Bryan Clay Invite, Fun with the Fuzz 5k, Vancouver Sun Run, Tenacious 10, Yakima Skyline 25k & the Spring Classic Du!

On Friday, April 20, Brittany Grant competed in the 1500 at the Bryan Clay Invitational at Azusa Pacific, and was just shy of PR’ing in 4:31:86. Grant donned the gorgeous new Citius Mag kits that we’re fanning over. The track meet was stacked with pros. FULL RESULTSSaturday, April 21 was bountiful in races, with our local Fun with the Fuzz 5k kicking it off. Fun with the Fuzz is an incredible event, which, alongside Behind the Badge Foundation, honors the sacrifices of officers who have died or suffered a catastrophic injury in the line of duty by serving as the trusted resource to families and surviving officers, providing immediate and on-going support and maintaining the Law Enforcement Memorial for fallen Washington officers. Katelyn Steen & Hazel Clapp repped BDP at Fun with the Fuzz; Steen used the race as a nice warmup leading into the Whidbey Island 1/2 the following day, and took 2nd to Bronwyn Crossman. Hazel also nabbed a PR and  5th F! Results HERE Saturday also featured Oiselle’s Tenacious 10 (10k & 10 Mile), where Aly Howisey raced the 10k. “Since day one, Oiselle has been about running and racing. So to have the chance to sponsor a premiere race in our hometown is incredibly exciting. And we like to think a ‘tenacious’ themed event is perfect for Seattle. We are a hearty, outdoorsy, fun and fierce community. The race will welcome everyone, every pace, getting tenacious from start to finish,” says Sally Bergerson, Oiselle Founder and CEO. The race featured a ton of awesome Oiseller’s, the likes of Kara Goucher, Lauren Fleshman, Sabrina and Regina Lopez, Theresa Hailey and Lyndy Davis, plus many many more. We were also fanning over Ladia Albertson-Junkans who used the race to simulate MP work. Kara Goucher won the 10 Mile in 58:16, followed by Abigail Lang in 58:25 and Albertson-Junkans in 3rd in 58:48. In the 10k, Oiselle’s Mel Lawrence took the win in 33:30, followed by Tara Welling in 34:35 and Caroline Austin in 3rd in 34:45. Fleshman led the 7:00 min pace group in the 10k, where Aly ran for fun, able to utilize the wonderful cheering displayed by Fleshman. Full results for both races HERE!Sunday dominated with, duh, the London Marathon (will the women’s marathon record fall?? No.) We were excited to follow Steph Rothstein-Bruce and Becky Wade; for her pre-race Q&A preview check out – Q & A With Steph Bruce and Ben Rosario Ahead of Virgin Money London Marathon). Rothstein-Bruce didn’t have her best day, but was happy for 10th in 2:32:28; Becky Wade was 11th in 2:35:01. Results for the London Marathon can be found HERE! Closer to home, the famed Vancouver Sun Run 10k, the Whidbey Island 1/2 and Full, the Yakima Skyline 25k & 50k, and the Spring Classic Duathlon happened. Woof. That’s a lot. The 34th Annual Vancouver Sun Run 10k boasts Canada’s biggest start line and is it’s largest 10k road race. “The 10k route is a beautiful scenic course which begins in Vancouver’s downtown core at Burrard St. and Georgia St. Participants will enjoy the downhill start as they make their way towards the world famous Stanley Park, continuing along English Bay to Hornby St., then onto Pacific Avenue, across the Burrard St. bridge exiting onto 2nd Avenue. Winding along Fir St. to join 4th Avenue, the route continues east on 6th Ave. to the Cambie St. Bridge for the final stretch across the bridge to the finish line…The 10k route is sprinkled with gentle, undulating hills making it both fun and enjoyable, while providing breathtaking scenery which includes the snow-capped mountains along Georgia Straight, water views along English Bay and False Creek.” David Larpenteur and Courtney Olsen competed in the Elite Division, and both proffered PR’s. The Sun Run is stacked, and its a great place to race against Canada’s best. Larpenteur was 36th M in 32:38 and Olsen was 16th F in 35:01. Leading the men’s race was Brendan Gregg of Davis, CA who finished in 29:14, followed by Geoff Martinson of Vancouver, BC in 29:35 and Stephen Kersh of Flagstaff, AZ in 29:49. Leading the women was Monica Ngige in 32:23, then Emma Bates of Boise, ID in 32:36, followed by Canadian babes Rachel Cliff in 3rd in 32:41, Natasha Wodak in 4th in 33:04 and Dayna Pidhoresky in 5th in 33:11. Full RESULTSSunday, April 22 also featured the 11th Annual Whidbey Island 1/2 and Full, where Katelyn doubled back for the 1/2, and former Bellingham local and overall stud, Bronwyn Crossman doubled back for the Whidbey Island Marathon. The 1/2 is an out-and-back loop course, which starts at the Bayshore Drive Waterfront in downtown Oak Harbor, winds through a combo of paved city streets, country roads and trails, takes runners through Windjammer Park toward Penn Cove, and back along the waterfront to the finish. “For most of the race, the 1/2 offers gently rolling hills, with the most significant changes in elevation occurring between the quarter-point and half-way point in the race.” The Island lies just north of Seattle in Washington’s Puget Sound, and is a “treasure of scenic natural beauty – with ample views of the nearby ocean, peaceful back-roads through the island’s farmland areas, and the snow-capped peaks of the nearby Olympic and Cascade mountain ranges.” The two women dominated, taking 1st across the distances, after finishing 1-2 in the Fun with the Fuzz 5k the day before. Results HEREThat same morning boasted Rainshadow Running’s Yakima Skyline 25k & 50k in Yakima River Canyon, WA, outside of Ellensburg. Maria Dalzot raced the 25k, which is known for its hot, dry conditions, its 5k in vert, its quad-burning climbs and screaming downhills. Dalzot took 1st F/4th OA, and was a little over a minute off her PR on the course, which is also the current CR. She finished in 2:29:36; her CR is 2:28:10. The OA winner was Duncan Hoge of Portland, OR, who finished in a time of 2:14:22. Ending another epic weekend of racing, Leighton Overson competed at his 2nd of three weekends in a row of duathlons, at the Spring Classic Duathlon in Portland, OR. The Spring Classic features a 5k run, 15 mile bike, 5k run format. The ride and runs follow the Columbia River and is considered flat and fast. The Sprint Du’s course records are held by Andrew Langfield (1:10:31, 2012) and Juliet Hochman (1:22:24, 2017). Overson had another good day, taking 1st once more (1:14:10 – which broken down was a 17:38 5k, 36:57 bike, 17:04 5k *not including transitions), two weekends in a row. Can he keep the streak alive next weekend at the Mt. Rainier LC Duathlon?? Full results for the Spring Classic Du HERE!

