Today's run started out with big questions. Would we make it? Would yesterday's run ruin our ability to complete a grueling 23 miles in the mountains?
I headed over to Kathleen's place and picked her up. On our way down, not really knowing the way, we saw the SRC van pull up behind us and we were able to join the caravan to the starting point. We're becoming familiar with a lot of the faces now in the group and its just another little running family like my Footzone, and SRC except these people are HARD CORE!! After a quick restroom break at a gas station we all get to the trail head and with very little ado, we head out. The first 6 miles was all just rolling trails next to the white river. We actually had to run down in the basin for a stretch because the trail was damaged. We met Scott at the first of two aid stations around the 6 miles mark and he gave us electrolyte tablets. "take 1 every hour he says as he gives us a little stash to take with us. The tablets help your body process the water back into your muscles and help you avoid cramping. They're great! I used them first at the 50k. So after refilling our water bottles we headed out and up. The next 8 miles was all, and I mean ALL up hill. Aside for maybe a couple hundred yards it was climbing for the next two hours. Over 3000 ft of elevation change. We did a lot of hiking(walking) but amazingly we ended up still passing other runners. And it went by fast. When we finally reached the top we came across a mt. biker who told us that our next aid station was just about 3 quarters of a mile downhill. So with that exciting bit of knowledge we headed downhill fast running toward bottle refills and WATERMELON! As I bounded downhill giddy with expectation a small root catch the tip of my toe and pull me down. I have to say that I'm a champ at tucking and rolling but one of these days my luck will run out. My speed was enough that I rolled once and was sprung right back on my feet in a hockey stop. Were was my camera man. It was such a cool ninja-like move. I manage to escape the fall with just a minor scratch on my knee. That and I broke the seal on one of my water bottles. Oh well. Five minutes later we were at the aid station. Scott's SRC van with goodies. We stopped for a couple minutes and were told we still had to got up to the summit of the mountain. The loop was just 1.5 miles. So we refrained form eating anything until we returned. Up we went for another 15 minutes to reach the top. The view should have been spectacular but it was a bit cloudy. So we headed back down on the access road. This would be the rest of the run today. Nothing but access road for 7 miles. So we knew at this point we had done it. We would complete 33 miles of trail running in one weekend. We got back to the van, loaded up on snakes and headed back down. Gravity is so nice sometimes. It took us all the way down to about a miles left were we then had to apply some effort. I actually decided to pick up the pace with about a miles left and when I finished, I finished strong. Today I wore my Gaitors and let me tell you, they work. Nothing got into my shoes and it was wonderful. We soaked our legs in the river again and ate lots of watermelon. Most of the runners here have peaked in their training for the White River 50 Miler in just a few weeks. Kathleen was talking to a few of them and apparently they all were saying that the two of us are very strong for were we are in our training and they're all very impressed. Big Smile there. It's encouraging to hear that. And these are seasoned trail runners. I think joining up with Scott was the best choice I've made as a runner. He is just whipping us into shape.
This weekend is going to be a tough one. Today I picked up Kathleen and headed out to Cougar Mountain to run the first half of my first very tough weekend of training. Tomorrow will be 23 miles up at Crystal Mountain again. We get there and there are lots of runners, nearly a hundred I think. Scott is there laying down the rules of the run and there are some running celebrities. We ended up getting a nice pair of trail running socks instead of a shirt as part of our entry and $15 of our entry goes toward maintaining the trails up on the mountain. Nice deal. I'm wearing my new trail running shoes for the first time but decide to leave my Gaitors off for this run. Gaitors being essentially spats for your shoes that cover the top and prohibit loose debris from falling inside the shoes. We head out and jeesh is it humid. This is the first time I really sweat since living in Seattle. But its not too bad. We had decided that today we needed to try to take it as easy as possible as to save ourselves for tomorrow. And we almost did just that until around 4-5 miles when Kathleen decided she wanted to pick up the pace a little. This girl is a competitor. So we picked it up just a touch but still were very conservitive. I had seen Sherry and Michael(runners from the Footzone club) before the race and we ended up passing them. But we ended up passing a lot of people. The training we have been doing has really strengthened us to a new level and even maintaining a conservative pace we were stronger than a lot of runners out there. Its a very good feeling. At any rate, it was still a tough race. Lots of climbs and toward the end both of us were thinking, "I hope we don't regret this tomorrow". We finish the course in 1:58 which considering our slow pace was great. We heard afterward that a lot of runners had seen a black bear out on the course. I missed it, oh well, not sure I would have wanted to see it anyways.
