09 December 2012

Cougar Squak Cougar trail run

This was supposed to be an awesome run... and I guess in a way it was but in a much harder way than I was hoping for. For the first time in ages I went for a real bike ride yesterday and I was hoping it would leave my running legs pretty fresh for today. For the most part it did but I didn't exactly execute as planned.

For only the third(?) time ever I connected with the Seattle Running Club for their regular Sunday run. This outing was advertised as a run with a 10-mile and 18-mile option so I figured perfect, I'll go 18. Win Van Pelt was the event organizer and our pace is very similar so I was psyched.

I got to the start and no sooner do I get out of the car and mingle with the group than I hear most of the bunch is going short. This left just Win myself and some woman. No worries I thought, she was all decked out in compression socks, a cool racing vest with hydration bladder and fancy shoes - let's go!

Did I mention the other woman? She was a hairdresser who had relocated to Los Angeles but still flies back here for some loyal clients every six weeks. I'm guessing she is doing all right. She also had on white socks and some brand new pink shoes. When someone commented on her shoes she replied, "I don't run when it's wet..."

This was going to be fun.

Right from the parking lot hairdresser takes off up the hill. She is leaving everyone in the dust! Or mud as it were today. Also right away compression socks is off the back. Oh no... there goes more of my company for the long run.

I work my way up so I'm behind the guy who showed up with hairdresser and I'm thinking this is a pretty stiff pace. Then I remember they are just going 10 miles. :) For the first couple of miles hairdresser keeps pushing hard but then we get to an extended climb and suddenly she says something like, "This is a good one!" and then she's walking. We regroup at the top.

ASIDE - every time we wait for compression socks she yells at us to keep going and insists that she is slow. About three miles in Win is about to jog back for her so I suggest that we'll be out here all day if we really do wait for her. Besides, she told us to go ahead. And we're marking all the turns.

Now we're heading downhill. I end up slotting in behind hairdresser again when she suddenly slides a bit and this causes her to pull the ripcord. As I jog past down the hill she says something about how slick the trail is...

About 3.5 miles in we split up. Did I mention that Win said he has a 'bad hammy'? Normally he's pretty quick going downhill but not today. As we jog down to 900 I keep it nice and tame so that we stay together. At the bottom we wait again for compression socks and then cross the road and head up Squak. Of course compression socks is off the back instantly and this time Win is sounding like he's laboring some and suddenly I feel like I'm coming around so I kinda know what's coming. Sure enough, as we get to the next intersection Win says he is turning back.

I ask for directions and after listening to so much Greek (I don't know these trails that well yet) Win finally offers me his map. Thank you Win! By this time compression socks has caught us again and announces that she has probably bitten off more than she can chew so decides to head back with Win. How far have we gone so far? Oh, about 5.5 miles.

And Martin is solo.

Oh well, shit happens. I was totally looking for a group run but this will have to do so up I go.

At first I had the map (thoughtfully wrapped in a Zip-Lock bag mind you) tucked in the back of my shorts but it kept falling down and suddenly I was running with a plastic panty liner. No fun. After having this happen twice I figured out I could fold the map three times and stuff it between my hand and my hand-help bottle. Nice. This was very secure.

At one point on Cougar the mist had turned to tiny snow flakes and now as I climbed Squak I suddenly saw snow on the ground. It was beautiful! The higher I went the more there was and by the time I got to Central Peak there was about .5" of even covering. And it was so nice and quiet.

On the way up I had the foresight to mark all my turns and good thing because on the way down I almost blew right past one of them. Win had said he would mark the trail and sure enough, I found one of his arrows and so my pace increased as my confidence grew.

Then the trail ended. Oops.

I looked at the map and figured the way down had to be close and sure enough after stressing a bit I found it. This descent was fun! The trail was new and soft and I had a blast bouncing down to 900. And then I got lost.

Okay, technically I wasn't lost, I knew exactly where I was but I could not find the trail I was hoping to take back up Cougar. After some walking and searching I finally decided to run up 900. Talk about not scenic... the shoulder was slick with scum, the cars were right next to me and it was raining. Good times.

At least I knew where I was going and when I got to the hill I resolved to run it all. I made it; barely. Last week when I went up this climb with Bryan Estes I was toast and walked most of the second half. This time I managed to grind it out although I know I was barely running. I think I was starting to get tired! And perhaps the cold was sapping me more than I thought it would?

At the top I was in a bit of a haze and ran down the trail for a bit before I realized I had forgotten to tag the summit! That'll never do so I turned around pronto and went all the way to the top and physically touched the wood bench that sits up there. If you zoom way in you can see my little out-and-back below.

As I descended from the summit I know I was beat. And I still had about six miles to go. Ouch. Two miles later and I'm walking. Not so good. I pulled it together but had to walk at least three more times before I got to the car. At the last intersection with 1.2 miles to go I resolved to run it in and barely made it. Sheesh.

For sure I didn't eat enough but at least I finished both my bottles. I also never felt cold but I'm guessing my legs stiffened up some from the exposure. It sure felt nice to reach the car.

So today I got to do some route finding and learned a little about perseverance and a little about how much I need to fuel myself when it's cold out. All good things. I also re-learned that any group run/ride can easily turn out to be not what you wanted so I better show up with a better attitude and be more flexible or just go it alone. :)

Thanks again to Win for giving me a map - it really helped. And kudos to compression socks! In spite of biting off more than she bargained for she still had the presence of mind to ask me if I had enough food and water when we split up for the last time. Much appreciated.

Sleep 7
Waking HR  
Body Weight  
Body Fat  
Breakfast 6:15 AM - apple sauce, 1 scoop protein powder, 1 scoop Perpetuem, walnuts, tea
Workout Food 2 bottles each w/1 scoop HEED and 1 tablet Nuun, 3 GUs
Time of Day 7:40 AM
Workout Type endurance
Weather upper 30s to maybe very low 40s in places, drizzle, calm
Equipment Brooks Cascadia 7, hand-held bottle
Clothing Teko organic SIN3RGI Light Minicrew, Brooks Infinity Short III, Craft short sleeve undershirt, SmartWool long sleeve shirt, Polypropylene gloves

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