Gorge Waterfalls 50k – Race Report

03/29/2014 – Gorge Waterfalls 50k – Cascade Locks, Oregon
So this race was just another one of your every-weekend fairly rocky, rooty technical but at the same time soft singletrack 6000 foot vert point-to-point 50k run through ankle high streams, over snow patches, past stretches of moss covered everything, in sunshine, rain, hail, and wind and traipsing under, around, and  through 500 foot tall waterfalls through the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge in the Pacific Northwest.

The first event of the season is always a litmus test. Am I ready physically? Am I undertrained or overtrained? Am I ready mentally? Remember what this feels like? Have I finally figured out how to run long distances as pain free as possible? All great questions and in one ‘little’ run I’d have answers to all of them.

For reference, here’s my version of the sourced and compiled 2014 50k race preview and the 2014 50k results – you’ll find my name is nowhere near the top (for clarification it never is and I’m ok with that). No, my name does not show up until several-several page down clicks away (about a third of the way down, where it normally is.)

This isn’t my first 50k, so I did have a general sense of what I was supposed to do (quick answer: run. longer answer: run fast), what I was doing (quick answer: mostly run. longer answer: mostly run when the bouts of pain resided enough to let me), and what to expect (quick answer: eventual pain. longer answer: eventual constant pain) even if it was a trail I’d never been on before with people I’d never met.

The Training

Here’s my abbreviated 50k training schedule I used for this race for the curious.

The Travel

Oregon and the Columbia River Gorge isn’t that far away from Seattle, but it’s far enough that I didn’t want to have to get up at 3:00am on Saturday to drive the three and half hours down south to the start line, so I piled all my gear into the car and ever so slowly plodded down to Vancouver, Washington to stay the night at a hotel, so I could get a good night’s rest. Seattle isn’t a gigantic megalopolis like some other cities, but it’s restricted enough in it’s transportation highways to make it a pain to get anywhere quickly on a Friday afternoon. Add in intermittent torrential downpour, weekend convention traffic on the most major expressway to Oregon and at least four south-bound accidents that I passed and that’s a recipe to turn a normally 3 hour drive into a 5 hour doozy of a drive. So much for getting to the hotel early and relaxing.

I’d been battling the front end of what started out as allergies (Spring is near!) and it had slowly morphed into a little cold with pressure in my sinuses and drainage that had taken up residence in my chest. I took a mucus thinner and a few day-quil, turned out the lights, and pulled up the covers. Hopefully enough of whatever I had that wouldn’t go away would be gone enough by the next day.

The Check-In

6:11am comes pretty early regardless of whether you’re in your own bed or in a hotel it turns out, but 7 hours of rest is still a decent night’s rest before an event. I checked out of the hotel and stopped for a tall dose of caffeine to help wash down the PROBAR for breakfast on my half hour drive to Benson State Park. Driving into the rising sun, the sky showed glimmers of hope and blue, but looking into the rear view mirror the future was a bit more murky with signs of an impending storm – not so shockingly a parallel tale of what my 6:34:32 run would be like. Checking in was a bit odd. There was a line to get your bib number, which you then had to memorize and hope you didn’t forget while getting into a second line to actually check-in. Not sure what would have happened if I could never remember – would they make me cycle back through the two lines endlessly until I trained my mind to remember three digits – 217, 217, 217, 217, 217. “What’s your bib number?” “Ah crap, I forgot…” “Back to the other line!” Thank goodness I had that americano this morning.

Bib number, 4 safety pins and race shirt in hand, I ambled gracefully (remember – pre-31 miles) back to my car to change into my shoes, pin on my bib, and check and re-check my gear and fuel to make sure I had everything I needed. Finding everything in order, it was off to the line of yellow school buses to be transported 15 minutes east to the start line. 15 minutes! Just ever-ever so slightly quicker than I’d make the same trip on my two feet.

