OMG, was it hard week! All I could think for today - just get through the hill repeat and then whatever happens, I don’t care. I know some have a “graduation run” at the end of the training, I wanted “graduation hill” and some miles in, don’t care for time.
Mike picked me up before 6 am, we’ve met wit Gail and her friend Joel, and at the Herman camp also with Steven and Anna (Maura and Stan couldn’t come). Mike and I split up first for our hill thingy. All I wanted was to squeak in under 47 min, even 50 wouldn’t kill me as long as I’d give it an honest push. Mike left me in a dust rather quickly, and I hung by the thread. I kept reciting: last time, this is it, last time. Some places it felt as I was going backwards – so slow it seemed. Eventually, the clearing came, and I pushed the stop button on my watch…couldn’t breathe or talk for a couple of minutes…showed it to Mike…45:31! Yeah, baby, that was a good hill! But – I gave it all I had. We took the downhill quite fast, snacked for about 5 min, and moved back up again for the loop.
Now it was a slow enjoyable walk. When we reached the clearing again, we just set there for the full 15 min, absorbing the most beautiful views one can find, with Columbia Gorge mountains all around and peaks of Hood, Adams and St. Helen. There is no better place to live and no better place to run. I was so emotional (and so tired and so glad my training is finally over) – it brought tears to my eyes. It was also so good to share it with someone else who appreciates this – I am very thankful to have a friend and a running partner in Mike. First of, he is a faster runner, so I always have to put more effort into our runs even if we go recovery pace. Second, he always accepts any course, any workout, any pace I throw at him without judgment and making me feeling guilty (I think 35 years of marriage and 3 daughters train you this way, as well as military background…or may be he is simply a nice guy). Third, he is chatty just enough to keep company but not overwhelm, and we have way too many things in common to discuss. Fourth, also very important, he always knows when to throw in a compliment and what kind, so I would pick up my pace. No wonder he will be pacing me at WS100 along with my best friend Gail:)
We walked and ran and walked again, making another stop at some campground for a snack, then venturing to Chinidere Mt. - a short 0.5M yet very steep side trail that rewarded us with absolutely fantastic views! As we continued on to the connecting trail to the Herman creek trail, we hit a snow section. Just trees, no marking and fields of snow. And since I was going first, of course we got lost – common, I get lost on a marked course of a race! What we thought was extra 2 miles, and Gail and Joel thought only 1 (but then they didn’t go circles as we did - the rest of tye group was running ahead and did their own loop plus extention) was all done on the snowy through-the-woods part of forest. Finally we saw an error on the snow showing direction left by Gail (and having Mike leading at this point helped) and made it to Herman trail. I was done. I was so done! I wasn’t hurting per se, just mentally had it over. Luckily, it was at least 80% downhill from there (for about 8 miles or so), and eventually we came out to the car, with beer, sandwiches and cookies! Another great characteristic of Mike – always have a full cooler with food.
Long day…I was trying to put together those miles by the book and came with something like 33, but what stunned me was the elevation gain – 10,000 feet! Shit! OK, as of now, officially, I am completely a dead meat, hardly made it to the shower, laying on bed, with 7 days of consecutive running and 110 mile week, ready – and so looking forward to – for my DAY OFF tomorrow!
Man, help me actually paste it onto the blog page before I fall asleep…