Wednesday, January 31, 2018

orcas island 25k

points at glenn: "hello, glenn!"
one thing that went well this day.
photo by glenn.
"sometimes you just have to dig in, be brave, and get ugly."
~ devon yanko
i got the ugly part right, anyway.

sitting here a couple days after the 2018 orcas island 25k, annnnd...i'm feeling pretty beat up.

i know this because i'm sitting, rather than standing, which is my usual posture at the computer.

to be fair, i can't say orcas didn't go as planned ~ because i didn't really have a plan. other than the usual "get around the course as quickly as possible," my "plan" for these things tends toward:

1. don't get hurt
2. finish
3. finish with a modicum of dignity

one out of three is better than none.

the first six miles felt fast, i thought...until i looked at the strava data. year over year (2017/18) i was slower five of the six miles and 4:47 slower overall. stupid strava data.

this didn't bode well, obviously, even if i wasn't aware of it at the time.

the 2nd six miles of the course includes a delightful, beguiling, sublime climb of Powerline, a section of trail so steep and long and special it gets the only capitalization in this post.

subtext: training for orcas comprised a metric ton of climbing, specifically with powerline in mind. every long, steep ascent was dubbed "good powerline practice," because powerline is powerfully motivating.

the mantra carried over even to the actual climb up powerline, during which i said to my friend bill, "you know what this would be good practice for? powerline. this would be good powerline practice."

with a grade of up to 41% literally staring us in the seemed funny at the time.

the higher we climbed on mt. constitution, the more snow we encountered. temperatures were above freezing, and the melt-off turned the trails into icy streams punctuated with wide, deep, slushy puddles.

"why am i doing this? no, really..."
administrative note: my toes were cold as frosty beers in an ice-filled cooler. but not nearly as enjoyable.

reaching the mt. constitution aid station is its own reward, as it means the climbing is mostly done, and you're about to get a gravity-assist for your trip to the finish.

plus, race photographer glenn tachiyama is just around the corner, poised to capture the moment you questioned every running decision you ever made...
post-game analysis: i was training-ready for this race. i didn't necessarily expect to do better than last year, but i did expect to feel better than i did, which was pretty bleah. every race is different, of course, and sometimes it's just not your day...still, it's a little bewildering.

on the other hand...this was the first time i pinned on a bib since last august. so, maybe some expectations-management is in order. maybe i should just celebrate the type-2 fun that was had, and look ahead to the next thing ~ which is a midnight sweep of the orcas 100 mile race on feb. 10.

that'll be some good powerline practice.
orcas island 25k


77/242 (overall)
5/19 (M 50-59)

hoka challenger atr 4

song stuck in my head the entire time: theme from "unbreakable kimmy schmidt"

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