Monday, November 5, 2012

Lithia Loop and Leadville

     Last Saturday I joined 142 other runners up in Ashland, Oregon for the Lithia Loop Trail Marathon.  The girls didn't have school Friday so we decided to make it a family trip.  I'm so glad we did.  Ashland is beautiful, especially this time of year.  From reading Scott Dunlap's race report  previously, I knew we were in for a treat.

I had originally intended to only stay 1 night and head home Saturday after the race.  But the 11:00 check out had me concerned.  I wasn't looking forward to no shower after running 26.2 miles and then driving 4 1/2 hours back home.  So before we even arrived in Ashland, I was on the phone with the hotel extending our stay an extra night.  After checking in we walked the 2 blocks to downtown and made our way to Rogue Valley Runners to pick up my race packet.  I had really been looking forward to this and the icing on the cake was meeting Hal Koerner.  He really IS as nice as people say he is.

Hal Koerner and I

We arrived at the peak of color change.  Warm days and cool nights.  Race morning had me wearing only shorts and a t-shirt although I was underdressed compared to many.  I knew the race would climb for the first 10 miles so I wasn't chilled for long.  I paced myself well and before I knew it, I was on the next 10 mile section that is rolling.  For some reason I expected after all that climbing that we would be treated to some nice views.  But this is Oregon and so trees abounded.  We were mid-slope and although the views were limited, I did enjoy how lush and green everything was.

Hal Koerner sending us off

It was along this section that my legs decided to let me know that my longest run has only been 14 miles.  They started to ache and I started to tire.  I found myself running with another lady named Flora from Hawaii.  We gabbed quite a bit and it really helped the miles go by.  She continued ahead as I paused at an aid station and I was on my own.  I gutted it out to 20 miles where the next 6 miles would be downhill.  Now that may sound good on paper, in actuality, it's quite painful.  After 2 miles of torture, my muscles started to adapt (and we got onto some fun singletrack) and I started to fly.  The last 4 miles were definitely the most fun.

Every mile marked

"Super" volunteers filling up Flora

Nice view of Mt. Ashland

My best moment came at the half-marathon mark when I noticed my time was 2:36.  I went into this race expecting to run about 5:15-5:30.  Doing the math I knew I could go sub-5 hours. (I also figured at this point the winner was probably crossing the finish line).

Right as we hit the last bit of pavement, my right calf started to cramp.  I had to slow a bit and run in a "toes up" position as my leg swung forward.  I downed some S-caps and that helped immediately.  As I approached the finish I saw my family playing nearby.  I yelled to them and Caitlyn came bounding over and continued a nice tradition of running across the finish line with me.  Pat took a cool video of us crossing the line but I'll be danged if I can figure out how to get it on this blog.  I know just enough about this computer stuff to be dangerous.

Thank you to Hal Koerner and the wonderful folks in Ashland for the wonderful race.  I'm so glad we decided to stay the extra day.  I was able to shower and  slip on my new 2XU compression socks which I have to believe really helped in my recovery.  For how sore I was right after the race I figured I would be having some serious issues with stairs the next day.  I was pleasantly surprised when I felt really good.  At least better than expected.

The girls enjoying Lithia Park

Ashland's sulfur water

Mt. Shasta dominated the skyline on the way home

Other news:

Sunday night I stayed up past my bedtime in order to catch the opening of registration for Leadville's Leadman/Leadwoman.  Time to put up or shut up.  I did the 100 mile bike ride way back in 2002 (could it really have been that long ago?)  In 2009 I attempted the 100 mile run but came up short (you can read about that here).  It's been 3 years and now it's time to go back.  And why not take on the whole enchilada.  For those who don't know, Leadman consists of 5 (or 6) events.  Starts with a 26.2 mile trail marathon, a 50 mile Bike Or Run (or both), 100 mile Bike, 10K run the next day, and finishes with the 100 mile run.  And all this is done between June 29 and Aug 18.  And all above 10,200 ft.

After signing up, I went to bed and slept really well, for about 3 hours.  Then my mind started racing.  When should I start training?  How should I train.? How do I work out the trips to Leadville with family?  How many trips should I make?  One minute I'm confident that with the right training I can succeed.  The next minute I wonder what the hell am I thinking?  I finally got up and went for a run.  That is my center right now.  I've decided that November is my month to play.  Let my body heal after Lithia Loop.  Get on my mountainbike.  Explore new trails.  Improve my technical skills.  Have fun.  There is going to be plenty of time for serious training.


bill smith said...

Wahoo..... Good luck......

Kiki said...

it's going to be a wild ride. One pedal stroke and one step at a time. From your race schedule it looks like you will be down my way (Oceanside Turkey trot). If you want to have a group freak out let me know:)

Bill Hunter said...

What an adventure!
Let me know if you need some company on your long runs.

Shannon said...

Very cool! I'm still not looking to ever to a full marathon and totally give you props for doing full marathons! I can't even imagine doing 100 miles!

Catherine said...

Shannon, I can't either...yet.

Bill, yes, I'll take you up on that offer.

Kiki, that would be fun. Running the 5k with my husband, daughter, cousin, and nephew. A full family affair!