I’ve been transported by bus to a few race starts now and they never disappoint. There’s nothing a bunch of adults decked out in running gear sitting in seats made for people of a much younger age than them. Unless you know someone and they happen to sit next to you, chances are you’re going to sit next to a complete stranger and unless you’re a total a-hole you’re going to exchange at least a few pleasantries with them. More often than not you’ll end up in a full blown conversation with them going through the standard race questions – Where are you from? Have you done this race before? Is this your first ultra? Do you have more races planned in the future? It’s amazing the amount of information and topics you can cover. Somewhere by the end of this 10-45 minute conversation you’ll finally introduce yourself and if you’re lucky you’ll run across them after the race and ask them how their race went. You’d never guess the immense accomplishments of many of the people you sit next to or around. It seems like at least one (and more like several) have always run at least one 100 mile race – and they’re usually older than me! It’s incredible. You’d never know it if you just passed them on the street.

I sat next to Joe who had flown in from somewhere around Santa Barbara, California with his expecting wife and kid. They were staying in Portland which a few other friends and were in town through the week. He had signed up for the lottery because his friend from Montana was going to sign up as well but backed out at the last minute. Joe was selected and like me, thought, who knows if I’ll get selected again so he came to race. This was Joe’s first 50k and first trail race. He admitted he didn’t really know what to expect and had knowingly overpacked all of his drop bags so he’d be prepared for whatever the race threw at him. He had even went out and bought rain gear the week before because it practically never rains down where he lives and if he was looking at the same forecast I had been looking at everyday for the prior week it wasn’t supposed to get above 55 degrees (F) and the chances of rain were highly probable to obviously. It is after all March in the Pacific Northwest. The bus stopped and everyone filed out row by row with each of us thanking the bus driver for the lift to the start line. I’d run into Joe after the race was over and we talked about how his race went and some of the highlights of the course. Chances are highly probable that I’ll never see Joe again, but I’ll probably remember him for a while for no good reason other than we talked on the bus ride for 15 minutes and I got to know him ever so slightly.

Trail runners and ultra runners specifically have a general carefree attitude when it comes to what’s acceptable and what’s not acceptable (which isn’t much.) Immediately after disembarking from the bus you could look in almost any direction at any tree and you’ll most likely see someone peeing or pooping next to it. Bathrooms? Those are for when you can’t find a tree. Washing your hands? After running through rain, streams, mud and in this case snow and sweating for 4+ hours, sorry but it’s probably not going to matter. True to our reputation I saw more stranger’s bare butts than I cared to see and both my dogs would have had a full afternoon’s work ‘reclaiming every their tree as theirs’.

Most runners made their way to the end of the road where a row of actual portable toilets were located and milled around waiting for the race to start. A few minutes of chatter and one or two people stretching were interrupted by someone telling us we had to walk the quarter mile back to the gate where we were dropped off, because that’s where the start line was. Once there, James Varner, the race director of this this race and most all the other Rainshadow Running events stood on top of the short mound to out left and spoke through the loudspeaker. His pre-race briefing was short and sweet. “Don’t cheat. Don’t push or shove. Pick up your trash. Play nice. Help each other. Follow the pink ribbons and arrows. Enjoy the day!” Everything I need to know had already been passed down to me by the time I had left elementary school.


The Race

Tt50 - 2014 0329 Gorge Waterfalls 50k

Mile 0 to 9.3
The first quarter mile goes up the paved road to the end of the parking lot and immediately enters a trail a few people wide for the next quarter mile. If I were fast I’d be quicker off the starting line for this first half mile to jockey for position, but I’m not fast – I’m slow – and so when we hit the first bridge and the trail immediately turns to a slow congo line snaking up the steep singletrack I don’t mind. There’s 30.5 miles left to pass and be passed. Someone jokes as we we literally walk over the bridge because of the congestion, “Aw man, you’re messing up my splits!” Everyone chuckles (at the expense of every road marathoner not present.) With 6000 feet of elevation gain and 31 total miles squarely in the middle of the pack the thought of timing splits is a little funny.

