Sunday, June 30, 2013

Keeping it fun. Ready for Summer.

Lower Falls - Twin Falls
It's very much a relief to be done with marathon training.  That does not mean that training stops but the emphasis certainly changes.  The goals for the summer are to run well at Ragnar Relay, bike and HAVE FUN! I am aiming for a good half marathon at the end of the summer too.

The great thing about marathon training?  Wow, i am in great shape. I realize that once i've recovered a bit from the long trail run (a three hour finish for 14 miles). Gardening? sure!  bike for an hour? yes!  Row for some time?  OK!  It helps that i have definitely not let strength training fall by the wayside.

I had friends visit and it was fun being able to show the best of the Northwest in less than 48 hours.  Liquor and distillery laws have changed radically for the better in the past years.  If you get a chance, GO to Woodinville Whiskey Company for some mighty fine bourbon.  The distillery laws in washington changed in 2008 to allow small distilleries to open.  This business was further changed by the disbanding of state run liquor stores last year.  All of a sudden, we have a huge choice in what we buy and it is fantastic.  Woodinville Whiskey offers a quick and dirty and hugely informative whiskey talk with generous samples.

As a trail runner, i forget how memorable the trails are around here.  An easy hike just a short drive away is a great way to spend an afternoon.  Twin Falls at Olallie State Park is an easy hike along the South Fork of the Snoqualmie River and then the uphill begins. It is worth it though for the lovely forest and impressive and varied views of the misnamed waterfalls.  Having always run this trail to access Iron Horse trail, i'd never been down the stairs to see the spectacular lower falls.  It elicited a "Wow" out of all of us as soon as we saw it. 

The local raspberries (ie out of our front yard) are producing well this year. So well that we are stripping 3-4 pints off the bushes every few days. The neighbors and other friends are benefiting as it seems like a shame to save all the raspberry bounty for us. At this point, all fresh raspberries are going directly into the freezer. The summer lovelies will be even lovelier in a few months.

Ragnar is just a few weeks away and it's a huge go! I can't wait to be out there running with all the planning and logistical issues past us. I'll be running a July 4th 5k to get the legs moving and hopefully testing out the sparkle skirt.  Sparkle Skirt?  hmm, yes I am intrigued as well.  And don't worry the orange wig is in fine shape and we are updating our orange tutus plus glow items. 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

DNF, Flexibility and Summer!

Trail Race Finish, photo by RPD
How is the year half over?

When I registered for Eugene Marathon way back when, I'd had the idea to register for a second marathon about a month afterward. why? The timing of marathons can often be off for me. Marathons a month apart would work if Eugene fell on a bad running time. A friend was planning on checking off Oregon State is his 50 marathons/50 states quest and had a marathon targeted in the area.  he lives on the East Coast and I had really wanted to support his endeavor.  And why not?  I've raced best when i've had a chance to run events consecutively.  Meaning I'd race a half marathon and do ok. Three to five weeks later, if i raced the same distance again i could almost guarantee to do better.  This works for me for 2 miles up to half distance.  Why not marathon distance as long as I recovered from Eugene?

And the suddenly the friend developed a horrible case of plantar fasciitis and finally had to make the decision to pull out of the planned marathons.  I'd planned on carpooling with him to and from the race and didn't feel comfortable doing that by myself to run that marathon as planned.  Should i look for another marathon?  This is marathon time here in the Pacific Northwest as it is still pretty cool and pleasant especially in the mornings.

I finally decided I would regret it if I didn't give it a try and decided to go back to the North Olympic Discover Marathon in Sequim/Port Angeles area. The NODM half marathon was my very first half marathon way back in 2004 and in 2007, K and I had gone back and both set PRs at the half there.  That half PR still stands for me. It's a great event.  It is just the right size, has a really pretty course with a lot of volunteer support. There are some hilly parts but nothing ever too long.

K had already registered for an interesting half the day before.  he was a bit disappointed that i'd decided to run the full at NODM as he'd have liked to run the half there too.  In hindsight though, it all worked out.  We had dinner at home saturday evening and headed over to Sequim. It was an easy ferry ride/drive and we were in our cheapo hotel (found cheap online rate) for the night.  I was totally not nervous and really looking forward to the race.  With K not running, we could sleep in and get to the race start for bib pick up with no problem. He'd have time to go back to the hotel to relax a bit and then do some cheering/course support later on.

