Sunday, January 18, 2009
Becoming A Mega-Fat Ass
My sister and her family are moving to the East Coast next month and so we wanted to get up to Fort Lewis one more time to visit. I noticed the Capitol Peak Mega Fat Ass run on MLK weekend, and so I was thinking "two-birds, one stone."
Saturday morning was chilly and the weather forecast didn't have it getting much warmer as the day progressed, but at least there wasn't any rain in the forecast. I arrived earlier than I wanted, did a bunch of nothing, then got in line for the ONE bathroom and almost missed the start because it was moving so slowly.
Being a true Fat Ass, there was no fanfare at the start, just the RD saying, "OK, go!" The course went uphill a couple hundred yards on a dirt road and then hit the trails. The course had been changed this year due to a lot of snow and a section of washed out trail, but there was still plenty of mud and water to splash around in, and at the higher elevations the trail tracked through snow, some of it quite slushy.
The course has one big climb, which I climbed sandwiched between two other runners - it took the mental out of it with one runner pulling me from the front and one pushing from behind! We had a good threesome going for a bit, but I had a bit more in my step than the person in front of me, and even in this non-competative environment I was quite aware that she was the first place girl.;) So I pushed on ahead and the other guy stayed right behind me. We ran for a good while together, hopping puddles, jumping a few logs, but more or less just holding a good groove.
When we hit the detour onto the dirt road he had more speed than me and took off. At 1:28 I saw a sign pointing the opposite way saying "Mima Camp (our start) 6.8 miles" which freaked me out at first thinking we had only gone 6.8 miles, but then I realized that must have been for the direct route and we had to have come a more circuitous path! About 20 minutes later, I came on another sign, pointing the way I was going, that said "Mima Camp 2 1/4 miles." Now how's that for covering some serious ground in 20 minutes -hahaha. I finished up the first lap in 2:05 - the first girl in for 15 miles.
Pretty much all of the runners that were near me took the 15 mile option, and I was heading out for loop 2 on my own. But when I hit the ascent I looked back and saw three guys just a turn below me and a bit later they were all together moving up the hill. I expected the three of them working together to catch me and I was kind of hoping they would so I'd have someone to run with again, but they never did. After getting up on the ridge, the space between us just got bigger. I never really saw them again out there and so I ran the second loop entirely by myself. Fortunately, the trails were great single track. In several places the trail was so narrow the brush was groping me from both sides! Plus there was tons of mud and puddles, and even a dozen or so downed trees to either hurdle or duck so there was plenty to keep my mind busy while I was running. And even better - on the second lap there was sun, which was great but it made running under trees very wet as the frost and ice melted off and came down in big icy drops.
I walked very little all day, maybe only a couple hundred tough uphill yards where I wouldn't have been able to run much faster than a walk anyway. I felt pretty good at the end and even had a bit left for a "sprint" finish for a total time of 4:16.
Now I know the whole purpose of a "fat ass" run is to be a non-competitive, early season motivator, but I am hurting for ticks in the W column, so I am going to go ahead and claim TWO victories for my efforts on this one - a win in the 15 mile race and a win in the 30 mile race. The web site advertises: "No awards, No t-shirt, No aid, No frills and NO WHINING!" but no where in there does it say "No winners!" Heck, I might as well go ahead and claim a course record, too, since this is a new course that has never been used before!!
More important than the wins though (which really weren't important at all, though it was a little fun), is that I felt like this cemented the direction I want to take my running this year (which, ironically, is not on cement, but rather on trails!). I really love running on the trails; even the uphill stuff doesn't seem so bad. And now with three ultra-finishes under my belt, I am beginning to feel legit as an ultra-runner, instead of just a wanna-be. Plus, I feel amazing today. Ok, maybe not totally amazing, but I can't believe how good my legs feel. After the California International Marathon, I was hobbling for days because I was so sore. I just don't have any of that after this one. I am not sure if it is the slower pace or the softer terrain, but it made a huge difference even though I was running farther.
With the Fat Ass I got in 72.5 miles this week (an all time high by 12.5 miles!) and I had 60 miles the week before. I am going to back off a little this week, though it still feels a little strange to call a 40-50 mile week "backing off!"
Added: Results are here. I got 3rd overall out 35, first female. Not too shabby even for a Fat Ass!