Who Did This to Me? Oh, that was me…

I’m currently in Leavenworth, WA, about a three-hour drive from my home. I’m attending a conference. Many people love Leavenworth. Decades ago, in a bid to improve the struggling mountain village’s chances for survival, the town adopted a Bavarian theme. It’s charming. Years of trying to drive through Leavenworth during my treks from one end of the State to the other – and cursing the bumper-to-bumper traffic on the highway – have lead me to find it less than charming. The fact that I don’t like German food or hefeweizen only compounds this. Not such a big fan of kitsch, either.

Because I’m already half-way across the State, I’ll be heading over to my parents’ house Friday evening. I hope to do some work around their house. Normally, I do my long runs on the weekend, but this week’s endurance run is eleven miles. If I did that run Saturday morning, I’d likely be too tired to do any work around my parents’ place. I decided to do it while in Leavenworth.I mapped out a course that largely mimics the half-marathon I’m running in a few weeks. I also wanted to add some hill work, so about 5 miles in, I added a two-mile detour with 500′ of elevation gain & loss.

I got up at five. I ate some pita bread with cream cheese. I’ve never tried to eat and then immediately head out for a run. However, I planned to start off easy, and I wasn’t drinking coffee, so I hoped for the best. (It turned out okay – no stomach problems during the run.)

It was 58°F, so I opted to leave the jacket behind. I really want to test this jacket. Alas, it will have to wait! The morning was cool and dark. Fortunately, the first portion of the run is along a roadway with a decent shoulder and well-defined fog line; with the moonlight, I had to problems seeing where I was going. Although I wasn’t wearing any flashing lights or a headlamp, I believe drivers were able to see me well in advance, too. I was wearing these tights. Drivers pulled away from the shoulder well before they reached me.

The sun rose, and it was a glorious morning. I had to adjust my route on the fly, as my route crossed what was clearly private property. I still managed to run a fair amount of the HM course, though.

The uphill portion of the hill climb detour was so steep I would have walked it even if I’d planned to run. (I’d already decided to work on “power hiking,” in anticipation of the Multnomah Falls trail run in ten days.) Holy crap that sucker was steep! Of course the advantage of the steep climb was being able to look down the valley. Here’s the course of my run, as it ended up working out (not my proposed course): The Run

I was surprised how slow I was running downhill, but I think I was babying my toes. The black is almost completely gone from my toenails from the HM I ran six months ago. I was afraid this descent would end up reinjuring them. I was equally surprised that it was easier to run on the flat than it was to run on the downhill. As I said, that hill was steep! (According to MapMyFitness, the easiest grade was 6%; the fiercest was 14%.)

Back down on the flat, I did fine for a while. Eventually the fatigue caught up with me. I nearly cried with joy when I realized I was approaching US Hwy 2 (meaning I was back in town, and not far from the hotel). I walked on the cement bridge over the river as well as a bit of sidewalk, but once I was safely back on asphalt, I went back to running … briefly. My legs were tired. I decided to just try walking very quickly. That was okay, but still pretty pokey. I had a hard time walking up the slight rise in one of the pedestrian bridges through the park. I was TIRED!

At first, I was discouraged: 11 miles in, and I was tired. I feared this meant I wasn’t ready for a half-marathon, and this close to the race – it’s October 1st – it’s too late to change much. And then I realized – Um, hello? You just ran up a hill that gain 500′ in one mile, after running six miles. You won’t be doing this hill during the half-marathon. Today was training, not a race preview. So hush yourself, silly fears.

Upon my return to the hotel, I immediately stopped at the breakfast buffet. I devoured a small pile of scrambled eggs, a couple of sausage links, and a half of a bagel. Combined with the three Clif Kid Z bars I ate during the run, it was enough to tide me over to lunch. Even better? I was just replacing what I’d burned.

I walked to the Forest Service office today to pick up an annual trailhead pass (that’s about a 2-mile walk, round trip). I also walked downtown for dinner. It may have been too much work, but I am ready to sleep. I’m hopeful I’ve eaten enough today to avoid waking up hungry in the middle of the night. Dinner was a relatively large pork burrito with rice & beans and all the gooey, cheesy goodness I’d been craving. My belly has plenty to do overnight.

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