It probably wasn't the greatest idea to do a trial 3M after 12M on the day prior. Nor at the end of some 250 miles and 3 weeks of no rest day. Neither sleepless night helped...what wasn't planned yet happened. But there I was, 7am, at the trailhead for my warm up with my trusted partners Mike and Dave S. Oh, how I dreaded this whole challenge thing! My legs felt like jelly fish and I had no energy to move (or even talk - bad sign always). I kept taking walk breaks in every hill and giving warnings I will be doing 10 min mile pace. But as the mile marker on Leif cam to view and I loaded Mike with my pack and my bottle (thanks! emulation the race, I guess), I took off...
Dave and Mike are the best pacers ever. I felt like I was some big-name runner running some big-name marathon and was paced by some big name dudes for a world record:) They stayed at my shoulders (one on each side) and half a step behind, allowing me to set my own pace, not making me mad because they ran so easy and I was panting, never tripping me as I weaved my way to pick an easier footing or cut the tangent, with Mike telling me splits and to calm down and Dave whispering "good job". I don't believe I will ever get a treatment like that...so the experience was well worth at least that much.
OK, in short, I redlined my breathing and my HR and my leg power by 0.5M, went through first mile in 7:53 (with 1 hill and flats mostly), used second mile's downhills to my advantage and made it 7:22, wanted to quit so badly next half mile flats it hurt, stopped deadly on my tracks with about 0.35M to go as we hit a big hill (in the middle of it), then kind of had a slow motion movie of "stop the watch", "please don't stop the watch", walk one step, legs shaking, a few more, pick up power walk, shuffle in (the whole walk took 20 sec), run, hit another hill, shift into power walk right away for 10sec, run again, hate the last mile marker that wasn't coming, done with last mile in 8:21 and total time of 23:36. Can't breathe, want to fall over, but quickly realize I am not dead. And I am totally happy with my time. You know, the cumulative time of my track mile repeats was same as this 3M thing? Yikes! With all the circumstances...happy. Wait, no not really! How in the world will I take off a minute of this time??!!
We made our way to Wildwood and had 11 miles to come back. I send Mike and Dave forward, found some steady gear and actually ran for the most part, having guys come at me twice for a "puppy run". We met Tom with 2M to go and he ran in with us to take final photos of my most wonderful pacing friends ever existed who already enlisted for a challenge check in June. Thanks, guys!
On Sunday Gail and Tom R. met me on the way to the Gorge. We didn't have any particular agenda besides "time on our feet", and kept changing route on the go. It was fun. The snow at higher elevation was wonderful, fluffy to play with yet firm under feet. I kept wondering how can it be and was at a lack of other words to describe what I saw. We goofed a lot, wandered, showed Tom our favorite trails (apparently, he's never been to this part of the Gorge, the closest to Portland to boot) and talked a bunch about racing (what else?). Tom kept clicking pictures away - below are samples. In a touch less than 6 hrs we climbed 5700 feet and I was ready to take a day off Monday...may be:)
The challenge of "miles in 2 months" started off with 84M week. Not quite what I aimed for, but by replacing 10M run with Reformer Pilates this is what I got, and I am not going to loose any sleep over a silly number.
The weather this weekend was absolutely amazing, with lots of picking sun through the woods (Saturday did have some hail and rained a bit, but much later than we ran), and even if on a chilly side with temps starting at 35F, still much better than any forecast that week predicted. What a blessing! So glad we used it to our advantage.
And the last but not least - here is one more news I forgot to tell you about but you might have heard before. The Oregon 100M
website is on and active. There will be updates in the future, of course, and we have so much time for it, so keep coming back. The race date is set for last weekend of September, but unfortunately we missed deadline to apply for the Forest Permit for 2008 (while conducting other resources), and will re-apply for 2009. So far things are looking wonderful, with so many amazing sponsors stepping in, runners inquiring about application (we will open to accept those on January 1st 2009) and a general positive buzz. The Warm Spring Indian Reservation is also very positive about having us run through their territory. Keep us in mind for 2009, put it on a calendar! Whether it'll be your first (good choice, under 10,000 feet of gain total) or 10th (run for a PR, to connect with friends, to check off Oregon of your list, to visit our beautiful Mt Hood), or you'd like to hang out and volunteer, we welcome you.
Me reward on Sunday night? Good food and 2 hr nap:)