Every other Tuesday, from mid-April to the end of September, I participated in (and co-coordinated) the Kamiak Trail Series. The website describes the event as follows: "The Kamiak Loop Time Trials is a fun, tough, bi-weekly trail racing series set above the beautiful Palouse of southeastern Washington and north-central Idaho. [...] We want to provide a venue for trail runners to get together for a fun, run-as-fast-as-you-can, midweek run on a beautiful and challenging 2.25 mile trail."
Every other week, we changed the direction of the loop; on the first day of the event (April 12), we ran the loop counterclockwise, which consisted of running up the more gradual side of the butte and then running down the (really) steep side. And then the next week, we ran it clockwise and hiked up the steep side.
It is a very challenging course even though it is only 2.25 miles long!
At the beginning of the series, I got it in my head that I was going to shoot for a sub-30 minute loop by the end of the summer. My goal was completely arbitrary, but I liked round numbers, and it didn't seem out of the question since a few of the regular participants were able to do the loop in under 20 minutes. So, I got it in my head that I had to beat my time each week - no matter what.
Well... I learned a couple of important lessons in attempting to keep this deal with myself:
1) Setting goals creates good motivation for improvement. I improved a lot by the end of the series. I am glad that I pushed myself to improve, and I felt like I had a lot of support - from friends who enthusiastically asked me whether I beat my time. Yay goals! Yay friends!
2) Goals need to be realistic and somewhat flexible. When I set my goal, I didn't do so for any other reason than I liked the number 30. And on top of that, I didn't know that I would have two nasal surgeries and a long recovery. These things should have been taken into consideration... because without flexibility, one might cry after a particular race - oh, like maybe on August 16 - because one did not beat her last time. :(
Here are my race times in each direction:
42:04 - April 12
36:41 - May 10
34:11 - June 7
33:25 - July 5
32:27 - August 30
31:57 - September 27
39:01 - April 26
35:02 - May 24
32:35 - June 21
31:42 - July 19
32:48 - August 16
32:56 - September 13
I had a great time running, enjoying the amazing views on Kamiak, and BBQing with friends after the race. In a way, I am kind of sad that the Series is over for the year. But on the other hand, it is kind of nice not to have as many running-related time commitments; between Beer Chasers every Wednesday, weekend races, the Beer Mile, the Pullman Winter Ultras, and daily runs, I'm feeling like I am stretched pretty thin. I'd like a little more time to just sleep in and go fishin'. :)