Workout Wednesday: Ski to Sea

alternate title: Sit on the Couch and Read My Kindle Wednesday

I haven’t blogged for a few weeks, which has worked out pretty well for Workout Wendesday because after the North Olympic Discovery half marathon I haven’t done a whole lot as far as working out goes. Running two times a week, just enough so that I can eat ice cream on the weekends and not crumble into a pile of shame, has been my modus operandi. Today’s Workout Wednesday is my much overdue race recap of Ski to Sea, and to be completely honest, I have been simultaneously excited about and dreading this post for two reasons. First, the atmosphere of Ski to Sea is difficult to convey in real life, let alone through words on a screen, and second, I knew it would be crazy long and self indulgent and probably difficult to read. So I apologize in advance!



This is Team Ocho Pinko. The Ocho Pinkos have been together in for (I think) five years, I’ve only been a part for the last four, and as you can tell by our matching hoodies, it’s a pretty tight knit group. I got drafted on as the runner in 2010, partly because I missed Bellingham enough that I was willing to sacrifice my quads, and partly because sane (read: older) people like to keep the cartilage in their knees springy. I feel like this needs a bit more of a detailed explanation…

Ski to Sea is an eight person, seven leg 100(ish) mile relay race from the top of Mt. Baker to Bellingham Bay. It takes place every Memorial Day (so forget about family reunions or camping) in beautiful Bellingham. The race starts at the Mt. Baker ski area, where a cross country skier circles the mountain. They hand off to a “downhill” skier who climbs to the top of the mountain (no lift chairs here, the “downhill” ski is really more of an uphill hike) and then skis or snowboards down to hand of to the runner (that’s me!). An insane fool of a runner barrels  straight down the mountain from the ski area to the DOT station, forever ruining their knees in the process, and hands off to a road biker. Said road biker cycles up to the Canadian border and then back down south to a canoe launch in Everson where two eager racers are waiting for the timing chip. The canoers launch their boat and then paddle down the river to a mountain biker, who then gets extra dirty and gnarly on his way to hand off to the final leg. The penultimate task of the last leg of your team is to kayak out in Bellingham Bay to the beer garden, where they will finally ring their victory bell!


Every time I’ve participated in Ski to Sea, the weather has been impeccable, except this year. Good old unpredictable Washington weather! Not only did it rain the ENTIRE time our xc skier and downhill snowboarder raced their respective legs (I sat in the car half the time trying to stay a little warm thankyouverymuch), it also poured during the ENTIRE eight mile run and then dumped the ENTIRE time the band of 500 or so runners waited for our rides to pick us up at the DOT station after the run. We all waited at least an hour for our mountain folk to pick us up as the roads were closed to make it safe for the runners. You know how people say, “there’s no such thing as bad weather, just unprepared people”? THIS WAS BAD WEATHER.

The actual running part of my leg was not terrible. After about three miles, my frozen feet (standing in the snow waiting for your downhiller will chill a person’s toes) finally started thawing. The only bad thing about having numb feet for the first part of the race is that you can’t feel your toenail rubbing the top of your shoe, so you can’t do anything to adjust yourself, and then you lose your toenail… but that is the mark of a hardcore runner AMIRITE?! (Please say yes so that I don’t feel so badly about my ugly feet.) I found a great groove (and a friend!) stuck to my pace, and passed a few people. I also got passed by a few people, but I ended on a really strong kick. Maybe I should have pushed harder in the beginning of the race, but I felt pretty pleased with my performance.

I hadn’t planned on PRing that day since I had NODM the week after, so I wasn’t upset when I was a little over 2 minutes slower than my course PR. I couldn’t get my Garmin to turn on, so I don’t even know how my splits were. That’s a great example of how crappy the weather was! My fingers were too cold for my Garmin to register, but sometimes the raindrops would activate the touch sensors. Gross. I still had a great time before, during and after the race with my OchoPinkos.

Official Time: 1:05:57 (the slowest Sarah of the race… boo)

average pace: 8:19/mi

level of exertion: 6.5/10

level or soreness 8/10 (it’s that G.D. 2000+ foot decline! my ears popped!)

*pictures were grabbed from my teammates’ facebook pages*


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