This is a lot of racing. Brain tired. Must eat Nikki’s homemade cookies.

Sonoma 50 Race Report by Nikki Buurma


By Nikki Buurma

They say that if you want to try an ultra you had better know your “why.” Why run 50 miles? Why spend weeks training? Why keep going when it gets hard? Going into my first 50 miler I tried to think through my reasoning. Because my favorite part of training is long runs with friends and big weekends of training, it seemed like going up in distance might suit me well, especially if it was on run-able California-style trails. So with the encouragement of Corrine and my coach, David, I decided to enter the lottery for Lake Sonoma. My friends, Scarlett and Mitch entered too and we were super stoked when we all made it in. Lake Sonoma 50 offers beautiful trails with views of the lake, is a well organized and fun event, and boasts a competitive field. Due to the out and back nature of the course I knew I would get to see all the pros in action mid-race; an added incentive for this super fan.

With the lottery and registration process it felt like the race had been on the calendar for months – the big goal, the big question…can I even do this? Have I trained enough? Can I do 10,500 ft of vert at once? That is more than I normally do in 2-3 weeks combined! I always have doubts. Luckily I have amazing friends and training partners who constantly tell me I’m more capable than I believe I am. I think that’s another one of my why’s – to test myself and remind myself that I’m stronger than I think. Running is such a great practicing ground for life. You can dream big, take risks, test limits, learn, grow, fail – all things needed for a full life – but in running, the consequences of not achieving are minimal, so it’s ok to practice. The lessons and knowledge gained can then be applied to life situations where the impact really does matter. Kind of like a fire drill, a low pressure practice so that when the crisis occurs you know what to do. In the past 2 years of dealing with real life, I’m really glad I had done all those running fire drills. Some of the most important lessons learned: 1. That you can achieve a lot with a good attitude and continual forward progress, 2. You don’t have to know everything you just have to know who to ask, and 3. Being vulnerable shows you just how much love and support you have. So in the interest of continued growth, upping the challenge, risking failure and trying something harder – seemed like a good idea because we all know life isn’t getting any easier and might as well prepare for it.

Cue months of training, countless long runs with so many different friends, all the tips and advice from Tad, Corrine, my coach, and lots of encouragement from my teammates, and going into the race I felt healthy, happy and like the training itself was satisfaction enough. The race was just icing on the cake. Race week workouts and runs were about the best I have had. Ever since Chuckanut I had been feeling really good and just having so much fun with training. Because I have been extra busy with work and coaching track I didn’t have time to over-analyze or psych myself out. Getting to travel with Scarlett and Mitch and knowing that Scarlett was a trip planner-organizer extraordinaire took all the pre-race logistical anxiety away as well. I felt totally relaxed, trusting that I’d be well taken care of. The days before the race we trail ran, explored the coast, wine tasted, and went to the pre-race dinner.

Race morning went smoothly and we arrived in plenty of time to…not warm up (never raced without warming up before!), drink some coffee , and rearrange layers. All the runners lined up, a horn sounded, and we were off! The first few miles are downhill on road to let the pack thin out before you hit the single track. I tried to hold back and run relaxed but found myself right behind Megan Laws and Amy Sproston, experienced fast runners, and I felt out of my league – staying behind them seemed like a good idea. I ended up running behind Megan for the first 8 miles, the nerd in me was taking notes on the way she ran the uphills at a nice easy pace and then opened up on the downs. At one point she asked if I wanted to pass, and I said, “No that sounds like a bad idea, I know how much experience you have!” The first and last 18 miles of the race were rolling single track with short, punchy climbs, lots of turns, and multiple creek crossings. Most just got your feet wet but the bigger ones were stretches of almost knee deep water and if I ran too fast it would splash up and soak my shorts. There were a number of guys around and we would form trains and work together. It felt fun and fairly effortless, just soaking in the beautiful scenery and the atmosphere of the race. I lost Megan at around mile 8, caught back up around 16, then lost her again. At every aid station Scarlett would be ready and waiting with the spare bottles I had borrowed from Corrine. It worked so smoothly to trade out for new, grab more gels, and head on my way. The awesome crewing definitely saved me time and energy throughout the race and I am so thankful to Scarlett for still coming along to crew when she found out she couldn’t race. Good friends are an invaluable resource.

