Saturday, February 24, 2007
Training at the Hagg Mudfest
Well, it was quite a fun day, and I am tired, but if I don't write now, I won't be interested to write at all.
I am not sure if I mentioned (I think I did), but I sent in my application for Hagg Lake run earlier this week. I figured, I am up to about 30M in training on the weekend, and this way I could do it with aid and friends. Not to mention I get to see some great legs wearing skirts – and not female legs at that.
It's been raining all week long. But honestly, after finishing 3rd Hagg in a raw with all the different years from driest to wettest, I would say – Hagg course just muddy and wet no matter how you cut it. It's not better or worse from year to year, it is relatively the same. This year it might have had more sections with mud and more water overall (and rain falling from 7 am to 12 pm), but at the same time those clay-muddy sections were watered down to the point it didn't stick to the shoes. It was a slow day, however, prepared runners left with close to usual results (Bushwhacker and Tom R., both of whom wore skirts, included – Tom actually ran exactly the same time as last year).
OK, where was I. I had gone to my chiro on Friday after taking Oleg to the airport and he said interesting phrase: he is a believer if an injury isn't debilitating and doesn't halt running completely, one (injured runner) may continue running while seeking treatments and adjusting. I guess this is a road I am taking…
Friday night Maura and Stan came over with their dog Killer, and we had good talks. I woke up at 4 am (an hour ahead of time) and thought – I could tell myself as much as I want about training run, fun time, "don't care" part, but once I pay that entry fee – my body just knows and gets nervous. Other than that I was fine. It took us an hour to get to the start (at first we dropped Alex and Stephen at Gail's AS#1 around the loop), and the rain was steady and annoying. But it wasn't as cold as I feared. We got numbers, said hi to all (how embarrassing, Paul Curran, our Montrail team rep, walked to me, and I didn't recognize him! After spending a day before WS100 sharing same house last year! But then again, I hardly remember faces and names I meet at the races, body's response). There were 5 men who accepted the challenge to wear a skirt for the run. Seam Meissner won the "best" award – he had a real skirt on with flowers and all! The other 4 had those new-hits lady's running skirts (Nike?), but boy, did those legs look hot! Bushwhacker is always first in my heart, but Ken practically shocked me too!
OK, forget the fun part, we were actually planning to run 31 miles, 2 loops around the lake with out-n-back on the dirt road first 3M. I'll be short. I planned to be deliberately slow (I've done it before, it's not new for me), I was at the back of the pack from get-go, had an OK first loop with very mild hip flexing area pain and a somewhat shooting behind-the-knee pain (same as last week), which I decided not to give into, and it subsided by the end of first loop (mile 17). I walked hills on first loop, played with fueling (and tried Nuun electrolyte tablets for drink, and liked it a lot). Feet were sliding lots, I fell 5 times total, but bum and side slides were benign, I only hurt myself when went face-plant after tripping over the root. The only concern for falls was that my gloves were muddy (try and wipe your nose now!), and so were my bottles (and I'd spend a few next sips sucking on dirt and spitting it out).
By the middle of first loop 25k runners began to pass me, what surprised me – usually it happens on the last 3 mile section and only by 4 first guys, not like with still 7-8 miles to go and by numbers! But after Paul ran by and rubbed me on a shoulder I felt better and forgot all about it. They were nice, most of them anyway.
First AS was served by Gail, and second – by Liz, Kamm and Kyly. Girls were awesome to see, always, and especially when I am not in any rush. I did contemplate if I want to run a second loop, but not seriously, and as if it was heard aloud, at the AS 3 Ronda (a co-RD) met me with words – "Don't even think about it, ultrarunners rock!" Did you really think I'd stop?
Second loop I felt better. I actually ran (whatever pace you are allowed to call that, but it wasn't a hike) most of the uphills, and had some physiology working, though I didn't have an "oomph". The trails were beat up much worse (as usual for the second time around, with over 200 pairs of feet digging on it), yet I had an even split – may be I should focus on that. As I said, I felt energetically and mentally well, my "hurts" were mild, but I couldn't pick it up – nor did I want it. I figured for me my race happens in my head ahead of time. Of course, there are thing "happen" as you run, and then it's unpredictable, but overall, the way I plan to run it – I run it, whether it slow or pushing.
Last couple of miles I just wanted to be done. I was a good amount of time over what I thought I would be (even as a slow training run, and even with mud and rain slopping), but surprisingly I was in a good mood (just as I was at the Mac 2 years ago with Glenna and Walter, or at the Chuck last year, or at Greenbelt a few years back – I choose those runs to be like that and enjoyed them happily).
I ran into arms of Tom. R, Mike B., Ronda and Stacey (figuratively speaking), and we had awesome time talking. Everybody had a grand time, and as sick as it sounds and as much as we all swear off this course, we most likely ALL be back! Ronda, Stacey and I communicate I believe more than we ever did combined in 2 and half years, and if anything else, that was worth suffering.
On a different note, I have to look the truth "into the eyes" (or however it sounds in English) and may have to re-access my running goals for this year and possibly future too. It was much slower than anticipated, and even though I looked back (as soon as I cam home) into my logs to compare, there was not much difference (I did do much more weight training, I NEED to find a gym and time for that! – but that is it). I don't know if the break I took for the first time in 6 years (between first hamstring tear at the end of June through some slogging to total rest from running from the end of September to mid-November to whatever problems I am having now) played the part, or, by Gail's guess, I have more stress in life influencing body functioning, or there is more to it (no, I won't blame it on getting older, I don't believe in it) – but the fact is I need to spend time to either re-evaluate my running ( a.k.a. training) or my running (a.k.a. racing goals).
And I am fully OK with it.
p.s. posted by my darling Angie