If you're lucky enough to be in the mountains, you are lucky enough.

When something bad happens, you have three choices: let it define you, let it destroy you, or let it strengthen you.

The purpose of life is to discover and develop your gift. The meaning of life comes from sharing your gift with others. - David Viscott

Monday, July 30, 2007

Seeing it from the other end - PCT 50/50 co-RDing

I'm pasting here an email I sent to ultra community and adding up a few pointers below.

I can't believe it's over - it is almost sad, but the good thing it seems to have been a success! We were absolutely blessed with the weather - clear sky with stunning views, bright sun and temps in upper 70's. More importantly we were absolutely blessed with our volunteers and runners, because without either group there would have been no event at all! Our volunteers never seize to amaze me, giving their time and energy to accommodate our (as runners) crazy will to challenge the distance of ultrarunning on remote trails. Their capable hands and minds and their wonderful smiles kept over a 100 people moving from aid station to aid station without a glitch. We were also blessed with volunteer EMT services and Ham Radio Operators (without them we'd have to spend so much more time and energy checking up on aid stations and runners). Two out of five our aid stations had themes going - Cowboy and Hawaii, and I am yet to figure out who had more fun at the race - runners visiting those AS's or volunteers themselves. The organizing team of Monika (a RD extra-ordinare for few years in a raw), Jeff (ORRC rep) and myself worked like a clock, putting each of ours best advantages to use. Without Monika's meticulous organisation skills, spreadsheets, connections with volunteers, experience (and huge help of her husband Stan) we'd be at a loss. Jeff was the perfect negotiator with Forest Service officials (many times when we heard him talking we realized we would have blown up), providing AS's and start/finish supply of tables and such, and the most un-thankful job of "flippin' burgers" for 10 hrs straight deserves a grade that doesn't exist in a system. I, on another hand, did what I love most - greeting my beloved finishers (OK, there were some other participation, but this one left the most striking effect in my first co-RD experience).

I would like to hearty thank all the runners that keep coming to Mt. Hood PCT 50/50 race and supports the run, as well as this year a new fund for building a bridge in memory of Scott McQueeney in Forest Park, a super-star guy in our local ultrarunning community (and lives of many others) who passed away 4 years ago. We are thrilled to be able to do something to preserve his name for generations! I will surely update all of you and we'll post on the website how much we are able to donate this year towards our goal.

Once the results get sorted, we will update the website and send an overall email - and Russ did an awesome job computerizing technology and logging finishers in order! - for now I can just mention for now some top performances on hand:

50km race

Andre Michaud returned after his last year's win at 50M and a battle with an injury, signing up a few days ago, and won the 50k in a stellar time of 4:30. Next to him ran Rob Nelly in 4:41 and Dan Silvernail in 4:43, followed by Darin Swanson and Richard Nelly in 4:49.
Female field was great as well with the win going to local Julie Thomas in 5:19, second place to Kristin Zosel in 5:35 and third to Veronica McIlvenna in 5:49.

50M race

To no surprise ( at least for me, I even predicted his finishing time) Matt Hart from Montrail team and NUUN rep kicked behind with 7:13. Ian McIvenna gave chase in 7:24, followed by Robert Towne in 8:03.
On the girl's side another Montrail team member Floren Ansley showed great potential at her first try at a distance and won in a stellar 8:05 and 5th place overall. Our come-back-with-a-fanfare Linda Sumet, who signed up the morning of the race, shot to second in 8:50, and a local sweetheart Caroline Klug rounded up top 3 with 9:05.

Some had rough day, as the "not so hot" temperature turned out to be deceiving, and dehydration and electrolyte disbalance set in. Many took falls on our "easy" PCT tral. We had runners not only from PNW, but from all over the country! As always, we had many "virgins" of either distance, and we are thrilled this race has been picked to break the wall. Not only our top finishers cause me to drop my jaw in amazement, but so many who battled for many more hours as well - yet overcame the demons and made it "home".

