I can’t call this a race report because a) it was a fatass, and b) I didn’t race it. So it’s like a long training run report, which I normally wouldn’t bother to rehash but given the number of people involved, I figure I should say something.
I dropped from the 34 to the 17-miler, as I only needed to get in 22-23 miles, so I planned to run nice and easy for the race then add an hour or so. I got to the checkin at about 7:55 and was still in the bathroom when everyone started. Oops. After 10 minutes or so I bullied my way forward enough to be able to run and settled into cruise mode. It was muddy, as has been said by anyone who set foot/knee/ass on the course. The first few miles of easy climbing were lovely, with a few sections that had me feeling a bit of a burn from my hilly tempo workout on Thursday. The middle of the course, climbing up the ridge and rolling through some beautiful forest in the mist, was easily the happiest parts of the trail- the running was good, the terrain was fairly dry and non-technical through here too. There were some longer road sections here too where I forced myself to let go of the 3 ladies sitting just ahead of me and the 1 right behind- normally I probably would have slaughtered my legs just to get some distance on them. Being able to dial back, cruise, and focus on the goal (Orcas) was very liberating. Also, to be able to step back from racing and just enjoy a course for the challenges and beauty it offered made the run mentally a lot easier. The downhill miles to the finish were fast and fun but the puddles and mud had grown drastically- it seemed like every 100 meters I was splashed up to the waist with cold water and mud. I was not excited about having to run more- I just wanted to be done. But I trotted into the finish, got a refill of water and a few chips and headed back out for another muddy wet hour. I spent those last 6 miles running a crazy series of out-and-backs, loops, and meandering through the parking lot trying to make myself keep going. My legs felt fine but my fingers were frozen and I was starting to get really really cold. And bored. Super bored. Finally finished around 11:45 and went straight to the soup and hot chocolate, double fisted it, then stripped down in the car to put on several dry warm layers. Hung by the fire for a while to see the 50k finish (yay Max!) chat with Gretchen, and see my 7hills teammate Chris (who actually wasn’t even there) and other friends finish, but got too cold and went home. All said, a miserable day on the trails in good company is better than a miserable one on the couch!