If the miles behind me could be put into words before you, you would feel my efforts, my struggles, my desires. Most of all you would see my joy. Watch me from afar run the trails and hills and miles upon miles and you will see ...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Chuckanut '10 - 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th....

...what's the @#$!% difference. These were the words going through my head on the worst part, for me, of the Chuckanut Trail 50km. That seemingly endless 6 miles back to the finish after a 25 minute descent makes my feel like I'm moving through sand. I know last year I challenged myself to run this last section in a pace of 7 minutes/mile and accomplished it. This year, after a month of weird hamstring discomfort, I just wanted it to be over. It was here that I started in 15th place and thought, "Hey, I'd be happy with that". Until the first person passed me and now I'm thinking, "There is no glory to be found between 16th and 20th so I don't care if four more people pass me". And on I went.
This was my fourth edition of this race, still my favourite as I do quite a bit of training on it. It's the area I plan to run a lot on in the coming months to get ready for the longer trail races. The training will include long runs, night runs, and long night runs.
The day was so bright and warm it was easy to believe that spring was only a day away. Through the flat 6 mile beginning I felt pretty good, the hamstring not bothering me at all, possibly thanks to some pre-race advil. I re-filled my bottle and headed up the Fragrance Lake trail at the first aid station. Normally I can go up this without stopping and ended up only slowing twice this time with the legs quite comfortable chugging merrily (not quickly) upwards. When I hit the top I could tell there was some trail-training lacking. They were a bit jello-y and not feeling too peppy. After we passed the lake we descended into aid station 2 where I was glad I didn't need to refill the bottle for the long, arduous climb up Cleator Road. I managed this one without stopping but to the casual observer I'm sure my running looked like walking.
At the top of the road I grabbed more water, headed up a ways more to the start of the Upper Ridge Trail. This is usually my favourite area to train on and that's how fast I went on the path on this day - training pace. Not really too fast, just enjoying the warmth and the many views from up high. It also felt very non-race-like because there was no one else in sight in front or behind the whole way on the ridge. It wasn't until I started up the Lost Lake trail that I found and passed some folks. I think I only walked a couple times near the top of this trail before flying back down to the bottom of Chinscraper and aid station 4. Regrettably I had to fill up again at the worst possilble spot before this steep section. I did take the time to chug some coke in hopes of breathing life into my legs.
All the walking I didn't do before caught up with me and the steepest sections owned my running legs. I thought at some spots that I might as well run because walking wasn't going to help refresh my legs any and I wouldn't need rest for the long downhill to the flats. I still walked anyways.
I got to the bottom and through the last aid station without stopping and shuffled through to the finish. Four people passed me on the way in, the last one being two hundred metres from the finish when I was taking my shoes and socks off and ran BF across the line.
I was quite pleased when I later checked my previous results and found I was only 6 minutes slower than my personal best on this course. I tell ya, maybe I'm better off with very little training then hoping for the best during races. Should I sit on the couch from now until Diez Vista? Might be worth a try.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

A Crazy Couple of Days

Okay so 36 hours ago I was still pretty bummed about the hammie and what my future looked like running-wise. Last night around dinner time I thought I'd try out the leg again and ended up doing almost an hour at about a 6:40 pace without feeling like it was overly hard. There were few issues from the injury so as I'm running, it hits me - I should try and do the Dirty Duo 25k that I was signed up to do but didn't think I was ready for. A measly 25k! How hard could that be?
I should say firstly that Carrie has been doing the clinic for the 25k for a couple months now and this was to be her first trail run. She was psyched (that she got a hoodie)!! She finished on a tough course on a tough day in a respectable 3:42 and looked like she missed every puddle through the day.

I meant for this run to be an "ease back into the swing of things" run and that's what I did. I took it slow on the ups, easy on the downs, and because the legs weren't feeling too strong, I took the flats easy. I felt like I hadn't run in the trails for a month. Wait a sec, I HAVEN'T run in the trails for a month.
It was the wettest, sloppiest, slipperiest run I think I've ever done in any trail any time. It was SO fun. The feet didn't get cold so I was happy to be jumping through the puddles like a little kid. I didn't care after trying to dodge the first hundred. I was really close to the end and I'd been running with someone for a while when I turned to him and said, "Not like I really care, but do you know what places we're in?". He said second and third. I wasn't in the mood for a sprint for second so I asked if he wanted to go barefoot once we hit the pavement, about a k from the end (and, no, he didn't think it was some sick come-on line). He laughed like I was crazy but I've heard that so many times before it didn't faze me. We came out of the trail and for the first time ever in a race I doffed the shoes and socks and took off.
The guy I was with took off, probably not thinking that I was going to follow through with my idea. As I was running close to the finish I heard some footsteps hammering behind me. I looked and it was Mike Palichuk whom we passed a few kms back. I thought he was out of the picture. I remember yelling, laughingly, "That's not fair, Mike!!", and I started sprinting downhill which ain't easy without shoes. I made it through just ahead of him but I was killing myself by the end knowing that I was running easy, yet sprinted at the end for no real reason.
It felt so good to be out in the woods again that the day flew by. To add icing to the cake I got home and my itinerary for Comrades was waiting for me in an email. Nice. One less thing to worry about.

Now off to Whistler where we try our hand at snowboarding!!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Once again....

....age is rearing its ugly head. 15 days ago I was running 23 miles and felt some discomfort in the back of my right thigh. I finished up and the next day felt like I had pulled a muscle in my groin and or hamstring. I could barely walk. It's been strange as there are good days and bad for the pain, the discomfort moves around somewhat, yet nothing I really do can make it painful. I can stretch in any which way - hams, quads, IT band, and nothing bugs it. Yet climbing a ladder or running makes it tighten up. I went to the doctor today and he said he doesn't know what it is so recommended a sports doctor or sports physiotherapy. I'm going to see Colin McKay, my ART dude, on Wednesday as he usually knows this stuff or will direct me to someone who does.
Bottom line I won't be doing the Dirty Duo 25k in two weeks and Chuckanut is very much in doubt. I was feeling so awesome up until two weeks ago it's pretty disappointing. I was even thinking the marathon was going to come together but missing all the workouts has probably written that off as well. Not much I can do, there always seems to be one thing or the other. I have to think long term now.