Not to forget our best-ever sponsors who donated hundreds of prizes to our runners: Montrail, SportHill, Hammer Nutrition, NUUN, Nathan Sports, Backcountry.com, SnowPack, Dirty Girl Gaiters, Portland Running Company and Smart Site Design. We go 3 deep in overall and then 10 years span age groups, and if you left early - your prize was donated to a raffle for the runners! I put emails of our major sponsor's reps on top, please shoot them a "thank you" line as we'd like to keep them!

We'd like to thank Pacific Trail Crest Association and Mt. Hood Wilderness volunteers for clearing the trails after winter snow storms and keeping them in tip-top shape throughout the year - here is another blessing for our race that can't be overlooked.

There were a few drop bags left at the finish line, and if it was simply some gels and bars - they are donated for future racers, If there are clothes - I took them home and will keep them for a week, please email me if you're missing anything and I'll do my best to accommodate. There was a tiny camera lost on trail - if anybody found, please email me. There was also a key found, see if you're missing it. If you guys or your crew took pictures on the run - please email them to us, we'd love to see them and share your success.

Thank you all again, runners, crews, volunteers, sponsors, officials and especially Monika and Jeff for guiding my first attempt. I loved every minute of it - because after months and weeks of preparations and worries there they were - smiles, tears and sweaty hugs and kisses - priceless.

It was not without glitches - but we took care of it. First of all, I left pins for the bibs at home in a mess of 15 boxes I packed into the car, and was trying to offer on Friday night to runners a tape to thread into the number's holes - and ultrarunners been the great people they are agreed:) Thankfully, Monika's husband Stan stopped at the store at night and got 3 boxes, we were saved by the morning registration. At 8 pm the Forest Service people told us we can't use Little Crater lake campground, so we had to re-route the course and added on 0.6M out-n-back on the road from the start to make up the distance, and our AWESOME volunteers hauled the supplies 0.3M from L. Crater into the PCT for the new AS spot. One AS ran out of HEED in the middle of the day, but we sent a guy with some packages of it fast, and later found that big bottle that was missing. EMT services came up with questions when Monika and her husband went to mark last 6M with flour, and Monika was the one organizing those while I had no idea where they should be - but I dug out her notes from the car and sent them to Frog lake. After runners started coming in, I was hoping to have more or less of an award ceremony, but people were leaving, and between running around checking things on and working finisher's line with medals and hugs I lost track who is who. One bag for 1st Master in 50M disappeard, and the guy was somewhat unhappy when I offered to pick any bag he liked - I do have to say the 1st places for Open and Master's were the best, and it took him 10 min to finally agree on a free entry into next year's race, thank God. Some racers with AG placing left early too, but I offered all their prizes for runners as a raffle and think it was rather succeful. Next year we won't go as deep in every AG and have more of those raffle prizes. We will also not have 50k next year and will stick with only 50M race - after all, Mt.Hood with views is exactly the point of the race been held here, local runners prefer it for the accumulating points for Oregon Trail Series and out-of-state runners travel for longer rather than shorter too. I am sorry for all who use it as first-time attempt at 50k, but we in OR have enough of those to try. If things turn out ok, we may set up a different day for a 50k if find a day to squeeze it in a calnedar and Forest Services work with us. There were many stories worth telling. We had a newlyweds where a bride ran and a groom crewed, and as they left, a groom lost the key to the car. We were running around trying to find a driver for him, but in 20 min he found a car - and it was so great to see them finish! Bushwhaker had a bad day and it showed in him crossing the finish line in normal fashion, so I took his hand, put him 10 feet back and made him cross it in "proper" way - backwards (Run for Scott, live with passion, finish backwards!). On Thursday I had a woman from NJ calling me asking if she needs gaiters. I said - yes. She calls me back few hours later - whuch store to buy? Can't find it!@ I was like: no stores cell them, only Dirty Girl Gaiters from the web and TrailJoe man too. So I rpomised to bring my own - and she finished!!! Now she will be Xy's customer for life:) Many little kids crossed the finish line with their parents. Many crossed holding hands. There was 2 bear cubs spotting and one cougar incident on trail. I had the best job on a day of the race after we sent everybody out - I was the one putting medals and giving hugs and kisses. I LOVE my job!!! So happy to see each and every one of you, I cried with you, I laughed with you, and I finished the races 125 times instead of only once( and my feet hurt exactly that much more than usual:)). I met all my best friends and family this weekend, new people, bloggers from other states and just great people. Nothing would happen without Monika, and I am so greatful for all she did and taught me to do. I am sticking around for next year too! Support of volunteers was just so HUGE, my heart is aching thinking about it. What people!!! Just the best in the world. Sleep was un-existent, but beer every night was in abundance, so it worked out nice. Too bad Forest Services forbade us from having party at the finish grounds and hope folks still had high's from endorphines:)
Check results here and here. Read reports from Travis, Michelle, Eric, BadBen (when he comes back - and he brought me and Monika a t-shirt from his home Trail Nerds trail running club!), Sarah and I'll add links when find them. Bret (coming soon), Matt (short now, long later).

