I'm going to be very honest, I've been dreading this blog post.
Lack of inspiration to write I would assume.
To be frank, lack of motivation to do anything and writing is at the top of the list.
But here I am, on my fourth version of this blog post and still not very satisfied with any form of sentence I string together.
It's okay, I tell myself.
Not all things can be all sunshine and butterflies, but within every experience there is a lesson to be learned. Lately I've gotten a lot of those- lessons.
Life waving its finger at me saying “Sawna, you should know better”.
I do what I want,
don't listen to my body,
don't let myself recover and inevitably end up with a lingering injury for over a month that I just can't shake.
There is no one to blame but myself.
Several lessons to be learned.
Thus, do not do as I do.
If anything... learn from what I do and do better.
Alright, so where are we?
Orcas Island 50k, yes.
My second time! (Read my first racereport HERE).
Let me begin this series of lessons with a bing of pain I felt in my calf early December- a strain in my soleus.\ I attempted to rest but my source of income demands me to be on my feet... all day long.
Instead of running, I filled my time with yoga; stretching, hiking and a bunch of pity parties that I've gotten pretty good at throwing.
It lingered, it got better, it got worse, it got better again but it never stuck.
The week leading up to the race it seemed to feel fine, I was able to run- albeit very slowly, but run nonetheless.
I told myself that I would go thru with Orcas, but it wouldn't be a “race” like I intended on initially when I signed up.
If I woke up Saturday morning and didn't feel 100% I would volunteer or walk the entire course... at least that's what I told myself.
The Thursday before the race I found myself chatting up a storm with Rich founder of VFE while receiving a sports massage.
I was shocked at how good my body felt as I walked out and felt a bit more confident going into the weekend.
Flying into Seattle I knew I would be in for a treat.
We began Friday with a mini tour for Tony, for his first time visiting Seattle.
It included some touristy places like Pikes market, the gum wall as well as some hot apple cider, cinnamon rolls and cookies- galore!
|When you're EXTREMELY late for the ferry yet you somehow still make it as one of the last cars- YOU CHEER!|
|Smile guys ;)|
Unlike last years race, this weekend's weather was to be a stormy one; snow, rain you name it!
Being a SoCal girl, I welcomed it with opened arms.
As we drove to Anacortes, the window down, my head and arms flaring out trying to catch the snowflakes graciously floating from the sky.
"The adventure begins", I tell myself.
|Look guys.... SNOW!|
Saturday morning we awoke to a bunk house full of eager faces.
It was slightly raining outside and we all began preparing for the days adventure.
Coffee in hand I couldn't bare to drink it, overwhelmed with doubt about today's quest.
I am no stranger to doubt, lately she visits quite often but doesn't linger too long.
I pushed her to the side and let the excitement of being outdoors control my morning instead of the negativity of doubt.
|Slightly creepy photo by Tony Hart ;)|
Checking in was a breeze and the minutes before the race started was used to say hi to all the friends I've made in the PNW these last few years of running Rainshadow races.
|James pre race details "it's raining... be careful... possible ice... be careful"|
So many friendly faces to greet, to hug, to catch up with that time flew by and suddenly we were all outside listening to the clock tick down.
It was still raining as we set off and Orcas 50K began.
I am trying to find the right words to describe how I felt the first few miles of the race.
|I wish I looked this good....|
The way I picture it is one of those waving inflatable arm-flailing tubes you'd find at promotional stores.
I know how to run, but somehow couldn't seem to connect my brain to my flailing body parts and heavy breathing.
It was painfully difficult to stay slow, catch my breathing and not speed up like my brain wanted to do.
It helped that the road was filled with ice and snow, demanding my attention with every foot strike.
|See flailing arms... and Joel makes the photo a winner. Photo by the amazing Glenn|
Still, once past the first climb on the road, I was unable to get a hold of my breathing nor my wacky arm movements and posture.
Feeling the extra 10 pounds I'd gained from my lack of activity this last month- each leg was it's own wooden log I had to drag across the trail. (It happens, I know)
The first half of the race, to be quite honest, was not fun.
I didn't enjoy how my I felt, how slow I was going and I was really letting myself get upset over it.
Arguments formulated in my mind as I quickly gave in to them.
Have you had one sided arguments with yourself?
It's not fun nor is it productive but still, I continued on.
I had regretted my extra jacket I wore and had to pull to the side to remove it- it was cold but not that cold.
Once I felt I had a good groove going back on the trail, I had quickly remembered setting my phone on the ground when removing said jacket and had to turn around to retrieve it.
Ohhhh my phone, the least of my worries.
Back in the right direction I found with my persistent attempt to keep my pace down, my breathing light and my mind clear- I began to feel the motion of running becoming easier and easier.
With that I let myself gain speed.
Mind you, this is around 16-17 miles.
The negative Nancy that had been occupying my thoughts the first half of the race finally disappeared.
HELLLOOOOO Positive Polly! What took so long?
My breathing began to normalize as I stayed present on the trail.
