Broken Arrow 52K Skyrace - Squaw

Daha once birkac kere kostugum Miwok100k yarisindan iki gun once baslayan bogaz agrisi, her tur pastili, corbayi, cayi denememe ragmen iyice kotulesmisti. Ustune ustluk son gece bir de atesim cikmisti. Yine de sabahin 5inde Stinson sahilindeki baslangic noktasina gittim, olur da yaris basladiktan birkac saat sonra kendimi iyi hissedersem diye. Baya zorladim ama inisli cikisli parkurda 25 mil/5 saat kostuktan sonra gittikce kotulesen bogazim yuzunden dogru durust birsey yiyemiyordum ve cok gucsuz hissediyordum. Yarisi o noktada birakmak zorunda kaldim. Daha once kostugum bir yaris oldugu icin cok fazla uzuldugumu soyleyemem. Esasinda cok hastaydim, oyle ki kendime gelmem bir 10 gun surdu. Ama bu yaris icin baya iyi antreman yapmistim,  bosa gitmemesi icin de ne zamandir aklimda olan ve birkac hafta sonra yapilacak Squaw kayak merkezindeki Broken Arrow 52K Skyrace’i dusunmeye basladim, ve genelde bu islerde yaptigim gibi son dakikada kararimi verdim. Cuma ogleden sonra yola cikip 3-4 saat uzakliktaki Tahoe’ya geldim. Direk Squaw’a gidip kaydimi yaptirip yaris paketimi aldim ve yaris toplantisina katildim. Bu sene cok fazla kar yagdigi icin dagda hala cok onemli miktarda kar bulunmaktaydi. Bir dolu yere sabit hat cekilmisti. Yaris organizatorleri herkesi kar konusunda surekli uyariyordu oyle ki parkurn %70i yeryer dize kadar kar icinde kosulacakti. Yaris sirasinda kayak yapanlara da dikkat etmemiz gerekiyordu cunku kayak sezonu daha kapanmamisti! (bu kis cok kar yagdi). California’nin unlu dag kosucularinin da cogu oradaydi, bircogu zaten o bolgede yasiyor ve antreman yapiyor. Bir de hem kar uyarisi yapildi hem de asiri sicak uyarisi! Enteresan bir gun olacagi belliydi. Ertesi sabah 7de yaris basladi. Ilk kisim nispeten az egimli ve agaclarin arasindan geciyordu ama daha sonra parkur diklesti. Ya cok dik inisler ya da cok dik cikislar vardi (Sadece 200 m kadar olan tek duz alan da Squaw’in zirvesindeki plato idi!). Birkac dere gecisinden sonra ayaklarim tamamen islak ve camur icindeydi, kar’in basladigi noktaya o sekilde ulastik. Kar icinde kosarken bir ara ayak parmaklarim tamamen uyusmustu, dogru durust hissetmiyordum, ayni anda da inanilmaz bir sekilde sicaklamis durumdaydim oyle ki yardim noktalarinda yanimdaki bandananin icine buz koyup boynuma doluyordum. Kosullar ayni anda hem kis hem de yaz idi! Uzerine bir de irtifa eklenince gercekten baya zorlayici bir yaris oldu. Ama inanilmaz guzel manzaralar esliginde. Cok guzel bir dagda cok harika bir yaristi dogrusu. Bitiste madalyami aldiktan sonra daha yeni Everest’e oksijensiz tirmanmis olan ve Tahoe’da yasayan Adrian Ballinger ile karsilastim. Yaristan ve daglardan konustuk, sonbahardaki antreman ve tirmanis planlarindan beni haberdar edecek, boyle tecrubeli insanlardan ogrenilecek cok sey var. Yaris sonrasi da Avustralya, Kanada, Yeni Zellanda, Kolombiyali arkadas grubumla harika bir yemek yedik. Ertesi sabah sicaga ve kalabaliga kalmamak icin sabah saat 5te yola ciktim, 8de San francisco’da evimdeydim. Yaris sonuclarina bakarken yas grubumda 3. oldugumu da ogrendikten sonra keyifle butun gun dinlendim. Harika bir haftasonu olmustu. Yarisin kisa ve uzun videolarini asagida gorebilirsiniz. Fotograflarin bazilarina da Broken Arrow Skyrace facebook sayfasindan bakabilirsiniz.

