Not rain, sleet, hail, thunder, lightening or snow will slow this group. Just like the Postman we deliver under all conditions....when it comes to trail running that is. Here in the PNW it rarely snows and about once every other year we hear thunder and see lightening but today we had it all. Most people say the sun rarely shines but in the midst of the weather moods it peaked out just enough to warm us up and cause us to forget about our frozen hands and feet. 8 Brave Campers took on the full length of Wildwood trail today and knock out 30 miles. The trail conditions were some of the worst I have seen in many years for this run. The recent cold weather which brought lots of rain and some snow made for some seriously cold mud puddles that just couldn't be avoided....not like we would want to avoid them anyway.
My goal was to beat 5:15 since my previous fastest time was 5:25 I felt this would be a doable stretch. For me 5:15 would mean head down, focus, no walking and take the down hills fast. With Micheal joining me and really pacing me the entire way I felt confident we would stick to the overall plan and leave no mud unturned. It was so cold today that my feet were completely numb by mile 5 and as I sit here now my toes are just now tingling. My hands were pretty cold too but the feet were stumps! My body was fatigued going into the run but I know that's the name of the game for an ultra runner......can you run on tired legs. Dawning a shirt the reads, "NO EXCUSES.....GIVE IT ALL YOU GOT"!, I pretty much had to shut out the fatigue and force my body to run. All the running I have done in last couple of weeks didn't help the fatigue but the real culprit was the lifting. Note to self......"don't try a new killer leg workout on a peak week". We made really good time to the 21 mile mark....10 minute miles exactly. After a relatively quick refuel we were off for the last 9 miles which are the hardest section on this trail climbing up and over Pitock just to treated to another good climb up to the zoo. We had to do this 9 miles under 12 minute per to make my 5:15 goal. Micheal really became a task master as he easily galloped up the hills and I used all my arm strength to drag my dead hind quarters along. It seemed the more I forced the pace the better I felt so I kept that lovely motto going in my head. So far I had done a pretty good job fueling but didn't take any salt so at mile 25 I decided I should pop a salt tab and chase it with another Red Bull. With Pitock hill in front of us and Micheal's stern verbiage, "we need to work it sister" we scrambled up the rocky trail. This hill is less than one mile long but at mile 25 it seems like Chinscraper at Wasatch. Funny but the weather we were experiencing today made me think we were in the Wasatch Front. :) With the crest of Pitock in sight and the glorious downhill on the backside I felt pretty confident we would make our goal. Confidence did not however mean that there would be any slacking so task master Micheal kept up his furious but relaxed pace as he drug me behind him like a wet dog on a leash, tongue hanging out and all. I might even have smelled like a wet dog with all this hair! 2 miles to go and one hill left to climb. We pushed and grunted our way to the top then blasted down to the finish in 5:06:22....30.16 miles.
Just behind us was Caroline and Dave coasting in for a great finish and they didn't look like a sad wet dog! :). We all changed and waited for the rest of the gang to finish. Everyone ran a fast day and all seemed to enjoy the every changing conditions. Even Zoe (Kris's dog) ran a solid 25 miles and probably 30 with all her side adventures. The best part of the day was seeing Trisha finish her first Ultra and her first seriously long run on trail. She finished strong and didn't even look dirty! Way to go girl.......you are amazing and ready for Chuckanut!
This marks the end of my 3rd 4 week cycle and next week is recovery which I intend to milk for all it's worth. These last two weeks of training have really given me confidence I will survive my challenge in February and I feel like I will have a good race. With another month of serious training to come and more crazy runs on the docket if nothing else I will be prepared.
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!