Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Last Horrah, for a while anyway....

Can it be? Has the summer whizzed by? It didn't feel like it this weekend and probably not for the next few days, but soon, it will be. No more races where it's warm and sunny ending with sitting around soaking in creeks or rivers and then eating good food and feeling comfortably warm catching up with people you haven't seen in awhile. However, being the cock-eyed optimist that I am, I'll focus on the fact that these occasions will be back and in less than a year. Just a few seasons away. And as soon as winter hits, well, I will just search for the joy in running in the wet and cold and maybe snow, layering and de-layering depending on the occasion. But, no sense in getting reminiscent of summer already, this weekend was AWESOME all the way around. Does it get much better than this?

To start off, I ran Cle Elum Ridge 50K this weekend and it was bee-u-tif-ful. It also was quite easy to follow, not too many turns which is great for me as I am directionally challenged. The weather was warm and sunny with great views 360* around. Marty and Chris put on a great race. They are so kind and enthusiastic. Marty even gave me a high five at the end, thanks Marty. Their son and co-RD, Kenenan, was quite helpful. He handed out the PCC bags with goodies insdie. He also made sure we turned left on the trail about mile 1.1 The course was challenging and it was fun seeing so many familiar faces. It was chilly at the start but within 5 minutes I was warmed up.

Glenn was at about mile 4 taking photos. Seemed like I had gone farther than 4 miles effort wise. Pretty much after the first mile, there was many many miles of climbing. At times, the incline was subtle and seemingly runnable without too much effort, but I hadn't turned on mu iPOD yet and I realized I was breathing kinda hard. So I turned on my iPOD and readjusted myself and kept climbing.

The climb seemed to go on forever. I had really been trying to work the climbs, walking fast at the real steep inclines and running as much as I could. By the time I got to the first full AS, mile 12, I was starving and out of water. I could hardly wait for boiled potatoes with salt. But unfortunately, there were no potatoes! I was kinda counting on that but instead I ate a bunch of Pringles. Not quite the same, but still potates, just flatr and crunchy. From here, it was more climbing for several more miles. I thought that from the AS at mile 12, there were only 4 or 5 more miles going up. But there were several false summits and that was somewhat discouraging. However, how discouraged could I really be....I was out running on this beautiful day and the scenery was gorgeous. FINALLY, I reached the Windy Pass. I was looking forward for some good downhill. What goes up, must come down, right? In retrospect, I feel I went more uphill than downhill. The course description said 6000 ft. elevation gain AND loss. The loss didn't seem as obvious as the gain. I had visions of me tearing downhill on the verge of being out of control with my arms flailing about to keep my balance so I don't fall and break my teeth. Sadly, that fantasy didn't come true. There was a few switchbacks but it wasn't quite like I envisioned. I actually fell twice and not even on steep terrain. And as Johnny says, I left property on the trail, (some skin!).
I was pretty dusty after the second crash. I was happy to see the creek so I could wash off a bit and also Glenn was there taking his awesome photos and so thoughtfully handed me 2 Paydays! Thanks Glenn! The AS was just right up the trail from the creek and I was excited to see that. I filled up with water and again, hoping for potatoes but settled for chips, pretzels and gummy bears. The funny thing is, I would never eat a gummy bear outside of an aid station. I like cookies and muffins for sweet things. A gummy bear? Never! But the little red bears were laying on their backs on the paper plate asking me to eat them. So I did. Trying to pick them out of my teeth kept me busy for about a half a mile. Only 9-1/2 left now. The remaining miles were rolling hills, my favorite. I had a good time with these last miles. I ran out of water and was getting pretty tired. I thought there were no more watering holes until I crossed a logging road and there was a nice man there with gallon jugs of water. I thought, wow, this is awesome, this guy is volunteering his time to sit in the woods with water to fill up our bottles. I thanked him after he told me, 'only 1.6 miles to go and IT'S ALL DOWNHILL!' Wow, all downhill, SWEET! I'm going tear down out of control to the finish! But, as I spent about a mile going uphill, I was cursing this guy. Why did he tell me it was all downhill when it has been all uphill from here? I bet it is more than 1.6 miles, if he was wrong about the downhill part, then why would he be right about the distance? Then I thought to myself, why should I question this guy, he's VOLUNTEERING his time to sit there with water for all the runners. That is when I knew that I was ready to be done. I wanted to be done running. And when I know I am ready to be done and that I am really really tired, then I know I have run my best. So all of these thoughts went through my head pretty fast, spinning and spinning. And the next thing I knew, I was running downhill for the last 500 yards of the race and then.....I FINISHED! I had no real goal for this event. I haven't really been training hard lately, just maintaining. So I can't really complain about my performance, but I certainly can critique it. I won't bore anyone with those details, that is if anyone is still reading this. After the run, a few of us soaked in the creek which felt so refreshing! Results are here. Photos of the race are of course all of Glenn's great photos. THANK YOU GLENN!

Overall, I had a great time. I had a few moments of darkness and that rarely happens to me. I think it is a sign that I am making the right decision to take it easy the next couple of weeks while I am in Greece for Spartathlon. This trip is coming at a good time. I can rejuvenate and when I return I can re-focus on what I want to accomplish with running and other aspects of my life.

I woke up this morning, a little stiff and wobbly, and the sun was shinning. Another beautiful day. I took full advantage of this. I went to friend Bob's house for a delicious and enormous breakfast of homemade waffles with fruit and lots of coffee. Then for a walk with the dog and a swim in the lake. The swim was iffy. Bob and I got to Seward Park and on the north side it was breezy and cold. We felt the water and it felt COLD!
We decided to warm up on the south side and what do you know, we got hot enough to go for a swim! The water was pretty cold and shallow. I was looking for fish but I only saw plant life as I swam along the shore. We warmed up and then I dropped Bob off at this car in Leshi. I decided to get the NY Times and read it on the beach with Struth. I threw him the ball while I read the paper.
My friend Matt called and was driving by so stopped by to hang out a bit. We all went off the T-dock, included Struth. Struth looked shocked when he came up from under the water after jumping off the dock, but as soon was he came up and realized he was fine, he looked for his ball. Funny Struth. I didn't get a picture of that, but I got one of Matt doing a flip off the dock!
A great late summer weekend in Seattle. I'm lucky to be headed to Greece to finish off the summer!


gtach said...

justice & good sportsmanship prevail in the results! : )

Chad said...

One of my greatest dreams has been to get a postcard from Greece...