At mile 2 the line of runners jams and I see people 10 feet up all the way to 10 feet down the hillside as most everyone tries to find a dry place to cross the 8 foot wide stream. Some try to pick their way across over rocks and stumps while others trudge straight through the stream knowing if they don’t get their feet wet here, they surely will in a few miles when we have to cross another ankle high stream. And if not there, then surely on any of the other 5 or 6 stream crossings. And if not there, well it’s going to rain and good luck keeping anything dry when that happens. But then again you might as well try to keep those feet, socks, and shoes as dry as possible for as long as possible. It’s the smart thing to do and the 30 extra seconds it takes to pick your way across could be the difference between having a pain free race or having two 1″ long blisters on your left foot, one 1″ blister on your right foot and one bubble blister on the end of your fourth toe on the right foot, but then again what do I know? I, of course, trudge straight through the stream.

My pace settles into something resembling comfortable even though every time I look down at my watch I see my heartrate is above 160 beats per minute. That’s high for me for this early in the race for the amount of effort I feel like I’m putting in. I check my pace and it fluctuates between 10:30-11:00 per mile which certainly isn’t fast, but then I remember we’re climbing 800 feet in about 4 miles which still isn’t alarmingly steep but steady. If I were older and smarter and wiser and more disciplined I would have stepped over to the side and let others pass, but I’m none of those four things and I move along with the rest of my little pod of runners as by now the singletrack line of runners has stretched. Rarely do you find yourself running alone this early in the race.

We run with the gorge screaming uphill to our left within earshot of the highway to the right with fleeting punctuated views of the Columbia River gorge beyond. We pass patches of snow yet to melt in the near constant shade of the north-facing slope slowing to plant our feet in those that have already broken the route. It’s only 8 or 9 steps wide, but side sloping and we’re wearing everything from normal road shoes to trail shoes meant for maximum uphill/downhill traction with less lateral stability. A slip here. A fall there. Thankfully it’s just snow. I prance through the broken in brown spots of snow knowing they’re tried and true from the mud of others’ shoes.

Every now and then there’s someone who has gone out to fast – actually for the most part we all do, but I digress – and in singletrack land, runners stack up waiting for a chance to pass. We’re for the most part an overly courteous bunch,  asking, then waiting for a chance to pass, “When you have a moment I’m on your left.” “Thanks!” “No problem.” “Have a good run!” “Thanks!” A small wave, a glance to the side and a smile happens again and again and again on the trail. You hope it’s you mostly doing the passing and not the stepping off to the side of the trail, but it’s inevitable to all mid-packers that they’ll be on both sides of the exchange at some point. My goal is if I’m the one stepping to the side that eventually I’ll be able to pull them back in and be the one passing on the left. So far more often than not I’m the passer, not the pass-ee.

Mile 4 to 5 is the first decent downhill and the trail opens up so I follow suit and go bombing down thinking that these are what my Hoka’s excel at – fast, smooth, steep decents and I’m not disappointed. It’s a bit early to be stretching the legs this much, but I can’t resist. The sun is peaking through the canopy and I’m 4 miles into my first 50k of the year in Oregon, ticking off another state on my list!

The trail veers back to the left and I quickly creep into and latch onto the tail end of another small group of runners. Running is an interesting endeavor in that we’re both in it solely for ourselves yet it’s a social group event. No one except myself is going to physically propel my body along 31 miles of trail, but I’m not doing it alone and not without the help of others whether directly at an aid station or indirectly by running and talking with others during the race. This social aspect is one of the main draws to races for me. 6.5 hours is a long time to run by your lonesome, so I tend to find someone at a similar pace as me and strike up a conversation and for the most part others are just as happy to oblige.

The two runners I’ve quickly attached myself to are Helen and Todd. The three of us move swiftly up and down the trails for the next 4 miles trading stories, asking and answering the usual running background questions, unselfishly sharing small bits of lessons learned and teasing out races that they’ve been to. Helen is from the Vancouver, BC area. She has an accent which isn’t Canadian (yes, Canadians have accents) and she talks in kilometers, celsius, and of intriguing exotic races I’ve never heard of, even though they’re barely an hour and a half away from where I live. We would all come into the first aid station at 9 miles together, but quickly Todd and I would leave her as she refilled and refueled, although I’d see her again 20 miles later as I would hear a voice from behind me, “When you have a moment I’m on your left.” and then again at the finish line after we had both finished. Todd is from northwestern Oregon and I’d end up running with him for almost 3 hours through 15 miles and past lots of waterfalls. He’s in his mid 40’s and eased his way back into running with a walk with his wife which turned into a jog then a 5k race and blossomed into ultras. He’s run 100k’s before and has made it through 67 miles of a 100 mile race before the race was cancelled due to extremely poor weather and he’s signed up for another 100 mile race this year, the Bryce 100 miler. He has a son who ran in college with a 5 mile PR under 28 minutes (yowza!) and his other son who is on a track to design and develop systems to support our troops. His bucket list race is The Grandaddy of them All – Western States 100 and he swears by aerobic or metabolic training. I’d eventually be reduced to walking sorry that I’d lose his company although I’d also see him again at the finish line where he told me his race had gone much better than he had anticipated – 40 minutes faster than his goal.

