I didn’t set expectations for the Duvall Double, but I set a couple goals. I wanted to be around 12ish minute pace for the half on Saturday and around a 13 minute pace on the insanely hilly 10k.

Yes, those are slow goals to have.

I’m just four weeks into my season, having taken three months off for travel and life, with not a lot of training going on since I ran with the flu at Wine and Dine in November and then my Chewie got sick in December. I finished the third race of last season, the Tinkerbell 1/2, with barely any training in between the races. November to March was probably the most stressful time of my life. April was all travel, and May well, let’s just say, training has been pretty spotty.

I knew I wanted a long slow run for the Irwin Group Duvall Centennial Half. The course limit was 3 hours, and I wanted to finish under 3. I hoped to keep the pace closer to 12. I didn’t want to push it, especially with the 10k the next day, and I didn’t want to injure myself. My longest run this season (started just May 1, remember) was just 7.68 miles. I didn’t taper. The 13.1 miles was just another long, slow run a couple minutes slower than actual race pace. A training run that happened to have a medal at the end.

Despite getting up at 4 am, the first 10 miles or so were great. Well, except ArtBoy started complaining about his knee around mile 5 and I landed on a rock wrong and twisted my ankle somewhere (note: wear trail Vivobarefoots on trail) I was fine, he was not. We still stuck to a 12ish minute average pace with walk breaks until Mile 10. That’s when I got dizzy. I run through most of what’s thrown at me, but dizziness required some attention. I had a Gu and some M&Ms….I had a ton of junk in my various pouches and pockets. Started feeling better, so I’m thinking low blood sugar. (Note to adjust Gu or figs to every 30 minutes instead of 45 for future early morning runs…I am not a good morning runner/person).

I would like to say we were off at that point, but by the time we walked most of mile 10 (14:03 mile), ArtBoy’s knee and my ankle were complaining loudly. Mile 11 started out okay, but turned out pretty spectacular despite the over 15 minutes it took to complete. A deer wandered onto the trail and stared at us. I suppose if we were competitive or lived in the country, we would have just kept running. Instead we stopped and waited for it to cross. It really just stared at us for a long time until I took my phone out to take a photo, then it ran fast…

Mile 12 was a little better, and mile 13 started out well, until ArtBoy yelled snake. At that point, we were running 2 minutes and walking 30 seconds, which is a slow interval, but whatever. We were slowed by the knee, but floored by the snakes. I looked down and there were two snakes coiled up inches from my right foot, one slithering around, and a fourth coiled in front of me. I apparently jumped. I was there and then I was on the other side if the trail. I had just started to run and that shock sent me for a loop. I thought about taking a picture, but decided to just trudge along. My ankle screamed at me.

Well, we weren’t last. We made it under 3 hours, which as you might remember was my post-surgery goal I didn’t make last season. It was a gun start with tear timing and the clock read 2:53 something…about 11 minutes slower than I hoped, with a 13:17 pace on my Garmin. Still a 15 minute improvement over last year’s best, but not a PR. Pretty okay for a month into training. I’ve got several weeks to improve.

After the course basically closed, we cheered on the final two runners. They still got their medals.

At home, I iced my ankle and rested–hydrated and ate. And the next morning it started all over again. Well for me, ArtBoy sat the 10k out.

Did I mention four weeks into training? I knew this was the toughest road 10k in Washington–the first couple of miles are uphill. I didn’t realize how drastic an almost 700 foot climb really is, especially in spurts. I planned a 2/1 interval. I had no pretensions of being fast. I wanted to finish injury free and ready to run 12 miles next weekend. “It’s a training run” echoed in my head.

Everyone recognized me from the day before–pink hair will do that to you–so I got a lot of questions. Everyone on the course kept telling me that only about 5 or 6 of us were attempting the Double. I was the only one who basically finished last the day before. I told everyone I was fine and taking it easy. Two mediocre runs were better than one good run and one hellish run. (Seriously, Dragon wants me to run a half with her in a couple weeks, so I have to keep my energy up!)

Then I hit the first hill. And when I say first hill, I don’t mean up then down then up. I mean up, turn a corner, up some more, turn a corner, up some more. My calves laughed at me. My ankle screamed at me. Running hills in Ballard over the last month did not prepare me.

I walked. Slow. All the way up. Two 15-minute miles.

I knew if I made it through the first two miles uphill, I could do it. By the way miles two through four-ish are pretty much uphill too. Only the last mile is really down hill, and it’s steep and hard to run down without killing yourself.

I’ll spare you the embarrassing details. I finished at 1:22, a 13:19 pace (13.13 on Garmin). Second to last. At least my splits were super negative. They called me out by my pink hair over the speakers…..

The timekeeper called me and the woman I ran in with over. Turns out we were the fastest last place finishers he ever timed. He further made us feel good by saying there are many people who finish 5ks in that time. The 10k course limit was 1:45 minutes, so hey.

While this race wasn’t a PR or a great time for me…I took it easy and had fun. The volunteers really made it special. Dina made me feel like a champion, and organizer Paige is simply amazing. I will be back next year. Maybe faster!

To top all that, we won the garden wagon at the Duvall Firefighters Pancake Breakfast raffle. Picking it up tomorrow. Can’t wait!


Well, I did it. My ankle is swollen but not painful at all today. Calves are a little tight, but not bad. I don’t feel like I raced 20 miles, but then again I didn’t. My long slow training runs were pretty awesome this weekend.

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