Would you look at my date! He is handsome, strong, witty, funny, smart, fast, reliable, agree-able, always has food in a trunk and a bunch of trail stories:)
I had a perfect plan for the weekend, but at 3 pm on Friday got an email from Bushwhacker who I haven't run with since last year for a "meet in the middle of our plans" proposal. I could never resist the temptation to run with Mike, even though I sent him about 5 notes saying how slow I am these days. Didn't bite.
Saturday we met at 6:30 am at the Zoo parking lot at the beginning of Wildwood trail of the Forest Park for a fast-ish 20 miler. Mike, always fast yet always so graceful to go at the speed whomever he runs with, followed my steps. We chatted non-stop - there was a lot of catching-up to do! 10 miles out went in a blur, we both felt wonderful, and while I worked to keep my pace flowing, Mike assured me he was feeling tired on his runs enough to enjoy a bit of slowing down. I felt so good, I gave a "go" for an extra "out" mile, bringing our total to 22. We turned around, still talking comfortable and both saying how horrible neither brought a HRM (so much for previous post!). Legs were turning really well, no complains. As we came up to Pittock Mansion (with 4M to go) and went to refill our bottles at the restroom, we laughed how wedding parties (often taking pictures at the beautiful site) get scared by stinky runners (and Mike told me to stop spitting). So we were leaving the spot, and sure enough a bride and a groom were getting into a limousine, and I hear a native language! "Russians" I yell and jump to the car! We chatted for a few minutes, they tried to guess who are we to each other (life partner? no, running partner!), and I told them that meeting us was a good omen for their upcoming life together - just as Mike and I run really long distances, so their marriage will be long and healthy. Off we went, and got so perked up, I picked up the pace! After a mile downhill it has a couple fo brutal at this stage ups, and we worked it, and ran all, and I felt so alive...at the end Mike told me while I might have run a tad faster last year, I was never looking so comfortable doing it as I did on Saturday. Aww, what a sweet date:)
I came home, showered, threw some food into myself (I have no real relationship with food, it's calories, they'll mix up eventually somewhere along the digestive track) - and Oleg and I went to a car dealership to pick our new Santa Fe. Mmm...may be I even get to drive it sometime...
Sunday was another god-damn 4:30am wake up call, and Mike picked me up for a Gorge condensed plan: 2x50min hill repeats with first at T pace/HR and second easier (we both had 50M races next weekend to be ready for), and a total of 7 hrs. Our hill repeats went up to Devil's rest from Whakeena falls. Not quite all the way up, but exactly in the same time/place as my repeats here 2 years ago - but my HR was maxing at 176 (I was supposed to keep it below 170). I took 3 short walk breaks in the first half a mile but realized the HR is not going to drop, so just stopped paying attention. Mike was having some "dead leg" feeling and kept behind, while I yelled occasionally "stop slacking" - until he explained to me he doesn't feel all that hot today. Happens. And works for me, I am not alone! Turn around at the view spot - and rip it down in 27 min!
Done with the first hill and most difficult task of the day, we refilled, loaded up all our gear and went back up again (we didn't plan to come down second time and to just take off wondering around trails from Devil's). It was nice not to push it, and we finally started talking. All the way up, looking for Gail (who promised to meet us at the top but flanked her plans as usual) - and on to dirt road connection to hike up Larch Mountain. Yes, we both didn't feel as hot as the day before...
As we neared half-way up (above 2500 feet), we encountered snow, at first little, but getting more and more - and we see Gail! Quick hugs, we talked her into coming up with us, but after slow slog on packed snow for 30 min she bailed out and "went for a run, not a hike". We did make it up to Larch, and even wondered some more through a real fresh snow potholing up to knee, but figured it wasn't worth the time, and went down. Pickied up Franklin Ridge trail - TIRED!!! Legs are wobbly, thoughts are scattered, talk is over...take a longer route to get a few miles, hope it will pay off in the race (running on tired legs)...more connective trails, smelling the barn with last 3 miles, began talking again...CAR!
It was surely a long week. The weather held on beautifully both days, we even had sun on the last hour of the Gorge. While we didn't run what we planned in terms of miles on Sunday, we hit the proposed 7 hrs to the second and 8,000 feet of climb in the run, and, to my amusement, when I came home and logged the miles, I came 1M short to a 100! Had I known I would have made Mike go back and forward around parking lot! - NOT! Done is a good word for the day:)
Happy yet tired "couple"