First 20-miler of training today! These serious distances are getting a little less daunting as the weeks go by.
Today's run was at the Snoqualmie Valley Trail from MacDonald Memorial Park in Carnation. An out and back with about 3 miles of flat before the remainder of the track is at railroad grade—elevation profile that looks like the two upper sides of a triangle. http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/activity/8235868
I woke up at 3 (internal alarm) and kind of rolled around for a bit and then slept until 5. Got up feeling quite refreshed too (went to bed last night at 9:30 to get as much sleep in). The pets were not problems this morning either (is there something in the air?). Headed out at 5:40 and got to the start at 6:16. Then I started getting sleepy and dozed in the car for a bit. THAT made it difficult to get up and out into the cold but I did and wandered around for a bit. EB and JB went past at 6:30, wearing hydration packs, unlike last week when they ran out of water on an 18. At 6:40 we got the "Go" signal from Field Coach D (FCD). The others in my start group took off. I just sat there looking a bit doubtful and asked for a gentle push. That is when Sj threatened to kick me instead. It worked and off I went. Passed De within the first quarter mile and CM just after the turn off 202 and down onto the trail.
There is some new, and large, gravel on the trail from the road out to the SVT that made it a bit of a hard go. I ended up running along side the track on the loam and weeds. Hit the SVT and just started going. I was running conservatively, taking my time to warm up. It was cold, 43, but the sun was coming through the fog. It was very, very pretty and the air was so clear. I knew this was going to be a good run, especially since I was imagining what it was going to be like at the 10 mile turn around for me.
By the 3 or so I was warmed up and heading uphill, still keeping it steady and slow. This first bit, from Remlinger farms to about the 6, was the leg I had during my first Mt. Si Relay and I remembered it all. It felt so familiar. But the section that I really loved was from the 6 to the 10 because it more and more quiet and more and more isolated even though there were houses around. Right after the 7.75 check point (I stopped and chatted with FCD for a break), six deer crossed the trail about 20 feet in front of me. They looked at me as they went, not scared at all. Just magical and unhurried. I did not stop running either. It was if we all knew what was what and who had what space. At 8.79 or so I saw E and J coming towards me with big grins on their faces (so happy to be on the return). They told me the turn around was near. I rather chirpily traded greetings but didn't say anything going out the the 10.
I had been feeling like I really needed to go to the bathroom all the way up to this point and had even been looking for placed off trail to go. But I also saw what looked like Poison Oak and thought, "what is worse?", and kept going. Stopped to pee at the 9 and immediately felt better. (Is this TMI?). Going out to the ten was really cool. The trail sort of evened out and there was a long bridge over a spectacular gorge. At least 150 feet down. So much water flowing, very loud. As I made my turn I saw D coming across the bridge. Stopped and asked how far he was going, 14 or 16 I think. CP went past the other way too.
By 13 I was feeling a bit wobbly and slowed down to a 10:00 pace and cleared my head by cycling music through my head really fast. It worked and I was able to center myself. At 16 a woman came along with two Field Goldens. I crouched down and said "Puppies" and they got all enthusiastic. Wiggling, etc.. I must have spent 5 minutes or so with them, petting and getting licked. It was fun. They were so soft and happy. Really alive and playful. I had put my water bottle down on the ground to pet and hug them. One of them picked it up and started playing chase me with it (they are retrievers after all). Their owner got it back but not after I asked the dog if he would like to carry it for me the rest of the way. A nice, soft and wiggly interlude. I left smiling with a happy heart.
I was thinking about two things at 17. First, the fact that the course was going to even out and second the Wall that was coming. I had some get-up-n-go and miles 17-19 were in the 9:50's and I was feeling really happy. At about 18 I noticed a real crowd of people. As we got closer I saw that it was bicyclists. As we got even closer I saw that it was some girl group out (brownies, girl scouts, I dunno). They were all saying hello, and I back at them. Then I noticed one coming straight for me, not looking where she was going. I was over as far as I could go and finally barked "Heads Up!" She went "Ack!" and almost fell off but recovered at the last minute. Then they were gone and I was on my own again. At 19 though things started going wobbly again. Partly because of the change of the surface (back on the hard gravel) and partly because I was getting knackered. Once I got back on the road I gelled and trotted to the finish with a 10:16 overall pace. Like the 18-miler a couple of weeks ago I could have gone a bit more although this time with more confidence. Considered running down to the river to soak there, but I noticed the AR van in the parking lot and figured I ought to check in so I circled the parking lot to make sure that I have 20 on my watch and stopped. The van was open but empty. Hunh. FCD had been waiting for me the whole time. I felt badly for making him wait but it was really nice to have someone besides all the mountain bikers I didn't know see me smiling and all happy.
Had a wonderful stretch and a bit of a picnic whilst sitting on my shins. Ice bath standing in the lake was wonderful!
THIS WAS GREAT! A great confidence builder on a fantastic day. And I can't wait to run 22 next. :-)
42 days until the Seattle Rock N Roll Marathon! Symbolic?