I am very excited to be less than 24 hours away from achieving my major goal for the summer, finishing out the Cougar Mountain Series in which I am currently 32nd in terms of series points, 91 but who is counting (not too shabby for someone new to trail racing methinks).
Tomorrow is the hardest race of the series, 13.1 miles over the same trails as the 5, 7, and 10-mile races with the addition of the De Leo Wall, Marshall Hill Trail, Wildside, with the finish coming after climbing Cave Hole [map]. I've run this area twice and it kicked my butt both times. Of course, we are running it so that it is mostly climbing, steep climbing at that. That Race Director is a sadist.
"Are you going to race it?" my friends ask. "No", but how do you not race something like this? I'll be pushing, probably pretty hard too, hoping for somewhere around 2 hours and 40 minutes and will be thrilled if it is much lower and not disappointed if I don't make it. We will see, perhaps I'll be "chasing Uli" again. My hamstring is much improved too but still irritated which may be a limiting factor.
I am not nervous for a change, only excited and filled with anticipation. It should be wonderful running weather too—temps in the upper-50's (14) and lower 60's (17) with a 30% chance of rain. This certainly beats the steam bath out there this past week and the air has been cleared of smog too.
How do I feel having come this far towards achieving this goal? Pretty good actually. My sense of fun has returned. I've spent the last few years running trails and am no stranger to them but racing on them is a new thing as is actually running a series. I feel as if I have taken another step. Towards what I am unsure but it is a definitely a welcome step . . .
In the meantime, I have been laughing at this creative comparison between the Average Athlete vs Olympic Athlete that PT clued me into, doing my night-before race prep, and trying to figure out what to eat for dinner.
Wish me luck!