After 18-20 miles the trail opens up to more of a double track or fire road with some big sustained climbs up to the turn around point. I felt great and powered past a bunch of guys going up the climbs and then really got to open up on the descent (even had a 6:58 mile). This section of trail was the most fun for me. I got to pass all the pros as they headed back past the turnaround. Like the dorky super fan that I am, I would enthusiastically cheer, congratulate, and tell them their place. “Go Jim!” “Way to go Mario!” “Doing great David!” “Keely you are killing it!” They may have thought I was nuts but the excitement gave me tons of energy. At the turnaround they told me that I was around top 10 women. I was shocked. Top 10 had been my dream goal going in but I did not expect it to happen. My goal for the day was just to finish my first 50, so hearing my place and having spectators along the course tell me I was looking strong and gaining on the women ahead of me motivated me even more.

At the top of the 3rd big climb I saw Mitch, Megan, and Amy at the aid station. I stopped quick for more roctane and left ahead of Mitch and Megan. I caught up with Amy at around 30 miles. She asked if I wanted to pass but I declined, hoping to work with her for the next 10 miles or so, but she sped up a little and dropped me easily so the last 20 miles were mostly alone. I couldn’t believe how good I felt through 30, I was truly having so much fun. Through 35 I felt good, but had to start walking more climbs. In general I was moving well. I had fueled and hydrated more than ever before (probably 2-3 times as much), totally lost count of how many gels, water, and roctane I had gone through but I am so glad I did because my energy was good, stomach was fine, and everything was going great. At mile 39 Megan Hicks from irunfar asked me my name and told me I was running well and in the top 10, and I was pretty stoked to be talking to someone I am always following on twitter for race coverage. When I got to the aid station at Warm Springs (11 miles to go), I exchanged bottles with Scarlett and somehow mentally started to think I was almost done. I wasn’t. I think the last 10 miles are harder than the whole first 40 combined. There were few spectators, no other racers, and it was really really hot and sunny. Plus I stopped eating and drinking as diligently as I had all race. Each mile got progressively harder. I tripped , hit my head on a rock and almost rolled off the hill and into the ravine with about 5 miles to go. I was fine but it spooked me, knowing my legs were too tired to react and maintain balance anymore.

Unlike Chuckanut, which is full of funny and encouraging signs along the way, Sonoma only has three. The first “You aren’t almost there,” then, “Are we having fun yet?,” and last, “Help is not coming.” A little disheartening, especially that last one because at that point I was totally out of water and felt like I was going to have heat stroke. At the last big creek crossing, the sandy bank on the opposite side was shoulder height, I kept trying to make a foot hold to climb up but the sand would slip away and for a minute I thought I’d be stuck in there! Made it out, but was covered in sand. I fell one more time with about a mile to go – just fatigued legs not clearing the rocks. I had been through in 4 hours at the halfway point so I hoped to be around 8:00 for the finish, but the course is harder (more uphill and all single track, no road) on the way back, so I wasn’t surprised to positive split. 8:36:29, good enough for 9th female and 37th overall. I moved up over 30 spots during the race and never got passed in the second half. Overall it was such a great experience, I couldn’t have asked for things to go any better and am so thankful to have been healthy enough to toe the line and to have a really good day when it counted. Maybe one of my  “why’s” is the post race feels, because the love, support, encouragement, and kudos from family and friends is pretty awesome. Thank you all!

BDP Performs Well at Sonoma 50, Rage in the Sage, Deception Pass 1/2 and the Seattle Spartan Sprint!

Saturday, April 14 – Buurma takes top 10 at Sonoma 50; 9th F in 8:36:59! The women’s race was led by Keely Henninger, 1st in 7:13:55. There followed Taylor Nowlin in 2nd in 7:44:52, Camelia Mayfield in 3rd in 7:45:55, Gina Slaby in 4th in 7:54:10, Amy Leedham in 5th in 7:59:54, Abby Mitchell in 6th in 8:17:14, Ashley Nordell in 7th in 8:21:27, Amy Sproston in 8th in 8:27:21, and our badass teammate, Nikki Buurma in 9th in 8:36:59. The men’s field proved exciting, with Jim Walmsley breaking his own record, taking 1st in 5:51:16, followed by Coconino Cowboys’ Jared Hazen in 2nd in 6:18:10 and Eric Senseman in 4th in 6:33:34. Mario Mendoza broke up the Cowboys with a 3rd place finish in 6:25:30. Since Walmsley had already earned a golden ticket to Western States, Hazen, Mendoza and Senseman happily earned their golden tickets at Sonoma. Full results can be found HERE! Stay tuned tomorrow for Nikki’s race report!

Saturday, April 14 – Overson is 1st OA at Rage in the Sage Duathlon! In his first multi-sport event of the year, Leighton took 1st (Results currently unlisted), in the 2.5 mile run – 10 mile mountain bike – 2.5 mile run duathlon event. Rage in the Sage was his first event in what will be several weeks of racing ahead. Next up – the Spring Classic Duathlon in Portland, OR this weekend!

Saturday, April 14 – Howisey takes 3rd at the Deception Pass 1/2 Marathon! Despite her winter and early spring training being mostly road focused, Howisey couldn’t resist the Deception Pass 1/2, a race close to her heart. Aly placed 3rd to Seattle’s Rachel Mokrey in 2:02:44 and 2nd place’s Lizzy Moran from Jackson, WY, who finished in 2:03:14. Aly was 3rd in 2:04:21, faster than her time the year previous. Full results can be found HERE!

