Friday, March 23, 2012
Warning, this is an addictive sport. Mike, our WAC president, last year ran more races in one year than I have trail running.
Years ago I used to help out with the basic climbing class. One of the instructors, Richard Corry, had talked about this 50k trail run, Cle Elum ridge. (http://cleelumridge.blogspot.com/) he did. I did not think too much about it at the time. I have always been a runner. I have played around running on trails for something different. Some of my past climbing partners might accuse me of running while we were packing in or out of some destination. I think I was walking, I guess that is up to interruption.
One day I was talking to Richard and he asked me if I had considered running a 50k. My answer was, 31 miles? That is a long way to run. He asked me two questions that lead my life in a new direction.
1. (Richard) How far do I hike when I am out climbing some peak? (Me) Low 20+ miles.
2. (Richard) How much weight do I carry? (Me) Around 50 lbs. for alpine rock climbs on the approach.
He said that if I had five lbs. on my back how far could I go? There are aid stations about every six mile with food and water. I had to think about this. It seemed reasonable that I could cover the 50k distance. I gave this some thought. I talked to another friend that had run this race. She told me about Seattle Running Company, now Fleet Feet. (http://www.fleetfeetseattle.com/) I decided to take this on as a new challenge. I went to the store, bought some shoes chatted with the experienced staff and went on some of their training runs. Found a marathon training schedule on line. I modified this schedule to fit the 50k distance.
It is race day and it is raining out. Richard and Andrea are there. Richard is watching their child and Andrea gets to run this year. One thing about trail races, they are like an extended family reunion. Everyone seems to know everyone else. Everyone is standing around the starting line chatting. The time comes and someone says GO. Everyone slowly moves forward, keeps chatting and down the trail we go. I am thinking, wow that was low key. In the couple other road events I have done, people would be long gone. Here I guess with 50k to go what is the rush.
The race goes on and I finish. I got to see places I never would have gone hiking or climbing. It rained almost the entire run. I was very wet but was still warm. I got to run through some cold streams and lots of mud puddles. It was a satisfying thing to finish my first 50k. I hobbled over to my car, changed and took a short nap. They had a dinner for us there at the finish line and awards ceremony. People asked me how it went. For two weeks after it swore I would never do that again. I will live to eat those words a few times in my life. One month later I am thinking of this 50 mile run called White river in July the following year.