Saturday, October 5, 2013

Ghost Hunting and Condors

Wednesday night, the our family took a Haunted History walking tour of downtown Salem. With the Groupon it was six dollars a person and it came with a free cupcake and drink. I figured it was an easy way to entertain the kids for a couple hours, or at least give them a supervised way to burn off their sugar fix in downtown Salem. The tour was really more of a description of Salem's sordid past including the underground city and the masonic influences. It was really quite interesting. Maybe it got a little hoaky when we got to "communicate with the spirits" but the tour was actually a lot of fun. My ghost "told" me that she was female, that Liam would lose his second tooth this month, but not this week, that I would live past 90, that Liam would outlive us all and that I would break the 200km American record (yes, I asked!). But I didn't ask how this weekend's Condor 25k would turn out. I wish I had because even at mile 13, I still had no idea and if I had put my money down at that point, I would have been wrong!
Megan making contact. Are you scared, yet?

The Condor 25k is in its second year of tribute to Dave "Condor" Bateham, a guy that really encouraged me and gave me lots of advice when I was first getting started in the crazy sport of ultra-running. As much as I wanted to honor his memory, I would have been happy helping on the sidelines of this one as there is still some fatigue in the legs from Run Rabbit Run. But last year's victory came with a comp entry for this year and I am a sucker for free things. And so, I found myself on the starting line feeling completely blah. A friend pointed out a young girl on the front of the line doing strides before the race and noted, "She looks serious."

Well, she was serious and she took off fast. She was strong up the first hill and was even stronger on the single track downhill. At the first aid station (6.5M), Meghan and Dennis told me she was 40 seconds up. The next three miles were gradual uphill logging road- my strength- so that right as we were about to hit the turn to go back down, I came up on her shoulder. She took one look at me and found a new gear! And when we jumped back onto single track she opened up a gap. There were a couple more miles of dirt road and I was closing but I couldn't close the gap. Up Powder House, I could tell she was hurting on the climb, but so was I! Then on the short little bit of trail to the third AS, she looked great. I was impressed with her fight and figured it was game over for me, even though I was only 10 seconds back because it was all downhill to the finish.

Fortunately (or not) for me, I have this inner race gremlin that comes out when I have a number pinned on and I am in the hunt. Also fortunate for me, my competitor was a 5k/10k specialist and the distance was starting to take it's toll. Yes, it was downhill to the finish, but it was basically all road, so I was comfortable. Well, comfortable isn't the right word. I was working hard enough to make audible sighs with each breath, but I wasn't being a downhill chicken like I usually am on steep downhill trail. I passed her shortly after the aid station kicked in for the win in time of 1:55:56, a huge improvement over last year's 2:02:02. It's good to know there is still some good fitness there as I start ramping up training for Desert Solstice. But mostly, I am just happy that I won't have to put up with another year of RD Tia telling me how lame I am for not breaking 2 hours on her course! ;)

With all that, I am pretty motivated to get back into training (and eating right after a day of gluttony today!). However, I haven't been really motivated for my Halloween costume this year. Some of this week's "training" time will have to involve hitting up Goodwill to find something that speaks to me (besides the ghosts of Salem). Any good suggestions??


josh z. said...

nice race!

trailmomma said...

Congrats and now you have to run again next year I assume! :)

April said...

You are too funny! I haven't checked out your blog in a while. It never disappoints!!!

Johanna said...

Be Miley Cyrus at the VMas! Haha- just kidding, but it would be easy to run in that type of costume.

Pam said...

Johanna- that did occur to me, but I don't think I could pull that off! I am still trying to come to terms with wearing bun huggers at Worlds!