Guest Post – Doug Narrates Our Chuckanut 50K Cheer-Run Adventure

Sunday’s are so bittersweet to me.  Sunday night TV and couch time is such a great thing, but being totally exhausted and knowing that Monday morning and work is coming super soon and that you’re likely to feel a bit like death after an insufficient make-up sleep, well that just sucks.  It’s almost like you’re pressured into wanting to go to sleep earlier, but I don’t have early sleeping skills, so I get all worked up and sometimes make it to bed even later.  Last night was totally one of these instances.  So, while I’d love to tell you all about my weekend in Bellingham for the Chuckanut 50K, I’m going to bring in a favourite Guest Post Blogger, the one and only, Doug Chase, to narrate our Saturday adventure while I am swamped with the Monday work blues, and not surprisingly feeling like crap after a jam packed weekend full of awesomeness but not enough sleep.

Without further ado, I bring you…

Solana and Doug’s mobile cheering section. Bringing MORE COWBELL to the Chuckanut 50k.


“Saturday was the 22nd running of the Chuckanut 50k, one of the oldest trail races in Washington. I went up to Bellingham to spectate the race, and to meet my friend Solana for an adventure.

One could argue that “adventure” is a bit of a stretch since it was daylight, and it didn’t rain, and we spent pretty much the entire day knowing exactly where we were (although not necessarily where we were going), and we had a good map with us.

But really, isn’t everything more fun if you call it an adventure? We did meet some basic minimum adventure requirements, such as not having a definite plan when we started, or a clear idea of exactly where we were going. We also changed one of the only solid parts of the minimal plan that we did have, which was to park one car here, and the other car here, and run from one to the other. When you give somebody your car keys in the middle of a run and tell her, “sorry you can’t have the map, but the way out of the woods is that way and if you don’t end up where the car is then just walk down the road until you find it and we’ll see you back at start/finish”, then that’s definitely adventure worthy.

But Saturday was a good day and everything worked out just like we planned, even though we hadn’t planned it at all. And then after that, we hung out with a bonafide rock star, Ben Gibbard, at the finish line (thanks to Maggie dog for the introduction), and then after THAT, the guy who won the race and set a new course record, Max King, joined us for food and beer at Boundary Bay Brewing Company. Because that’s how Solana rolls.

Solana, as you may remember, was one of the Canadian Wackos I adventured with at Daphne and Shaggy’s Magical Mystery Night Race back in November.* For those of you keeping track, her number and animal sound was “One, ROAR!”

Solana came down to the Chuckanut 50k as support crew for her co-worker, Amy, that was running the race.

Those of you who are not distance runners are probably wondering why in the world anyone would need a “support crew” to run a foot race. The reason is, basically, that distance runners are stupid, and the further they run the stupider they get. Before the race, things like remembering to bring your water bottles and ipod are tasks that require assistance. Towards the end of the race, mental exercises such as remembering that you have food in your pocket that you need to eat, or figuring out how to follow a line of bright orange cones a hundred yards to the finish line, stretch the limits of cognitive abilities. After the race, crew members come in useful for helping you find the gigantic white tent ten feet from the finish line which has chairs, heaters, and free food, and for helping you locate your backpack which you took off during the race and left on the trail because you were annoyed with it.

Another part of Solana’s job as crew was to get out on the race course near the halfway point to inform Amy of her position in the race. Unlike me, Amy is fast enough that this is actually useful information. With this in mind, Solana and I, along with her friend Jen, went for a 15 mile run cleverly disguised as supporting Amy and spectating the race.

The cherry on top was the fact that this was the very same mountain where Solana and I had run the crazy night adventure I mentioned above, so this was a reunion of sorts. It was the first time I had set foot on these trails in the daylight and I took the opportunity to snap a few photos of the beautiful scenery that we couldn’t see in the dark. Jen ran with us for a couple hours until it became obvious that the timing of the original plan would not allow her to get back in time for her volunteer shift. At that point she took a shortcut to Solana’s car and Solana and I revised our plan to end up back at my car where we started. Surprisingly, this all worked out just fine.

We cheered on the runners and rang cowbells at them because what cheer squad doesn’t need MORE COWBELL? We surprised some friends who really didn’t expect to see us standing beside the trail in the middle of the woods cheering them on, and we successfully located Solana’s crew subject, Amy. We ran with Amy for a bit to see how she was feeling and told her that she was currently in 7th place, less than a minute behind 6th. She held onto this spot for the rest of the race, accomplishing her goal of a top 10 finish. Another acquaintance of Solana’s, Ellie Greenwood, was in second place when we saw her, and we told her she was less than 5-6 minutes back from first. This was closer than she expected so with renewed confidence she went on to make up this time, pass the leader, and win the women’s division. We figure this victory is pretty much entirely on our shoulders.

All in all, it was a good day in the woods and the rain held off until we were sitting in a brewery eating lunch and drinking beer. What more could we ask for, really?

Doug’s Pictures from Saturday :

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Doug should totally have his own blog, but since he uses Facebook to do recaps, I’ll just poach his grade A commentary and use it for my own audience (insert evil laugh).

I actually was having a super stressful night last night after getting home, and I was in a crummy mood because of it.  Before heading to bed, I checked in on my Facebook, and reading this instantly buoyed my spirits, made me laugh out loud, and really captured the day we had out there.  So, a huge thank you to Doug for being my wingman in the newest sport of run-cheering, and an apology to Jen for our crappy timing planning and making her run in the woods alone, and a big congrats to everyone who laced up to race on Saturday, and was involved in this fantastic event!

I promise I’ll blog my own pictures and thoughts from Saturday, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to compete with this hilarious narration!



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One Response to Guest Post – Doug Narrates Our Chuckanut 50K Cheer-Run Adventure

  1. Pingback: Solana Leigh | Beast Mode | Trail Running | Chuckanut 50K | Chuck-a-Cheer |

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