Saturday, June 12, 2010

7.5 or maybe 8 miles (who knows)


Better late than never, right? For a race report I mean.

Cougar Mountain 7.5 (although it could be 8 but opinion is divided on the subject).

I forgot my Garmin!

The weather of late has been simply dreadful (ask anyone). A couple of days of sun followed by grey, wind, and rain. Though technically still Spring people in the Puget Sound are deeply ready for summer to begin. Me too.

But this day, this day was a wonderful day for a race. Warm and dry after a week of drenching and chilling rain.

I got out there early enough to have a nice warm up and as I was kitting up in the parking lot I struck up a conversation with a woman about to run her first trail race. She had been running the course in the rain two days before and told me how mucky it was. She was nervous and peppered me with questions about what to expect and how everything would work. Listen to the RD's talk and have fun I said.

After my warm up I went to stretch a bit and was greeted by BM who had been out marking the course, was going to man the water station, and sweep the course. I know him from Seattle Running Company (now Fleet Feet Seattle). We chatted a bit, he wished me luck, and I went to stretch.

The RD gave his talk and noted that there were lots of puddles. How to handle them? Run straight through them as that is where they are the least muddy and slippery. Of course your feet do get wet.

And then we were off. Around the very mucky meadow to thin the pack out, up the road, and onto Klondike. All the way through the mucky meadow people were complaining about the muck and the fact that their feet were getting wet.

I was feeling pretty good. Just trotting along and enjoying myself when I ran into a knot of runners slowed down by a puddle. I cut right and went through while everyone else tried to not get wet going to the left. As I passed I heard "You know, all you need to do is say 'On your left!'" but just kept going and was soon running basically alone going up Lost Beagle.

This was a good run for me, the longest in a while and the first, since Eugene, where I ran the entire time (not a step of walking). It was important for me to do this, mentally important.

Water and gel at the three with a "Good Job Robin!" from BM and off I went, up the hill, for the next 4.5-5 miles. Kept on getting passed by some folks who would slow way down on the hills and I would then pass them. One, a 13 year old wearing a Germany soccer jersey, kept on flying past and then . . .

This went on the rest of the time but by the time I got back to Fred's Railroad for the final .9 miles I was completely alone and I stayed that way until the finish. Sprinted to the finish and crossed feeling good and with a smile on my face.

Ran into MW, a colleague at TLF, who also raced. She was icing a hamstring that she torqued badly at mile 4 and had to run the rest of the course to get out. Ouch!

How long was the course? The chatter at the finish line had it more like 8. Last year my Garmin measured 7.96 so I'll go with that.

How did I do?

Slower than last year but that is not surprising given the difficulties I've been having recovering coupled with increased weight and work-stress. Still, I finished and did so happily looking forward to the next race and to refocusing my running to the next goal.

I drove home feeling revitalized . . . singing all the way.

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