I am a girl who loves mountains, changing seasons, running, true backpacking, strong coffee, and knitting with high quality yarn.
When something bad happens, you have three choices: let it define you, let it destroy you, or let it strengthen you.
The purpose of life is to discover and develop your gift. The meaning of life comes from sharing your gift with others. - David Viscott
Saturday, January 21, 2006
Capitol Peak Fat Ass sweep.
Today was a fun day, not only because I got to run trails, see my friends and help out, but because doing it helped me to sort a few things out. Let me begin by saying that John Pearch puts on great trail races. OK, I agree, all the RDs out there are absolutely amazing. It is so much work to put on any race, yet along trail ultra!!! Without them there would be no sport we love, we wouldn’t travel as much, wouldn’t have met so many friends and probably wouldn’t have even known about each other’s existence. Heck, we might have not even be doing all this, as there would be little to feed our addiction! But John holds a special place in my heart. His Capitol Peak 50k was a first race I ran once I moved to PNW. And I had a greatest fun at it! Loved the trails and the hills, the people, joined Maniacs club...John is a sweet guy, fast runner, and take great care of his events and all the participants. So I gladly offered him my help in sweeping the course. I was on this course at 2 occasions, so I was a perfect candidate. Being in recovery after a 50 miler made sense to get only one loop in (the whole Fat Ass thing is 2x17 miles). He actually left me a key to his place to stay with the kids while he spent a night at the start campground!
The morning rolled before 6 am, and despite grumpy faces of my little (and not so little) treasures off we went, to the 8 am start. One of John’s staple - signs at every turn on the road to get us safely and timely to the start. It was great to see all my local friends, mostly from Seattle area, many Maniacs, who I haven’t seen since last summer. Off they went, and I spent a couple of hours setting up food/drink area, while Stephen (my 10 yo) helped keep the fire going and explored the forest. Alex (my 15 yo) enjoyed his CD player and extra-sleep in the car, getting out only once for food. As the first runner came in (the run has a short version of one loop and a double one), it was obvious people will opt out for a 17 miler. The only die-hard, and not necessarily fast, ultra-folks went out for seconds. I am sure Rob would have been there:)
I had to wait for the last person before I began. I went at 4 hrs into the thing, 12 pm. John said there could be a couple more people, so I slowly made my way up the first long climb to Capitol peak, that last about 7.5-8 miles/2 hrs. I was picking the streamers off the trees, and eventually the last 2 girls caught up with me at the top. I got on their heels, and at first I am sure they were not comfortable with me so close and so fresh (relatively). But then, as we started steadily run all the sections, they got into it and thanked me for pushing them. We chatted a lot, passed a couple of guys - well, they passed, I had to stay behind yet again - and in general had a great time. We finished loop in 4 hrs flat. Out of 17 we ran the last 7 non-stop ever. Granted, it was gentle downhill with flat and somewhat rolling sections, but they didn’t break into a walk one time! I kept encouraging them, and I really did think it was great to run that well that far into a race, even if we were making 10 min/mile, we were moving rather swiftly!
The weather wasn’t too bad, it drizzled for the first loop and the beginning of second, but then the sun came picking out. I was tight in my hamstring the last couple of miles and somewhat tired, but mostly my worries were about my shin splins, that were seriously aching and hurting and tender. So all of this, as well as reminding myself of the course, and on top of it a few remarks by fellow Maniacs, made me think about my races this year. Last year I did 20. I had fun. I’ve made friends. I saw places. I faced new trails and new challenges. But what also is true is that I rarely raced. I’d plan to go for a 50k as a training run with support, start slow, but end up kicking adrenalin and finishing harder. At the end it wasn’t a training, yet it was not a full-effort race. This year I would like to see if I train smarter (not harder - I think I trained hard last year, but smarter) where would it bring me. I have to admit that I have a big fear of putting a real pressure on myself, like I will never meet my expectation. So, honestly, part of my busy racing schedule was that I always had a ready excuse for bad performance. That part was wrong...So I cut down some in my plan, and now will cut down even more. Avalon was great, I gave it all I had for that given day, and today I was hurting on the run. This is the way it’s supposed to be. I felt great about it, great looking back at my 50 miler. I am not doing Hagg, or Peterson, or CapPeak 50. There will be no "C" races (as in ABC rating). It’s either I go and face my fears or I do a training run.
There was another thing that got me a bit upset. As some of my friends fro Marathon Maniacs were asking me where would they see me next, I had to say not until WR 50. And there was a remark how I am going for big races this year. And it didn’t feel right, like I was a kid and had to explain myself. How I picked and paid for all this year’s races last September, before joining the Team. How I am always planning ahead (I know which races I want to run in 2007 already now). How I love visiting new trails I read about. How I like new challenge and am afraid to go to the same races in fear of not doing better than last year...Not to mention traveling to 20 races required money and, most importantly, time I stole away from my family.
I am glad to be back home. I will spend this year re-learning how to be true to myself, how to value what’s important, and how to find myself in myself.