Friday, August 25, 2006

2006 Where's Waldo 100k (Guest Blogger Meghan Arbogast)

[Meghan Arbogast shares her report from the Where's Waldo 100k in Willamette Pass, Oregon]

Race morning arrived cool and clear. It was strange to wake at 3:30 and realize a good number of folks had started the race 30 minutes ago. I drank coffee, ate oatmeal, dressed warm, and arrived at the start at 4:30. People were milling about, keeping warm, greeting each other. I felt good enough – hit the bathroom a couple of times, and with 10 minutes to go, started de-layering. I stayed with 3 shirts, shorts, gloves, a headlamp, a flashlight, and one bottle. We finally gathered at the start, and I looked around for Lewis – a new favorite in the men’s ultra scene – but he was no where in site. Jeff and Craig didn’t know where he was. I had visions of him waking in an hour and wondered how that would feel! Krissy was near the start, looking ready to go, and with the famous Clem-gong, we were off. I didn’t see him, but witnesses say Lewis flew into the start and was off like a rabbit.

(Views from the top)

I hit the PCT with a good group – Sean, Jeff Kozak in front, Jeff Riley (‘Bili’), Krissy, Craig, Hal, right behind. Conversation was light, spirits were good. Craig asked Krissy and I if we were both hoping to break 12 hours (how hard can it be to shave 9 minutes off in one year????). Affirmative on my part – Krissy wondered if it was possible. I said that if she got to Maiden Peak Trail by 9.5 hours, she had a good shot. We ran past the Rosaries, discussing whether the Wet Waldo should include morning dips and decided no one would participate if so, as it was quite cold.

Lewis had bolted quickly, followed by Win, racing to the top of Fuji for the Found Waldo prize. Hal decided he was ready to pick it up a notch and eventually skirted around our little ‘pod’ and was out of site soon. As we wound up gentle climbs, a serpentine of lights could be seen below. Before long, dawn began to break. We hit some downhills, and I passed Sean and Jeff K, taking advantage of the free speed. I was now a pod of one, and cruised down the trail to Gold Lake AS, catching up to Jeff ‘Bronco Billy’ Browning and another guy with a sun hat, who sailed out of the AS. I drank Succeed, and accidental Mountain Dew, ate a Clif shot and ran on. My first split was right where I wanted to be – a little ahead of last year. Up the trail a bit, Brian waited with my bottle, and I was on my way behind Bronco Billy up the Fuji Trail. He set a nice pace, keeping me in check. We were soon joined by Krissy and Jeff K. K and I chatted, went around Billy, and soon she and Jeff sc ooted on ahead. In my normal head-down-don’t-trip gaze, I was nearly tackled by an exuberant Chris Thornley, but he did ask for my permission before our good luck embrace. His joyfulness was infectious, and I smiled my way up to Fuji AS. I was still ahead of last year, and felt strong. I left my bottle, asked for it to be filled and picked up on my way back.

Climbing on up, I finally saw Lewis, and was relieved to know for certain he had made it to the start. Not far behind was Hal, Win, and Big Hat guy. Near the summit, Jeff K and Krissy were on their way down, all encouraging. The summit was a kick – being greeted by faux Japanese, and trying to ‘high-five’, no, ‘fist-bump’, well, another hug then to Grayson, and I was on my way down. I was greeted by the Sunsweet Twins (Jeff and Craig), Sean, Tim, in a pod of four, and many other runners on their way up. I was given accounts of how far Krissy was ahead. Back at Fuji AS, I drank water and ate a Clif shot, grabbed my full bottle, and scooted out.

Somewhere between Fuji AS and Mt. Ray, I lost my edge. I felt ‘okay’, but not great. It was mostly downhill, great running, but it wasn’t happening. Spying OD and Dana across the meadow, I gave my best OD-esque yell, and was returned the favor. Finally reaching Mt. Ray AS, I was now back to last year’s splits. I drank some frap, took off the warm clothes, picked up a fresh bottle from Brian, and headed out. I ran most of Gold Lake trail to Bobby Lakes trail, and once there, made two urgent pit stops. Still not feeling great, I trudged on towards the Twins AS. This section is long and relentless going up. Finally, a sign for the AS – half- mile to go. I dragged myself in, and Melissa, in her beautiful black formal waited on me hand-and-foot. I looked at her and said ‘Excedrin!’ and she ran to her cache of goodies, bringing me two. She said to take one, and if it helps, take the other. I ate another gel, grabbed my filled bottles, and headed for Charlton. I was a few mi nutes behind last year, but not bad. I alternated drinking my energy drink and water. The energy drink was tasting too thick, so back and forth I went. Finally reaching the last of the climbing, I began floating, then running hard, downhill. I felt like I burst into Charlton, and found Brian waiting with more frappacino and a fresh bottle. I ran to the aid station, with him in tow. I said the drink was too strong, and he and Kyly diluted both bottles, while I dined on two spoonfuls of beans and a piece of watermelon. I said I felt like crap, and that the altitude was getting to me. I credited it to not getting up here enough this summer.

