeling so good.  Endorphins rushed out and I had goose bumps all over my body as I pulled away from the two. We approached some climbs and I just seemed to power right up them. Toward the top I gave a quick look back and didn't see anyone. Still ten miles to go...."just run" I kept telling myself.

I came to the second to last aid station a little out of breath and made, in hindsight, maybe too quick of a transition not taking in enough fluids. I definitely had enough Gu stashed in my pockets but since I wasn't carrying a bottle the little dixie cups at the aid stations just weren't doing it. Shortly after I was startled by something black ahead of me up in the bushes. Thankfully it ended up being Darla Askew's dog and not a bear, and I then approached Darla and Amy Sproston.  It was a steep, technical, rocky descent and I was forced to take an awkward leap. As I did this I felt my hamstring start to seize up!  AhhhhH! Amy and Darla yelled from above, "are you ok?  you crampin'???"  I assured them that I'd be ok and for them to not tell Dan my status!

I downed an S-cap, a Roctane, but what I think I really needed was some agua! I continued running but had slowed considerably.  A couple of miles passed and I wondered what was taking these guys so long to catch up.  Did I make my move too ambitiously?  Yes, maybe I put a nice gap in between us but did I force myself into bonkville?  Did I start the race too fast??  These are all fine lines we dance when racing and it's very hard to calibrate how hard to push, especially at races of different distances such as 40 miles.

Finally at around mile 37-ish I see Dan approaching from behind.  When I turned around to see him I felt the hamstring seize again a little.  As I was bending over trying to work it out with my hands my abdominal muscle seized up too!  This is something I never experienced and I couldn't believe this was happening.  Dan passes me and I am thinking..."where is Jace? Nick? Joe? Others?  Stay got this..."just run".  I gathered myself, chewed up another S-cap, choked down another Gu, and descended toward the finish in a smooth, controlled motion.

All the sudden, after a couple minutes, I started running with intention again.  It ain't over yet!  I could see Dan ahead and we approached the school area where we had started some four hours earlier.  I started pumping my arms and doing my best version of a finishing kick.  I entered the track area and I see Dan on the other side!....Doh!!! He's right there!!!  
(In a 40-mile race...300 meters separates the top two! Photo:  Erica Wagner)

(Dan Olmstead finishes numero uno and I'm still huffin' and puffin' on the track! Photo: Erica Wagner)

(What a fun race....I'm satisfied with my run!  I left it all out there! Photo:  Erica Wagner)

Even though I am training right through this race sometimes it's fun to take a risk and just go for it.  Rumble is the type of course that you can do that on.  It doesn't have a lot of elevation change so it doesn't beat up your body the same way some of the more mountainous courses do.  Plus the soft trails of this area definitely are much more forgiving.

Again, Sean Meissner and his crew put on such a great event.  Thank you for all that you do brother!  It's no surprise that it sells out quickly every year.  So maybe we'll see you there next time?  If you have a dog that runs enter them in the 20-miler.  This is such a nice community gathering and I really enjoyed seeing everyone.... and big congrats to all the ran the 20 or the 40.  
(Team Yassine in full effect!  Photo:  Gary Robbins)

We came.....we saw....WE RUMBLED!

You gotta check out these photos taken by wife Erica:  Click HERE

HERE are the results from the 40-miler and the 20


From the time I could stand upright I was chasing soccer balls around with older children at the fields where my father...

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