Sunday, April 15 – Carlyon takes 3rd in her Division at her first ever Spartan race – the Seattle Spartan Sprint! The Sprint race consisted of 3+ miles run and 20-23 obstacles. After some really debilitating injuries, Alyson is healthy and, as you might imagine, incredibly strong, because this burpee machine just podium’d! RESULTS!

Race Preview: Sonoma 50 Mile, Deception Pass 1/2 & Rage in the Sage Du


Oh man. The 10th Annual Lake Sonoma 50 is here. Something that our teammate, Nikki, has been working towards for a good deal of time, a culmination of years of mileage, and a half year’s worth of specific training. The 50 is full up. “Held on the rugged trails at Lake Sonoma, about 10 miles northwest of Healdsburg, the course is 86% single track and 9% dirt roads, with the first 2.4 miles on a paved country road. The race starts at 6:30 a.m.” Nikki is bib #107. For a full list of athletes and bib #’s see HERE! To track the racers, follow this LINK! Nikki and her support crew and teammate, Scarlett, along with Mitch (who is also racing), have been in Sonoma the last few days running in weather that far outweighs the likes of April in Washington. The Sonoma 50 is a Golden Ticket race for Western States (Up to 24 slots are reserved for winners of the Golden Ticket Races).

THE COURSE – “Is an out-and-back circumnavigation of the Warm Springs Arm of Lake Sonoma…The trail is relentlessly rolling with three significant climbs. There is about 10,500 ft. of elevation gain and equal amount of loss over the 50 miles…There are twelve creek crossings and it is likely that your feet will get wet in most – if not all – of them.”

On top of Nikki, we’re so excited to watch how it plays out for some of our faves – Keely Henninger (winner of the Chuckanut 50k last month), Stephanie Howe Violett, Mario Mendoza, Eric Senseman and Jim Walmsley.

Post race should be stellar, one, because Nikki will celebrate completing her first 50 miler, two – we love this – as the race states, “There is no running water, if you want to clean up after the race, we suggest you bring a solar shower and leave it on top of your car.” BA. The finish line food looks rad – tamales from Mateo Granados of Mateo’s Cocina Latina restaurant and delicious sandwiches from the World Famous Hamburger Ranch and Pasta Farm, along with Bear Republic Brewing Company‘s award-winning Racer 5 IPA. On top of all this, Sonoma 50 has set up a private wine tasting event the day after the race at Wilson Winery with award winning winemaker Diane Wilson. I mean, this race is legit.


Saturday, April 14th will also feature the Deception Pass 1/2 Marathon, where teammate, Aly has dominated over the years (1st in ’14, 2nd in ’15, 1st in ’16, 2nd in ’17); if the trending continues, she’s up for a win this year. We’re big fans of the Deception Trail 1/2 and all races under the Bellingham Trail Running Series.

The Deception Pass 1/2 will start and finish at West Beach at Deception Pass State Park, and will explore the coastal trails around the famous Deception Pass Bridge on the North end of Whidbey Island, offering stunning views of the water, deep green forests, rocky coastline and sweet PNW single track. The race also features a full marathon.


Saturday, April 14th also boasts Leighton’s first multi-sport event of the season – a duathlon in Benton City, WA, hosted by 3 Rivers Road Runners, the first event in their Multisport series – Rage in the Sage Duathlon. It starts at Kiona Vineyards and Winery in Benton City, with a 2.5 mile run along the gravel and dirt roads that surround the Kiona Vineyards. It’s considered “totally cross country.” The cycle leg (mountain bike only), is 10 miles long and takes a few loops view the dirt roads through Kiona Vineyards and the neighboring Klipsun Vineyards. After the bike leg, racers repeat the first run to reach the finish line.

It would be sacrilege for us not to mention our complete and utter excitement over the imminent Boston Marathon! With friends competing and the ultimate showdown of American Female Distance Runners, we are chomping at the bit to stream the race. Odds are good for an American woman to win (the last one to was Lisa Rainsberger nee Weidenbach in 1985). Who will it be? Flanagan? Huddle? Linden? Hasay? For a great read on check out the 2018 Boston Marathon Women’s Preview: Flanagan and Hasay and Huddle and Linden, Oh My!

Results and race recaps to follow, plus, also, maybe, a meltdown of excitement. Best of luck to all you racing! We can’t wait to be your cheerleaders behind the screens and on the roads!

Honeywagon Runs, Birch Bay 5k, Everett 1/2 and SACTOWN 5k!

BDP is in the thick of race season, evident in the depth of this past weekend’s events. Kicking it off, Kathryn raced the Birch Bay Road Race 5k, and though she was in the hunt for a PR, paced by Kristen Schafer, the weather made it difficult (severe rain storms, 40 mph gusts…), despite, Kathryn nabbed a 1st Place Overall finish! Full results can be found HERE!Later that morning David, Derek and Hazel toed the start of the Honeywagon 1/2 Marathon (same conditions), and just killed it. David was 1st Overall, shattering the CR by 10 minutes; there followed Casey Barten who helped pace Derek to a PR (succeeded) taking 2nd and 3rd! Hazel was 1st F/5th Overall, bettering her CR from the year previous. The 1/2 Marathon and 4 Mile races start and finish in Riverside Park in Everson, WA. Courtney raced the 4 Mile, finishing in a new CR. Full results for the 1/2 and 4 Mile can be found HERE!Sunday, April 8th hosted the Everett 1/2 Marathon, where teammate, Shawn took a break from the trails and tread to race a road half. Despite it being just a few weeks out from the Chuckanut 50k, Shawn was top 10 and 1st Masters! The Everett Half was hosted by our friends, Snohomish Running Company, and starts and finishes at Marina Park, running along the Everett waterfront and over the historic SR-529 drawbridge into Marysville before it brings you back for a Glory Lap around the park. Snohomish Running Company knows how to host a great event; post race there was massage, oven-fired pizza and awesome other little goodies. Many agreed that the race would have been a PR landmark, had the wind been a tad more kind. Results HERE!Sunday also held the Credit Union SACTOWN 5k (and famed SACTOWN 10 Mile), where Brittany raced en route to Colorado, taking 3rd F in 18:17! 1st Place F in the 5k was Rachel Mitchell (17:54) and 2nd Place F was Kori Gilley (18:05). With its flat, fast course that starts and finishes at the California State Capitol, SACTOWN weekend impresses. Results posted HERE!

