Yesterday was the Lake Youngs Ultra, a nice little 28.8 mile jaunt consisting of 3 loops in the suburbs of Seattle. Driving up from Portland the morning of would have been a stretch for even the regular start at 7 am. But since I wanted to take the early start at 6 am, I drove up Friday evening. I want to get in some bigger long runs so I had the idea that I might try for 4 loops to make it 38 miles.
After getting up at 4:30, I made it to the starting area by about 5:40. There to greet me was Rob, who had showed up in time for the early start to see me and his friends. He didn't plan to run until the regular start. What a guy! We had a nice time chatting and I was introduced to some other maniacs that I recognized but had never formally met. The numbers were late to arrive (they finally came in at 5:55) and the bathrooms were still locked. But no one (including myself) seemed to care. I love this low key aspect of many ultras. No nerves involved...just go with the flow.
At 6:00 we were off on the first counter-clockwise loop. For the first few miles I ran with Monte P., a maniac I had met at the Eugene marathon. He's a fairly recent convert to the maniac fold as I am, but he's already on his 17th marathon/ultra this year. (Boy do I feel like a slacker!) At the first big hill I stopped to walk, but Monte kept on chugging up the hill. Go Monte! I figured I'd catch up with him but it wasn't until almost the end of the first loop since he was still running all the hills.
The forecast had been for a cloudy morning with, depending on the weather source, rain starting mid-morning or in the afternoon. The first loop was cloudy but dry. The second loop was mainly dry, but it started sprinkling near the end. By the halfway point of the third loop, it was raining steadily. I had started out with a long sleeve shirt, but before I began the third loop I changed into short sleeves. So I guess I did that a bit backwards. By the finish I was soaked, but it was warm enough that I never felt chilled.
The official direction of the loops was counter-clockwise, but it didn't really matter which direction you went. On the third loop some people had changed direction, so it was nice to see some different faces. I decided to stick to the same direction for all three loops. The first time around I didn't really pay attention to where I was. On the second loop I started to recognize landmarks. By the third loop it was all familiar and I knew that once I saw the junk yard and the church cross, I was just about done!
I mentioned that I was thinking about running a fourth loop. As I was out on the first loop and still warming up, I decided against it. On the second loop, all warmed up and in a groove, I reconsidered and thought it likely I'd go for an extra loop. But on the third loop, after getting soaked, I finally decided that three would be enough.
My final time was 5:18 with loop 1 at 1:39, loop 2 at 1:48 and loop 3 at 1:51. Since my only goal was to get in a fun training run, I'm happy with that. I slowed up but not too much. And considering that I took the time to change before the last loop, I probably ran that one just about as fast as number two.
Afterwards, I immediately changed so I wouldn't get chilled and then enjoyed a yummy cheeseburger while chatting with friends in the rain. It didn't really feel like we had just run 28.8 miles. Just a few loops around a lake. No big deal. Doesn't everyone do that on a cloudy and rainy Saturday morning?
Today I wanted to make up for not taking that fourth loop. I slept in while Marc went out on a bike ride with a friend. When he returned I announced I was going out for a run. He wanted to come too so we all went out as a family with Marc and I running and the little guy riding along on his bike. What fun! We'll have to do this more often.
With my 9 miles this morning my weekly mileage hit 60, which is an all-time high for me. I feel great! Good thing I pushed the mileage since I have two easy weeks coming up. We are going to Florida to visit Marc's mom. I'll take my running gear but running won't be a priority. When we return, it looks like I'll have two weeks or so to get in some big miles before its taper time for PCT. It's so close now, I can hardly wait! I hope I'll be ready.