Aid Station 1 – Cascade Locks – Mile 9.3 to 18.2
About a half mile before we roll into the first aid station I pull out an apple cinnamon Hammer Gel and suck it down and drain the last of my liquid, unscrew the top and carry the open bottle in one hand and the opt in the other. We glide into Aid Station 1 – Cascade Locks – to a larger than expected crowd of supporters cheering not just for ‘their runner’ but for all runners. Aid station volunteers are everywhere offering to refill water bottles and bladders while others keep the table stocked with the banquet of food. I quickly give my open empty bottle then the other bottle to a kind volunteer who refills it with some kind of mixed electrolyte drink. I turn to the table and see sweet M&M’s and salty potato chips in dixie cups. There’s some other food there as well, but in my haste to minimize my down time I grab only a cup of the potato chips, empty the contents into my mouth, toss the cup into the trash bag next to the table and just as quickly as I came in, I’m back out on the trail crunching on the chips while moving trying to catch back up to Todd who somehow made it in and out even faster than me. The clock doesn’t stop even though you’re not running, so the trick is to minimize the amount of time in the aid station. Apparently I have work to do still.

This section of the race was the easiest for me, but not because it was the most flat or downhill – on the contrary it actually has two decent sized climbs. Nope, this section was the easiest and seemed to fly by because of the conversation and so many inspiring waterfalls that we saw. It seemed like every half mile or so we would pass another tremendously sized amazing waterfall. I’ve said this numerous times already in the write-up and even more times during the run but I don’t know how you can’t be inspired by running past those waterfalls. They are truly magnificent and the race is worthy of the name, Gorge Waterfalls.

Aid Station 2 – Yeon – Mile 18.2 to 25.4
Similar to the approach of the first aid station, I pulled out my second apple cinnamon Hammer Gel about a half mile before and sucked it down and washed it with the last of my electrolyte drink. It tastes a bit like apple pie, minus the pie texture and just the syrupy gooey part that oozes out if you were to cut a piece and put the remainder in the refrigerator and came back to it the next day. It’s sweet, but you can only eat so much of it until your mouth is coated in it and you need to wash it down, except you don’t have milk (nor would you want any this far into a race) only more slightly sweet artificially flavored water. An interesting mixture of flavors, but it’s fuel and it’s helping me get to my next destination, aid station 3, and ultimately to my final destination, the finish line.

I quickly roll through aid station 2 knowing exactly what I need. Give volunteers bottles to be refilled with electrolyte drink. Find the small dixie cup of coke. Find the peanut butter and jelly sandwich quarters – better get two this time. Get bottles back from volunteers. Throw away empty dixie cup in the trash bag. Eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on the go. I’m in and out faster than an Indy car coming in for a pit stop getting four new tires and full tank of gas.

Eating and running is far easier than you think as long as you can tune out the voice of your parent(s) from 20 years ago when you were younger, “You need to sit and let your food digest for 15 minutes before you can go out and play.” Bite, chew, chew, chew, swallow, run, bite, chew, chew, chew, swallow, run. Repeat (any and/or all) as necessary.

A quarter mile out of the aid station and we’ve hit the only 2.5 mile requisite stretch of road running to reach the next trailhead portion of the Gorge Trail #400. It’s not pretty and we’re forced to run on the side of the road where the white line signifies the edge of the road and the neven farther to the gravelly shoulder as cars approach us. However it’s daytime, the visibility is good, and the shoulder is generous for most parts. When it gets a bit tight I could have hopped over to the opposite side of the guardrail if I was really nervous. Thankfully I’m never forced to take this measure.

