Fort Ebey Trail Marathon & Training Block
The month of January ended with couple of lower mileage weeks in an effort to recover from the high mileage early on. I continued to alternate my runs between the Shoreline and Union Bay/Arboretum. I also threw in some half-mile repeats on the University of Washington track. It was not until after I finished the workout that I realized I was sharing the track with the Brooks elite track team. I made the uphill transition into February with hill repeats. I became quite obsessed with vertical gain in each run. Hill repeats in Carkeek, eighteen laps of 198thstreet in Shoreline, and a 30 miler at Bridal Trails State Park.
While studying for my board exams I picked up a job at Big 5 Sporting Goods and Sky Nursery, which slowly began occupying more of my time and making running no longer front and center. However, Sky Nursery definitely provided me with much needed cross training, allowing me to utilize more of my upper body and core to lift heavy trees and shovel mulch and soil. It was also nice to be in a greenhouse/nursery setting one last time before launching my career as a Physical Therapist.
Also during this time Apryle and I became quite obsessed with acquiring a bookshelf and dressers to furnish our new apartment. Thus many of my runs correlate with the random location with which we traveled to obtain the furniture. For instance, one morning I was able to run in both Forest Park and Howarth Park in Everett and then finish up with a run through the arboretum in the afternoon.
My mileage began to creep up once again in the early portion of February, hitting mid to high eighties in the first two weeks. I tried my best to taper into the trail marathon Coach Apryle scheduled for me on the thirteenth. I was actually not feeling the best before the race, my legs were heavy and I was overcome with a feeling of malaise. Then to complicate matters further Apryle and I were in the emergency room until after midnight the day before the race. Fortunately an issue we thought to be quite serious was false alarm and we were off for Whidbey Island before dawn.
Apryle drove while I slept and we arrived well before the start. I could not believe how soundly I slept en route, and as a result I felt much better prior to the start of the race. I observed it to be a beautiful overcast morning as I scanned the landscape. There was no rain and we were treated to a spectacular view of the Olympics to the west as the clouds lifted. The race was the Fort Ebey Kettles Trail Marathon and it was to feature 5500 feet of elevation gain through a geographically unique landscape.
I started off running a solid pace, but with the tight switch backs and steep bunny hills, I began to labor more and more and my pace suffered. I was alone through the first lap, only stopping briefly to slurp down a water and eat an orange slice at the two aid stations. However, near the last two miles at the end of the first lap I made a wrong turn and tacked on a few minutes getting back on course. It was here that I caught a glimpse of my chasers.
I ran the second lap quite nervous, I continued to spot my pursuers at various locations on course where we were afforded views of previously run trail. The course was quite unique and beautiful, in some portions the forest was so dense and canopied that it seemed like dusk, then in other portions there was a wide open exposed bluff that overlooked the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Olympics to the west. Every time I have the opportunity to run through such an impressive backdrop I am reminded of how privileged I am for the amazing opportunity.
With that said, I wish I could say winning or losing is immaterial, but the competition in me takes over. I skimmed over the bluff barely looking at the beautiful view, only focused on one thing… winning the race. I made the turn around into a stifling wind, climbed the last hill back up to the bluff and darted back into the woods to finish out the last kilometers of the course. I did not catch a glimpse of my competitors but did not lay off the pace. I finished in 3:28:33 with Apryle and my mascot sloth, aptly named Ebey cheering me on.
Upon finishing I was happy to see that I even split or even perhaps negative split the half marathon. I also met up with the twenty miler top two finishers John Berta and Adam Braddock. We exchanged information and plotted out some future trail runs. Apryle and I headed home, stopping by the beautiful Deception Pass and a Dairy Queen to grab a Blizzard our favorite ice cream dessert. The sixth post of 2016 will highlight my adventures in the latter half of February.
|January||10 to 16||82.98||12:59:15||9:23||18|
|January||17 to 23||83.72||12:49:50||9:11||17.42|
|January||24 to 30||64.91||8:53:01||8:12||14.32|
|February||31 to 6||89.12||11:39:46||7:51||30|
|February||7 to 13||84.82||11:03:20||7:49||26.25|
As a side-note this was my highest mileage January of all time.
Additionally this was my sixth straight win (counting relays) dating back to the Habanero Hundred on August 22nd. Additionally, it was my fourth straight solo victory dating back to the Country Run 5000m on October 11th.
|Habanero Hundred||100 mile Relay||12:33:30||1|
|Ragnar Relays||120 mile Relay||16:03:29||1|
|Fort Ebey Marathon||26.25 miles||3:28:33||1|