Few people know that I've signed up to do Let's Climb a Mountain as a solo runner. So now you know. (I wanted to do the Centennial Trail Run last March but I was fully recovered from my hernia repair.) Three years ago I did my first and only marathon and I said I wasn't doing another because it was just too painful. So while technically I'm not doing a marathon--an ultra run is anything over a marathon--the question is, "Why?"
Short answer: I'm insane.
Since I run more comfortably for longer distances I thought I'd try an ultra and see if I enjoy it or not. I'm not racing anyone and I'm not trying to beat my last effort or finish in a specific time. The only time I'm concerned with is when the course closes. I'd like to cross the finish before that. Basically I'm running for the fun of running 34.3 miles, the last eight or so up a mountain.
Yeah. A first class ticket to the asylum.
I fueled up with three chocolate cupcakes (no frosting--thank you, Steph), two bananas and some water. I loaded my pack with GU Chomps and two sports drink bottles with chia seeds soaking inside. After hearing some thunder I checked the weather radar. It showed a birdshot pattern of small storms with very few of them south of town. Most were on or north of Spokane. I grabbed my rain jacket just in case.
Josh was kind enough to get up and drive me out to Mount Spokane Parkway and Forker Road. (Thank you, Josh.) I decided to run part of the route backwards to work. I took two hours off this morning to give myself plenty of time to run, clean up and eat. Mt Spokane Parkway and Peone are very lightly traveled at 5:30 in the morning. It was serene until I got to Bruce Road where the traffic picked up. Taking Market south to Freya was okay.
There was more traffic and the road shoulders are rough and strewn with rocks. Freya from Francis to Esmeralda Golf Course is one of the the worst places I've ever run. There is no shoulder, lots of gravel and rock intersections, and since it's mostly an industrial area, lots of big trucks. The run's site does warn you about that, but I don't think they convey just how atrocious it is. It's a harsh contrast to Upriver Drive and the Centennial Trail. Those last four miles were smooth.
View 19-mile Run to work in a larger map
I was fortunate to dodge all the bad weather. Lightning flashed and thunder boomed off in the distance to either my left or right but the storms never hit me directly. I did get a little bit of rain, but it was always light. The worst I caught was a 20-second hailstorm while coming down Freya. I stopped every 45-60 minutes to eat a package of chomps and drink chia seeds. Keeping up my energy wasn't a problem. But I do need to drink more water while I'm running.
Kathy asked me what my plan was for the run. It's pretty simple. Start off slow. Back it off a little. Drink, eat and drink. Relax and have fun.