Monday, April 26, 2010

Capitol Peak Mileage ("It's NOT A Race" Report)

One day a scorpion decided he needed a change and so he set out from his home looking for adventure. But early in his journey he was halted by a river and could see no way across. He was just about to head home when he spotted a large bull frog. The scorpion asked the frog for a ride across the river, but the frog was skeptical. "If I let you get near me, you will sting me," the frog responded. But the scorpion assured him that this was not so. "If I sting you, I will drown." And so the frog agreed and the scorpion climbed onto the frog's back. Just as they reached the deep water, the frog felt a stinger plunge into his back. "Why did you do that?" the frog implored. "Now we will both die." The scorpion simply responded: "It's in my nature." - fable, author unknown
After American River, I was pretty beat up. My quads felt like they had been mauled by angry bears. And so last week, I only did 39 miles and even that was about 35 more than I wanted to do!

So this week my main goal was to have a high intensity week. I set the bar high aiming for my first ever 100 mile training week, with half of those miles coming in the form of an event: The Capitol Peak 50 mile. But the purpose of the event was just to get in the miles, NOT to race.

In keeping with the low key spirit, the whole family tagged along and we made a weekend trip out of the ordeal at the Great Wolf Lodge in nearby Grand Mound, WA (who names a city Grand Mound??). So my pre-race activities on Saturday included hours and hours in a water park, shooting water guns and riding slides.

Sunday was event day (Not RACE day, because I wasn't racing, see?). My friend Gaby was also doing this as part of her training for Big Horn. So I just settled in with her in the early miles and listened as she lived up to her name, chatting it up with everyone around us. Gaby is a great climber, and I couldn't keep up with her on the hills and still feel like I was breathing easy, so I just let her go when we got to the steep stuff. No worries, it wasn't a race.

There was a nice "grunt" section up to the top of Capitol Peak (2659') at mile 16. The next 18 mile P-shaped segment after Capitol Peak was awesome with dense conifers and a lush green carpet of moss and oxalis. I ended up mooning the guy right in front of me when the trail made a U-turn just ahead of my well chosen stump, but otherwise just more uneventful, easy running.

Right as we were getting back to the aid station, somebody was calling my name right behind me and there was Gaby! I was so confused as I thought she was way ahead of me, but I had unknowingly passed her at an aid station while she was going through her drop bag and she had been tailing close behind the whole 18 mile loop (luckily for her, not close enough to be flashed by me!). "Great," I was thinking, "now I can have good company for the last 16 miles."

We got up to the aid station below Capitol Peak and Gaby again was restocking from her drop bag when I was ready to leave. In previous years the course has headed back down after this aid station, but due to a course re-route this year we summited Capitol Peak a second time. Right as I was leaving, one guy says to me,"You're third woman. Second place is only a minute ahead and first place is about five minutes ahead."

Oh, man, what was this guy trying to do to me? Didn't he know that was like feeding a mogwai after midnight?!? Even still, I told myself to just stay calm.
They look sweet, but NEVER feed a mogwai after midnight!

I walked pretty much the entire half mile up to Capitol Peak, but I still caught the second place girl at the summit. I stayed behind her for about a mile and we chatted for a bit, mostly talking about 50K vs 50 miles, as this was her first 50 miler. It would have been nice, except I just couldn't stand the pace anymore. I was tripping all over myself trying to stay behind her. I told her we should use the downhill a bit more and that she should just follow behind me to get a little bit more speed. But she was begging off and even asking about how many women were behind her, which I knew was a bad sign. I wished her well and scooted around.

With open trail ahead, I picked it up and felt good. I knew I had a lot left in my legs from taking it so easy in the beginning and I just couldn't help myself... Goodbye Gizmo; Hello Gremlin!

Downhill running is definitely not my strong suit, but it helped that my legs weren't overly tired. I thought I was moving pretty well, but at the next aid station (mile 38) they told me I was still five minutes behind first place. That was discouraging, but no turning back now, so I kept up a strong pace to the last real aid station (mile 41.5). They greeted me with a different story:
first place was only about a minute ahead!

Not more than two minute out, I came up behind her. I thought I was running like an elephant, but she was quite startled to see me, partly because she had her headphones blaring and partly because I think she had no idea that anybody might be catching her since she had been leading all day. I blew by with just a few quick pleasantries and then took off.

I say it over and over again that I am a "slow and steady" kind of runner. I am a firm believer that an even pace is the most efficient way to run a race, at least for me. But also, I think I am a come from behind runner because I HATE to be in the lead. I like to know what is going on and that is hard to do when you are in front. It always makes me panic a little bit and keeps me running scared. But I guess sometimes that is a good thing because it definitely keeps me pushing. So I ran everything just hoping that I wasn't next in line to be startled from behind.

Maybe I was watching my back a little too much and not the clock because I finished in 8:00:36. Then again maybe it was a good thing that I didn't start racing the clock, because I was NOT racing that day! (yeah, right!)