Chuckanut 50k and St. Pats Race Results!!

The 2018 Chuckanut 50k was a sight to see. After last year’s weather, a sun-filled and baby blue sky was a blessing. The ever-murmur of the possibility of records being overthrown ran rampant through the crowd, and though close, Max King’s (3:33:11) and Jodee Adams-Moore’s (4:01:23) records still stand. As mentioned in our previous blog, BDP had 5 athletes competing in the Chuckanut 50k, most of whom trained together through the winter in the snow-saturated mountains of their backyard playground. Leading the finishers was Jeff Sanders, in what would be his first 50k. We were totally ecstatic with his top 15 performance and 2nd place Masters finish, finishing in a time of 4:07:25. Next to follow was Maria Dalzot, 6th F/36th O in 4:35:00. Shawn Bussert was 52nd M in 4:56:42 and Nikki Buurma was 17th F in a course and overall 50k PR of 5:01:31. Katelyn Steen battled through 25 miles of the race in the top pack of women before making the call to drop due to dehydration. Cole Watson of Folsom, CA was 1st Overall in a blazing 3:34:25, minutes ahead of 2nd Place’s Patrick Smyth in 3:40:57. Leading the women was Keely Henninger of Portland, OR in 4:07:46, followed by Anne-Marie Madden of Vancouver, BC in 4:15:27. Full results for the Chuckanut 50k can be found HERE! Earlier that morning, Courtney Olsen and Aly Howisey raced the St. Pat’s Dash in Seattle. Courtney finished 2nd to Brooks Beast Jessica Tonn (16:14), in 17:04 and Aly Howisey PR’d, taking top 15 in 19:44. For full results for the St. Pat’s Dash, see HERE! In Bellingham, David Larpenteur took 1st in the Runnin’ O’ the Green 5k in 15:43, and Leighton Overson took 1st in the 8k in 27:27, followed by Derek Thornton in 2nd, in 27:30. Hazel Clapp dominated with a 1st place finish in the 8k as well! Results currently unavailable, but it’s safe to say BDP kicked a$$!Rounding out our incredibly festive St. Pats racing weekend, Rachel Cundy repped in Portland, OR at the Shamrock Run 8k, taking 5th F in 31:11, behind pro runners the likes of Tara Welling, who won the 8k in 28:56. Full results can be found HERE!

Congrats to all those who competed! It was a weekend for the books, that’s for sure! And, on top of being blessed with a beautiful weekend, we are blessed to have a team of so many outstanding individuals, who, when they come together, whether in racing alongside one another, against each other, volunteering, working the med tent, or cheering out on the course, are even more incredible. Can’t wait till St. Pats 2019!


The Weekend Ahead – Chuckanut 50k and all the St. Pats Road Races!

“Let it be an environment that is accepting and forgiving; and let there be real pressures, and let it make definite and clear-cut demands, and yet let the demands be flexible; and let there be no formal punishment or long-lasting ostracism; and let there be hope of friendship and hope of praise; and let there be abundant physical contact and physical exertion; and let the enivironment offer a sense of skills and a variety of behaviors that lead to greater pleasure…and greater security; and let the rewards be immediate and intrinsic to the activity itself.”
– George Dennison, from The Lives of Children

Tomorrow, Saturday, March 17th is the Chuckanut 50k; how fitting that it will fall upon St. Patrick’s Day, as post race festivities will not be short of beer and we hope luck on top of grit will abound. Many of our athletes have spent the last half year of their lives, if not longer, training in the winter’s wet, wind and snow for this. Before that, they were on their computers feverishly filling out the entry form before the race would sell out. To say its been a road without its share of potholes would be inaccurate. A few of us will not toe the start line, suffering from unexpected freak accidents – of the body, of health, of fracture. And though these teammates have had to set aside this year’s race, they’re passionate, incredible friends and teammates, who, despite their own paths diverging, will still be at the Chuckanut 50k, volunteering on the course, at aid stations, and as medical staff. Those to toe the line tomorrow will be: Maria, Katelyn, Nikki, Jeff and Shawn, and we can’t wait to celebrate them! Saturday, March 17th will also feature the St. Patrick’s Day Dash in Seattle, where Courtney will race the 5k, and the Runnin’ O’ the Green in Fairhaven, where Hazel, Leighton and Derek will run the 8k and David will run the 5k. On Sunday, March 18th, Rachel will race the Shamrock Run in Portland, OR.

Good luck to all of our athletes and to all of you racing this weekend! Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Results to follow next week!

