Monday, March 23, 2009

Chuckanut 50k

Photos by Glenn Tachiyama

I stayed close to home this past weekend and raced in Bellingham, WA at The Chuckanut 50k. It had been raining all week and predictions were for rain on Saturday but we got LUCKY!!! It was a beautiful day with perfect racing temperatures. This year's race had over three hundred entrants, all ready to spend a day on a beautiful course with a little bit of every type of terrain. The first and last six miles are on the Interurban Trail which is basically a fast and flat dirt road. At about mile eight we head up a few miles to Fragrance Lake on a single track trail and then down to a logging road which heads back up for about another 3 miles. Once done with the logging road the fun begins. This is when we get to test our nimble feet on the Chuckanut Ridge. I have run Chuckanut five times and this was the first year I have been able to observe the gorgeous views from the Ridge. Usually it is cloudy up there and difficult to see. After several technical miles on the ridge we hit another wide trail and headed up, up, up. This is where the mud was. I was wearing my brand new La Sportiva Fireblades which were such a pretty shade of yellow! No more. Now they look loved and used. Speaking of the Fireblades they were comfortable right out of the box. The race was the first time I wore them. Not one blister. They felt light yet supportive on the logging road, single track trails, and the mud. When done with the muddy climb we reached "Chinscraper" which is a short (maybe a mile 1/2) steep climb. Then it was time to head down and back to where it all began. Thank you to Krissy, her Ma, her friend Porsche, and all the volunteers who made this race a ton of fun, safe, green, and well supplied with good eats.

Monday, March 2, 2009

A wet Napa Valley Marathon

When I was running CCC100 last summer I had this crazy thought. I decided I wanted to try and run a sub-three hour marathon. My fastest marathon to date was 3:00 flat and I figured taking a minute or two off that was doable. I also thought if I could be on the trails for over 24 hours then I could push myself for 2:58! I did the speed work, the long runs, went to crossfit. I ran Orcas 50k 3 weeks ago to give myself a final long run. I felt ready. I flew to Sacramento Friday afternoon after school, drove to Napa, picked up some food and went to the hotel to study. Saturday I spent the morning exploring the valley and I picked up my race packet. I was feeling more nervous for this race then I had in a long time. I think it was do to my expectations. I ate a great dinner at a vegetarian restaurant called Ubuntu (if ever in Napa check it out, it's wonderful). After dinner I returned to the hotel for some more studying and an early bedtime. Sunday was an early get up to catch the shuttle to Calistoga. It was pouring down rain and the wind was blowing. Thank goodness we could stay on the buses for the hour before the race instead of standing in the rain. Even with the weather the way it was Napa truly is a beautiful marathon. 24 miles of the race are on the Silverado Trail (road not dirt) which has gentle rolling hills and vineyards as far as the eyes can see. I ran the first half right on pace for a 2:58. I consistently ran between 6:40s and 6:50s. I felt good with my second place standing but I knew it was early. By about mile 15 I started feeling my legs get heavy. My times were slowing to the upper 6:50s and I was passed by a speedy girl who did not even look tired! I was able to hold 3rd place (3:03) but I was not able to hold my goal pace. It could have been I was not as prepared as I thought I was or maybe the rain and wind got to me. Maybe it just was not my day. Whatever the reason, in running just as in life, there is always a new day. I now look forward to finishing school and getting back on the trails!