Thanks, everybody!!! Gotta put some miles in, so out I go:)


Bret said...

Olga, great job as co RD. I am no longer the "50 mile Virgin!" Thank you for the tips and encouragement leading up to the race. I was more nervous for this race the last two weeks than my first marathon 8 years ago. My legs are tired and my feet are trashed but the trail,views and running friends were so worth it. Saturday after the race I said "Never again", yesterday I said "Maybe?" and today I am thinking "which 50m is next?" Besides the challenges of the distances I think the new friends that I am making is what is helping me to push ever farther. The Ultra community is the best!

Bob Gentile said...

Congrats Bret!!....on crossing that line from Bob a "50 mile Virgin"--lol

and Sounds like U had a blast Olga, good job!! and way to do what U LOVE to do and HUG & Cheer for then at the end with a medal for each one...yes that sounds like a great experience & well worth the time to put that event together...Enjoy ur week Roomie:-)

Sarah said...

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you, Olga! I'm so glad we came up...we almost didn't. I would've never imagined that it would turn out as it did. But we made the best of a bad situation. And it turned out great! Thanks to you! : ) I'm already looking forward to next year.

Larry said...

I'm gonna have to put this one on my "must do" lists if you're RDing. Maybe, next year. Those who have never been involved in supporting local races don't know what they're missing. I think it's just as fun and more satisfying than running the event, itself. Great job, Olga!!!

Backofpack said...

We had a blast. I even learned a bit of hula! I was thinking about the 50K next year, so let me know if you come up with another date. I still don't know about the heat though, so maybe not. Anyway, thanks for letting us share the experience!

robtherunner said...

Sounds like it was a great experience all the way around. There will always be mistakes that are made, but accomodating people and trying to fix those problems are what makes the difference. Congratulations on your first Co-RD experience. I am glad to hear that you will be back next year.

P.S. And yes, I am training to pace you. I am still a washed up ultrarunner on the comeback trail you know.

Wes said...

Let's not forget how lucky they all were to have you for an RD! I hear you did a bang up job!!

Donald said...

Congrats on a successful RD job! That's way more intimidating to me than actually running. Our sport could use a lot more people like you.

Anonymous said...

It must feel good to give back something to the sport and running community you love. I'm sure after all the hard work it brings a greater appreciation for those who serve that others might run. Sounds like it was a good experience.

wendy said...

Oh, Olga - reading everyone's reports sounds like you did a wonderful job, and I'm so glad you loved it! Hugs and kisses to everyone, happy people, what's not to love!

great report, and I can't wait to see how it gets better for next year!

psbowe said...

That's pretty awesome. Maybe next year, I might come join to assist or something.

Gretchen said...

Great job Olga! It sounds like a wonderful event, it must have been so much work but sounds like it was fun for everyone involved.

rick said...

"I finished the races 125 times instead of only once( and my feet hurt exactly that much more than usual:)"

Congratulations, sounds like an amazing time. A lot of stress too probably but you did it.

Anonymous said...


Post a Comment