I seriously considered pulling out of this race the week prior. Too much work, not enough sleep, and probably not enough calories had made me tired. The last thing I thought would be a great idea with my only 3 days off in several weeks was to drive 10 hours northward, run 60K, then drive 10 hours back. Jim left me a message mid week and deep down, I had hoped that he was having the same feelings. Near the end of Jim’s message he said something along the lines of how excited he was for the race. Well, that was that. I had committed earlier on and I couldn’t ditch out. The Element was sparsely packed and I headed north bound. Even though sleeping for days on end sounded amazing, that’s just not my style.
Most of the runners camped near the start the night before the race. I got the pleasure of sleeping in the Element, sunroof open, stars twinkling. The North Cascades are my favorite mountains and I was delighted to be sleeping at their eastern border, that was, until my sleeping pad went flat. Any sleeping condition beat what I had going on last year… waking up in the back of my Subaru which was parked on an incline, curled into a ball against my hatchback. So I dealt with my flat pad by not doing anything and reawoke a few hours later to my alarm and the silhouette of jagged peaks.
The course was longer this year due to an attempt at making the Forest Service happier than it was after last year. Now, instead of 7 miles of uphill single track right off the start, we had just over 10 miles of first road, then trail. It literally went up and up and up a road, then a trail in the woods, then a huge alpine meadow, then Sawtooth Ridge.
In my haste of trying to keep up with the fast ladies, I missed viewing alpaca at a lake and a trio of loincloth wearing individuals. No they were not in the same posse, although I bet that would make for an interesting weekend. Yitka and I did encounter a rattle snake a few miles before the finish, and from there on I jumped every time something rattled in the bushes.
After finishing the run, eating some of everything possible, and laying on the ground, a bunch of us talked about upcoming plans. Most runners will be attending at least one of the following: Cascade Crest 100, Cle Elum 50, Spokane 50 or a number of races in the Seattle/Bellingham area. This is the first time in a long time that I don’t have an upcoming race. Maybe I wont attend another running event until Orcas. Not quite sure. With some help from Jim, I did decide that I would enter a 100-mile race next October. That gives me just over a year to train. So there is a bit of a plan there. It could be the change in season, but something keeps nagging me and I feel like I have to change my game plan. Not only in running, but also in everyday life. Cause I don’t want to feel like I am just here to see what I can see. There has to be something more to it than just that.