Monday, March 29, 2010

Catchin' Up

Since I last checked in, there have been some pretty interesting happenings. First off, I did indeed toe the line at Chuckanut, and I'm so glad I did. It was by no means my best effort there, but considering how I'd felt the two weeks leading up to the race, I was happy with my finish time of 4:40. I'll just chalk it up as a very solid training run. Unbelievably, six men ran under 4 hours and the old female course record was broken. Krissy put on another fantastic and very well attended event.

Returning to work Monday, the real interesting events began to unfold. As many of you probably already know, Seattle Running Company was sold to Fleet Feet Sports. Monday marked the final day of Scott and Leslie's ten year ownership of the store. It was a change that had to happen due to financial circumstances, but sadly it marked the end of an iconic running store, especially in the world of ultra running. Now, let me be clear, I'm still continuing to work at Fleet Feet, as are Phil Kochik and Adam Lint. So I believe that ultra running legacy will always remain part of the store, but it will no doubt be different.

With any big change there's bound to be positives and negatives. Granted, we're still early in this transition, but I'm seeing far more positive aspects than not. Some folks will probably be sad to see the Seattle Running Company go away, but we're still a locally owned specialty running store. The biggest difference now is that the store has quite a bit more buying power, so we're going to be able to stock a much wider range of shoes, apparel, nutrition, etc... There's nothing wrong with that, right?

Okay enough about work. Because I wasn't able to race Chuckanut the way I have the past handful of years, I was less hammered after the race. That allowed me to really bounce back and train hard last week. As I've mentioned already in previous posts, I've been doing a whole lot of road mileage this year, mostly run commuting to and from work. Last week I got out on the trail 3 days and that felt great.

Saturday was the real highlight run of the week. Dan, John, and I decided to head out to Mt. Si early to try and squeeze in two ascents. I say try, because as some of you know, Mt. Si gets packed on weekends. I've heard that it's the most popular hike in Washington. Well Dan slept in and delayed our departure. Something about working nights and helping to care for his infant daughter had worn him out. Pffff...LAME!

Well it's probably a good thing that our start was delayed. We were able to do one time up Si with relatively little foot traffic. However, on our trip back down the Mt. Si pack train had began to take effect. Had we started a half hour earlier, we probably would have started up a second time just as the masses of people were arriving. Instead, we opted to bail on our second trip up Si and set our sights on Mailbox Peak.

Dan was the only one of us who had ever been up Mailbox and he warned us of it's ruggedly steep flanks. I've heard plenty of chatter over the years about the steepness and the unrelenting grade of Mailbox Peak, but it's hard to imagine it without seeing the trail firsthand. I can now say this trail is STEEP. The only trail I've seen that is as steep or maybe a little steeper is the trail up to Lake Constance in the Olympics. To me, both of these trails are un-runnable. I believe the Mailbox Peak trail climbs about 3800 feet in 2.5 miles.

We hiked every step up Mailbox and reached the summit in 1:20. Interestingly and amazingly, I was able to keep my heart rate just beneath my threshold zone while HIKING. Running the entire climb up Mt. Si, my heart rate was in the 163 range. That's right in my threshold training zone. Power hiking our way up MB my heart rate was pretty much right at 160. I didn't think it was possible to hike hard enough to accomplish that. Did I mention that Mailbox is steep? Anyway, we reached the summit in 1:20 and were back down in 41 minutes. We only ran 14 miles on Saturday, but we chalked up 7628 feet of ascent.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Going Viral

No, unfortunately I don't have any hilarious Youtube clips or song parodies that are being viewed in the hundreds of thousands by internet addicts worldwide. I'm simply referring to my own pathetic immune system. It's gone viral...again.

With Chuckanut just a few short days away, this is not the opportune time to be ill, but I'm feeling better by the day. I'm going on two weeks of virtually no running and just feeling kind of blah. I guess if I do run this weekend I'll be well rested, right?

Two weeks seems like a long time to be sick, but I guess it's going around. My friend Erika, who coaches at SPU, said that a handful of her runners had something similar that lasted about 3 weeks. And yesterday, while speaking to my uncle, my cousin has a very similar bug that just won't go away. It's at least reassuring to know that I have some company.

As it stands right now, I'm planning to run on Saturday. The weather looks like it's going to be fantastic. Plus it's Chuckanut. I DON'T miss Chuckanut. Well, there was that one other time in 2008 when I skipped Chuckanut because I was sick. In all seriousness, Chuckanut was my first ultra and it really does have a special place in my heart. I love Bellingham. I love those trails. I love the Chuckanut 50k.