Sunday, October 18, 2009

A 10 Mile Trail Race - Soaring Eagle Park, Sammamish

After the deluge and long run yesterday, I was really tempted by a trail race out at Soaring Eagle Park in Sammamish. I've never visited this park before. I'd heard about the park in a fairly recent news article and had really wanted to get out there to visit.

It's a high mileage running week for me (46) and I'd had a longer mid-week run (9.6) plus the long run yesterday (14.75). The trail race had a 5 mile and a 10 mile option. I thought I'd probably opt to do the 5 mile race and be smart about the mileage. But after thinking through the options and realizing that my legs felt just fine after the long run I opted for the 10 miler for a few reasons.

I'd be more likely to all out race a 5 miler because I could. I can start off as slow as I want but if there is a mile to go in a race and I'm feeling good, I KNOW I will sprint it in. that's not what I need right now in training. Plus I really wanted to get a feel for the trails in this park. The 5 miler had a few miles off on the single track trail but the first and last mile was on a main, wide, manicured trail. boring! the 10 mile race started and ended the same way as the 5 mile but the majority of it wound around the park. It was a good decision.

I got to the park in seemingly no time at all. That was good to know for future use. it seems closer than Redmond Watershed Preserve to me and quite direct from Seattle. So I was there pretty early and ran into a friend who was running the 5 with a couple of her friends. It was nice to see her as I hadn't for a while. We all were chatting in the time before the race. Soon it was time to get a bib on and change out of my warm clothes and decide what to wear.

After the rain and wind of yesterday, the morning was a very comfortable 50 degrees with no rain and no wind. Perfect! Short sleeves and tights and I did bring mittens which I knew I'd stuff into my pockets once I'd run for a bit. I saw a lot of overdressed people!

We got a short talk about how the course was marked (very well actually) and trail conditions. With all the rain yesterday, it had brought down a lot of leaves which would be slippery and even a lot of trees. The race director had cleared quite a few off the trail but there were some pretty big trees down which we'd need to climb over.

And we were off just like that! The course is nice in that the first chunk of a mile is on a wide gravel/wood chipped and rather soggy trail. it was just long enough to string out the field enough so that when the turn to the single track happened, there was no delay getting on the trail. I had passed a fair number of people in the first bit but was content to settle behind the group once on the trail. it was quite pretty and I did look around a bit. The trail was technical enough and we were going fast enough though that I was in the trail-focused, in-the-present, stimulating attention locking zone pretty quickly. I love that feeling. Do you have a name for it? I can't quite pin it down.

I'd get passed every once in a while and then I'd pass periodically as well. I watched one gal almost roll an ankle a couple of times and then she obviously slowed trying to be more careful. Pass. After 2.5 miles, the 5 milers seemed to tucker out a bit so Pass. I had a 5-miler gal on my heels from 2.5 to 4 who stuck pretty close and was definitely using me as a pacer. That was just fine. I was enjoying myself and pushing a bit harder because of it. I figured I'd run a bit harder the first 4 miles and then slow for the rest of the course and that was just fine. My goals were just to finish strongly and not fall!

At 4, the 5 milers turned to go back a mile to the finish. They had an aid station there but I just continued on. I was carrying water so I had a swig and a gel while on the run. And all of a sudden I was alone in the woods on the trails just trotting along. I felt like I was slowing quite a bit but in reality the trails just became hillier and a little more technical than it had been for the first 4 miles. Yes I was tiring too but it just didn't seem to matter. It was such a pleasant day to be out in the woods.

At around 7 was the most challenging part of the course. There was a long downhill rocky section. I could feel my quads protesting as I had to slow because of the rocks. I came to a little boggy area, crossed a solid trail and laughed as I contemplated a straight up scramble. Get to it! then the trail did a leisurely loop with a more sensible decline and started back up the long rocky section I'd just descended. Oof! This was a power hiking section. Too steep to do otherwise. I was around other people at this point and they were doing the same.

Just when I was really wanting more water (I'd run out), I hit the last mile and the long mushy mile long section back to the finish. Ok. Here I was going to push as much as my tired legs would let me. I could see a couple gals distantly ahead of me and I was pleased to see that by the time I reached the finish line I had almost closed the gap to them. Strong running.

Woo! I had a huge smile as I finished and walked to the car. They had a nice spread of food which included yummy chili. I did have a bowl as I'd forgotten to bring anything to eat for afterwards. Results are not up and I am very curious as to where I end up. I'm delighted with how strongly I finished and how good my legs feel after so many miles this weekend. This bodes well for the next running events.

And I cannot wait to get back to Soaring Eagle Park and run some more trails.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Red blobs are never a good sign.

Ran 14.7 miles this morning and these have been moving through the area all day long. I have never been so wet on a run. I was running on trails which became rivers. All you could do was laugh and keep moving.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Boston 2!


It's been real, real busy since getting back from the east coast but I had to post my favorite photo. Sam Adams and K looking out over the city at Faneuil Hall.

How was Boston?

Fantastic! A fun, fun city to explore on foot and by subway. We walked the entire Freedom Trail and hiked the 275 steps to the top of the Bunker Hill Memorial. I can't think of a better way to recover from a relay race. That AP US History class I took way back as a junior in high school all came back in much more vivid detail than I could ever have imagined.

We had perfect weather and really enjoyed walking all over such a walkable city. I think we would've done about two or three other things but we just ran out of time and energy. Next time!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

an anniversary..

About a year ago, I was finally and formally diagnosed with a stress fracture.

It's hard to believe it's been only a year as I honestly thought it had been longer. It's been quite a summer. Relays, trail runs and races, a return to the track recently and some fun running related travel coming up soon.

What have I learned?

Trust myself. I knew something was wrong with my shoes, orthotics and feet for a while.

Keep strong. I've been very consistent with weight training and core work and I feel very good about that. It makes me feel so much younger.

Yoga and massage. I do almost daily easy yoga of just a few minutes each day. It helps in so many ways. I really notice when I skip it because I'm too busy. Just a few minutes is all it takes. And a little easy self massage does wonders although I'll never say no to a painful and ever so useful massage with Surfer Dude Massage Therapist (now with adorable baby I can play with before a massage!).

Less is more. This applies to shoes (lighter and no stability for me now!) and to mileage. When in doubt, cut a run short and there is nothing wrong with a bike ride instead.

More boston pics are coming! We've been really busy trying to finish exterior window trim painting before the weather changes...

Friday, October 2, 2009


Sunny afternoon on Harvard Bridge

After a very successful Reach the Beach, K and I headed to Boston. We'd both wanted to go for many years. It started off well enough when we easily found our guest house on Beacon Street in Back Bay.

We unloaded luggage and checked in and were ready to return the rental car to Logan Airport. We asked the front desk clerk how to get to the airport and were told turn ____ at the second set of lights and follow ____, it'll get you there. Neither one of us could remember which way we were supposed to turn and heard completely different street names because of that Baaaaahston accent. After much circling, a gas stop right by Fenway, a quick trip back towards New Hampshire we eventually found the airport.

Note: Do NOT rent from Thrifty and return a car to Logan Airport. In reality, the rental car return is not at Logan but they do a poor job (ok no hint) of telling you this. We were rather tired after all these shenanigans but I was happy to make it to the subway station for a ride on the "T" back to our guest house.

Seriously, I love subways. So much fun riding on them and Boston's T is no exception. You can see the neglect at work and the obvious challenge with keeping up with maintenance but it is a great system and we used it every day to get around the city easily.

We were back to our guest house in time to get out for a walk around the neighborhood, along the Charles River and Newbury Street. it was so much fun to be in a city where everyone is walking around their neighborhood.