Saturday, September 01, 2007

The Long Run

Rick picked me up at 4:45 and we headed down to the McMillan trail head of the Orting Trail. It was full dark when we set out, but Rick had a new light. His light was so bright that we figured when he looked at Mt. Rainier, people in Yakima thought the sun was rising in the west. We started along the trail, but turned back almost immediately. Rick asked if I had locked the door of the truck. I said "yes", then "I think so". I ran back to check - both doors were locked. We set a fairly quick pace running out (at least, quick for the likes of me). It was a beautiful morning - about 54 degrees, clear and starry sky, the outline of Mt. Rainier just ahead. We heard a horn honk as Jenny drove by, and as we approached the downtown trail head, we saw her standing outside her truck waiting for us. We moved right along, running down the dark path, the only three on the trail.

As we approached the farm intersection, we could see activity and hear voices. Fishermen and lots of them. Walking and biking out to the river bend. Pretty soon we could smell campfires, and then, my favorite image of the morning, rows and rows of fisherman, standing in the water and along the banks - a campfire here and there - just their silhouettes, with the silhouette of the mountain above them. The salmon are running. As we left the river bend, we left the fishermen behind. The trail continues along the river, but only the one stretch is populated by fishermen. We ran out ten miles, seeing a lone biker, and just as we hit our turnaround, two runners, otherwise we had the trail to ourselves. Eventually the sun came up, but as it did, the fog rolled in. It became just slightly chilly, and the mist soaked my hair. At 10 miles, we did an abrupt about-face in the middle of the trail and started back. We began to encounter the occasional runner and biker, but still were mostly alone.

The fog began to thin out and fingers of sun poked through. The last of the fog cleared out right next to another farm along the trail - the one that has three emus, two llamas and several longhorn cattle. A new calf and an emu watched us as we went by. Some days one of the emus will trot along the fence beside us, thrumming deep in the chest, but not today. We went back by the fishing stretch, across the bridge, through the farm intersection and to town, where Jenny stopped at her truck. Fourteen miles for her today. Rick and I continued on. Our pace picked up a little - the "horse to the barn" syndrome. Jenny drove by hootin' and hollerin' out the window. We finally saw the line of trees ahead, signalling the end. Twenty miles. 4:04:47 - my very best time ever.

That 4:04:47 that included three potty breaks - I am stunned, simply stunned. I hoped, I wished, but I didn't really believe I could do it. Maybe, just maybe, I really will be able to pull a 5:15 out of my hat. At the very least, a 5:20. Wow! I am reminding myself that this is a fairly flat run and both marathons have hills. But still...

And, best of all, no hurts. Okay, the typical achy hips, but no pain in either of my recently injured areas. A couple of blisters, but that's old hat. That is what I call a good run.

29 comments:

Darrell said...

Do the salmon wear cool technical shirts and stability shoes?

Journey to a Centum said...

Nice job speedy! Keep up the good work and stay healthy!

Darrell cracks me up. Some of the tagged salmon have numbers on! The others must be pacers.

robtherunner said...

Nice job, Michelle! This too is my favorite time to run down along the river. I wish I could have joined you.

Sarah said...

Sounds like a beautiful run! Great job with the pace! Remember, your dreams can come true. : )

Michelle Sarabia said...

Great job. Wish I could have joined you guys today. I know you will make you goal times.

scott keeps running said...

Great run! That's exciting about your time and the overall lack of "hurts". Portland here you come!

wendy said...

You're best time ever! You are a healthy runner, and you are doing great with your mileage. We're all so proud of you, Michelle. You inspire me all the time.

Try@thlete said...

I love the way you described the whole thing.

Congratulations on your good time.

Joe said...

Salmon to the right. Emu to the left. Fog in the hair. Friends all around.

And a speedy 20 miler.

Doesn't get much better for a runner, eh??

Nice write up and great run, Michelle!!

Thomas said...

What a beautiful run! I'm soooo jealous of your trails!

"Horse to the barn" syndrome. That's a perfect description.

Wes said...

Way to go, Michelle! Start thinking sub 5 :-) You can do it!! as long as we keep the heart rate down... Woo hoo!!!

Nicole said...

Nice job on the 20 miles.

Chad said...

Great run!

I'm jealous - salmon and emus on the run! I thought I heard a rattler today - I'd rather run with Salmon.

Gretchen said...

Ah that sounds just beautiful! So exciting about the fast time too, because it will seem even easier during a race. It sounds like you are ready!

Dori said...

Awesome running, Michelle! I just noticed that you signed up for Big Sur--I'm thinking about that one, too, but haven't signed up yet. I hope it doesn't fill up too quickly.

Laura Lohr : My Beautiful Life said...

Congratulations on an incredible run and better yet, a PR! :)

I bet you can pull 5:15.

Keep up the good work!

Addy said...

wow...awesome time for 20 miles! The way you painted the picture of the run made it sound just wonderful. Glad you had such a nice one :)

Annette said...

Nice going, Michelle! That's an awsome run! You are so ready for that next marathon. :)

I had to laugh at your "horse to the barn" comment. One of my running friends and I always use that phrase.

Take care of those blisters and aches and pains!

olga said...

A very solid effort, Michelle! That's about what I do for 20 miles these days, I am jealous:) Believe in yourself!

psbowe said...

Awwwe, sounds like a beautiful run. It's one of my favorite scenes too when I cross one of the many bridge around where I live, those fishermen, you have to admire them for that. I bet you could pull a great time on your next marathon.

Oh, thanks for that tip about sucking out the air(pack). It's perfect now. I can't believe I didn't think of that.

Oh sweet! That's awesome Eric is doing Cle Elum too!!

Database Diva said...

I just surfed in from a link on The Runner's Lounge. I live in Snohomish. It's always fun to meet another local runner. I'm bookmarking you so I can read more when it isn't bedtime!

Anne said...

Now this is how to spend your Labor Day weekend. I loved the descriptions of the scenery that wove so nicely with words about how you felt and look.

runliarun said...

I wish a marathon were 20 miles. Then races could be as beautiful as your long run.

Steve said...

I may have to start calling you SM for Speedy Michelle. Now, how about some track intervals. Just kidding, we'll leave that for Jamal and Ruth. Tempo runs and fartlets are best for us mature runners.

Sunshine said...

Oh delicious!! Thanks for writing about your running!

Mother of Martineau Tribe said...

Sounds like a great run.

Someday I hope to be as fast as you (smile)

Love to see you soon
Jenn

Jenny, Maniac #401 said...

Woo Hoo! It was beautiful and fun!
Jenny

King Arthur said...

You're a speed demon!!! I'll bet you could do 5 hours if you had a good day. Congrats on your great run.

Meghan said...

Nice, speedy long run. My hopes are high for you!

I am laughing about the first comment, and your hubby's response. It's the first thing that I thought of, too. I was waiting for the punchline, but it never came (That is, until the comments section!).

Hope you're well and thanks for the congrats over on my blog. :)