I got a really bad sore throat right before this year’s Miwok100k race – which I had run a few times in the past. Although I tried all kinds of remedies, it didn’t get any better and I started to get fever on top of it. Still though, I made my way to the start at 5am at Stinson beach thinking perhaps I'd feel better in a few hours into the race. I didn’t. I pushed it and was able to run only 25 miles/5 hours up and down on the trails. I couldn’t eat much due to my throat and felt very weak. I had to quit at that point and I really didn’t feel bad for quitting since I was feeling very sick. And also I had run that race before. It took me almost 10 days to fully recover. Since I trained for it and was in good shape already, I started to look for a new race. I was thinking about the Broken Arrow 52K Skyrace at Squaw ski resort for some time and decided to do it at the last minute. I drove to Tahoe in 4 hours Friday afternoon directly to Squaw to register and to get my race packet. At the race briefing, we were told that there was a lot of snow on the mountain and they placed fixed lines at some spots. It snowed a lot this year and apparently 70% of the course was still covered in snow. And the ski season was still on so that meant there would be skiers on the course as well. So there were warnings about snow and also about the heat since it was going to be a very hot day too! Plus some of the famous trail runners in California were at the race. It was shaping up to be a very interesting day. The next morning the race started at 7am. The first sections were relatively smooth through some trees and then we hit the super steep ups and downs (as a matter of fact, the only flat section of the course was the small plateau on the summit of Squaw!) After a few creek crossings, my feet were completely wet and covered with mud when we hit the snow line. After a while, my feet was so cold and numb and my head was having a heat stroke such that at the aid stations I’d put ice in my bandana and put it around my neck: winter and summer at the same time. And the elevation on top of that made it very challenging. But the views were fantastic. It was a great mountain race overall. After picking up my finishers medal, I did chat a little bit Adrian Ballanger, who just got back from climbing Everest without oxygen. He lives in Tahoe and will keep me posted about training runs and climbs – there is so much to learn from people like him. Post-race dinner was great with friends from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and Colombia. To ovoid the heat and the traffic, I left at 5am the next morning and was back in San Francisco by 8am. When I checked the race website, I found out that I was 3rd in my age category! Then I rested at home peacefully and happy! It was a great weekend. Some of the race photos can be seen from the Broken Arrow Skyrace facebook page.