And we both realized how much we love this race.  It is so relaxed and friendly.  For the full (not the half) you get to wait in a heated building with bathrooms! A few hundred run the full marathon and it is just an easy line up and go! the race starts with a 5 mile loop on the outskirts of Sequim.  It's peaceful and pleasant with a bit of up and then some down.  I'd planned to start a bit slower than Eugene and just see how I felt.  Honestly i didn't think i'd run any faster than at Eugene but wanted to have a better finish (ie run). I planned on the same fueling strategy and also planned on using my inhaler much earlier.  by mile 3 i was feeling relaxed and sped up just a bit into the easy downhill after a nice easy (9:10 pace) start.

It had been 55 degrees and cloudy when we'd gotten up that morning.  but by the time the race started at 9 am, the sun was out and the temperature was rising.  It had also been very humid all week and I could really feel that.  Mile 4 after the downhill with a tailwind, sweat was dripping off my hair.  uh? already?  that was fairly alarming actually.

By mile 5 I was so hot! I could feel my face flushing a bit and i slowed on the flat.  Wow.  this was not good. I'd not planned on seeing K until about the half way point but he'd looked at the course map and realized that just past mile 6, the course went very close to the hotel.  So he came out with some water realizing that it was warm.  And that was perfect as i'd already slowed more and thought that finishing this marathon may not be the best idea.

Along the NODM Course
DNF? After telling K i might drop at the half because of the heat, i debated it a couple more miles as i slowed to around a 9:30-9:45 pace and started making sure i was hitting aid stations for water (i had water with carbohydrates in my pack - 4 scoops of carbo-pro + 30 ounces of water).  This was going to be another 5 hour marathon.  My feet already felt pounded and hot and NO WAY! A DNF was the smart thing to do here. Recovery from a 5 hour marathon is much longer than a 4 hour marathon and I have other plans this summer.  With that decision, i happily started chatting with volunteers, texting some friends and K while running and taking photos.  I'd finished all 30 ounces plus had stopped at aid station by the time i ran 13 miles.  That is a lot of water for me. It turns out my former coach was running the full and dropped at the 16 mile mark for heat related reasons too. 

Hurricane Ridge with Raven
And with that DNF, we had time to meet up for brunch with a friend and her family AND drive up to Hurricane Ridge to actually see the mountain tops.  Spectacular!  Make no mistake, we realized we would really like to come back to this event in 2014 and sooner to the Olympic Peninsula to bike.  

And with that I was done with marathon training. Woohoo! I felt nothing but relief as attention turns now to short distance events this summer.  Still I thought wistfully this week, I like to do a longer trail event this summer.  Ragnar Relay is smack in between a couple trail events I've done in the past.  However this year, the Cougar Mountain Trail Series is offering a short and long course series.  So. with perfect timing, I signed up for the 13 mile trail race offered concurrently with the standard 8 miler.

the weather was perfect. I was happy and excited and looking forward to the long run. No i really didn't have the trail legs right now but no matter I knew i'd finish and could check off the half marathon distance on trails that i really wanted to do this summer. 

The miles went fast too! No i wasn't any faster than when i've done this race but I just enjoyed myself and the miles passed quickly.  The two events started at the same time and shared the same course until mile 5 when the long course participants turned left to climb Wilderness Trails.  And suddenly i was alone following behind an older gentleman who ran every single hill.  I don't bother and walk most of the steep long climbs.  We ended up going about the same speed and finished just a couple minutes apart.  My legs felt pretty dead and i did take a fall around mile 10 as i was just getting tired.  But 3 hours and 2 minutes went quick and I was delighted to finish.  It amazes me that i can jump into these sorts of events.  My quads are barking at me today but otherwise I feel great.

And that 13 miles?  My garmin watch measured 14.25 miles.  Haha!  Very amusing and very much a trail race.  Be prepared and ready for anything.  No marathon? that's ok, how 'bout a looong trail race instead? Perfect! 

Bring on Summer!