Deception Pass was my last race of the season, a late addition to the schedule made whilst enjoying a few floor beers with the Rainshadow crew after Oregon Coast. I hadn’t planned to make it much of a race initially, but when I got the awesome news of sponsorship from 7Hills, I figured I’d test my speed out. I was hoping for sub-5 hours, and knowing the course, figured I’d just need some smart racing strategy to make it happen: start slow, save the legs for the runnable second half, and eat up some time at the end.
For the first time in a long time, I spent the night before the race in my own bed- it was so lovely- and drove to the start early. I was super excited about the sunny cool weather- absolutely ideal racing conditions in my book! I said hellos to all the wonderful people milling about in the cold and warmed up in the car while I waited for the start. Chatted with Tara at the start line, and knew she was out for a fast run- I had little hope of hanging on with her even then, but it was fun to run the first road section together. I felt good going up the road, but once we hit the trail back downhill, I could tell something was off. My brain said go but my legs just dawdled. I watched as Tara slipped ahead, then Sam, and a few other girls came whizzing past. I started to get worried but reminded myself of my strategy. By the time I hit the aid station for the first time, I knew it wasn’t going to be a great race- I couldn’t find my speed. Then my arch, which had been bothering me off and on over the last few weeks, got tweaked on a steep downhill somewhere in the Pass Lake loop and in trying to compensate for that pain, I was causing my hips to hurt as well. At 1:45, I started to contemplate quitting. Going up Goose Rock, I wanted to cry– it wasn’t just pain, because the pain wasn’t all that bad and I can run through pain- I just wasn’t enjoying myself. I reached the point of “why would I keep running? this isn’t fun at all.” way too early and that feeling stayed with me. Usually a good downhill or a scenic section will shake me out of any mid-run slump, but all I could think about was how I wasn’t running well, and if I wasn’t running well I didn’t want to keep running at all. At Mile 16, I texted Justin (who was at home sick) to tell him I was dropping out. Once I put it into words, I realized how bad I would feel after the race if I gave up, and resolved myself to finishing, whether it was fast or slow.
I’ve been working on accepting emotions and adjusting attitude, rather than trying to change how I feel, and this was a perfect opportunity for practice. I felt disappointed, frustrated, negative, and like I was letting others down, but I changed my attitude to embrace what was around me, focus on the trail, and be positive about pushing forward rather than quitting. I never gained any speed, but eventually I passed a few people coming off the second long loop and on the road section. Those final few miles, while I didn’t feel strong at all physically, I was stoked. I yelled at Glenn “I didn’t quit!!!” as I gleefully hit the fun trails alongside the beach just before the finish. I crossed the line in 5:13, and for the first time at a race this year, I started to cry. What should have been one of the easiest races beat me up, emotionally and physically, and I was so grateful to be done.
Looking back on the last few months, its obvious why the race didn’t go well. I wasn’t nearly trained enough. Between Cascade Crest and Oregon Coast, my biggest mileage weekend was a 13 & 10 back-to-back. Between Oregon in Oct. and Deception, I put in one 22-mile run and a few 18-mile runs, none in the mountains, none on serious trails. My highest weekly mileage since Cascade Crest was 38… I was cocky, thinking I had some crazy level of conditioning that exempted me from doing long runs. I was also burnt out. A long year of awesome races had me wanting to keep racing (because it’s awesome to be good at something you love doing!) but as Matt wisely cautioned after Oregon, I needed time to rest, and I didn’t take it.
While MY race didn’t go well, THE race was spectacular– the weather was perfect, the course was beautiful and fun, and the volunteers and Rainshadow staff were amazing as always. It was good to catch up with everyone at the finish line and hear race recaps and enjoy some sunshine and beer. I will definitely be back next year for another shot at a happy, sunny sub-5-hr run.
Pearl Izumi wind shell & 7Hills Singlet
Zensah Compression arm sleeves & socks
New Balance shorts
Brooks PureGrit3 Running shoes– perfect for these conditions!