Although I found most of the sections leading up to the Powerline trail to be very runnable, with the snow and ice it began extremely dangerous and slippery.
|ICE ICE BABY|
I was most thankful for wearing tights when I found myself face planted on the trail.
My knees caked in mud while adrenaline shoots through my very core.
I arrived at the third aid station, North Arch mile 20.3 of the race feeling warmed up and pretty excited for the Powerline trail.
I grabbed a pickle and a corner of a PB&J and quickly set off.
(Apparently that's the only thing that I wanted- I eat 3 sets of those and that was it)
"Take it easy Sawna", I told myself.
Although I may have felt great,
may have felt as though I could push it,
I had to tell myself that to keep it slow.
Nothing is worth injuring myself further.
So I paced myself alongside a guy from Seattle.
Seth I believe is his name.
I stuck next to him and we conversed the first half the trail.
I ran every moderately flat or downhill section in order to break up the arduous climb that is Powerline trail.
I knew I was going slower than last year and I was ok with it.
Hand on knees, pushing each foot forward- the slight rain began to change to snow.
I couldn't help my smile and be thankful for the beautiful sight.
Despite the slippery trail, running while it snows is a magical experience and I was giggly from it.
I felt great!
What an opposite feeling from this morning.
Every ounce of my body was awake and moving forward with such ease.
WHY CANT EVERY RUN BEGIN THIS WAY?
Oh yeah... maybe if I trained it would.
I fell into a nice rhythm as I climbed Mt. Constitution, the final big climb before the last aid station and long descent to the finish.
The trail was packed with snow and I found it difficult to grasp the trail with each step, slipping slightly backward with each step forward.
Nothing at this point bothered me, my thoughts were filled with the scenery that surrounded me.
Light puffy balls of snow floating down from the sky, finally resting on its new home along the trail.
The time went by in slow motion, feeling as though I was merely a guest of the moment and thanking mother nature for this glimpse of beauty.
The climb barely phased me as I watched the dark green mossy trees slowly get covered by a blanket of snow.
What a view!
It's not something I get to experience too often and its these moments I cherish so deeply.
I jogged up to Mt. Constitution, where the aid station was supposed to be (it was moved due to icy roads) and was quickly greeted by Joel who was petting a dog and chatting up some locals.
We were able to enjoy some of the trail together, like we did last year.
From Mt. Consitution the views were stunning from what you could see between the clouds and snowflakes. I waved to Glenn as I ran by him in what was the perferct photo opt!
THANK YOU GLENN!
(I can not imagine how LONG he spent cold up there taking pictures of the entire run... support his work by buying his photos!!!)
With the knowledge of the last decent before me and with no more major climbs to come I was feeling a rush of excitement.
This section was purely magical, letting myself give in to gravity and run the final descent.
The trees glistened as I breezed by, passing a few runners just as excited as I was to welcome the food and drink at our final end where James would be giving out high fives.
At this point I felt great.
No aches or pains or discomfort- just happiness.
For a moment I wished it didn't have to end, the reason why I enjoy longer races is because I normally have a second wind at the end of a 50k and can push for a stronger second part of a race if it were, say, double the distance.
But I digress.
I am welcomed to a solid congrats from James and a high five as I pass the finish line and I couldn't be happier with the days event.
Despite my initial doubt, I overcame my disbelief in myself and got it done.
The race may not have went the way I intended on it to, but I'll take what I can get.
|Congrats Tony!!! Orcas was his first Ultra distance!|
|Joels "This is how I really feel" photo|
Post race is the reason I race at all!
Pizza, beer, and endless happy smiles and conversation with amazing like minded folk.
It was great to catch up with so many friendly faces and talk about each amazing race experience.
With the conditions the way that they were, each of us handled the monstrous weather and came out alive to tell our tales.
Our bunkhouse was filled with some strong runners and overall amazing people.
One of my favorite conversations was with a couple from Montana and it was about, shockingly, AVOCADOS.
Don't get me started.
I can talk about avocados... all.... day... long.
Also my avocado may have exploded hence why I had to share it with my new friends...
Bacon avocados guys.... drool
It was a pretty stellar weekend to say the least.
Back in Seattle, I was able to catch up with some friends and get stuck in an insane snow storm.
Always an adventure.
|Wine tasting with our friend Mandy while planning our Rim to Rim to Rim trip in May!|
|Snowstorm+flight changed to next day= Night snowshoeing|
|Sawna+ snow= KID|
|Over 8 inches of snow over night. This happens regularlry in Issaquah right?|
|I don't remember the last time I made a snow angel.|
|I'm sorry I'm not sorry|
I'm definitely very happy to be back home after a weekend of constant stimuli.
Still, with lingering pains as I write this post.
This week, with zero dog runs on my agenda, I've decided to take a break from running and focus on recovery.
This is new for me.
I'll let you know how it goes...
|All this blog writting makes for a ruff time for Juniper. I'm paw-sitive she needs attention|
Till next time,
Peace, love and happiness.
|I know... love for all the memes! But seriously, I have Gorge 100k in 8 weeks.. yikes!|