|Headed back down Ramo (taken in April).|
It's now officially a habit that when we go to my parents' house, we get Sunday morning to ourselves to go running while granny makes endless batches of pancakes and generally entertains the kiddos. A girlfriend of mine, who will be running the Walla Walla Half with me in October, has also been joining us on several runs. On Easter weekend, I posted about our run at Ramo (Not so) Flats and this was my first weekend to re-visit that road.
My friend D joined Mrs. V and I with the goal of going up 3-4 miles and then turning around to enjoy the fruits of our labor with a downhill jaunt. I was a little nervous because I've been flitting around the 2-5 mile distances for awhile and this would be my first 'real' run in a long time. I loved it. On the way up, we walked for the most part...it's a pretty wicked hill the entire distance with a couple short spurts of flat-ish relief. My goal is definitely to be able to run more than I walk on the ascent. Really, I'd love to run the whole thing in the not-so-distant future. There is zero shade, but the bliss of Eastern Oregon is that your sweat evaporates with the dry breeze created by your movement, allowing your body to cool itself in the way it was designed. This was, of course, felt more on the way down than on the way up.
But the glorious part comes on the way down; you just cruise and chat the whole way. Because it's a rutted out dirt road, it's almost like a trail run, so you're really concentrating on your footfall and before you know it, you're at the bottom of your 3.5 mile climb. I honestly thought I'd be taking a lot of walk breaks on the way down, but almost without thinking, we'd covered a mile when I first glanced down to reference trusty Pam.
I also had the chance to try out my new Nathan fuel belt, (it looks like this one, except there's a smaller bottle tucked in beside the large bottle) and it was the first time I was able to successfully drink while continuing to run, it didn't slide up at all and fit my iPhone in the zipper pouch. I filled the bigger bottle with water and dropped a tropical fruit nuun tab in, and then let the smaller bottle be just plain water. When we finished, I was incredibly sweaty and a little bit tired, but mostly I just felt awesome. I had been feeling pretty discouraged about running for about a month now, because I felt like I'd finished a marathon but then was right back to square one. Each run I went on until now seemed to be abnormally difficult. It's good to know that my muscles were suffering only a temporary amnesia. With that great run under my belt, I'm renewed in my resolve to beat my prior half-PR, with a time of 2:56 or better.
What are your current goals? Have an upcoming race? If you're in the Walla Walla area, I'm always looking for people to do long runs with, especially as they creep into the double digits!