Chuckanut, bagged!

Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), also called muscle fever, is the pain and stiffness felt in muscles several hours to days after unaccustomed or strenuous exercise. The soreness is felt most strongly 24 to 72 hours after the exercise. It is a symptom of muscle damage caused by eccentric exercise. After such exercise, the muscle adapts rapidly to prevent muscle damage, and thereby soreness, if the exercise is repeated.

This, I am currently suffering from.

However, Wikipedia fails to mention that DOMS from a Goal Accomplishment can lead to Delayed onset run elation (DORE).  Of this, I am starting to experience.  DOMS coupled with early symptoms of the flu have caused an increased delay of DORE for me but things are starting to subside and i’m starting to see and reflect.  See the day for what it was.  Reflect on how I came upon that day.  You never really know in life where you’re going to end up, even if you plan it down to a T because there are so many factors that are beyond your control.  By now, I had planned to have already requalified and run Boston .. but factors beyond my control, like a stress fracture one year and a hyperextended knee the next, changed my plans for me.  Time to pick up the pieces, see where they land, and pick another route.  2010 was all about recovery for me.  Knowing myself the way that I do, as soon as I register for a race, come hell or high water, I’ll get there.  So in 2010, I didn’t register for any “A” races .. no big goals .. just get better.  Get the “all clear” from all the docs.  Eventually, I got them but I still wasn’t 100% confident.  It was a weird space to be in .. shadows of my injury lingered but a hand was leading me out the door..

Days leading up to Chuckanut, the reality of actually getting to my goal race was hitting me.  And it scared me, frankly.  I hadn’t reached my goal race for over 3 years and the last time I got to the start line, I didn’t get my goal time.  My work schedule leading up to Chuckanut didn’t help either .. with it being so busy, I wasn’t able to run consistently.  It was probably more for peace of mind than anything else, but consistency settles me, even if only for a few miles at a time.

I was a bit nervous about the race but moreso in making sure I got to the start line.  Once I got to the start line, I knew it would be fine.  Time-wise, I believe I had set realistic goals for myself.  So, come race day, despite a bit of chill and wind in the air, I was happy.  I finally made it.  And it felt a bit like home.

The day was a bit of a blur .. but i do remember being happy.  Stupidly happy.  Chatting, smiling, laughing .. I knew my first benchmark was getting to aid station one between 55-65 minutes and I came through at 53 minutes.  Ron had warned me to be careful at the 2 dollar trail where there were steep switchbacks and could be quite slippery.  I didn’t realize when I first got on it until i nearly fell off the first switchback!  Too funny.  I think my next benchmark was aid #2 at 1:55-2:07 and I came through at 1:44.  I had given Tavis some gels to hand me at Aid #2 but they fell to the side of the bag so he never found them.  Luckily, I packed emergency gels in my pack so he grabbed them out of there – it pays to think ahead!  🙂

No idea when I passed through the next aid station but there was a timing mat there so given the stats, I came through at 2:21.  My predictions were 2:20-2:42 so apparently, I was right on target.  I think between AS#3 and AS#4, we ran along the backside and, although it was the muddiest section, it was sunny and windy.  I do have to be thankful for the couple of training runs I did down there with Ron and Hoz – we went through that whole middle section except for Chinscraper.  So lucky me .. rolling past AS#4 at 3:52 (predicted 4-4:32), it marked the start of Chinscraper.  And they weren’t kidding.  I managed to still maintain a good attitude, laughing at how ridiculously steep it was .. and the signs along the course helped too.

When we finally crested Chinscraper and started making our way down, I knew we were close .. and at first, the downhill was amazingly fun.  I knew I would gain speed on the downhill and i did .. but after 20 minutes, it became daunting.  And then tiring.  And then I started to wonder how much longer it was.  And then finally it was over .. I came into the last aid station at 4:42 (4:55-5:37 predicted).  A few things went through my mind at this time .. (1) I’d more than likely crack 6 hours, (2) all i wanted was water, (3) i need these arm warmers off, and (4) i was cranky, tired, and i had blisters on my big toes.   Luckily, Jonathan was there and he grabbed my arm warmers and then I started on the last 6 miles of the race.  The first few miles were loose gravel and were absolute torture.  Plus, my quads were wrecked from the downhill.

And then I found a secret .. as soon as I adjusted my form a bit, I was able to pick up my legs and got better turnover with less fatigue.  But then, we crossed a road and there it was.  Switchbacks going uphill.  It was so defeating .. I walked most of it.  But as soon as the trail leveled off again, I was back to good, with “good” being the operative word.  “good” being a relative term.  If I could have stopped right then and there, I would have.  But, finally, there it was .. I could hear the announcers .. and I crested the top of the hill and it was downhill all the way home.  My legs were screaming, my spirits were lifted, and my heart was overflowing.  It felt like over 3 years of hard work had finally come to an end.  Or maybe a new beginning.  I’m ecstatic.  🙂

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