Monday, June 09, 2008

A Tale of Two Races

Race One: Rainier to Ruston Relay
(50 miles, Saturday)
I'm up early Saturday, loading my marathon stuff into the car, setting my relay stuff in the entry. At 5:40 am, the first of my relay team members are knocking at the door. It wasn't too long before five of us are gathered - Margaret is to meet us on the course. I got a last minute phone call from Rick, who is on a men's team with several of our Y Run Club buddies. He's on his way to a shooting and needs Eric to sub in for him (Rick is in charge of evidence and crime scene stuff in a neighboring city). We pile into the car as Eric scrambles to pack his marathon gear and get together some relay stuff. Our intent is to leave from the relay finish line and drive a couple hours to Port Angeles for the marathon the next day.

Our team is Bustin' for Ruston IV. Sonya and I have been on all four teams, Jenny, Margaret and Linda on three, and this was Wendy's first time. We got up to the start with time to spare.

The rest of the team, waiting for me to pass by on the mud trail below.

I had legs 2 and 8. Leg 2 is described as "rough, muddy, secluded trail", 6.5 miles. About .75 is on the road. I figured I was golden, after all, I've run Capital Peak and Orcas, how much worse could this be? In terms of climbing - not at all. This leg is pretty much flat, maybe a couple little rollers. However, I did not anticipate just what muddy could mean. This is not your joe-average dirt-type mud, which would be bad enough, no, this is more of a clay-type mud and slicker than snot. Every footstep sent my leg sliding outward or backward. Rocky and rooty sections became more challenging because I knew when I planted my foot it would slide. Where there wasn't mud, there was water - streams or trail-swallowing puddles. It was a mess. There was a walker on the trail that passed me whenever the trail got rough - she said later she thought it was because she had sturdy hiking boots as opposed to my trail shoes. I'd pass her whenever I could run, which wasn't as often as I liked. I was mucking through one area and set my foot on what I thought was solid ground, only to have it sink in over the top of my gator. I had to stop and pull to get my foot out. Unfortunately, this happened several more times.

The end of leg 2 - this is the good part of the trail!

I finally came to the big bridge, where the road crosses over, and there the trail smoothed out. Marco was on the trail cheering me on, and Eric was hanging over the bridge snapping pictures. The trail became wide, mostly smooth, but still with trail sized puddles. I ran straight through the middle of them, washing off the mud and trying to make up time. Once, in the depths of a puddle, I set my foot down on a large rock and laid my right ankle over. I walked it off and kept going. Finally, it was up to the road, where I sloshed my way to a slow finish. 1:35 for 6.5 miles. I handed off to Linda, then tried to clean up a bit before I climbed into Jenny's brand-new car.

The team, minus Wendy, who is out running.

I love riding in the car on relays, cheering on our runners, then waiting and cheering runners in at the checkpoints. I received several comments on my stylish between-legs clothing, but the important thing was that I was warm!

Wendy, Eric and I, hanging out.

Margaret and me, making my warm fashion statement.

Linda, on the move!

Super speedy Jenny, so fast she's a blur!

Sonya, coming in to tag me.

My next leg was a familiar run down the Orting Trail from McMillan to Meeker. It was 3.6 miles and fairly uneventful. The only challenge (besides being tired from the previous leg) was that my right ankle was twinging and tweaking, and every once in a while would kind of give way. I managed to run an average 10:48 here.

Finishing my final leg and handing off to Linda.

The rest of the day sped by, with the only glitch coming when we spent too much time at Starbucks and missed Margaret leaving the trail on her last leg. We waited and waited and finally found out that she was already at the exchange. Whoops! We rushed over and continued our race. We joined our other Y team at the finish (where they received a bronze railroad spike for third place). Wendy came flying into the finish line, and we were done! Eventually Eric, Margaret and I loaded into the car and began our drive to the next race.

Margaret, running hard, while we are lazing around at Starbucks.

Wendy, ringing the final bell and finishing our race.

Bustin' for Ruston IV

Race Two: North Olympic Discovery Marathon
We pulled into town around 8:30. Abi was in town early, after her finish at the Green River Marathon, to pick up all our packets. We went to her hotel, where we got the packets and left Margaret to room with her. Eric and I went on to our own hotel. By the time we sorted out the detritus of the relay and set up our marathon gear, it was 10:00. The bad news is that as we were driving in, I developed a sore throat and stuffy nose - Riley has had a cold and I guess I got it. I went to bed feeling worn out and yucky. We were up early, race-prepping and checking out. We picked up Abi and Margaret at 6:30, and were on the bus to Sequim a short time later. Once there, we had a long wait in a warm building with real bathrooms, visiting with lots of other Maniacs. I was sniffly and sore throated, but otherwise felt okay.

