Sunday, October 23, 2011

2011 Foothills 50K Frenzy

Brad Mitchell (Scott) and Joelle Vaught (Montrail) took the top men's and women's spots, respectively, in Saturday's inaugural Foothills 50k Frenzy in Boise.  Mitchell covered the challenging (6,000 ft of vert), largely singletrack course though the Boise foothills in a quick 4:13, with Vaught coming home in 4:32 to also claim second overall.  Vaught kept Mitchell in her sights through the mile 14 turnaround on Ridge Road, but by the mile 18 Orchard Canyon aid station, he was able to gain some separation - and a couple broken ribs from a hard tumble - and hold his lead through to the finish.  Full results.

For me, the race was a bit of a triumph, as it marked my return (if just) to ultrarunning following a two year hiatus after a rough fall on my knee just before Wasatch in 2009.  To be honest, I wasn't sure I'd ever be able to toe the line again at marathon-distance, let alone anything beyond. But, as my injury was kept at bay by a very conservative approach this season, I was able to stitch together just enough long-run miles to make a hard 50k both possible and enjoyable.  And that's exactly how it turned out.  It wasn't a barn burner, but I was able to come through the finish feeling strong in 18th (5:23).

Though the Frenzy was a first year event, it came off with the clockwork precision that many seasoned races could only hope to have, and it's a great addition to the fall racing schedule in the west.

Some photos:
6:00 am start.
First 90 minutes or so via headlamp on pretty buffed out trail.

The Run Junkie at the high point - Ridge Road turnaround.
Descending Ridge Road, making the way toward top of Robie Creek.

Idaho traffic jam.
Hard to beat open country in the last third of race.
Joelle Vaught - First (2nd overall).
Brad Mitchell - First Overall.


Gretchen said...

Yeah! Congrats on your return to ultras! Very big news. Looks like a beautiful race for it.

predator said...

Great post, congrats & thanks for coming over. I too felt the good vibe but ignorant or delirious in my first. Glad you frontrunners cleared the woolies. FWIW I got 7100 climb on my watch, don't think I tumbled that deep into 5 mile...

Brad Mitchell said...

Hank - Glad you were able to get out there and pull this one off. Your patience paid off! Only thing left is the beer mile:)
Also, thanks for the plug. Im pretty sure the right turn in the photo of the two male runners is where I ate it.
Would be curious to know what the total climbing was?

Hank Dart said...

@Gretchen. Thanks a lot. I know it's a baby-step ultra (and by the skin of my teeth) but it did seem momentous - feeling even more so just writing that.
@Predator. Thanks, too. And congrats. For a second there, I thought the sheep dogs were going to be clearing us away, but luckily they were pretty even tempered when it came to sweaty, skinny runners. And I can believe your climbing numbers. It sure felt like more than 5800.
@Brad. Take care of those ribs. Congrats again, and: Thanks. Can't believe my wildly low-mileage plan actually worked out. There's got to be a lesson there that I'm sure I'll overlook. We'll see if I get a good fitness bump for the beer/cherry soda mile.