Phoenix 1/2 Marathon Race Report & Costa Rica-cation by Nikki Buurma

I don’t even know exactly how this trip came to be – an idea, a suggestion, a half joking
offer, some emails, texts…Somehow everything worked out to combine a
race in Phoenix with Aly and a trip to Costa Rica with my brother, Joel. Never mind the fact that Aly and Joel had never met or the logistical details of planning and packing for both, everyone was on board, so we committed and figured we would iron out the details later. Luckily Joel is a trip planning guru complete with excel spreadsheets, downloaded maps, apps for splitting costs,
and research on everything from the best things to do, to the local plants and wildlife. Aly and I are game for anything so we gave him freedom to map it all out.

My running has been focused primarily on trail for months and I have been doing big weeks
with long long runs and lots of vert in the cold, wet, windy PNW since Christmas. Just a week
out from Phoenix I did 21 miles in cold pouring rain on swampy trails, so I had no idea what to
expect for a road 1/2 in the desert. Because of that I went into the race relaxed with no plans
and no pressure. Friday an early morning flight from Seattle got me to Phoenix by 10 am. Aly
and I did a shake out to the expo and soaked in the sun and enjoyed the first time sweating in
months. We picked up our packets, figured out the logistics for race morning, and picked up
food to eat in our room so we could head to bed early.

3 am alarms sound – breakfast, coffee, race gear. We took a bus to the start and we both changed in and out of long sleeve shirts multiple times pre-race. We stood under the heaters at the start until it was time to warm up and waited for the fireworks to start the race. Based on my training I had no idea if I would run 1:35 or a 1:25 so I decided to cover my watch and just go by feel. Sometimes too much feedback is a bad thing. A 6 am start meant it was totally dark; there were early miles where I had to just follow the shapes of runners in front of me but I found a couple women to work with and just went for it. I felt like I was going too fast and kept waiting to hit the wall or fall apart but mile after mile went by and it never happened. At mile 8 I tried to take my gel but I dropped it and didn’t want to go back, I’m not even sure if I ever took water…

Coming in to the finish I could see the big clock and was completely
shocked. Going in I had little hope of breaking my previous PR of 1:26, so
1:24:17 was better than I had ever dreamed of. I grabbed my gear and found Aly
and she PR’d too. A great way to start the trip, both excited, happy, and tired. I
somehow missed getting my finishers medal so I wandered my way back to get it
before jogging back to the hotel to shower and make our 12:00 pm flight. (This
ended up being a mistake because a pointy medal object in my bag flagged
every security scan the rest of the trip and we would have to pull out the medal
and explain.)

Long flights, crampy legs, some “need food now” episodes, and we eventually make it to San Jose. My overly tired brain couldn’t understand colones to dollars conversions and I got scammed into paying 60$ for a 10$ cab ride. Finally at Hostel Trutumundos we met up with Joel, talked briefly and climbed the 2×4 stairs to our mattress on the floor ready for bed and not really caring what kind of bed it was. Up early to beat traffic out of the city, hostel breakfast, rental car check out and we were off. We got stuck behind what must have been 300 motorcycles so the driving was slow but the scenery and conversation were good. First stop: La Fortuna waterfall. Within minutes of arriving both Joel and Aly were in the water trying to swim under the falls and I knew they would get along just fine. We hiked the surrounding trails, Aly’s post race quads literally shaking while descending the 600 stairs, crossed the river with its brisk current, saw some monkeys and jumped back in the car. We found a roadside “soda” (Costa Rica cafe) for lunch and Joel introduced us to Casado – the local standard meal: rice, beans, plantains, veggies, salad, your choice of protein. Each one is unique but the basic components are the same. We ended up having Casado for almost every breakfast, lunch, and dinner until we got back to San Jose. While at lunch there was a complete downpour of rain, the only real rain of the whole trip, but it ended just as we finished lunch and it felt like a good sign of more luck to come.

Next we found the Arenal 1968 bosque trail and power hiked around the loop for views of the volcano. The 3.5 mile loop was a strava segment and I was tempted to run it for a better time but we decided to head to the hotel instead. Volcano Hot Springs was our nicest hotel of the trip and we wanted to take advantage of the different hot springs and pools hoping they would help accelerate our recovery for all the adventure ahead.

Monday morning I ran some loops of the hotel’s 1k running trail before breakfast. It felt like a cross country course with a mix of grass, trail, and switchbacks. We hit the road by 7:30 am and made good time to the Rio Celeste waterfall. We declined the suggested rubber rain boots and made our way down the clay mud trail. The water was a gorgeous turquoise blue because of the mixing of sulfur and aluminum but you aren’t allowed to swim in it and that’s just not our style so we
completed the “3.5 hour hike” in more like 90 mins. A slightly sketch roadside
soda, Cafe Naranja, was the only option for lunch but ended up being some of
the best Casado of the trip. More driving, more bumpy dirt roads that left us
questioning, “is this really where we’re supposed to go?” but eventually we arrived at
the Llanas de Cortez waterfall. Again seconds after getting there Joel and
Aly were getting in trouble for swimming under the falls. A local gave us a tip
that there was another waterfall through the woods so we ventured off to find it. 2
overweight white guys told us that it was totally safe to jump off but Joel and Aly both
hit rocks in the not-so-deep-enough-water below.

Back in the car again, we made it to the beach town of Tamarindo just in time for
some body surfing before sunset. We surfed til it was dark, listening to live music from the nearby
restaurants, then changed quick and headed back to Volcano Brewing for
dinner and the bands last set. The Blue trailz surf hostel dorm rooms were $15 a
night and we got what we paid for, but the young surf bums were friendly and
we shared stories before heading to bed. Tuesday we had this great plan to go snorkeling
so again we were up early to catch the boat.

