Orcas Island 50k (or 31 miles for 31 years!)

Well, I decided that it was about time to write a little bit about the 50k I ran on Saturday Feb 5 on Orcas Island. Yes, I realize that was over a month ago, but come on, I’ve been busy. So, the adventures started the weekend before the race when I carpooled out to Orcas with a few friends I hooked up with through the race website. We went to do some trail service because we were tardy in signing up for the race. Turned out to be a great way to serve while at the same time getting to know some awesome people.

Here’s a photo of us in the back of a park service truck heading up to the trail. This was a very wet ride.







The Race

The next Friday Jenni and I threw the kids in the van and headed up to catch the ferry over to Orcas. We underestimated how much time it would take, and missed the ferry. The next ferry wasn’t for another hour or so, so we ended up eating dinner in the car at a nearby park. The weather was miserable and we hoped it would clear up before the morning. We eventually got over to the island, and spent the night in an awesome little rental house called the “Gnome House”. This place was very charming and the kids loved it.






Saturday morning we all drove to the race and Jenni and the kids went with me to check in. I got my number and my race shirt, which in this case was a thrift store polo with the race logo stenciled on the back. Quite sustainable. I met up with my friend John from the weekend before, and we discussed important things like whether to wear a jacket and how many bottles to carry. The weather was chilly and a little misty, so I opted for the jacket. I went pretty minimalist, carrying only one handheld 24 oz bottle and taping an EFS liquid shot in my other palm. Here’s me at the start.






The weather warmed up considerably and stayed pretty dry throughout. I ended up leaving my jacket at one of the aid stations and running in t-shirt and shorts the whole race. Not bad for February!

This was a very hilly race and there seemed to be very little time spent on level terrain. I did a great deal of hiking/walking. My quads were screaming at me after a while. At the mile 21 aid station I decided to take a little break. They had the most delicious hot soup I’ve ever had in my life (ok so it was just Ramen noodles, bit it was still awesome), sandwiches and potato chips. I sat down at a picnic table and had a nice little lunch while chatting with some other runners. After a few minutes I picked up my old bones and hobbled back onto the trail.

I learned a valuable lesson at this point. If you are going to go minimalist on the water, be sure to drink a goodly amount at the aid stations, especially if you were chomping on the salty goods like there was no tomorrow. I forgot to do this, and sipped about half of my water before I had gone more than a couple miles. I rationed the rest and made it to the last aid station, but just barely.

From the last aid station on was a beautiful run through relatively calm trails and around beautiful lakes. I made it in to the finish and my boys were there to run in with me.






I gave Jenni a kiss, grabbed a bowl of hearty soup and a giant cookie, and replenished some calories.








We didn’t stick around too long, as we were in a hurry to get back to our charming little cabin. We spent the rest of the weekend lounging around, eating, and soaking in the hot tub. A superb weekend indeed. My final race stats were:


38th place/129 finishers

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One Response to Orcas Island 50k (or 31 miles for 31 years!)

  1. Nicely done Danny (and I mean on the accomplishment of actually writing a couple paragraphs about the race which proved much more difficult than running 31 miles.)

    Sometimes I think that approach of stopping for a hearty meal at mile 20 sounds a lot cooler than the approach I took of not stopping at all. I mean heck, we paid for the meal…we might as well eat it right? But then when the moment arrives, and the clock is running, I don’t think I could bring myself to stop unless I’m full on bonking.

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