i had built it up into something more than it was, i guess. something more intimidating than it should've been.
three weekends, three races.
4/13 squak mountain half marathon
4/20 rattler half marathon
4/27 soaring eagle 20-mile
as noted previously (i think), this little series started with one race i registered for (squak) and two i won entries for. that the three were back-to-back-to-back was entirely coincidental. but i thought it'd be interesting to see if i could do it.
turns out i could. but not the way i thought. what i thought was that the first two events would build on each other and i would peak heading into the third one. and that's what i get for thinking.
squak mountain was the most difficult course i've ever run. the ups and downs were long and steep and tougher on the legs than i realized while they were happening. i got the message in the couple days afterward, when just going down stairs hurt. but the next race was less than a week away, which meant i had to get over it and get ready to go again.
between squak and the rattler half i walked a couple miles one day, rode the stationary bike one day, and did two short, slow recovery runs. by the end of the week i felt pretty good.
the rattler course was tough, but not quite as demanding as squak, and i was able to take half an hour off my finishing time. still, early on it was clear i had less in the tank to tackle the climbs and descents in pipestone canyon. i was surprised and happy to finish in 2 hours.
the next week, my legs were not quite as trashed, and the recovery runs were not quite as difficult. which was good, because the last event was 20 miles, and oh, yeah i had never run 20 miles before.
in between the rattler and soaring eagle i walked a couple miles, and did two longer recovery runs. plus, i took two days off before race day, rather than one, which seemed to help my legs recover a just bit more.
having done several half marathons, i thought i could probably do two in a row without totally imploding. but i wasn't expecting squak to be as debilitating as it was, and for the rattler to be as tough a slog as it turned into.
therefore i was prepared for soaring eagle to be a total grind. pleasant surprise: it wasn't...mostly.
the course, by comparison, was much easier. the ups and downs were not so steep ~ more rolling, less taxing on the legs. but there was that distance thing ~ three 6.6+ mile loops around the park.
the first two loops went well, i managed my pace (for a change), and refueled (overfueled, probably) at every aid station. starting the third loop, i knew i could finish. as i ran, i thought about finishing. i envisioned and celebrated finishing. then, the last three miles happened.
i noticed i wasn't picking up my feet as well as i would've liked. rocks and logs and roots got bigger, mud became muddier. i tweaked my ankle a couple times. and, i started talking to myself. "let's keep going!" i said out loud, more than once. "this is awesome!" i insisted. "we love this!" i think some guys on bikes may have heard that one. i didn't care.
the last half mile, it started raining. buckets. and i started laughing. i really was gassed at that point and the fact that the rain set in so close to the end just struck me as funny. so, i laughed, and i finished. in a bit of a daze, but with a smile on my face.
standing under the aid tent i ate and waited for the rain to let up. twenty minutes later it was still raining, and i was full. i thanked all the volunteers i could see, and scurried off to my car.
it was a slow scurry.
epilogue: i'm ready to go 26.2.
after staying healthy at these trail events, i'm certain i can run 26.2 on the roads.
trouble is, i'm booked solid the next several weeks. i keep scanning my calendar, trying to invent an opening...
all trained up and nowhere to go.
"You are confined only by walls you build yourself." ~ anon.
on my feet and moving.
on my feet and moving.