Wow, tonight was a hot run. It was at least 97 degrees and nobody wanted to do a workout run. So we decided to run through the dog park where we could have some shade. We all went out terribly slow and most people were carrying water. I didn't. When we got to the dog park I headed toward the front. I was running a very comfortable pace, one that wouldn't make me overheat but I still seemed to be leaving everyone behind. I think many years of running in Florida and then California had trained me how to run in heat. The others who have lived up here for so long were stuck at a snail's pace and actually cut the run short. Jesse, John and I were the only ones the ended up doing the full run. I did really pick up the pace however on the way back once there was about 1 mile left to go and John tried to keep up. I think it must be a combination of the trail running and my experience in the heat cause I felt great and the heat was of little consequence. OK< so now I feel like I'm bragging. Don't mean to.
Well, Tuesday night's run is getting so uneventful compared to my weekend runs I don't really have much to blog about. I was able to go out and run conservatively for a majority of the run and then picked it up a bit at the end. Its over a week later as I write so nothing stands out as anything to remember. I hope this doesn't mean the end of my blog. Acck!!!!
I'm hanging up my street sneaks, and getting myself a pair of trail running shoes with spats! Well, maybe not entirely, but man oh man.
Crystal mountain was spectacular. We started out at about 2500 ft(I think) and climbed all the way up to 5700 ft. The run took just over 6 hours. I hitched a ride up with Kathleen and we started out with about 20 other runners. I think we probably ran for about a mile on relatively even ground before it headed up. And up is an understatement. I couldn't get the smile off my face as we climbed. It was crazy, and I was just thinking, "I'm running this?" It got so steep at one point we had to climb a staircase. I took my camera, so I had a great excuse for all the times I needed to catch my breath. And I took a lot of pics. Not as many as I'd like. I could have spent all day up there but I didn't want to hold up the line.
Eventually it was just Kathleen and myself running as a team. Most of the other runners were with another group who were in their peak week of training for another 50 miler on this very course coming up later in the month. So we just climbed, and climbed, and I think we did some more climbing after that. In total I think we climbed for over 3 and a half hours, possibly 4. The views were just breath-taking. I used to love hiking in the white mountains back in NH and now I was getting to do the same thing but combine it with my love of running. I don't think there was one moment of this run when I didn't have a huge grin on my face.
Nearly as long a marathon, and certainly more challenging than any I've ever done, I felt positive the entire time and strong. It just proves the point that running is mostly psychological. If you just stay positive your body will carry you along.
Where was I? Oh, we were climbing. So we climbed some more. We climbed so high that we came across patches of snow. IT WAS AWESOME!! When we finally got to the top Scott was waiting with lots of food. I practically dove for the watermelon. After two pieces of that I went for a quarter of a bagel, then half of a PB&J sandwich, then some BBQ chips, then a twizzler, oh, and a bit of Coke. If you wanted it there was also orange slices and bananas but seeing as I've never had any food during a race aside from goo and an occasional orange slice I felt it smart to stop there. But boy did it feel good to have a feast at the top of the mountain. We hung out for a while and chatted it up with Scott but had to eventually get moving back down. This part was much easier, mostly downhill from here. Just 9 more miles. We took it slow at first so that the food could digest a bit but then picked it up when it was nothing but downhill and about 6 miles to go. Gravity pretty much took care of the job the rest of the way and for the most part it was easy. I have to admit that I was starting to get a little beat up and fatigued by the end. But when we finished I really felt strong and in great spirits. again, more watermelon waiting for us. Now Scott suggested we head down to the White river and stand in it for a few minutes to give our legs an ice bath. The river is about 34 degrees. My legs were fine with the experience but my feet really hurt. Of course, after a couple minutes they went numb and the pain went away. It the next day as I write this and my legs are not sore at all. I'm looking forward to that ice bath next week when we go up and do the second half of the course.
