I’m not sure what it’s equal to, but let me tell you that it feels like a whole hell of a lot more than 23 street miles.
This past weekend was the Vernonia Marathon. I didn’t run it, even though I considered it. I ran it last year and didn’t finish. I need to run it again so I can quit being afraid of it, but this year I wasn’t prepared to do that. All the same I told myself I’d run a marathon distance this weekend, on my own, just to reassure (or possibly remind) myself that I actually can (and have) run 26.2 miles.
I meant to run a few times last week prior to the 26 on Saturday, but I didn’t. Life seems hectic and busy of late and while I’ve been diligent about my lifting, kickboxing and yoga in the evening, I didn’t make it a priority to get out of bed early last week to run. It didn’t derail my desire to run the distance on Saturday, however. If anything, it made me look more forward to it.
On another note, I found out recently Timberline has a 7-hour time limit to finish. Timberline: the lovely, high altitude trail marathon I will be running on June 1st. Has it EVER taken me 7 hours to finish a marathon? No. Has it EVER taken me close to 7 hours to finish a marathon? No. But for some reason when I know there is a time limit I start to freak out. Running is my mental mind fuck.
So, while I wanted to run 26.2 on Saturday, it seemed more important to prove to myself that I can and will finish the Timberline Marathon within the 7 hour time limit. Mid-week one of the chicks asked if anyone wanted to join her for 23 miles on the Wildwood trail. Given all of the foregoing, I jumped at the opportunity. Twenty-three trail miles would not be the same as 26.2 street miles, but it was more in line with what I needed and, depending on how long it took, it would hopefully help me calm the fuck down.
Christine, the chick looking for a running buddy, runs fast. She’s 13 years younger than me and ran her last 50k in a little more than 5 hours – because she rolled and twisted her ankle at mile 15 and had to go a little slower because of the pain. Her normal pace is 8:30. Mine is 10:10 on a good day, 10:30 on an average day and 11 if I haven’t slept much. I was thrilled to run with her though because it’s always nice to run with company, and I thought it might help me run faster. We were joined by another chick that I adore. Here we are at mile 7. Still happy.
Even though it wasn’t raining when we got to Wildwood, it had rained off and on, at times hard, for the previous 48 hours. The trail was a mud pit in places and I still hadn’t purchased any trail shoes. That wasn’t good. My left ankle took a beating, constantly sliding out from under me, unable to get the appropriate grip and it HURT before we got to the turn-around spot.
We started at the 53rd trail head which drops you down onto Wildwood at the 9.25 mile marker. We ran, talked, laughed our way eleven and a half miles out to mile marker 20.75. I took this picture and posted it on Facebook with the words “half way!” without thinking too much about it. It wasn’t til I got back to my car and saw some of the comments that I realized how misleading that was. HA!
My brother’s comment was “Oh hell no” – I had to go in and say no, we didn’t actually run 41.5 miles, only 23. To which I had multiple girlfriends text me and say “who says ‘only 23’?”
On the way back Amy told us she had never run more than 18 miles, ever. We were probably at mile 16 when she told us. Christine and I were excited for her, she was excited, but I’d say within the next 4 miles she started to fade fast. By mile 21 I was starving, my left ankle was throbbing and I was sure I was going to fall on my ass from the mud. We started walking up the hills (which seemed to be relentless) and by the time we had less than 2 miles to go Amy announced she could not run anymore. I was fine with that. I’m not sure I could have run anymore either.
We finished the 23 trail miles in just under 6 hours (and this included walking for 2 miles, peeing in the woods a couple of times, and the times we stopped to take pictures and eat). I stood at the street looking back at the trail and said “I should be able to finish an additional 3.2 miles in less than an hour right?” They both laughed at me and assured me I could. I think they may be right.
Here are my sad, sad shoes after Saturday’s 23 muddy miles. I drove home in my socks because my ankle demanded I take it out of the shoes immediately.
After a hot shower the ankle felt better but I knew I couldn’t put off purchasing proper trail shoes. I went to Road Runner and did the whole Shoe Dog thing. I walked instead of running on the treadmill to be nice to my ankle. I tried on a bunch of shoes. Asics, Mizunos, New Balance, Saucony, Brooks. I liked the Asics GT 2000. I also really liked the Mizuno Wave Ascend 7, but when I tried on the Saucony Progrid Peregrine 3 my feet were home. I. Love. Saucony.
I expect to see Wildwood again next Saturday with Maureen. And then I get to run a pretty flat half marathon through lilac and tulip fields with views of Mt. St. Helens and the Columbia River on Sunday. That’s a good weekend for sure.
Have a great week everyone!