I turn to Todd in our slow jog, “I think I’m going to have to let you go and walk. I feel some cramping in my quads coming on. Have a good rest of your run. See you at the finish line!” He nods knowingly and returns the pleasantries and off he goes. The cramping would only get worse from here and I’d be passed by a few more people before this stretch would end. More liquids. So down. Restore yourself. There’s still over 10 miles to go.

Popping back on the trail, I’m forced to walk the majority of this section. It’s not hard or steep really, I’m just starting to get gassed though. I’m past the slow burn and my quads are telling me walking isn’t an option,  it’s the only  option for the time being. I knew this time would come – it has around this point in every ultra I’ve run so far – I just hope it’s limited to my quads and doesn’t creep to my IT band. I can run through quad and hip flexor and calf cramps, but if my IT band flares up I’m done for.

This far into a 50k and the train of runners have thinned out for the middle packers and for the most part you’re running alone mostly and if you’re lucky maybe with one or two other people. Sometimes you creep into the back end of one of these groups and sometimes these groups creep onto the back end of you. I have the luxury of neither for these last 3 miles to the next aid station, but honestly I’m ok with that as long as I keep seeing pink ribbons every now to be reassured that I’m on the correct route. Plus it gives me time to eat and drink, lower my heart rate, recover, and regroup. I try to run and roll my ankle a few times, stopping briefly to curse out loud at no one. My eyes are blurry. My legs fatigued. The hot spots on the bottom of both my still wet feet I’m sure are now blaring blisters.  The water based Body Glide I applied before the race started has started to wear off, since it rained and that would be how to remove it, and I’m starting to get some chafing on the inside of my left leg. I need this downtime if only to gather myself physically.

Finally at mile 25 I’ve decided that it’s just going to take longer if I walk, so I push all physical distractions aside and decide F-this, it’s time to run.

Aid Station 3 – No Name – Mile 25.4 to 31.1
It’s a small group of volunteers who also double as a small group of spectators at his aid station, unlike the previous two, but they’re just as ever so pleasingly helpful, courteous and encouraging and I’m thankful. “What can I get you?” I reply, “A new set of legs would be great.” “Sure, they’re just up the trail about 5.7 miles away.” I grab what I need, more PB&J another cup of coke, and get my bottles topped off and I’m on my way. “Thank you!”

A storm is moving in. You can see the sky darkening over the gorge, the haze settling in and the ambient light dimmed down just a notch. The air is crisp and I pull my zipper on my shirt a little higher and let my sleeves come down off my forearms to my wrists. The smell is obvious, rain is on it’s way. I pull out my rain jacket and cinch up the hood just in time. Rain briefly turns to hail and I’m reminded of a training run I did a few months ago when it full out hailed on me. I’m already wet from sweat, so it’s not like I’m keeping the moisture out, but that’s not the reason for the jacket. I want to keep my warmth and the light rain jacket does it’s job.

This section of trail also has the most sustained elevation gain. 1500 feet up switchbacks around the backside of Multnomah Falls and then 1500 feet down the other side past an amazing amount of waterfalls and streams and creeks and rivers. The paved switchbacks are numbered, “2 of 11,” “3 of 11,” “4 of 11.” I count and somehow the number I end up with is over 11. Finding my power hiking groove, hands on legs, pushing with each step, controlled deep breaths, and picking out a spot a few hundred feet away. This repeats for several miles and the elevation training I’ve done pays off. I pass 8 people on this constant relentless uphill slog.

There’s much to see, but honestly I didn’t see much of any of it. I’m too zoned in on my breathing, my stride and rhythm, the trail immediately in front of me, and the goal. My mind is razor focused and finally in tune with my body is telling me and giving me.