I left the aid station, and realized on my way out that I was not feeling so bad anymore. The Excedrin was helping, and I motored along comfortably. I passed Chris (way later than last year!) and he was looking strong. I emerged at 4290, followed in by Sander. Laura Riley was all over me, wiping my legs, filling my hat with ice, totally doting – it was fantastic! I tried very hard to eat a pb and j sandwich, but it wouldn’t be chewed. I told Sander he would kill me on the next climb. He asked if I wanted to work together, so I said ‘sure, but I’m going now – you’ll catch up.’ I was fully prepared to meet my demons on this stretch, but it never happened. I continued to feel pretty decent here, and took the other Excedrin. No one had mentioned Krissy since Fuji, so I accurately guessed she was way beyond reach. Good for her! I knew she could break 12.

Brian and Hannah (one of my HS coaches) were waiting at the Charlton Lake trail junction with another bottle. It was a treat to have support in the Land of Lost. I scurried on, and by the time I reached the turn to summit the Twins, I had caught up to Jeff K, and Sander had caught up to me. Hiking, walking, shuffling, slipping, I got to the top, ran the ridge to the turn around, and skidded back down, greeting those Sunsweet Twins again. I ran like a crazy woman all the way to the Twins 2 AS, where Melissa fixed me up once more. I had nearly caught up to last year’s time, and was soon flying down the PCT. Sander was on my heels, and when we reached the Bobby Lakes trail, Brian was there again, with my hydration pack. Sander went ahead, and I saw him for the last time. I fiddled with the pack, cursed myself for taking it, but finally got comfortable. The screaming downhill was done, so my legs flattened out like the trail. I arrived at Maiden Peak AS, again a few minutes b ack from last year, and knew my sub-12 was not to be today. The gang there got me out of there quickly, and I was on my way up the longest climb of the day.

(Front runner, Krissy Moehl)

I started feeling nauseous again, and pretty toasted. I was so badly wanting to be done, that everything remotely possible to run, was run. I came to the first of four very steep sections, which was a blow, because I only remembered there being one. I checked my watch to gauge where I was, and as it neared one hour from the aid station, I saw John Ticer. ‘You are a sight for sore eyes’ I shouted. He checked in with me, and gave me an update. I was in 4th place overall (huh???), and he thought Krissy would win outright! I was stunned at my place, but not with Krissy’s. Lewis was in the lead, but looking a bit haggard, Hal and Big Hat had dropped. Win was part of a relay. I managed the last climb, and started my favorite descent (since it’s the last). Jeff K was not far behind.

Leap of Faith trail was more like ‘Step of Absolutely No Confidence’. I picked my way down, waiting for something to kick in. Whatever it was, it didn’t. When the ground leveled somewhat, I sped up, and finally arrived to Barb’s open arms at the Maid Lake AS. As I got wiped down, and pampered, I asked ‘I want to leave here – why???’ But they didn’t let me stay. I hiked out, and shuffled/jog the flat sections, sort of ran the downhills. The nausea prevented me from attacking any hills. Jeff K flew by, shouting ‘let’s take this home’ to which I replied “I have no take”. He looked like I felt one year ago. I was certain a couple of Sunsweet Twins would dude me, but all I really wanted was to finish without puking. I reached the PCT for the final stretch, and every flat section was like hitting a wall. Hikers were encouraging me all the way to the bottom. I reached the trail head, and made the final turn to the finish. Grayson was at the ski-lift, and I asked him to run i
n front of me to break the wind. It looked very far away. I tried to get some knee lift, and by the time I reached the finish, I think I was running. 12:34.

Krissy was at the finish line. Embracing her, I asked if she won overall – she smiled with a nod. I asked her time – ’11:18’. I was stunned and said ‘you weren’t supposed to beat me by an hour!’

It was good to be done, and the rest of the evening was spent cheering runners in, swapping war stories, and eating good food. A special thanks to Laurie Thornley and Grayson Murdock for filling in Craig’s shoes. They did a fantastic job, despite one turned ankle.

[Thanks, Meghan and congratulations!]


  1. AWESOME JOB, MEGHAN!!! REALLY GREAT!!!! Hey, any training secrets- esp for us Masters runners- like miles/week, etc... :>kate

  2. It's so great to see a woman win overall in a tough race like this. Way to go Krissy Moehl!!!

  3. great efforts are just a drop in the bucket compared to you guy's and LADIES....give it for up Krisy!!!but my love the trails would rival any vetran ultrarunner's....great write up Scott!

  4. Wow, nice job Meghan! I sympathize with you on getting "duded" but hey, there's some fast men out there! Thanks for sharing your race experience.


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