One of the best weeks I’ve had so far!
Everything seemed to come together this week in both training and planning for runningRAGBRAI 2013. Wednesday I announced the RAGBRAI project on my Facebook page and was blown away by the support my friends showed. You all donated and shared the page more than I could have expected and really helped me feel like all the hard work and training will pay off.
In the training realm, I had a few more tweaks and pains than I was expecting from coming off rock climbing last weekend. I took my weekday mileage a little easier to make sure I stay injury free. Monday through Friday I ended up totaling about 20 miles, including a surprise half marathon day (surprise because I took a few wrong turns on some trails and ended up farther away than intended). Joining me for the 13.5 mile day of trails was one of my Soldiers I work with, Staff Sergeant Trussell. Sergeant Trussell hadn’t ran more than about five miles in the past few months and had no intention of running that far when he woke up that morning. But I convinced him to join me; he is proof all you have to do is have the right mental attitude to persevere and push your limits! You can ALWAYS do more than you think you can.
Since my weekday mileage seemed to work pretty well on my injuries, I decided to go big during the weekend. Due to the longer distances I run, scheduling, and more technical trails I encounter, I typically do most of my runs solo. However, Friday I had the special treat to run with a man possibly crazier than myself. Daniel Kühlmann, another ultramarathoner I met on some races out in Washington, was racing the Pigtails 200 mile challenge. The race consisted of a 9.4 mile lap around a lake, for 21+ times. Let’s think about that for a moment. 200 miles, for three days. Straight. The trail thankfully was a non-technical dirt path, great for some Vibrams Five Fingers running. I paced Danny for three laps on Friday when he was already 140 miles and 30 hours into the race. After hanging out, chatting, running, and laughing at his sleep deprived delusions, I headed back to Seattle for another 12 miles of exploring my new Capitol Hill neighborhood for a total of 40 miles. Many kudos and congrats to Danny, as he ended up finishing first place in the Pigtails 200 miler in 54 hours!
Saturday was the highlight of the week. Larrabee State Park, home of the Chuckanut Ridge Trail, was my technical trail destination. Trails like this are the reason I trail run. The Chuckanuts is a beautiful area where the Cascades meet the Puget Sound area. It’s full of technical trails with rocks, roots, uphills, downhills, whips, weaves, ducks, dips, dives, and dodges. This type of running is full of adventure and adrenaline. The trails were mostly deserted due to the light rain so I was free to pick up some great speed on the downhills. Unfortunately, I was never really able to get out of an energy low I seemed to be wallowing in most of the day. The 35 miles of trails were still fun, but I was quite tired most of the day
which led to a few trailside naps. It had been quite a few weeks since I spent some time on some technical trails and I discovered I really had missed them. My “rest week” ended up bringing me to 95 miles total for the week and the nagging injuries that plagued me just a week before have mostly disappeared with the Seattle sun.
I spent a lot of my time running thinking about Memorial Day, my fallen comrades, and the reason I am attempting this run. SPC Trevor Pinnick and SGT Joseph Lilly were members of the 18th Engineering Company serving alongside of me in Afghanistan. They were Sappers, Combat Engineers who purposefully went looking for Improvised Explosive Devices so others wouldn’t have to find them. On June 12th, only weeks after SGT Lilly forced his way back onto combat missions after receiving a bullet wound, they were fatally injured by an IED. Their bravery, selfless service, and sacrifice has stuck with me and helped motivate me to help the returning Veterans who are also wounded. They will never be forgotten.