We waited around at a lux resort pool waiting for the boat for about an hour. Just before we were set to leave other divers in our group warned us that the water was cold, 60 ft deep and the visibility was about 5 ft. Chances were we would be swimming in cold water with nothing to look at but our own feet. Literally on the dock about to step into the boat we made the call to cancel. Plan B? Drive towards our next accommodations and try to find surfing. Tamarindo had great waves, big crowds, and a very touristy vibe but across the river in Playa Grande we found a perfect beach with minimal people and the best bogey boarding I’ve ever experienced. Joel and Aly surfed while I  attempted a short run on the beach before giving up and bogey boarding instead. After a few hours we wandered the dusty dirt roads to find the only open restaurant for more Casado before heading back to surf until we were too tired and cold to surf anymore. Wet and sandy we drove to Playa Hermosa for dinner, more live music, ice cream, and bed at Hotel M & M Beach House.

Wednesday morning Aly and I ran together along the beach and long jumped a river to run what we could find for local streets. Breakfast Casado, great coffee, and we were on our way to Rio Tenario for white water rafting. Our guide Samuel and his 6 brothers represented Costa Rica at International rafting competitions and it was clear he could have navigated the river without any help from us. But we didn’t come for an easy ride so Joel showed he was experienced and Aly teased and joked, and it didn’t take Sam long to figure out we were more fun than his usual boat of tourists. So he let Joel guide the boat, pulled pranks, intentionally
tipped us and got us stuck, and dumped us all out of the boat twice on the big 12 ft drop at the
end. He was super talented and hilarious and I don’t think the experience would have been the
same with someone else. Throughout the trip the interactions with the guides, locals, and each
other made it what it was – a good reminder that relationships are what it’s really all about.

The drive to Monte Verde was probably more dangerous than the rafting. After starting the day at the ocean we ended at nearly 5000 ft and the drive up held steep, windy, dirt roads. This is why they recommend a rental car with high clearance. The bumps were so intense Aly’s garmin watch counted a few 1000 extra steps and we were convinced we must be lost. Finally we arrived at the top
of the hill at Cabinas al Gulfo with views of the valley below and howling wind that made the hotel shake. We met up with Aly’s friends from work, Ryan and Jonathon, who had moved to San Jose a few months ago, everyone grabbed puffy jackets and we had more Casado for dinner before our night wildlife hike. Our guide Herbert admitted he loved nature more than his wife and it showed. He was passionate about his craft and gave us animated and detailed description of every sloth, possum, bird, tarantula, poisonous viper, bug and tree we came across. His favorite had to be the Rufus eyed stream frog but he had stories for each most somehow involving mating or canabalism, turns out in most species females are smart and mean. All his tips and facts kept us entertained on our next days hikes as well.

Thursday I had planned to wake up and run but at
elevation with only windy, narrow, dirt roads available it
didn’t seem worth the effort. We decided to get the full
Monte Verde experience and do the zip line, Tarzan
swing, Superman, canopy bridges, and hummingbird
garden tour. Flying across the tree tops on cables up to
1 km long was a great way to see the cloud forest; the
Tarzan swing wouldn’t have passed safety inspection in the
US, but was lots of fun, and the Superman was the
closest to flying I have ever felt. We couldn’t convince
Ryan to brave the canopy bridges (he’s afraid of heights) and it’s probably good he turned around because we took great pleasure in making the bridges sway and shake as much as possible. Aly obsessed over the hummingbirds and chasing a big blue butterfly’s for the perfect picture. Joel even got a hummingbird to land on his finger.

Next we headed to Santa Elena reserve. Again the hike was supposed to take hours but we didn’t have much time before it closed so we jogged/power hiked our way around the loop and up the tower for views of Arenal volcano. Another strava segment, again wished I had ran the whole thing, but reminded myself the point was to see nature, not to win. We hurried back to the hotel to grab more layers and hiked the road up to the highest point to take in the Sunset before walking into town for dinner. First appetizers and live music at the Treehouse restaurant which has a giant tree growing in the center of it. Then Amigos for local bar favorites chiofrio and chiliguaro. Couldn’t convince anyone to salsa dance with me so we headed back for bed.

Friday we had planned to stay in Monte Verde again but we felt like we saw it all Thursday and after a cold winter in the PNW we preferred the sun and the beach to the wind and cold of the cloud forest. For the first time we were without Joel’s meticulous planning and it showed. The nearest beach was Puntarenas but when we got there we found an eerie ghost town with no waves, no swimming, and lots of boarded up buildings. Decided quickly not to stay and tried to find Boca de Branca instead. Again, beach and nice views but no waves, no people, and signs for rip currents. The next nearest beach was Jaco which would add a ton of driving, after striking out twice we weren’t sure it was worth it but committed anyway to try to make the most of our
last day.

It was worth it. Jaco was a true surf town, similar to
Tamarindo but more upscale. We quickly found the beach,
boards, and a 6pack of fish tacos to go in a free lunch
bag. The beach was a little rocky and the waves were
much stronger than playa Grande so it was work to get
out into them. Aly and i bogey boarded and 1/2 way
through the afternoon met Guiermo who didn’t speak
much English but really wanted to teach us how to catch
the good waves. With a combo of Sign language,
motions, his weak English and our weak Spanish we were
able to pick up some good tips and catch some great
waves. He brought us water, tried to tell us about his work and his house and never asked for anything except to be Facebook friends.

Again the local generosity and interaction made a fun day even better. We paid for showers to try to rinse the sand  before heading into San Jose. Along the way we stopped at Pops the local ice cream shop for coconut ice cream, and stood along the highway in our wet suits eating ice cream and watching scarlet macaws and the crocodiles under the bridge. The sun set in gorgeous pink clouds as we made our way in to San Jose.