Turning the corner of the last switchback, all I see is the gorge in front of me, the sky has cleared, an empty, but muddy trail, and some post-race pizza and beer in my near future! It’s mostly all paved for this last couple of miles and I bear down and pass 7 more people. I’ve found my second wind and all my physical distractions are miles behind me. I can practically smell the pizza. Winding back to the base of Multnomah Falls, there’s one last three-quarter mile ugly stretch on grass bordering the highway. I pull down one more person, then fight to bring in one last person as if the difference between 83rd place and 82nd place would mean anything to anyone other than myself.

The Finish
It’s an old school-ish style race and James Varner stands at the finish line and personally congratulates every person who crosses the finish line with a high five, a pat on the back, and a well done. No medals at least not for the middle and back of the packers and even the bib numbers are old school and grassroots. They’re just plain old numbers without any embellishments, no name of the race, no date, not your name, just the number. It’s not for everyone, but we’re not everyone. We’re trail runners and ultra runners! We find solace in experiencing nature on long runs. The reward is our process and experience of knowing that we started 31 miles away made it to the finish line using nothing but our own two feet.

The Post-Race
After changing into dry clothes I slowly moseyed back to the finish area, ate wood fired pizza and drank beer, listened to The Pine Hearts play, caught up and swapped stories with Joe and Todd and Helen and  cheered a few runners into the finish and it was great!

Lessons (Re)-Learned. What went well? What could be better?

  • Make sure you have everything covered in lubrcant plus a few inches past whatever area I think I’ll need covered.
  • Body Glide is water-based and will eventually break down with rain and sweat. Consider looking into a non-water based product that will stay effective longer.
  • Athletic tape over nipples instead of lubricant. Maybe at lower inner thighs as well and any other place that I know will rub.
  • Keep feet dry as long as possible for ultras, even if that means picking over rocks to get across a stream. The extra few minutes won’t “lose” the race for me (because I’m a middle-packer anyway) and my feet will thank me in the days following by having less chance for blisters.
  • Eat fuel and drink bottles empty half a mile from the next aid station and carry open bottle(s) so it’s faster to get them refilled.
  • Every second not running at an aid station is a second you’re not getting closer to the finish. Know what you need before you get there. Get in and out as fast as possible. Know what I want before I get there.
  • Half-zip long sleeve shirts provide flexibility to fine tune heating and venting.
  • Try to consume 250-300 calories per hour.
  • A rain jacket will help keep the warmth. It won’t be enough to keep me completely dry, besides I’m already sweating.
  • Fleece gloves retain water. Make a fist and swat the air to get the water out otherwise they’ll remain heavy with water and your hands will remain cold.
  • Use bottles not bladders. I can easily see how many ounces of fluids I’ve consumed  with bottles.
  • Zip lock bags keeps my phone dry and items like keys and driver’s license compact and in one easily accessed place.

Final Race Goals Recap and What’s Next?
I had five main goals for this race…
1. Make it to the Start Line.
2. Embrace the moment.
3. Finish.
4. Look around. Breathe. Smile. Remember.
5. Plan for the next event.

Without a doubt I accomplished the first four goals at the race and for the fifth goal I’m well on my way. The next few days are rest and recovery. Drain a few blisters and then on Tuesday get a few recovery shake out runs in and a week of training in before the next race in 3 weeks also hosted by James Varner and Rainshadow Running – The Yakima Skyline Rim 50k!

Gear used

  • Patagonia Houdini Rain Jacket
  • Arcteryx Morphic Zip Neck Long Sleeve
  • Arcteryx Motus Crew Shirt short sleeve
  • Salomon EXO S-Lab Twinskin Shorts
  • Nike Stability Low-Cut Running Socks
  • Hoka One One Stinson Trail shoes with quicklaces
  • UltraSpire Kinetic vest with two 26 oz bottles
  • Suunto Ambit 2S
  • Garmin ANT+ Heartrate belt
  • Body Glide Skin Glide
  • Athletic tape – two 1″ pieces – one for each nipple – and one 3″ piece – for small of back where vest rubs
  • (Phone, car key, and license in a zip lock bag – in case I get hurt, can’t talk and need to be identified)

Fuel used – (not consumed in parenthesis) 

  • PROBAR Meal Bar – Berry – 3 oz – This was breakfast. – 350 calories
  • Coffee – 12 oz americano with a packet of raw sugar and a splash of half and half – ~ 40 calories


