Last weekend was my biggest training yet - two 20 milers, back to back. For someone who was told not to run every day, this is huge that I made it through unscathed (so far).
Run 1 - Solstice Day from my house to Discovery Park and back home.
I left the house around 8 and ran by the parade site in Fremont where they were staging the start. The plan was to meet Tracy at Discovery Park and run some loops with her. On the way back I was hoping to hook up with my friends Bill and Cindy and see if we could get away with a skinny dip in the ship canal, or at least a soak for my feet. My friend Bob was having a "living room set" at the parade and encouraged us to bring a stuffed animal and pillow. He would be next to the judging stand where he is every year. I threw my mini polar bear in my bag - it was a prize for 5th place in my AG in the Maui Polar Bear Swim in 2005.
I ran through the Locks and saw some Chuckit folks on their long run. It's been a long time since I ran with them, seems like a world away. Tracy called while I was talking and was already about to start her second loop. She went counterclockwise and I was to go clockwise and we would meet up somewhere on the upper loop. I got to the park and soon met her on the trail about half a mile from where she started. I turned and we continued CC, and soon heard someone say "My two favorite runners!" We were joined by the jet setting Kathleen Egan, who had just returned from traveling in Germany and Switzerland and was still feeling jet lagged. She joined us for a loop down to the beach and then parted when we stopped by the car. After one more beach loop with Tracy, I headed back home.
As I approached Fremont, I could hear the parade in full swing. A couple of naked cyclists came down the trail towards me - one was on a tall unicycle so I was eye to eye with, um, things. Quite a traumatic sight after running 20 miles - I almost had to lay down right there. I called Bill and Cindy but the parade was too loud for them to hear their phones. I swung into PCC to get my chocolate soy milk and ran back out to look for Bob and the living room set. Too crowded for me to find them, so I went home instead and took a nice cool soak in the tub.
Party to recover.
After stretching and a nap, I headed to party number one where Devon was pre-celebrating her birthday. I wanted to wait for Donn, but he was still out gigging with Orkestar Zirkonium so I went stag. I met several of her friends and relatives and had a blast talking to all of them! Some ultrarunning folks showed up including Dan from Bellingham, who entertained us with stories of a 135 mile run in Minnesota last February. Brrr! Soon Donn called and I headed off to pick him up for party number two. This one was with the Bicycle Alliance friends, Steve and Louise, out in West Seattle. They were in full party mode when we arrived and the food and drink were flowing. I filled up and rehydrated and had fun chatting with various folks. We stayed til after 9 and then headed home to get me ready for run #2.
Run 2 - Cougar Mountain.
Danika picked me up at 7 am and we headed to Cougar to meet up with Tracy and Tim, and see some of the SRC folks. Ali was there as well and a new woman, Amy, who had moved here recently after living in Bolivia for a while. Brian was heading up the SRC group with his last long run before Western States. We did a ten mile loop, except for Ali who decided to make it a 13 mile with the Wilderness Peak loop. Danika and Amy were a bit faster and were only doing one loop so they were gone when we got back. My stuff was in Tracy's car, and she, Tim and I refueled and refilled bottles and took off again. Well, they practically had to drag me out again. Plus my right foot was cramping on the fifth metatarsal and I was worried it might turn into a stress fracture. We kept thinking of turn around spots for me, but after Tim massaged my leg, it loosened up and that, plus more salt, kept the cramping at bay. We varied this loop a bit and at one point we were on a long trail heading back to the cars (eventually). They got way ahead and for some reason (blame it on the flying monkeys) I got it in my head that I may have missed a junction. I didn't have a map (mistake #1) or my phone (mistake #2) and got more and more rattled. I started calling Tracy's name out but to no avail. I was going down a nice decline and really didn't want to turn around. After a few minutes (seemed like forever) I saw Tracy coming up the trail towards me. She had heard me, and called out, but I didn't hear her call. They were waiting for me at the next junction - duh!! I felt really dumb and was kicking myself for not carrying a map and not trusting that they would wait at the junction. Lesson learned. It was a really pretty trail and I may go back there next Sunday with Chris. We soon finished up our run at 22 miles and after a little soak in Coal Creek, we headed home.
That weekend was a hugs confidence booster for me and despite feeling a bit tired, and some twitches on my lower legs, I feel pretty dang good! I'm so glad I stuck it out and finished it with them, and was so glad Tim was there to fix my crampy foot, as well as give us support. Thanks Tim!!
Now it's on to recovery and keeping up with the great race that's coming up next weekend at Western States. The field is so deep in both the men's and women's races that I may have trouble sleeping Saturday night since I'll be glued to the computer! Plus I'll be sending my buddies great vibes for good running!
Lastly - a shout out to Linda Barton who finished her first 100 miler at Big Horn last weekend! When the going got tough for me, I thought of her running at that moment and it gave me mega inspiration to keep going! Congrats Linda!!