Too many weeks have passed without so much as a peep. It’s been a busy and productive 2011 so far and there just hasn’t been a lot of spare time. Here are a few important updates.

1. The Cal. Internataional Marathon was a complete catastrophe. I came home totally bummed, had a good cry and then went about re-hauling my entire training program.
2. I’m now working with a personal running coach to help me reach my long-term goals
3. My work schedule is crazy pants. Maybe that’s not so new, but it is certainly very crazy at the moment.

Anyway, I’ll talk more about the above points later on. It’s enough to say that my training has undergone some major changes. I went into today’s race without too much anxiety. My new training program has focused mostly on building endurance and I haven’t been doing much speed work at all. I was eager to get out in the mud and push myself as hard as I could.

The Race

The race took place in a rustic state park outside of Portland. The Cyclist, The Dog and I bundled up and hit the road at 7:00 Am. We arrived at the race venue with plenty of time to park and walk to the race start. There were only about 350 runners for both the 5K and 10k events. Despite the small number of runners you could see that the race had attracted a core set of serious and fast runners. It seems that Oregonians like their mud, rain and single-track.

I picked up my bib number and made a bee-line to the porta-potties. Race anxiety mixed with coffee can do a number on my stomach and I was happy that the line was short. There is nothing, nothing, worse than a long porta-potty line before a race. With that taken care of I gave The Dog a pat, dropped off my jacket and warmed up around the start line.

Finally it was time to race. It was a mass start with 5k’ers and 10k’ers toeing the line in one massive group. The air gun went off and the group sprang forward. We crossed a small bridge and then immediately directed off the path an onto a large, muddy trail. It was flat but extremely muddy and extremely slippery. The herd churned up the mud and I instantly regretted my choice in shoes. I wore my New Balance trail shoes. They’re light and minimalist which is great – but they also have very little grip and I had nothing with which to gain traction. I felt like Scooby-Doo; my feet churned but I seemed to go nowhere.

The mud made this fairly flat course extremely difficult. In someplace the mud was thick and gooey like frosting. It would suck at your shoes and slow your roll. In other places mud slicks send runners flailing. In short this race was hard and dirty work. The first two miles were awkward and painful for me. After Mile 2 I settled in and was able to run well.
The results of the race were solid if not impressive.
Overall Placement: 4th place
overall time of 44:53.
Average pace: 7:13 min./mile

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