Yes, I am a sandbagger, and a liar, and a headcase. Or as my husband so elegantly put it when I told him I won: "You are a total F@cking renob!" (Sorry ladies, he's taken!).

I was certainly tired afterward, but I don't think my little Gremlin episode left me overly taxed, as I really only "raced" the last 16 miles. And I certainly feel good about completing my first ever 100 mile training week (101 miles!). To finish off my good week, I got three and half more hours in the water park after the race with two overly excited (but very cute) pre-schoolers.
Lots of post-race water park fun with my mini-gremlins

From here on out it is all about Western States. I am doing MacDonald Forest 50k in two weeks, but I am NOT racing; it is just a training run...Yeah, I can't even type that with a straight face! I am not signing up for any other events before Western States because I cannot be trusted!

Capitol Peak was a great event whether or not you are there to race or just have fun. John Pearch does a great job with race organization and his adorable mother cooks up some awesome grub for the finish line. Congrats to all the racers, including my friend Gaby who ended up third woman/first master!


SteveQ said...

I'm a little behind on my reading, so congrats on the last couple of races! It looks like you're setting yourself up to do well at WS - if you don't overdo the training close to race time.

Really regretting that I won't be at WS to cheer you on.

fitmacdaddy said...

That's the first time I've ever seen the word "renob" in a blog post! Makes me proud...Great job not racing this weekend. Listen to Steve!

Olga said...

I don't know what "renob" means, but you are surely a nutcase...a good kind of a nutcase who should be proud of, and I should be proud of knowing you (I am still crediting myself to discovering you, so I am a nutcase too).

Emma and Noah's Mommy said...

You crack me up Pam! Love hearing about your races, good job!

RheaCG said...

Hi Pam,
Congratulations on an awesome run and speedy fresh legs at the end! I was the woman you caught on the way down from Cap Peak, it was really interesting to read your perspective on our interaction- thanks for including it as it gave me an idea of how I was perceived! I don’t think I was as in bad of shape as it seemed… I guess I’d like to clarify: I didn’t go out too fast and fall apart; I wasn’t out there to ‘race’ either, but really was just enjoying the day and all the new experiences a first 50 mile race brings. I saw you moving well up the hill and fully expected you to blow by me. You surprised me when you stayed behind for a bit and chatted, thanks for that! The pace I was going down the hill was slow, that is true, I’m sorry I caused you to feel frustrated – you could have gone by at any time, it wouldn’t have bothered me! I had absolutely no intention of following you, I didn’t even try. I needed to listen to my body and put forth a controlled effort, but thanks for trying to spark me forward! Given we had just passed the 50k mark – my longest distance before this, I didn’t think surging with 19 miles to go would get me anywhere good. I asked you about the women behind you not because I was suffering, but just because I was curious and wanted to use that to gauge if I was slowing when the next ones came along. I really didn’t care what place I got. Your friend Gaby (Tia?) passed me around mile 38 –she also had super fast legs, a great smile and was running well! I had a burst of speed the last 7 miles or so, and ended up finishing the second half in the same amount of time as the first half, so I was extremely happy with how it played out.
Anyways, probably more details than you want to know! You ran a smart, wonderful 'race'. It was really awesome for me to see your ability to pick it up in those late miles, very inspiring! Great report, you rock! Happy running.

Pam said...

Thanks, guys.

Steve- I actually love to taper so I plan to be well rested on the starting line for WS. These next six weeks are a different story!

Olga- I am so glad and proud to know you, too. You inspire me with your running and you have always believed in me, sometimes more than I believed in myself, and that means a lot. I hope I can make you proud at WS!

Rhea- Congratulations on finishing your first 50 mile! I think you had a great day out there. I am sorry if you felt I was being negative towards you in my report as that was not my intention. Indeed, I stayed behind you because you WERE moving well, and you were much more nimble than me on the rocky downhill stuff. You were NOT slow, I was just antsy and I got it in my head that I should at least try to catch the leader. I tried to do my first 50 miler at Capitol Peak last year and I failed miserably! So from my perspective, you had a fantastic first 50 and you should be really proud.

Charlie McDanger said...

Pam, you are nuts. And this is great reading.

Love it!

RheaCG said...

Thanks for the response Pam -- I was probably being a bit oversensitive, yeah I know you didn't mean any insult with your post, it was just your experience and you have the right to share it! I wanted to explain why I didn't follow, etc. I think you get it. I have been thinking about it as I write my own report -- what you did was pretty wonderful. You demonstrated a very high level of sportsmanship when you invited me to join you in the chase! It would have been fun and I'm sure I could have learned a lot from you, but like I said I wasn't trying to be competitive at the time, and going fast at that point seemed dangerous... maybe I'll see you at another someday! Good luck at the next one and WS!

oldpunk278 said...

I was the guy you "mooned" but I promise I was looking the other way - it's a trail race - what happens on the trail stays on the trail : ) I did run with Tia, she really made the miles pass by and was super fun to run with