I didn't sleep more than seven hours any night of the week, spent Wednesday and Thursday more or less in a chair for 10 hours, drank too much hotel coffee, spent Friday in an airport/airplanes then touched base at home for an hour, picked Mike up and drove north for Chuckanut. I was exhausted before even putting my running shoes on.
We woke up to driving rain, and knew we were in for it. We arrived at the start and things were a mess (not to mention that the new starting area was a mud pit). But I was in the first wave, and once we got on the Interurban Trail things were ok. (And we were nowhere near the leaders, that field took off quickly and I'm blown away at what some of those guys and girls ran in on a lousy course.)
The rain actually held off from that point on, though things were a mess. Mike and I ran conservatively through the first aid station at 10k, then got in a good pack for the second section around Fragrance Lake. Steady pace, a little walking on steep portions and mucking through wet parts, and we hit Cleator Road in pretty good shape and in a good mood.
That's where the snow started, of course. It snowed most of the run up Cleator and we walked more than I even have. That was partly to save energy and partly because footing was a struggle when the snow was piling up to one or two inches. I ran the ridge much stronger than a year ago, but we still weren't moving too quickly because the course was so muddy and slick, particularly the downhills.
Mike and I hooked up with a guy through Lost Lake who pulled the pace along, and I left Mike on the hill out of there. I hit the Chinscraper aid station feeling really good, actually. My splits were lagging, I knew, but I was proud to be "in control" at that point. No cramping, no problems with fueling, which brought me to my knees a year ago and I swore to avoid. I caught three or four people up Chinscraper and hooked in with a guy from Eugene for the 3-mile descent. We ran a good pace but I hit the bottom without too much quad damage, and thought I had an outside chance at 5 hours if I could get any sort of good pace on the 10k.
But that plan lasted a mile and I knew it wasn't in the cards. I could get moving but just couldn't sustain a pace close to 8 minutes. Nothing was broken, but the reserve just wasn't there. And I have to admit that when I realized 5 hours was out of the question I kind of lost it mentally and was lazy on the last 3 miles. I didn't fall apart or anything, but I knew I wasn't giving it everything I had. Oh well. After the week I had it was actually nice just to relax my mind and enjoy the running. Mike came in about 11 minutes after me, called me a rotten name for talking him into such a mistake, then four hours later he was my friend again.
So despite my slowest time and weather that could be a complaint, I actually wasn't too upset. Looking at the results now makes me a little sore because I see names I should have been with, but I ended the race happy. And I woke up the next day without anything harmed, or even much soreness. A few days off anyway, but that's as much to accommodate everything else that needs to be done after a week away.
So we'll see what's next, and whether I'll ever get back to my rookie Chuckanut time. I'll be back though, it's a habit now. Y'all bloggers from the warm parts of the country are welcome to experience a Pacific Northwest spring anytime, it's a joy. Just remember your jacket.