Abi, Margaret and I spent the entire run together. Abi was running her second marathon in two days, Margaret and I were coming off the relay, and I had this new cold, so we took our time. We lucked out with gray but dry weather and nice cool temps. For thirteen miles we were DFL - the sweeps were right behind us on their bikes, and we chatted with them frequently. One of them said that he thought we would begin passing runners once we reached the water (mile 22). We actually began picking them off about mile 13. In the end, we passed about a dozen runners, and several walkers. We finished in 5:47:58, which was about 18 minutes better than my time from last year. By the time we finished I was pretty miserable. Just above my right ankle was a bit sore from turning it in the relay, my throat hurt, my nose was raw and runny, and I was exhausted. Not so exhausted that I had to go post-to-post, but just the same, exhausted. I had that yucky first-day-of-a-cold feeling. After hanging around a while, we headed for home.

Me, Abi, Margaret at mile 26

A huge congratulations to Abi for finishing two marathons in two days!

Somewhere on the drive home, I decided that I needed to sleep for hours and hours instead of getting up at 4:30 to teach Pilates. In the past, I've taught class with a cold and it isn't much fun, so I decided to cancel class. I also decided that I'd make my one off-campus meeting this morning, then would spend the afternoon at home resting. So here I am, typing a race report mid-day, low-energy and snuffly, but happy. As Margaret told someone "We don't like boring weekends!" Nope, we like to spend time with our friends, sharing our favorite activity - running!

Photos from Rich Walters, Margaret and Eric.


Joe said...

Now here's a first...I comment before anyone else!!!

Wow, what a weekend, deserve a rest, what with the cold and all.

Sorry about the ankle tweak...give it some care this week.

Nice you started slow, then picked off folks on the marathon...that's steady running.

Rest up...great weekend, you Maniac!

olga said...

two-a-weekend! would you look at that! i think eric got his monkey rubbed off or something...nicely done!

robtherunner said...

Sounds like a running packed weekend. The relay looks like you all had a lot of fun. Are you finally going to rest now? :)

Steve S said...

Rest up, you maniac. And I thought Rob and Eric were obsessive. Sydnee and I had a great day and run at Green River. I'll let her fill you in on the details.

Captain George said...

Why is Rick hanging out with you girls at the Carbon River bridge when he's up next to run? Now we know! He had too much fun.

Wes said...

Definitely not a boring weekend! Congrats on breaking in Mendy!!

Wes said...

Sorry, meant Wendy :-) My Mendy lives in SC :-O

wendy said...

Michelle, what awesome pictures!

And I think it's disturbing you cut 18 minutes off your time with a sore ankle and sniffly nose. =)

I had so much fun with you guys, now I wish I could have run on Sunday with you too!

Nice job running a steady race and picking off people in the second half.

Irene said...

The relay looks like so much fun!

Another marathon?! Congrats!

Sunshine said...

So good of you to have interesting weekends for the rest of us to read about!! Good job, Michelle.

Jenny, Maniac #401 said...

Great weekend! Sat. was one for the books! Great fun as usual. Glad Sunday was good too. Abi looks good at mile26!
PS I really do plan to post this week! :)

mtnrunR said...

the relay looks fun. lots of running for one weekend. great pictures.

Meghan said...

Holy moly two races in one weekend! Way to pack it all in there, Michelle!

Sorry about the rolled ankle and the sniffle cold. When it rains, it pours, doesn't it? Hopefully this mostly restful day at home is exactly what your body needed.

Despite that, congrats on a fun, successful weekend!


Anne said...

My favorite part of the relay report: Everyone taking too long at a Starbucks and missing the exchange! That course looked pretty slick -- and that was the good part?!

Black Knight said...

Very nice post with great pictures. I am sure you had a lot of fun. These kind of posts are an inspiration and a hope for me.

JustRun said...

Woo hoo for races and relays! :)

Great photos!

Chasing Daylight* said...

I love reading your blog and looking at pictures of your runs. I will be doing my 3rd 5k this weekend - - I'm starting small but hope to do a 10k by the end of September.

Question: How much does the change in temperature/weather affect running? We've switched over from cool spring like weather to warm spring/summer and my body feels heavier and its a bit tricky to regulate my breathing. Slightly frustrating as I was really adjusting my strides and breathing to something that worked.

Is it always changing?

Jon said...

Nice weekend! I only did Green River - no NODM for me. :-(

You looked like you had a good time on both days (although I think you have more fun during the relay!)

Sarah said...

I hope you're feeling better! Love seeing all the smiles. : )

Audrey said...

God I love these relay things. I'm glad you had such a wonderful time. Your team is too cute!

Addy said...

You make relays sound like so much fun :) I love reading these race reports, especially with the lovely photos.

I hope that cold clears up soon, and that you're enjoying a day off to take care of yourself :)

scott keeps running said...

everyone is always smiling when they're around you...