OK, so Its nearly a week later that I'm finally getting down to making this entry and I have very little recollection of this run.
I'll make it short because I want to write about the run I did yesterday. It was the same old same old run but I think for once I managed to actually take it easy on a run. The trail running on the weekend is very tough and it's making me become more sensible on my other runs. So I plogged along just to get through it. I'm getting really bored of this course. But of course I get to socialize afterward with pizza and beer so who's complaining. I do remember taking it very easy all the way until the last stretch when I decided to open up a bit. But it was done in a very measured way. I was proud to see that the recent increasing in training gave me a lot of strength at the end and I was going pretty fast when I finished.
Kevin Gosselin is influenced by sci-fi and fantasy art, comic books, anime, the masters and too many contemporary artist to fully list. Amongst the most influencial are Remington, Frazetta, Darrel K. Sweet, Thomas Eakins, Norman Rockwell and J.W. Waterhouse. Kevin has always been inspired by realism but has grown fond of the low brow illustration style fine art scene. Coming to the realization that most every traditional art (figure sculpture, still life and landscapes) has in some way already been done, Kevin has now leaned his art toward the fantastic. It is only by digging in to his own mind that he can possibly create something that has yet to be seen. For this reason Kevin is exploring the designer toy scene. It mixes his love of sculpture, illustration and fine art and is the perfect output for his passions.
Kevin Gosselin grew up in the tiny New England town of Northwood, New Hampshire. Although heavily influenced by many genres and artists, Kevin owes his career in the arts to two major influences. The art of Iron Maiden cover artist Derrek Riggs and his twin brother Keith who always knew he wanted to be an artist. It was only by following the career choices of his brother that Kevin decided to go to art school to develop his skills. Both brothers attended an Honors Art program at The Boston Museum School of Fine Art their senior year of high school and then moved to Sarasota, Florida to attend Ringling School of Art & Design.
After earning his Bachelors in Fine Art and Illustration Kevin got what he considers his real art education while working for the great Robert Antovel at Art & Frame of Sarasota, the best art supplies store in town. After picking up the framing trade Kevin moved on to what would be his masters program. Kevin was hired as a painter by Hagen-Wallace, a props shop for Feld Entertainment. Here Kevin learned how to paint faux finishes and would eventually find himself in the sculpting department where he would discover his true passion.
Again with the help of his brother Keith, Kevin advanced into another career. After college his brother taught himself web design and he passed along the knowledge to Kevin and they both were hired by Hydrogen Media. At the height of the dot.com era, HMI was a powerhouse collection of talent. But all things must pass and Kevin was part of massive layoffs. After a year of freelancing web design Kevin accepted what would be his last job. For seven years Kevin acted as the production end of a small Marketing Firm in Tampa Bay Florida. It would be here that Kevin would develop his web and graphic design skills but also his strong desire to remove himself as far as possible from the world of corporate advertising. Finally realizing where his passions lay, Kevin decided to redirect his efforts to his true passion for the arts.
Kevin lives with his super cool, beautiful wife, daughter and two dogs in Seattle, WA. Up until his decision to pursue fine art Kevin was, and intends to still be, an avid ultra trail runner. He spent many hours running through the mountains of Washington and completed ten marathons, three 50ks and one 50 mile ultramarathon. Kevin has blogged extensively about his passion for running which can be found here.