Faster Than Your Couch!
This morning, I ran the second of the Tussey Teaser series races, the 11-miler from Tussey Mountain to Whipple Lake.
While the second half of the week and Saturday had been very nice spring days, with temps in the 50's, bright sunshine, and almost no wind, the weather took a dramatic change the night before the race. Clouds moved in, and with them, heavy wind.
I woke up in the morning still feeling tired because the thundering sounds of the wind had kept me up late. I got ready for the race, and after a quick check outside the door, decided to wear tights and a long-sleeve shirt, and a light fleece jacket. Even though it was 46 degrees, and supposed to warm up to 60 later, the wind was so strong that it felt too cold for shorts.
My running buddy and I had agreed to run back after the point-to-point race, in order to make this the long run of the week, so I also took my hydration pack, a small flask of Perpetuem, my handheld (to be used during the race), and a stray gel along. Mike, the RD, would take the hydration pack to the finish line, where I would pick it up for the run back.
I got to the start, signed up and got my bib, and mingled with the other runners before the start. The wind was very heavy, but Mike promised that at the finish at Whipple Lake, there would be no wind, and it should be plenty warm. Way to go!
We took off very slowly, the whole group of about 30 runners shivering, but nobody seemed wanting to go out fast against the head wind.
After the first sharp bend, when the long uphill over the mountain ridge started, the wind let up a bit. I enjoyed warming up slowly and trotted along at a nice pace. The field started to spread out, and I settled in behind another lady, and in front of one of our long-accomplished senior runners of the running club. The first 3 miles uphill passed quickly, with nobody passing me, and the lady and me just passing one more runner.
Shortly before the crest, another runner passed us from behind, at an insane pace. It was a nice picture, very muscular legs, shown off in short split shorts, moving powerfully, where we chugged and puffed along. Funny somehow, it made me giggle. Up on the crest, the runner turned around, so it became clear to us that he was not in the race, but just doing his hill repeats or such. He waved to us and disappeared in a cloud of dust on the way down.
A group of three runners who had been chasing me on the uphill stopped at the crest to have some water, while I carried on, enjoying the following downhill section of about 3 miles. 4 miles into the race, I felt some cringing pain in my belly, which made me hope that I could make it to the finish without having to stop. I had to slow down a bit, and the lady who had been running right in front of me until then took off.
The next 4 miles, I ran alone, with no-one in sight in front of me, and no-one behind me. I liked it, I did not need anyone to dictate my pace, and I was still moving along fairly fast, yet not at peak pace. The miles clicked down quickly. My belly was still causing trouble, I was waging my options.
I thought that as it was windy, and - with the run back in my mind - I really had not put in an all-out effort, I was probably not going to beat my last year's PR of 1:37 anyway. So I might just have enough time for a nature break now, before the bellyache would force me to slow down considerably, or even to walking.
Taking care of business, I was watching the gravel road, and to my surprise, nobody passed by. Only when I stepped out of the woods, another runner just rushed past, and I decided to stick with him. He turned out to be tough fighter. We moved along fairly fast, and neither of us let up a bit, knowing that the other one would just take the chance and pull away. I started to feel the effect of the miles and miles of newly graded road, the surface was made up of deep, coarse gravel, which made running fast pretty exhausting on the legs.
Close to the lake, the terrain is very gently rolling, and on the uphills, I saw that the other runner was struggling, but he was still fast enough to not let me pass. I decided to wait it out to the finish, maybe I could beat him in a sprint.
The paved road, which is the last mile, turned up sooner than expected, and we cranked up the pace. We took the last turn and ran along the lake to the finish line. He beat me my a few seconds, and I didn't mind. I was happy with my run.
After catching my breath again, I checked the results. Turned out, I finished in 1:35:12, two minutes faster than last year, despite the unplanned break. I was proud of myself, I had not expected to be that fast. I finished 12th overall, and I won a $10 gift certificate for DH's favorite BBQ shack at the lake. The lady who I had run with over the mountain finished 4 minutes ahead of me, not too much, considering the circumstances.
I waited for my running buddy, who also finished with a PR, had a bagel and a sandwich, and then we took our packs and started the long run home. Along the lake, gently rolling, then 3 miles uphill, and 3 down again. When we came close to the start, the wind picked up again, but fortunately this time it was pleasantly warm, not icy cold like in the morning. Still, I had not overheated in my tights and fleece jacket, it turned out to be just the right combination for the day.
When I came home, I showed DH the gift card, and he was very happy. I got my long run in, have set a nice, unexpected PR, and had a great time out on the gravel roads. All in all, a fun day!
Run for fun.
Good run couch. It's not surprising to me you set a PR even with the pit stop. You've been running well and consistently this past year it seems. Kudos on the gift card score. Something for the hubby to rationalize all the running!
Life is uncertain. Don't sip.
Like XT, I'm not surprised at all. You're doing great out there and should be very pleased with your results. I love watching how you keep getting better and better. Keep it up!
Uh oh... now what?
Fun reading, you make it all sound so casual...
Follower of Forrest
Set a new PR then go run the course backwards...love it. Congrats on a great day.
6/21 - Manitou's Revenge 54mi
A man may never run the same trail twice for it is not the same trail and he is not the same man
Le professeur de trail
Ditto on "no surprise" for the PR. What is funny is how you give such great detail about the race and then nonchalantly mention that you (and your running buddy) ran home. If I remember correctly you would have ended with 25ish miles? You are a beast!
(I might have to tie a rope to you in 2 weeks just to keep you in my sights @ Hyner. Even then I don't think it will work.)
The incarnation of peacefulness and patience
I'm with everyone else, no surprise you PR'd. Now looking forward to your RR about how you PR'd at Hyner.