Excuse the blog absence, I've been having an off month....
The end of July, I did complete my first race repeat - The Mount Spokane 1/2. Last year, I was hesitant to register for this race. Even though I felt comfortable with the distance, I'd only had one experience with trail running prior, which could be considered rather tame (non-technical forest roads). When I received an e-mail from the RD disclaiming / warning that the distance was closer to 25k and that it was the most challenging run of their State Park Series, I was TERRIFIED (drastic understatement). The race was quite the adventure...it was HARD....3000' of elevation gain was like torture for this novice road runner. On the final climb, I was miserable and doubting whether I'd ever attempt another trail run....But then I reached the summit...Words can not describe the view that I was rewarded with. I'm still surprised that my heart did not explode. That was THE MOMENT....I was forever changed as a runner...maybe even as a person. And just so you know....I was so sore the following day that I literally fell on my face when attempting to get off the couch.
This adventure could not have been further out of my comfort zone. Because the organizer wanted everyone to be accountable for their own safety, the course was not marked and limited aid would be provided (along four checkpoints each with a generous cut-off). We had to rely on this navigational app called ViewRanger to follow the designated route. I'm no directional wizard...I used to joke that I could get lost walking to the mailbox and it was only a slight exaggeration. I was TERRIFIED that I'd be lost in the wilderness and consumed by some wild animal. I'm adventurous but still aware of my limitations....I won't be traveling alone to remote destinations no matter how glorious they may be. Well....I managed to score a running partner who knew the route and had no crazy time ambitions because it was her first 50 miler....I was STOKED and EXCITED! We started running at 5 AM (ouch ouch ouch).
Far Right - Lime Green Tank
Photo Credit - Sandee McKinney
Almost half of the elevation gain occurs in the first two sections (totaling seventeen miles). Needless to say, we were not booking it....And then we got lost! At this point, we had picked up another runner...it was like an unspoken agreement that we'd stick together. We reached the first checkpoint with only 30 minutes to spare. I was feeling physically strong... I mean, we hadn't really done much running at this point.... But making up time was proving difficult. There wasn't much flat....There were uphills and downhills....I'm a strong climber but I wasn't able to bomb the steep, technical descents. The condition of the trails right now is terrible. Due to a lack of a moisture, the dirt has turned into slick sand...Rocks that were once planted in the soil now set on top like marbles waiting to bring about your untimely demise. We reached the second checkpoint with only 15 minutes to spare....I quickly realized that I needed to stop anchoring the other women down. I didn't want to be the reason that they would not reach a checkpoint in time. This adventure was more important to them....Squamish was less than two weeks away and I'd already received plenty of grief from my husband about participating. It had taken us FIVE HOURS to trespass 17 miles....I can probably run a road 50k in that same time...The positive aspect was that I was not sore AT ALL....I even ran a few recovery miles that evening. My husband ended up getting sick with a stomach flu upon arriving home so I'm glad that I chose not to continue. My husband is the type of dude that would have drove around all day in order to be there for me while sick....and he never would have let me know until I was finished.
|A taste of the terrain|
Photo Credit - Dave Dutro, The Trail Maniacs