What an awesome treat for Portland! We had a great span of weather here past week. Yes, it drizzled here and there, and even rained at some times, but it was warm and I could finally wear shorts throughout the whole week!
This along with turning to trails due to light mornings brought some good running to me. It felt great! I didn't hesitate any of the days to head out, I ran with our puppy Charlie twice (I was a bit apprehensive before as he is very fast yet jerky and pulls on my shoulder, but I figured how to tie the leash around my waist and we had grand times!), I did lots of weights in that little gym, hit the track on Tuesday after morning's 6 miles to get another 8M and a good workout of 4x600m with 300m rest and 8x300m with 100m float in-between (the times finally came down a couple of seconds and felt almost easy!). I felt so good, I didn't even take a day off.
So if a week had any prediction, I was looking forward running a Maple loop in Forest Park with Gail on Saturday. However, my compartment syndrome hit hard (it's been back since the week before Hagg lake after a 6 months of sleeping in on no training, I guess), and the first 45 min I spent in misery of listening to the pain and battling it mentally, emotionally and physically. I am back to square one on that one...After the pain subsided, I just lost the will power to push, the legs felt heavy, and it didn't seem that Gail was bothered by my slowing down, so we talked the rest of the way, met a few friends on the trail and slogged back in 3 hrs (my goal was 10 min faster than that). At least neither one of us felt pooped.
Sunday was another glorious day outside, and despite the time change we both got up before dawn and drove to the 12 mile loop in the Gorge. Gail agreed to do it with me (her schedule called for a longer run). We took in stride up to Multnomah falls, and she pushed me this first 0.8M (mind this piece features 800 feet of elevation gain) in 18 min (what was 2 min faster than last week). Having caught up with her, I decided to give my best effort to run the loop in 2:30 - the times we used to do the previous 2 years (to compare, Sunday before was 2:45, althought that was snow crawling for over 2 miles). So I pushed and kicked and worked, with Gail on my heels, all the way to Devil's rest - wow, 1:10 (20 min faster from last week's time)! Without stopping, I yelled: Western States, Gail! (she is in this year) - and took off down. We hardly said more than 5 phrases through the run, something like "Are you ok?", and "I am working it", or "Hot, sweat". We ran all the inclines and flats and even some short climbs, we hassled, I manage to scream the greeting to the Gorge at the ususal spot, and with 3M to go I turned my head and exclaimed - we can do 2:30! Gail kicked me to run ahead, and boy, we were cruising!! We made last three miles (two and half of them are loosing 1600 feet I believe) in a touch over 20 min, and that included over half a mile flat at the end (hate this part), some rocks to watch for, 2 slippery bridges and one broken bridge (with crossing over messed up logs). 2:14!!! Darn! We were so happy, I even shed a tear (my emotional unstable self). All I could say - it felt like 2 years ago...Gail thought a moment: you mean when I was fitter? No, Gail, I mean when we both were fitter and pushed each other on every Gorge run without letting to slack down. Well, what's stopping us, lets do it again!
It was a good week (67 miles, solid). I wish I could firmly say it is an indication for my race at Chuckanut, but more likely it is still not. However, I can tell you that much - I plan to put an honest effort into this run. Can I make any time prediction? I ran it in 5:22 in 2005 and in 6:00 in 2006 (really different days I had). I would like to say I aim to break 6 hrs next Saturday, but I am still scared. Unbelievably scared to say that, even though it is not even that fast of a time. I'll be shooting though. I will work on it. I am game. I want to kick my butt.
p.s. Scott Mason’s and Karl Meltzer’s new 50k race in Utah, appropriately named Get High, is up and running with applications. Check it out!