Beauty Makes for Better Training

Last weekend I had the opportunity to go to Leavenworth, WA, to make some new friends and do a bit of altitude training.  I used Google maps to plan out a route, then used USATF’s site to plot the elevation:

Woah!  I then checked the Auburn half-tri’s course:

Looks close enough to me!  My planned route didn’t quite work out as expected, as the “road” that Google showed running across the north end of Fish Lake wasn’t actually a road at all (I encountered a sign that said “snowmobiles only from this point”).  Other than that, though, the ride was great.  The sun was out, the birds were chirping, and once I got up over 2000 feet, the forests on either side of the road were blanketed in snow.  Here I am at my turnaround point at the northwest end of Lake Wenatchee, scarfing a granola bar:

It took me almost 3 hours to reach that point, due not only to the elevation gain but the strong headwinds that were pummeling me the whole way up.  I made it back down in just 90 minutes!

During the ride, there were certainly a few moments of boredom.  It helped to be able to look around at the lovely scenery and realize how lucky I am to be able to do this.  It also helped to have a ready supply of favored karaoke songs memorized to distract myself!

For dinner that night, I feasted on a massive burrito at South.  This ended up hurting me a bit on my 14 mile run the next morning (a couple laps of a loop around E Leavenworth Rd, Icicle Rd, and Highway 2), but at the time it was absolute perfection.

After my run, as we were packing up to go, I discovered that my bike’s rear tire was completely flat.  I realized that it must have punctured at this giant pothole I flew over at 25mph in the last 5 miles of my ride.  I had only a second to decide whether to veer into the road and risk being run over, or else pop a wheelie and hope my rear wheel survived.  I chose the latter, and it seems my rear wheel (or the tube inside, rather) held onto life just long enough for me to get back.  I really need to learn how to bunny hop.

In any case, I was reminded on this trip how much I love training outdoors.  Nature is energizing in a way the thumping beats at the gym just can’t match.


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