Kris, Tina, Wendy and I ran the Cle Elum Ridge 25K Trail Run on Saturday – I call it the Cle Elum Ridge 17 mile Trail Run because the course was a mile and a half long. Based on the few organized trail runs that I’ve participated in I can say that so far two constants hold true: cool people and beautiful women. Nearly all of the gals had a dog on a leash, a big white smile and a halo-like glow that comes from ample time spent in the out of doors. If I were a single fella I’d be at one of these races every weekend.
It’s been extraordinarily wet, even by Pacific Northwest standards, recently and I expected a muddy course, but what I didn’t expect was all the standing water. The race course was on an ATV track and those knobby tires and internal combustion engines leave behind a rocky, potholed, stair-stepped mess. Luckily we only encountered only two riders as I think most of the bikers tuned into our presence and wisely chose other routes. The course also involved a lot of monster climbs most of which were best climbed at a fast walking pace in order to spare the calves and thighs.
My disadvantage on a hilly course is the downhill portion – I just can’t seem to let ‘em go and fly downhill, and consequently lost a lot of time on the descents. Concern over more stress fractures combined with a fear of rolled ankles and a general lack of catlike reflexes keeps me overly constrained when going down. I followed Tina for a while and was amazed at how nimbly she floated downhill: she was skipping and dancing while I was skidding and sliding.
I carried a Nathan Quickdraw handheld water bottle which I’d bought the day before, and filled it with Cytomax. I liked the handheld, it was easy to carry and comfortable, but disliked the Cytomax. The last time I used Cytomax was 2002 on a climb of Manaslu in Nepal and had no trouble, but on the run it upset my stomach. Perhaps it’s better used at lower intensities.
My finish time was 3:23 and during that time I took on 20 ounces of water, two and a half gels, two Oreos, a handful of gummy bears and two fun sized Snickers bars. I might have been a bit light on the hydration but other than that I felt really strong at the finish and had no signs of bonking.
Long trail runs become kind of a solo event and after the first aid station at mile 5.6 Kris, Tina, Wendy and I were all kind of on our own. It’s cool that even though each of us ran our own race we finished sequentially, each of us just minutes or even seconds behind the other. Jim Varner puts on a great race, and I felt fine for the entire seventeen miles. I think next stop will be the Orcas Island 50http://orcasisland50k.blogspot.com/K.