Okay - I thought I'd try and beat Eric to the draw for a blog account of this run today. This was the end of a long week (mileage-wise) for me and the start of tapering for Chuckanut. Not that I have any aspirations of winning my AG or anything, but I just want to run it and let my body actually enjoy it! My ankle is very happy about this; it was a tad swollen when I woke up this morning, so I promised it some TLC if it got me through this little three hour jaunt. Including last Sunday, my mileage was 51; not high by a lot of standards but up there for me. Consequently, I'm a little pooped today. Now onto the run....
This was a NW Trailrun sponsored event in a park just south of SeaTac airport, directed by Eric Bone. The run for me was a three hour run on a (approx.) 3.84 mile loop. Driving there was pretty easy except directions didn't say which way to turn off of the main road. To the right was a closed gate; I didn't see a left turn at first. I ended up calling Donn back home who went on his computer. He has a really slow and retro browser and he couldn't get NWTrailruns to come up, because he kept trying NW Trails (site of Skyway luggage). Arghh!! We went through this last year when I was trying to find Soaring Eagle Park. We finally figured out where I was supposed to go; I think it would be nice to have a sign at the main turn off, much like James and John do for the Capitol Peak ultras. Apparently I wasn't the only lost one. Fortunately, I had plenty of time to get lost (unlike Soaring Eagle, where I was late) and got checked in and had time to arrange my "aid station" aka my car. The first little loop (less than a mile) went by the cars so it was a no brainer to make that my stop.
We got prerace directions, well, some - the planes were flying over pretty low and I missed most of what Eric said. But he does such a fantastic job of course marking that I wasn't worried. At about 9:03, we took off. One poor lady fell near the start, but bounced back up and was off. I had sort of planned to run with my friend Kathy (Mile's GF), but as usual, I overdressed and fell back. I swear I sweat way more and get way more heated up now than I did pre-ovarianectomy! It's like a continual hot flash! I'm still figuring out how to adjust. I even had shorts on this time. I did the first loop in my overheated gear (gloves, earwarmers, visor, long sleeve and short sleeve shirts, and Patagonia jacket - it was damn cold standing around). I'm not sure how long the first loop took, but at my car, I stripped and left in just my shorts and the long sleeve top, and was pretty comfy the rest of the run.
I almost caught up to Kathy, but the ankle would not settle down. It was really pissed we were out here and was giving me holy grief. The trail was nice and soft and not bad at all! I enjoyed the single track and even going through the really shallow puddles. There were a few short steep hills, which I walked so as not to overstretch my calf and achilles. I had time to think about form and some little tricks I've been reading about on Danny's blog. My favorite was visualize yourself running 3-4 feet in front of you and run towards that. It's so cool! I imagine it's a lot like focusing on a pacer's feet in a long run when you're really tired. At any rate, I was having fun playing with that and other tricks he had.
I stopped at my car each time and it was nice to have fuel and Nuun waiting for me. The course drink was Gookinade, but I didn't try any. I had it before and it isn't bad, but Chuckanut has Nuun, so I wanted to be prepped. I also gave in and took some ibuprofen in the third loop to calm my ankle and ate some banana quarters and Girl Scout cookies from the main aid station. Yum!
During my second lap, near the bottle drop, Greg Crowther passed me and zoomed on. We both said hi and he was gone. There were people standing around the water drop (it was near the start-finish, but you still had some looping to do) and they must not have known who he was. I said to them, that guy kicks ass! One guy said, so do you! You're right behind him! I pointed out that he was on his third, maybe fourth loop and I was still in my second. That's the fun part about looped runs - you never know who is where! The other thing I like is when someone passes me, it seems to give me energy. That happened again when Devon went by me in my last loop. I was so tired and was ready for a nap right there, and she cheered me up just by being Devon. She is so funny - what a crack up!
Another thing about looped runs, that still confuses me, is I know there are other people out there running who are faster than me; in fact that would be most of the field! But I didn't see those people until I was done. Some of them in the 3 hour run did the shorter loop (there was a 6.4K loop - the main one- and a 1.7K - the short one). I just assumed they all were doing the long loop. Maybe the six hour runners were taking it easy? At any rate it puzzled me.
Like in lap swimming, I tend to lose count if I am out there too long, and in a 25yd pool I have tricks to keep track (I yell out the number just completed underwater). This loop was a little too long for that, and in my 4th loop, I had a hard time convincing myself I was on loop four. Fortunately there were monitors to keep track of that. And, also fortunately, as I felt better and more energized (thanks Devon!) I eventually caught up to Kathy, who had slowed down. She was ready to be done and didn't want to get to the end too long before 3 hrs, lest she should have to run the short loop. I ran the last couple or so miles with her, and we ran into the finish together. I was glad to be done, and though it was under what I should have run (at least what's on my schedule), my ankle was thankful we were done. It wanted some ice, so after some socializing, I headed to my car and treated it to a nice ice massage with my Ice Up.
A quick change of clothes and Kathy and I headed back north to Seattle. I'm pooped and so glad to be going into taper. My ankle is just beside itself at all the rest it's going to get! RICE, RICE baby!
Eric - where's your report????
Post blog: My bad - looking on the NW Trail runs site, Eric has excellent directions! Shoulda used that instead of google maps!