MIWOK 100K

Miwok100k Amerika’daki cok meshur 100km yarislarindan biri. Meshur olmasinin en onemli sebebi, kosu parkurunun gercekten pek bir sahane olmasi.  Okyanus kenarindaki tepelerde, inip cikarak (3600metre irtifa kazanimi!), sirtlardan sahane manzaralara doyarak, kah ormanin icinden kah calilarin kah cimenlerin arasinda gecen bu parkur bircok ultra kosucusunun listesindedir. Ben ultra kosularini uzun bir zamandir yapiyorum ve cok seviyorum ama cok cok ozel bir yaris olmadikca herhangi bir kosu yarisi icin uzun mesafelere seyahat etmeyi pek tercih etmem. Neyse ki bu yaris yasadigim yerde ve antreman icin zaten kostugum patikalarda oluyor. Bu yarisa cok fazla talep bulunmakta oyle ki katilimcilar kura ile belirlenmekte. Ilk defa 2012 yilinda bu kuradan sans eseri benim ismim cikti fakat o yil inanilmaz kurak gectigi icin parkurun gectigi arazinin bir kisminda yangin tehlikesi arzediyor dendi ve yaris basladigi sabah 100k’lik mesafenin 60k’ya dusuruldugu soylendi. Esasinda 1-2 tane loop eklenerek yine 100k kosulabilirdi cunku bir dolu insan sehir disindan sirf bu yaris icin gelmisti ve ben de dahil bir kisim insan da bu yarisi UTMB icin gereken puanlar icin de kosacakti. Yaris organizatorlerinin kararina saygi duymakla beraber neden boyle esasen cok da zahmetli olmadan yapilabilecek bir modifikasyona gitmediklerine hala sasiriyorum. Neyse. Daha sonraki yillarda 60k kosan kosucular direk olarak x2 hak ile kuraya alindilar. Ben bunu unutmus ve normal kosularima devam ederken bir email ile bu yilki Miwok’a girdigimi ogrendim. Ogrendim ama hemen pek sevinemedim cunku cok ciddi antreman yapamamis ve yapamayacaktim. Nisan ayinda annem ve yegenim 1 ayligine benim yanima geldiler, onlar geri doner donmez ben de Turkiye’ye uctum Turkiye inovasyon haftasinda konusmak icin. Dondugumun ertesi gunu de Miwok100k icin baslangic cizgisinde inanilmaz yorgun bir sekilde sirami aldim. Ilk 28-30 mili sorunsuz kostum ama daha sonra kasiklarimda ve ayaklarimda inanilmaz agrilar basladi – tek sebebi de antremansizlik. Normalde 100k gibi bir yaristan once en az bir 50k ve bir 50mil yarisi kosarim ama bu yil ikisine de firsat olmadi, daha dogrusu Miwok kurasinda adimin hala otomatik olarak oldugunu unuttugumdan ve herhangi baska bir ultraya yazilmadigimdan antremanlarimi normal mesafelerde yapiyordum. Neyse 30.mil'de cebimde tasidigim agri kesicilerden 1-2 tane aldim, 1 saat icinde kendimi daha iyi hissetmeye basladim, bir sonraki 25 mili de yine normal bir sekilde kostum. Ama son 5-7 mil'de yine agrilar basladi. Oyleki en son bir sirtta kosarken ta uzaktan gozume kestirdigim onumdeki 3 kadin kosucuyu yakaladim. Gecmek istiyor musun diye sordular ama gecebilmek icin takatim kalmamisti, o sekilde devam ettik ve bitirdik yarisi. Tabi ki bittiginde agrilar sizilar hala olsa da dusundugunuz sey onlar olmuyor. Iyi ki Turkiye’den 2 gun erken dondum, iyi ki bu yarisi kostum diyor insan. Cunku pismanlik kalici, agrilar gecici :). En cok aklimda kalan anlardan biri de sabah gun isiklari daha dogmadan, ortalik hafif gri iken, ormanlik bir kesimde sis icinde kafa lambalari ile kosarken uzaktan duydugumuz surreal tulum (Iskoc tulumu) sesi! Evet yanlis okumadiniz. Ormanin icinden cikip orada kosede bu yaris icin gelmis ve kosuculari desteklemek icin sabahin 5'inde Iskoc etekli bir adam, sisin icinde Iskoc tulumu caliyor… O muzigin, o anin hissettirdigi saskinligi, heyecani, ve mutlulugu unutamiyorum. 

(Note: Photos from Miwok100k's Facebook page)

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Miwok100k is one of the famous 100k races in the US since the course is on a magnificent terrain. It goes through the hills next to the Pacific ocean, up and down (11,800ft/3600m elevation gain!), through forests, single tracks, pastures, and ridges with fantastic views and makes the lists of many ultrarunners. I have been running ultras for some time now but I’d want to travel for a race only if it is really special. Miwok100k is one of those and attracts many runners all around the US and thankfully it is in my backyard! and I usually run on those same trails! Due to high demand however, there is a lottery system. In 2012 I was one of the lucky ones though the course got cut to 60k the morning of the race due to fire danger on some sections. I respect the decision of the race directors though I think they could have added a loop or two without too much trouble to make it still 100k as many people traveled from long distances and some (including myself) were going to use it towards UTMB points. Anyway. But they gave 2x entries in the upcoming lotteries which I completely forgot about until I received an email about my entrance! I was happy but not super excited as I wasn’t seriously training for a 100k. Usually I run at least one 50k and a 50mile race before a 100k race and I hadn’t done any of those. Plus, my mom and niece were visiting for a month right before the race and I had to be in Turkey for a presentation a few days prior! I managed all that and found myself at the start the day after I got back from Turkey. The first 28-30 miles I run ok until the pain started to carve deeply. I took a few pain killers and run the next 25 miles again in an ok shape. However, the last 5-7 miles, the pain made a big comeback. Although I was able to catch a group of female runners ahead of me on the last ridge, I couldn’t pass them. They asked me if I wanted to but I just didn’t have anything left in me to do it. Anyhow, at the finish, all that pain was forgotten and I was full of incredible joy. Physical pain is temporary, pain of regret is permanent! :) One of the most memorable moments of the race for me was to hear a Scottish pipe as coming out of a forest in fog in the early am with headlamps still on when it was still grey/blue around. It was otherworldly! At the end, I was so glad that I made it back from Turkey a few days early to make this race happen.