twelve of thirteen–running the watershed for fun

This past weekend I joined 75 others for the Redmond Watershed 12 Hour Ultra Run.  Turned out to be a beautiful day out there.

taking a break during the redmond watershed 12 hour race - a 50k for me (photo by john swenson)

photo by John Swenson

Originally the plan had been to shoot for fifty miles while doing this event.  Sadly my training had not really prepared me for that.  Over the spring, fitting in the miles for 50k had been a real challenge.  So I sort of put this one out of my mind.  Then a couple of weeks before, I was looking for a marathon or 50k to do, and the Watershed proved the best option.  Concerned about taking one of the 100 available spots – I checked the 2011 results and found that a number of participants had called it good after completing 32.25 miles (six loops).  So I registered.

The week leading up to the event was crazy busy.  There was a bunch going on at work and also at home.  When I wasn’t working, I was doing things for one of the girls’ schools.  And definitely not getting enough sleep.  My taper runs felt labored and unfocused.  I had no idea what to expect on the trail.

We all have times like this.  You don’t feel ‘ready’ or fast.  And maybe you’re mentally tired enough that the thing to do is to just have some fun.  So when I lined up that Saturday morning, I was in it for fun, not for speed.  My plan was to log the 32.25 miles.  If I felt up to it, I’d try for 40 miles, but would just play things by ear.

Since training for the 2002 NYC Marathon, the Redmond Watershed Preserve had been a reliable place to do distance.  You can fashion 5-12 mile loops, and refuel with stuff from your car in between.  The course was familiar to me, having logged hundreds of miles there.   We’d repeat loops of 5.375 miles until we were done.

kim and I running the watershed 12 hour race (a 50k for me) - photo by glenn tachiyama

photo by Glenn Tachiyama

We headed out at 7am, when it was still a bit chilly.  I started out wearing long sleeves and gloves, and joined some friends from the Eastside Runners – Amy, bob, Tony, Kim, and Ram.  Two of our friends Theresa and Dan went out ahead of us, keeping a brisk pace.

bob and I running the watershed 12 hour race (a 50k for me) - photo by glenn tachiyama

photo by Glenn Tachiyama

We took things nice and easy, and the first four loops pretty much flew by.  My stomach felt a bit off, but aside from having to take some restroom breaks between loops, I was fine.  Back then, I felt like I could run all day – and it fekt great.  We weren’t setting any personal bests out there, but that was fine.

We’d lope along talking about what’s been going on in our lives.  I talked about how proud I was of my daughters – each of them doing performing arts stuff recently, and doing it well.  A couple of friends had recently moved into a new house, so we talked about the home buying and selling process, moving, and then about how much they liked their new place.  We talked about travelling, about watching our kids grow, and shared some stories about a friend we’d lost some years back.  We talked about some races we’d done, and how we felt when surprising ourselves while setting personal bests.

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photo by Glenn Tachiyama

We could just as easily been talking over dinner, or sitting in front of a fireplace.  Instead we were outside enjoying the fresh air, and each other’s company.  And that was exactly what my race plan called for.

bob and I running the watershed 12 hour race (a 50k for me) - photo by glenn tachiyama

photo by Glenn Tachiyama

The final two loops were harder.  The fatigue hit my legs, my pace slowed, and my heart rate increased.  I didn’t end up running forty miles, instead stopping at just a shade over 50k, after running 6:45.

from-takao-redmond-watershed-12h

photo by Takao Suzuki

Bob, Amy, Barb and I all called it good after 32.25.  Kurt did seven loops (37 3/8 miles).  Kim covered 43.  Jane did 45.  Leslie did 49 and change.  Dan, Theresa, Tony, and Ram all ran at least 50.  Sharing parts of the big day with them was great.

In an event like this, you’re ranked according to how many miles you’ve covered, then secondarily how long it took to cover those miles.  So naturally, leaving 5 hours and 15 minutes on the table didn’t bode well for my ranking.  When I saw that I’d finished 12th of 13 in my age group, I felt a twinge of frustration before reminding myself what my race plan had been – 50k and fun.  And by that measure it was definitely a good day.

charts and graphs for running geeks

The split data from this day is interesting, but doesn’t tell the whole story.  There were a couple of long breaks between loops, which throws off the split and average heart rate data.  And sometimes, the heart rate data is spiky, because I picked up the pace a bit on flatter stretches.

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