Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Chuckanut 12km Trail Race - Alison in 1st!

Alison training threshold speed in May
This past weekend Alison and I traveled over the mountains to Bellingham for the Chuckanut Mtn 12km race, the last in the Bellingham Trail Run series. This is another classic up-and-down race, incorporating some great trails right outside Bellingham in Larrabee State Park, finishing the climb on the infamous "Chinscraper" portion of the trail before screaming down to the finish on FS roads. Leading into the weekend Scott had the race on my schedule but following some intensive anaerobic work and a hard lactate threshold session on Saturday, we opted to skip the race in order to recover for more hard training this week. Despite the decision, I was psyched to support Alison and to get a good aerobic threshold run in while spectating.

It should be mentioned that we pride ourselves on our thrift. Driving into Bellingham in our new-to-us, 240,000 mile-and-counting Subaru Legacy we excitedly scanned the roads around the start/finish area for a likely spot to pull over and sleep. Having done this countless times while traveling back and forth across the country for school, I have become quite adept at scouting discrete locales which won't draw attention from local fuzz. Unfortunately, Chuckanut Drive in Bellingham is about as untraveled as the Internet, and we found no privacy. Come 10pm, and someone was getting cranky (and it wasn't our Husky). Finally, we found a short FS road with a small pull-out; we waited until the Park Ranger pleasantly informed us of the no camping rule when he returned from closing the upper gate, and then we promptly parked. Needless to say, it wasn't the most restful night because fitting two people and a dog in the back of a Subaru requires a shoehorn. But we made it to morning.
Walking away from the podium with more pottery for the shelf

Alison's training has been focused on building speed, so this 12km was a great trial. She started conservatively and built consistently all the way up the climb, steadily dropping all the other women and sitting easily in the top-5 or 6 of the overall pack. I ran along with Nikki for a while and paced the leaders while their pace stayed comfortable, then dropped back to see Alison coming and cheered for her for a bit. We then backtracked down the trail to make it to the finish where she crossed clearly in 1st for overall women.

Endless boxes of handmade, local donuts and fresh fruit? Best recovery EVER.
Best part of the day (besides the winner's mug)? The AMAZING spread that Candice (race director) put on; I have to say, many race organizers that I know could learn a lot from trail running races. Those folks know how to feed an athlete, and they still manage to make money on races while not charging more that $30-40 per athlete. Quite impressive.

Back to hard training this week. Track workouts, speed and power, and more aerobic distance work. We're getting into a groove now - the specific training portion of the year is nigh upon us. More to come!

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