Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Three-legged Quadzilla

OK so time and weather worked against me in my quest to run four marathon or greater distance runs consecutively in four days. I had a lot of fun along the way and ended up with 94 miles in four days.
Summit T-1 Day 4

Last Chance Marathon 4:26:20 Day 1

We really lucked out and got great weather during the run. The night before the marathon, Michelle, Jenny, Margaret, and I carpooled to Bellingham and slept over at Michelle’s parents home. I woke up at 3:00 AM to the sound of pounding rain and wind. Fortunately by morning the storm had blown over.

We arrived at Fairhaven Park in time to find parking and sign in without too much stress. This year the race was able to use the indoor kitchen and dining facility which made the short wait before and the wait after for others to finish much more comfortable than previous years outside. RD Mary “Cartwheel” Latta started the race in her traditional manner with a cartwheel. The race is a double out and back that goes from Fairhaven to about Chuckanut State Park. The Interurban trail is mostly gravel and only had a few sections with slippery compact ice and snow.

I went back and forth with Linda Barton all day long. She is putting the final few training runs in before the HURT 100 mile in Hawaii. It was fun to get to know her a little better that day.

With three other long races in my future I had decided that I was going to soak my legs in a stream near the finish line. I tried to convince Jess Mullen and Linda Barton to join me but once they got in their warm car those thoughts disappeared. Jenny on the other hand was facing a double with the second run being a 50K the next day. She joined me at the stream. We waded out and got in with the appropriate amount of screaming. We decided to spend 10 minutes in the water. We attracted a few other runners who stepped in and then quickly stepped out informing us that we were lunatics. As I sat in the middle of the stream a fish started to bump around me. He finally ended up behind me in the eddy line I was creating. It would occasionally bump me and hung with me for about 5 minutes. When our time was up I couldn't get up. Jenny was able to pull herself up with a branch on the side of the stream and then make it over to me and give me a hand. We walked back up to the dining hall in severe pain. It felt like someone had beaten my feet and shins with a hammer. We shivered for about 10 minutes and then it seemed like the blood in our legs started to flow again. I’m thinking about 5 minutes in snow runoff water would probably take care of your legs. At any rate my legs felt great the next morning.

First Call to Run 50K 5:25:11 Day 2

The second day of fun began with trying to get the three women staying in Margaret’s Green Lake apartment through the single bathroom. It really wasn't that difficult and we managed to get Michelle and Margaret to the early start. Jenny and I then raced over to a local gas station for much needed coffee and filled up the gas tank on our Element. We then headed back over to secure parking before alternative parking was required. The course was supposed to be a double out and back from a single start and finish line but with two separate out and back courses. Due to compact snow and ice on the trail heading west the course was changed to include only one out and back course that was repeated twice. Two of these races in two days can be trying but we managed. Y-Run Club members Michelle and Margaret & Jessica (first marathon as a full fledged Marathon Maniac!) ran the marathon distance. Jenny and I were running the 50K along with Rob, Linda, Steve and Cat. Rick ran the half marathon.

We saw some Eagles roosting in a large tree next to the Sammamish Creek we were following. Steve, Linda B. and I ran nearly the first ¾ of the course together then I parted ways with them and kicked it up a notch. I think I just wanted to get the running over with. The last mile of the course that we had to deal with four times was covered with compact snow and ice which made finishing hard kind of difficult. Race Director Adrian Call MD had a big spread of pancakes and hot chocolate and many other assorted foods available for racers at the finish. This was the inaugural running of this race and I think it’s going to stick! Thanks Adrian!

Dumb Ass 20-Mile Day 3

Long story short I only managed to run three laps of my five-lap goal. We started at 6:00 AM on Tiger Mt. but the snow and ice just slowed us down too much. Rattler ended up only doing two laps due to obligations at home. Jess, Michelle M, and Allison M. all managed to get four laps in. The climbs were slick, it was very cold at the summit of T3, and the trail was frozen and chunky on the first mile of the descent.

Fake Ass Fat Ass 17-Mile Day 4

We had 17 people meet us at 8:00 AM to attempt a 17-mile loop on the “Seattle’s Favorite Loop” course on Tiger Mt. Three of the runners were only with us for about an hour before they headed back. They were not prepared for a real long run and were not carrying the proper gear and food for a longer excursion given the snowy conditions. Arthur led the conga line. Everyone agreed to stay together and to have a buddy system. I had an extra 8 lbs of “just in case” gear with me for myself and to care for others in case of an injury. The lower sections of the trail allowed for some running but as we hit deeper snow on the climb we slowed and crunched through it. The forest was beautiful and I took as many pictures as time would allow without slowing down the group.

Steve, Linda B., and I ran together for the most part. A Seattle visitor from South Africa joined us. It turned out he was an avid trail runner. He discovered the WWFA on-line and had not heard that it was canceled so he tagged along with our rag tag group. He had a thick Dutch accent but I think his name was Colin. Steve gave him his email so we could exchange pictures. Colin’s hand is in the picture of the bird.

Sorry for such a long and boring blog. Enjoy the pictures and I’ll see you at the races!


Michael said...

Nice read. Thanks Eric.

Sunshine Girl said...

Boring? We live for this shit!

Thomas said...

Long it might have been, boring it most certainly was not.

That was some undertaking, Eric.

And some people have the cheek to call ME a lunatic ...

Cat said...

Eric all that running and accomplishment and perseverance and all I can think of is, I'm jealous of the gray jay moment!!

Well done!

Anonymous said...

Wow - that course looked pretty challenging with the areas of major snow! And finishing up with a dip in ice cold water - yikes! I would've skipped that for the warm car, too!

Gotta Run said...

I the report!!! So jealous of all the fun you had even during the tuff parts of it the experience and memories are something that are worth their weight in gold…. But you already know that. :)

So how are those legs feeling now? I could go for a plate of pancakes and hot chocolate and I did not even do that mad adventure that you did.

Oh…and the pics ROCK!!!!!

Joe said...

Not boring at all, Eric! Wow, way to go!! Hope the legs survived both the icy water and all the miles!!

And more snow/rain on you now!!

robtherunner said...

I'm taking the more conservative route from here on out. No more of this craziness! Better to live life on the safe side :)94 miles in 4 days isn't bad. Almost matches my triple 4 milers in 4 days this week.

Laura H said...

Nice write up - Leslie's right - we live for this shit! I so wish I could have joined y'all. Your report is the next best thing!