Those pictures at the top of my last blog remain appropriate. I know I'm just singing to the choir if I berate the spring weather (and the forecast!), but holy gosh darn heck I'm sick of cold, snowy, windy, icky, non-bicycle friendly weather. Okay, that's out of my system now. It's time for belated race reports. Despite my whinging session, 2 weekends ago we had brilliant weather. Stunning amazing glorious 60+ degree sunshine. Even though I had to work all day Saturday, the enthusiasm of everyone who came into work from the Centennial trail was contagious, and it was a great day. My hot new Scott
Sunday was the 1st spring thaw duathlon and the temps topped 70 degrees! The race itself was really fun. I got a bit nervous during the first run because of the stellar female runners out there. After the 2-lap, 2.2 mile trail run, I came into T1 just behind Janet Collar and had a relatively smooth transition with my Zoot shoes. I decided, due to the longer, rough nature of the transition zone to wear my bike shoes through transition. Just as I mounted my bike, I saw Annie sail by with a flying mount. I had no idea she was so close behind. Luckily, she still had to get her feet into her shoes, and I was able to establish the lead at the start of the bike. Because it usually takes me a while to warm upon the bike, I felt pretty rotten hammering from the start. With only 10 miles to ride, there was no time to ease into the ride, but I was able to focus for such a short period of time. I expected the last run to feel horrible, but it was quite the opposite. I felt way better than I had the first time around (maybe I need to warm up more before these things?), my stride felt more relaxed, and I didn't run any slower. In the end, it was a fun, productive race, and I took a bit of time off of my course record from the year before. Final Run
Afterwards, a rather large group of us went for a 45 mile ride around Long Lake. I remember being killed by Conrad, Troy, and Pete the year before on a brutal 60 miler to Wellpinit, but the pace this year was MUCH better. Still challenging, but not completely daunting. It was wonderfully novel to wear shorts, a short-sleeved jersey, and no booties, hats, jackets, etc. At this rate, it's something we're not likely to experience again until July, but it was sure nice.
Fast forward one week to the Spokane River Run. I happily discovered this race a year ago, and it's one of my favorites now. It's a fundraiser for the Garfield Elementary APPLE program, and there are 5km, 10km, 25km, and 50 km options. I chose the 25 km option. All of the courses are completely on trails in Riverside State Park. In fact, during the 25km race, we only touched pavement once wjen we crossed the centennial trail just before the finish. It's not an easy course, with interesting footing in areas and lots of climing and descending, but I think it's a really good warm-up for Wildflower. Last year I had ridden 90 miles the day before (back when we actually had nice springs), and was predictably slow on the climbs. This year, I was just slow on the climbs.
The first 3 miles of the race are relatively flat, and I kept my heart rate about 6 beats below my typical 1/2 marathon race effort, figuring I would save a bit for the hills and the extra 3 miles. I owe a huge thanks to the guy who chased me down at the very start when I ran the wrong way. According to my Garmin, it was only about a .1 mile detour, so no big deal in the end, but I did have to endure ample chiding from everyone who saw me completely ignore the giant yellow arrows and run the wrong way. It was not the first time I have run off course in a trail run. I managed to do it 2 years in a row at the Tiger Tri in Colville.
After the first major climb and a 1 mile section on huge chunks of rock along an abandoned rail bed, the 2 guys I had been running with pulled away, and I completely bonked. I'm a bit upset with myself for not bringing some GU along, because sports drink wasn't available at the aid stations until about the 10 mile marker. Normally, I would just stick with water for a race of this distance, but it fell at the end of a particularly tough 3 week training block, and I don't think I had much in the way of glycogen reserves. The last 7 miles or so were really tough, but I managed to stick with it and held off a fast closing Martin Scates, who, incidentally, nearly caught me at the finish last year. He seems to be much better at pacing himself in this race than I. Regardless, I secured the top female spot, and learned a bit about using perceived effort rather than heart rate when my body is tired. The river is so full right now, it's spectacular. This is a picture of the race from a different year, but as you can see, it's not a bad place to run.