Yesterday, I ran the half marathon I’d signed up to run the week before – sort of. I didn’t attempt to follow the course of the Chamna Chase because there were parts of that course I simply didn’t want to run.
I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t have a course mapped out, as only a handful of the trails in the Chamna Natural Area are mapped. I had some extra stuff in my car, but that would be it for aid stations. I’m normally faster during races than I am during training; how would I do with no official clock? I’ve done a lot of running on trails, but I’ve never run a trail half marathon: anything would be a PR. Because a fair number of the Nomads traveled to Arizona for the Javelina Jundred, I agreed to lead a Nomads run. As it turned out, only one person showed up. She’d run the Chamna Chase last weekend, and running another half marathon didn’t interest her. We chatted for a few minutes, and then headed out in separate directions. (I started by doing the least appealing section first; I can’t blame her for skipping it.)
I headed up toward W.E. Johnson park. I walked the asphalt section, and then started running once I was on the trail. The first section is soft sand, but the recent rain firmed it up a bit. It was still soft, but nothing like it was the last time I ran this section.
When I got to W.E. Johnson, I changed my plans and took a nominal trail along the outside edge of the public lands. Unfortunately, I took a wrong turn – onto the better-looking trail – and ended up looping back to the main trail. But that gave me the opportunity to see this scene.
I opted for another loop in W.E. Johnson, but I came across a section of trail that was underwater. I decided against running through the water, and fortunately I’d just past a trail junction. With the detours, the W.E. Johnson loop took almost six miles rather than the four I’d anticipated. I saw Julie again as I was going through the parking lot, and we chatted a bit again. Normally, I’d pause my Garmin when stopped for more than a few seconds. I decided to leave it running, as there’s no race clock to give me an official time for this event.
As I was packing my food for this run, I discovered I was out of Endurolytes. Because of that, I made sure I had salty food with me. The first thing I ate was the last bits of the salt bagels we bought in Spokane last Bloomsday. (I love the Tri-Cities, but we lack dim sum & decent bagels.) Then came a couple packs of GoGo Squeez. Then came my beloved cheddar Goldfish. Boy, when I need them, nothing tastes better.
My body held up pretty well. The bunion in my right foot hurt at the start of the day, but it didn’t prevent me from running. (Whenever I think about my toe hurting, I think of this.) My left knee (the one with the cartilage damage) hurt when I was walking on asphalt, but I don’t recall it hurting while running. Mostly, I was just weary. I thought about quitting a few times, but my
stupidness stubbornness carried me through the day.
I’ve noticed I tend to wear out in longer runs, and this was no different. Not having electrolytes didn’t help. I took longer walk breaks during miles 11 & 12. Interestingly, this seemed to make the time & distance pass more quickly. All of a sudden, I had less than a half-mile to go.
I stopped the Garmin as soon as it read 13.1 miles. I still needed to walk back to the car, but I wanted a time for a half marathon, not 13.whatever. While I felt pretty slow at times, I was surprised to see that my time was only about ten minutes slower than the half marathon I ran last spring while training for BMC55K, and about fifteen minutes slower than my fastest half marathon.
I scoffed at the nearly 1500′ of elevation gain & loss, but after some thought it just may be. Chamna does a lot of undulating, and I can easily see how the trail would lose & gain a little over 100′ per mile.
A couple of takeaways from this run. First, if I’m going to train for another half marathon or longer, I’m going to look into the Hanson Method. It’s more work, but it puts the body in better shape so the runner doesn’t hit a slump late in the race and slog through. The other is a little crazier: I just may sign up for the Snake River Island Hop and walk it. I’m taking a break from running, but I haven’t given up on completing an ultra. I’ll need to do some research. I know it’s possible to do this, but I’m not sure how fun it will be. That trail is chunky basalt; it’s hard to run on, and I don’t know how fast I can walk on it.
But that’s down the road. For now, I need to keep working on core strength & losing weight. This week is the last week of the core class I’ve been taking, and I want to try doing the workouts on my own. It’s a test – do I have the discipline? Only time will tell. I’m hopeful swimming will help the knee. I want to start riding, too, but we’re already at the end of October and there isn’t much time lest before the snow flies. (To say nothing of the yard work & chores I’ve deferred.)
And now, for a break, catch my breath, and take the time to find beauty.