  • Hammer Nutrition Perpetuem Drink Mix – single serving mixed before and drank during race – 26 oz – 260 calories
  • Hammer Nutrition HEED Sport Drink Mix – single serving mixed before and drank during race – 26 oz – 100 calories
  • CocoHydro Coconut Water Electrolyte Drink – Pineapple – single serving mixed at aid station – 20 oz – 40 calories
  • Aid station electrolyte – 80 oz – ~400 calories
  • Honey Stinger Energy Waffle – one chocolate (and one honey) – 160 calories
  • Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter – 11.5oz squeeze pack – 180 calories
  • Hammer Nutrition Energy Gel – single serving – two squeeze packets of apple cinnamon – 90 calories each – 180 total
  • SaltStick Plus Electrolyte Salt Capsules – consumed 3 (brought 10 in case someone else needs some) – 0 calories
  • (Honey Stinger Organic Energy Chews – Pink Lemonade)
  • Potato chips – dixie cup full – ~50 calories
  • Coke – two small dixie cups – ~40 calories
  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwich – half a sandwich at one aid station and a quarter at another aid station – ~275 calories


  • Wood fired pizza – 4 slices post race – ~700 calories
  • Beer from Hood River’s Double Mountain Brewery – 1.5 cups – ~ 225 calories

Calories/Heartrate – (not including the 7 min. I accidentally stopped my watch.)

  • Calories burned ~2,842
  • Calories consumed pre-race – 390
  • Calories consumed during race ~1685
  • Calories consumed post race ~995
  • Average heartrate – 145
  • Max heartrate – 171
  • Time in heartrate zone 1 and 2 – 0:57
  • Time in heartrate zone 3 – 2:09
  • Time in heartrate zone 4 – 3:24

3 thoughts on “Gorge Waterfalls 50k – Race Report

  1. Terrific race report and video. I was fortunate to have my name drawn for the Gorge Waterfalls 50 in 2015 (In 3 months). It’s going to be my first 50k and appreciate the great information you provided on this race as I’ve been doing some research to be more prepared. Do you incorporate any strength training in preparation for your ultras? I’ve been trying to do a little since my hip flexors tend to bother me at the end of longer runs.

    Thanks again for sharing your videos and reports. They are well done and it looks like you’re having a great time out there.
    Best of luck to you in any adventures on your calendar in 2015.

    -Dan Winters


    1. Hi Dan.
      Thanks for your comments. Congratulations on being drawn for the Gorge Waterfalls 50k race! What a fantastic race for your first 50k. The last half of the race is incredibly inspiring and you’ll want to keep running just so you can see the next waterfall.

      I have not done any intensive strength training, although I keep talking how I really do need to. Unfortunately I know myself a little too well and I have a sinking feeling despite my best intentions and all my talk that it’s going to take me getting a reoccurring injury to finally force myself to incorporate gym based strength specific training into my schedule. With that said, I do play in a pretty competitive soccer league (engages all the lateral muscles from the waist down that running neglects) once a week and through the 6 months of winter I curl (basically a hip flexor stretch every time I deliver a stone and core strength while sweeping). The only other specific injury prevention exercise I’ve sporadically targeted is strength training using resistance bands for tight IT bands and stair dip leg raises which engage the hips and the connections of tendons down through the leg.

      Best of luck to you as well for Gorge Waterfalls and for all of 2015! I’d love to hear how your race and first 50k unfolds.

      Run fast. Run hard. Run happy.


      1. Yea, I’ll let you know how it goes. I hate core & glute workouts but I picked up a membership at my local 24 hour fitness to get a little more motivated to get at least something done with my core, hips, and glutes. That, and taking advantage of the treadmill on these colder days when I can’t get outside to run. Fear is a great motivator! I’ve been taking care to stretch and roll my IT band along with your resistance band idea so I can handle the increased mileage.

        Well, I’m hoping to head out and put in 10 miles with my new pack to test it out. Waiting for the outside temp to get out of the teens first. It’s 10 degrees here right now. :(

        Have a great New Year and good luck with your 2015 training.



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