Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Cedar River 50k

January 30, 2011

Free!  I love free!  Free samples at Costco, buy one get one free, free applications and downloads, but especially I love free races! 

The Yours Truly Cedar River 50k is a free marathon and 50k event associated with the world wide Yours Truly event.  After the Yukon Do It Marathon on December 31st, my plan was to have unscheduled running and start Insanity on January 10th.  I decided to become a Beachbody coach this year because I love helping people and love being healthy.  It was a perfect fit.  Here is My Beachbody Website if you want to see what I'm up to with Insanity.

I ran every day in January, keeping my "streaker" status alive.  January 15th was the Capital Peak 17 mile trail run, my longest run of the year.  My unstructured running schedule was nice break from the constant "how many days/weeks until...race".

February 1st would be my first official day of an 18 week training plan leading up to the North Olympic Discovery Bay Marathon.  I have other races planned before then but this is my "goal" race.  Wow, do I want to race well on June 5th.  Somehow I have managed to come in 2nd overall three years in a row.  Last year I had given up my quest about mile 16 as there were four women ahead of me and I was struggling.  In the last couple of miles I passed three women and secured 2nd place again with no room to spare.   I realize that race day can present circumstances out of your control like weather, illness, injury and having someone super speedy show up you weren't expecting.  My goal is to run my best and be happy with the outcome regardless of place.

I finished 3 weeks of Insanity workouts, ending with plyometrics and an easy 4 miler, the day before Cedar River.  I contemplated taking an "off" day from Insanity but then read about my running friends running a 50k on Saturday and the Cedar River on Sunday.   And another friend who ran 41 miles on Saturday and another 41 on Tuesday, all under a 9:00 minute pace.  I decided 40 minutes of jumping around was doable.

I had everything laid out the night before, and after an uneventful morning, left at 6:30 a.m. and was at the Landsberg trailhead by 7:45 a.m. 

Exiting the porta-pottie, who should I see but the infamous Annie Thiessen and her friend, Danita Erickson.  If you asked, "Who?", you must not be from the Northwest or you haven't followed local racing results.  I've met Annie before and she's as sweet as she is fast.  I hadn't met Danita but have witnessed her running prowess at the races.  As we walked toward the start together, the Sesame Street song,   "One of these things is not like the other..."  Really?  Why does my brain tell me things like that?

The race started very casually as we meandered by the trailhead and began running when we were ready.  I started a few minutes after 8:00 am. after getting my music set and clothing adjusted.  The course intermittently ran next to the Cedar River, allowing runners a visual distraction.  We crossed over foot bridges and ran through underpasses.  The trail was wide and a dirt/gravel surface, making it very easy to run without any technical aspects.  It is a well-used trail within the community with many trailheads from residential neighborhoods.  I saw numerous families with strollers, bikes, walkers, runners, and potential trouble-makers sitting on a cement wall. 

After the turn-around on the first out and back, I caught up with Brian Pendleton aka The Programmer and we were able to distract each other with stories about work, family and training.  I hadn't met Brian before and it was great to finally put a face to the name.  I finished the first out and back in 2 1/2 hours and my legs were not happy.  The trail was easy, little elevation, so I have no excuse other than I haven't been running longer mileage consistently.  I accepted the pain as a reminder that being consistent with longer runs is necessary to improvement.  With my long runs limited to the Seattle Marathon in November and Yukon at the end of December, it wasn't surprising they felt so heavy and tired.  This is all part of the process.

The second out and back was slower and I found myself taking some walk breaks while I contemplated heading back at the marathon turnaround.  I convinced myself that if I was going  that far, I could keep going, even if I had to walk.  I saw a lot of runners already heading back to the finish and wished that I had been able to keep up with their pace. 

The amazing Mel Preedy (photo by Takao Suzuki)
I made it to the 50k turnaround and about 6 miles to go, Mel Preedy was heading toward me and I asked him how he was doing.  He gave a thumbs up and declared, "I'm about to start my sprint to the finish!"  What a guy! 

I finished the trail run in 5:23 approximately.  My Garmin said 5:20 but my Garmin had stopped during the run but thankfully I noticed it not too long after having looked at it.  I knew it hadn't been off very long.  My Garmin map shows a straight line along a curve on the trail, making it look like I swam in the river part of the race. 

Brian's wife was a the finish and helped me get some food as my hands were frozen and I couldn't seem to get them to work properly.  I visited a little with Steve Walters (finished his second 50k in 2 days, 4:36 and 4:31), Marie Zornes, and Betsy Rogers.  I needed to hurry off to get to my daughter's soccer game. 

I would definitely recommend this trail system as it is easy to get to, easy to run on and difficult to get lost.  There are a lot of trailheads and if you have a friend who likes to bike while you run, they will love it as well.

First half of Cedar River 50k (photo by Takao Suzuki)