Ryan and Jonathan offered to let us stay at their condo Friday night and to be our tour guides in San Jose. We
couldn’t have asked for better hosts. Their condo was a high
end high rise with views of the city and by far the nicest
accommodation of the trip. They lived near a big park and I
had hoped to run when we got to town but they didn’t think it
would be safe after dark. For dinner they took us to Barrio Escalante – the hip neighborhood where wealthier young locals dine on a food scene that would rival any big city, we tried their favorites at the Mercado and Neon ice and made plans for our last day.

We had thought our last day would be a waste, stuck in the city waiting for our flight, but instead Ryan and Jonathon planned the perfect morning. We uber’d to the fancy local farmers market where we bought coconut water and mini bananas to eat while we wandered and sampled lots of chocolates, granolas, pastries, fruit, and natural energy bites. For breakfast we had tres leches French toast with berries and sourdough toast with beans, eggs, and salsa and Costa Rican coffee from one of the stands. Then we walked the 5 miles back to their condo wandering past landmarks, the graffiti street, central market, and the park, Ryan gave history lessons and pointed out all the items of interest along the way. We dropped off our market purchases and headed back to the Sabana which is basically San Jose’s version of Central Park. A giant sprawl of park in the middle of the city with various ponds, trails, and ball fields. It’s a happening place! Bike races, race walkers, a giant Zumba class, and lots of joggers and rollerbladers. It felt good to finally get a good run in and soak up a little more sunshine before heading home.

Overall the trip was amazing. Great weather, jam packed adventure, awesome locals, perfect hosts, and the best travel partners. Sad it’s over and definitely wondering where we are off to next 🙂

Way Too Cool 50k, Hot Chocolate 5k & West Van 5k!

The 29th Annual Way Too Cool 50k Endurance Run, presented by Clif Bar, took off on Saturday, March 3rd at 8:00 am and proved to be as mudluscious and fun as could be. Salomon did an incredible job through their instagram, documenting the pre and post celebrations with interviews of athletes, including our own Corrine Malcolm, and the kickass Max King. King was the overall winner, finishing in a time of 3:18:04, just 33 seconds ahead of 2nd place’s Jared Hazen of Flagstaff. Gus Gibbs was 3rd in 3:20:57, Ryan Ghelfi in 4th in 3:25:30, and Matt Flaherty in 5th in 3:27:32. Leading the women was Ladia Albertson-Junkans of Snoqualmie, WA, in 3:44:01. 2nd place female was Brittany Peterson in 3:46:43, followed by Elizabeth Ryan in 3:56:11 and Amy Leedham in 4:03:21. Corrine was 7th F, finishing in a time of 4:19:59. Full results can be found HERESaturday, March 3rd also held the Hot Chocolate 5k & 15k in Seattle, WA. Teammate Hazel Clapp dominated with a 1st place finish in the 5k in a time of 19:37. The Hot Chocolate race series is know for their “sweet stations” of marshmallows, chocolate chips and M&Ms along the course, and for their post-race party with their decadent fondue. On top of her 1st place finish, Hazel’s husband nabbed a PR! The two spent their pre and post race celebrations at Comicon…an incredible weekend. Full RESULTSLast but not least, Katelyn Steen raced the West Van 5k in Vancouver, BC, earning 3rd place to Canadian rockstars Natasha Wodak (1st in 16:10 *broke the previous record of 17:00 held by Sabrina Wilkie), and Kirsten Lee (2nd in 17:01). Katelyn finished in a time of 17:30. The 5k course is considered flat and good for goal crushing, covering Marine Dr. and the Village at Park Royal. Full RESULTS!

Phoenix 1/2, Smelt Run 5k, the American Birkebeiner Classic 55k and coming this weekend…Way Too Cool 50k!

Saturday, February 24 – At 6:00 am Saturday, Aly and Nikki competed at the Sprouts Mesa-PHX Half Marathon, which hosts 350 ft. of elevation loss on a gentle downhill route that passes desert vistas and citrus groves. It was a perfect day with perfect conditions for these two; each came away with PB’s! For a great rundown of her experience PR’ing in the half, and for the beautiful vacation she took with Aly post race to Costa Rica, check out Nikki’s blog HERESaturday, February 24 – The same day, in entirely different conditions that that of the Phoenix 1/2, Kathryn raced the Smelt Run 5k in La Conner, WA. Paced by Bellingham local, Kristen Schafer, Kathryn was just shy of a PR, and took 1st Place! The course starts and finishes at La Conner High School, and meanders through historic downtown La Conner and flat Skagit Valley farmland. There’s nothing better than the post race hot soup after this often cold, slushy race.Saturday, February 24 – The same day, in a totally different state/location/athletic venture, Corrine alongside boyfriend, Stephen hopped into the American Birkebeiner Classic 55k. Powered by Swix, the race spans 50k for skaters and 55k for classic skiers, and is North America’s largest cross country ski marathon. The race attracts over 10,000 Birkie/Korte Skiers. You can read more via Corrine’s blog, “I’ve Got the Fever…Birkie Fever!” 

Coming this Saturday, March 3Way Too Cool 50k in Cool, CA! Our teammate, Corrine, is set to compete. The Way Too Cool 50k Endurance Run, presented by Clif Bar, is in its 29th year, and with its breathtaking trails, amazing views, and spirited aid stations, its a highly sought after race known to proffer some fast times. Corrine is seeded as bib #6. We’re looking forward to her running/racing season opener!