Last weekend was the end of the Mountain Goat season, which takes the summer off. So we had our annual "Grad Run", where new members get graduation diplomas (you may remember mine from last year). It's a party, and a race! Ten miles of hilly trails, with awards! My weekend plan was to do this hilly ten, and come back Sunday for 15 more on tired legs. So I didn't want to work too hard...but it was a race after all......I think you know where this is heading...
kind of figured running all these hills would make me, you know, better
at running hills. But I still just suck going up hills. Literally. I am
sucking air big-time. Everyone else pulls ahead of me while I have to
walk. I blame my (self-diagnosed) under-sized lungs due to premature
birth. I also can't blow up balloons.
Anyway, the course
starts out with 550 feet of climb in the first mile and another 700 in
the next two miles. So I was doing my reasonable best, but watched 7 or 8
people pull away and disappear.
mile 3 I'm sure some were over half a mile ahead. Finally I got to a
long downhill, and it was on! I gave up all pretense of conserving
energy and just pushed it hard, flying down the rocky trail with
reckless abandon. SO FUN! My splits went from 13:11, 11:43 and 10:42 to
7:22. I passed a few people, but knew there was 3 more well ahead.
Finally at about 4.5 they came into view and I could see I was reeling
them in. I caught the last of them right at the turnaround.
kept up a good pace on the more moderate uphills, which don't bother me
much. It's just the really steep ones. And there was one more of those
in mile 7 that had to be walked. By then I had shaken all but one of the
goats. This was some new guy, who was clearly superior and pulled away
from me on the hill. But then he stopped and waited, unsure of the right
trail to take. It was good to have him in front of me because it kept
me pushing. I chased him down another long downhill in mile 8 in 7:01!!
Almost caught him too, but then we went back up and I dropped way back.
again the leader had to stop, when some hikers asked him to take a
picture of them! Ha ha! The Kenyans never have to do that in a big
marathon! I wish I had a picture of him doing that. Anyway, he still ran
away from me. A big downhill in mile 10 was not enough to catch him so I
group leader decided to disqualify him as a ringer, since he hadn't
been to any other Goat runs all year. So I got to be the winner, and
scored this awesome trophy.
we ate and drank and partied. And I thought about how hard I pounded my
quads on those downhills and how that would feel tomorrow on my
15-miler...Longest run in a year...
Sunday I awoke without
any soreness, so I guess I'm getting used to this stuff. It was
overcast and 60 so I went out topless for 15 miles along the beach. The
plan was to take it easy and just get the miles in. At first I was
definitely sluggish and my pace was a bit slower than usual. But I kind
of warmed up I guess and the pace dropped. By the time I hit the beach
after mile 6 I was chugging along close to marathon pace.
encouraging to be close to 8:00 on tired legs. By mile 12 I was
petering out and slowing, but during mile 14 I started tracking a guy in
an Ironman shirt who was near my pace. So of course my pace picked up
and I gradually caught him. And then of course I had to move on by, with
authority! And the body responded pretty well and I finished strong.
Last 9 averaged 8:09. And I finished the 25 mile weekend with gas in the
Feeling pretty confident. Next weekend I plan to do 16 on fresher legs, and see if I can do the last 10 under 8:00 (BQ pace).
All systems are go!