Chuckanut or Bust (Part 1 of Hopefully 2)

Some people to go Key West for a girls’ weekend. We do a 50k!

When Krissy Moehl became an ambassador for our shoes in 2010, Emily, our PR guru, said we should run the Chuckanut 50k (Krissy is the race director). I told her that she was crazy. At that time I had a few 4-9 hour adventure races under my belt, but the longest dedicated running race I had ever done was a 10k (as I note in my profile, I don’t consider myself a “runner”; I am also not in denial). Fast forward to May 2012: Krissy spoke at our global conference and was so inspiring. Again, Emily said we should do Chuckanut. Having just run the Riverbank Run (25k) with Annie that same weekend (I didn’t really care for the distance), I again told her she was crazy. Well, last summer I started thinking that maybe Emily wasn’t so crazy (silly me). Around August, Annie sent an email to De anne and me stating that she was inspired by watching a friend or cousin participate in the Lake Tahoe Ironman and decided that we needed to pick an exotic destination for a cool, flat marathon. Well, I told her I had the perfect event: Chuckanut. Annie’s response: I said “flat” and a “marathon,” not a hilly 50k! Emily’s response: “we’ve got this.” The rest is history.

The crew from Michigan: Annie, De anne, Bridget and me. The crew from Connecticut: Emily, Nicole and Mike (Emily’s brother-in-law; Chuckanut will be his third 50k this year). Our 8th house mate is the fabulously fun Cherie from UltrAspire (she’s working the race as a sponsor).

In December, training for the race took on a different meaning for Emily. Her dad had been sick for a long time and his health had turned for the worse. Emily was there for all his dialysis treatments and their already tight bond had become even tighter. She was concerned about not being by his bedside if she went to Chuckanut. He told her that she had to do the race and go slow so she can enjoy every step (I don’t think going slow will be an issue for us). On January 25, Emily’s dad passed away with Emily and her brother by his side. As sick as he was, he was smiling. Training became healing for Emily. In one email, she replied: As Krissy says, "There are not many issues in life that a long run cannot solve. It's just that sometimes the run needs to be a little longer."... And I think 50k may just be the length we need!!!” A few weeks ago she expressed nerves about the race to her mom. Her mom told her that if your dad was here, he’d tell you “don’t be a f*cking wimp.” We know that her dad will be watching over us and giving us strength every step of the way.

The race is in a few hours. Hopefully I’m in a good mental state post race to write a recap, but for now, here are a few things that I have learned. I am sure most of you know this, but being a novice, I thought I would share for anyone else considering doing their first trail marathon or 50k.

  • Don’t increase your overall mileage more than 10% a week. Our official training kicked off late November. I thought I had the ability to go from 15 miles to 25-30 the first few weeks of training. NOT a good idea. Needless to say my knees hated me and I had to take two weeks off of running (typically knobby, my knees looked liked swollen melons). I was nicely scolded by Jeff Browning and Krissy at a trade show.
  • Cross train to build your endurance. I realized my body could not handle 4-5 days of running, so I only did 3-4. Instead of running 4-5 miles during the weekly runs, I jumped on the treadmill for 1-2 miles before TRX or circuit training. For the long midweek run, I ran 4-5 miles on the treadmill before a 45-minute spinning class. Every Friday I hiked for two miles at 15 degrees at 3.5-3.9 mph.
  • Roll, roll, roll. I finally purchased a Trigger Point roller for Christmas, and what a difference it made. I rolled for 5 minutes before and after every run and workout, and sometimes at night. Between mixing the running with cross-training and rolling, my knees have not bothered me since.
  • Have strong-willed and slightly crazy training partners. If it we had not had each other to keep ourselves on track, I don’t think we would have stuck to our training plan with the brutal winter and the alternative of running 12-20 miles on a treadmill (though I thoroughly enjoyed watching Skyfall and the Breakfast Club). But I know you know this because you are part of a fabulous group of trail runners that you know will hold you accountable, rain, sleet or heat!

Stay tuned! Chuckanut or Bust!