I wrote this 4 weeks ago and forgot to post. Oops...
It’s looking like this years trail season has come to an abrupt end. Nothing broken or twisted just the rise of a few tell tell feelings that I hope to head off before they turn into something I can’t walk or run away from.
Inner thigh – hip tear from the beginning of the year seems to have set sail again and a nagging left foot problem that has been squawking louder and louder with every other run. Instead of my usual proven plan of “ignor-tion” I thought rest, relax, and mend. And just to make sure I got sick and came down with an ear infection to make sure I didn’t do anything stupid, like sign up for a half at St. Eds or 20 miles at Cougar Mt : /
Recapping this last year
Amazing – this year has opened up SO MUCH in perspective and falling in love with running again. Not just miles on the legs, but miles in the woods, through valleys, up mountains, across ravines, and rivers. Across that field of having to, to wanting to. Excited from the thought of what’s beyond the next ridge or meadow. Laughing out loud on screaming switchback down hills. Run, leap, pivot/swing, full gas, jump tight, bank, back to run…breathe. I love the downs - Peregrine diving towards earth.
Looking back on the races this year…
Squak Mt, first time my back crumpled from climbing, not after the first 1300’ in 2 mile stretch, but on the 2nd 800 ft mile climb. And the 1st time I fell trail running. BOOM, then silence. Mostly I remember the screaming downhill, the fog at the top, and thinking I lost the lead group, only to find out after that I was only about 30 seconds behind. Brutal, but can’t wait to dance with it again next year.
Chuckanut 30K – the first time I trained through a race. I had 34 miles on the week before the start which included a hill repeat 2 days before of 1200’ over 8 miles. The beauty of that course, amazing, a playground. Brutal climbs that I focused on like hill repeats. 2 minutes on, 1 minute rest/hike/walk, that lasted for 43 minutes!!! I learned never shelf what you think you can do. Hips tightened up and couldn’t run downhill for about a mile, painful, then it opened back up and I flew for the last 4ish long miles down to the finish. I pushed it so hard, hunting as many as I could find. 14th overall I think, tough, fun day.
Taylor Mt – I have a love/hate with Taylor Mt. This year the course won, I was hurting like no other race. Dehydration set in and I was out on fumes crossing the line.
Grand Ridge – I love this race, the half course has it all, steep climbs, steeper downs, rocks, streams, tight tight switch backs roller coasting turns through the trees. FUCK YEAH! By far my best race start to finish. Trust the game plan. Let everyone go at the start, run your own race over the climbs, then full gas engage everything on the twisting 4 mile downhill. Fight back out of there until the last downhill to the finish and everything gets burned to the ground. I crossed the line leaving EVERYDAMNTHING on the field. Good day.
Volcanic 50K, St.Helens, I just laugh thinking back on this one. The website clearly said, “This should not be your 1st Ultra”. I was ready, but what the hell was I thinking? Have to do again in 2015 : )
And fun is what it all was - and really what it comes down to. That constant mantra all season of – Fu*k this is cool. Gawd look at that. Holy Sh*t, hang on, this is SO –MUCH-FUN! Killing yourself up Si, Tiger, Cut Throat, Sqawk, etc…but damn it was like playing. Like seeing a new 2 story jungle gym on the play ground.
Training runs with the Girlie. New playgrounds just an hour from the house. A new community that’s excited to see others just try. Personal limiters raised, pushed aside, then raised again.
All year I’d say to myself, “It’s hard, that’s why it’s hard.” Running up Mt. Si comes to mind, but what fun. Looking across to Alley after some beast of a training run and knowing, yeah… that was sweet. That kicked the shit out of us, but that was sweet!
I’d like to thank Seven Hills Running for keeping an ear open for all the questions I had about my 1st Ultra and trail running in general. Also, his crew at the store that always keeps it real and down to earth, even if they’ve just raced and won some 50k or 50 miler that morning. Great work there Phil!
So for a few short weeks I’ll take it a bit easy, but 2014 and all the fun and excitement that that has in store will start to unfold all too soon. Today I even came home with another wall calendar for 2014 and a list that I’ve had with rough scribbles of dates and codes scrawled on it. Better get started and get that thing loaded up, feel like I’m behind already ; )
See ya out there sometime…