I won't "build up the suspense" - there is nothing to build it on:) It was a very much fun weekends, yet it was a rather very disappointing race for me, even as training run. I'll have to get over it soon and stop dreading it.
We (Gail, Mike and I) took off in my little car at 4 pm from Portland and to our amazement didn't hit any traffic, making it out of city in about 20 min as opposed to an hour what we predicted by experience. The drive was with patches of heavy rain and times for beautiful rainbows, and with lots and lots of fun talks and laughter. You put the 3 of us together - and it's a dangerous combination. Of course, we got lost at the Seattle exits (note to self - don't let Gail do mapping and Mike do reading), but found a funny bone to it. As we drove to Big Steve's place, it was pouring hard - but the house and a host were so warm, it didn't matter.
It smelled good, so good, my stomach was churning...Steve cooked fresh home-made pasta and sauce! Beer cracked open, plates full, we chow’d and talked, and talked, and laughed, and even argued, and talked again about just anything, from politics, to history, religion, philosophers, ultrarunning, mountains, families, gossiping and well, what goes on trail, stays on trail...wait, we weren't on trail yet! but I won't tell you anyway what else was there:) The sleep came at midnight.
Morning was gloomy as it can only be, with sheets of rain coming down. We had our yummy latte's and took on a 1.5hr drive to Bellingham. Of course, yet again, we took an exit we shouldn't have and while the route was scenic, it was long, and we (I) were getting paniky we'd be late for the start. But we made it.
Just as Hagg lake 50k is an OR reunion after a winter hibernation, Chuckanut 50k is a WA reunion, and lately the only time a year I get to see my WA friends. I won't even bother listing them all, though I thought I would, because I am afraid I'll miss somebody. Love ya, guys! The air was buzzing.
I'll be short about the run itself, as there is nothing really interesting-dramatic-inspiring happened there. We took off, and as promised, I had no watch. I know this course as a back of my hand, having run it 3 years before, and eating on time, as well as estimating the time of next aid station, was never a problem. The first 6 flat miles were ugly and huffing/puffing as usual, with jacket removal at mile 2 and trying to not talk too much as I really can't do it while running flats. The rain miraculously stopped as soon as we went on a path, and never came back but a couple of sprinkles. I settled in and tried not to complain (Meghan's challenge) about this interurban stretch. Out of first AS we went on a single track up and up, I was keeping it right where I was, within the same group of people, and picking up conversations. Before second AS the ever famous Glenn T was taking his awesome shots (this and next running photos are courtesy of Glenn, check out the link for the full collection) . I wasn't struggling at all and finally fell in a groove. We checked out (Darin was there to crew for his wife Trisha on her first ultra, and he was everywhere else, and it was fun!) and took onto a some 3+M dirt road climb. I opened up and closed on a few people. This is where I ususally begin to feel the day. And it was good. At the top John Pearch, the RD for all Capitol Peak races and another awesome individual and friend, was manning the AS and filled the bottles, asking if I am up for a sweep in April. I sure am.
I love the Ridge trail the most. I was skipping and tripping and smiling on those traitorous rocks and roots, and even though I bonked for about an hour (from mid-point of it into the next rolling mushy jeep section), it didn't bother me much. My i-Pod died in the middle of the Ridge too (as in "died, broke down", not lost charge, and so I am out of music for now?). We got off, and the "mushy" section was muddy, but better than last year. Funny posts from RD Krissy were stuck in, and most were covered in mud to the point I couldn't read them. I worked out the kinks of the bonk, passed a few more guys, ran alone for quite a while, and eventually came to Little Chinscraper climb - another fav of mine in this race. Sharp hill made me smile as I overtook another 4 guys, and of course, as I knew he would be, there was Glenn!
John Pearch at the top again (how did he get there?) - I hurry him up, I am feeling wonderful, and take on the steep downhill like crazy. Wheeee! I work it and hope the clock at the last AS is not set up - yet it was, and was starring right in my face as I turned a corner, and there was no way, as long as my eyes are open, not to see the time...and it was 5:22 with 6.5M to go. The fastest I ever did the last section was 54 min, in 2005, and usually it's a touch over an hour. That was "my day is over" feeling that flooded. I wasn't even coming in my last year's time, and I thought there is no way I can be any slower than I was. My split at Old Pueblo 50M for this mile was faster! I lost it and slowly walked out. It is amazing how much mind plays of a role in these things - just as 2 weeks ago I "believed" I can break 11 hrs, and pushed hard, here I completely gave up and walked for 3 miles, allowing the pain of tight hamstrings come in, the bad thoughts, the "I am giving up 50 k's" and "I suck", it didn't matter how much over 6 hrs I'd finish, as long as it was over 6 hrs. Not that I had a perfect goal for this run, and it was a training week, and by schedule of coach Lisa I was only supposed to work on uphill and downhill (what I did) - I was still disappointed big time, I just didn't expect it to be so bad, and it hit me hard with a slap on a face. I walked until Gail passed me at 3M to go and offered to run in. I refused, but as I watched her pulling away, I started shuffling, and managed to continue this jog to the end, making it in 6:35, 3 min behind her solid great even-paced run.
And I smiled. Because in the end, I participate for this - for the heart smiles. And I felt it. And I loved it. No, I didn't love myself, or my run, or my state of mind, or my state of fitness, but I loved the fact that I still loved it - does it make sense? We changed, we ate, I asked Peggy (Ma - Krissy's Ma) to adopt me (she is awesome!!!), we chatted with all who was still around, we saw more finishers (way to go Laura H> and happy birthday! Trisha finished her first 50k, yay!), Gail got massage, Mike posed for newspapers (OK, just kidding, but he did finish in 5:10), Ronda had a great run, again, check out results, because I'll forget somebody. We had to go.
We had to go because we planned to stop at Pacific Rim 24hr run down south on the way home and visit with more friends. Of course, we got lost once again on the way out, it seems to be our staple of traveling together. The spirits were good, and Gail and Mike tried hard to entertain me while I drove (it was in their best interest as I was falling asleep). Eventually we made it to Longview and saw our crazy buddies, circling around 1M loop gazillion of times.
Everybody did great, and if you follow their blogs - you read it, and I apologize I don't have time to link them all. Congrats to Michelle and Jenny on first 50M, to Steve S. on 105M (wow!), and Lisa, sweetie, I love you very much, I am so glad I stopped by and chatted!
I ran slow 8M on Sunday with lots of walking breaks and had fun with Stephen at the movies and library. My quads are talking, what is weird, they were quiet after OP50, and I think it's a proove I did work the hills (both up and down). I am a bit gloomy (just like the weather here is) due to my time (or, rather, the unproportional feeling of how well I thought I was doing vs how poorely I did do), but I'll get over it. I won't need pity, but will listen for wisdom on the reasoning of my run. I know about "no taper, two very hard leg weight training, OP50 2 weeks before, speed and hill workouts" and so on. But I didn't feel on the run the way my time shows I did - that's the question. I consumed 2 gels per "stretch" (12 total), 3 bottles of NUUN and 2 bottles of carbo-pro drink. I loved my ripped-off shoes that I dumped at the finish (they waitied for this chance to serve one last time) for their awesome stability on slippery rocks and roots, and I loved my Drymax socks for the feel of dry feet I had throughout despite knowing for show I got water and mud inside (not only due to the trail condition, but also due to those huge holes in my shoes). Highly recommend. I had no aches/pains (until the last section), no stomach problem, nu bladder problem, a usual bonk that lasted no longer than always, no falls, no ankles turned, nothing.
The week coming to be busy...what else is new?