Monday, January 19, 2009

Capitol Peak Half


Me, in the car, pre-race

In the three years I've been running the 25K at Capitol Peak, we've had three different courses. The first year I got to run the original course. Last year that course was modified after severe windstorms caused some damage, plus there was an excess of snow at the peak. This year our December snow and January rain caused more damage, plus there was, again, too much snow at the peak, and so we got to run a completely new course. I love all three versions, and look forward to any of them (or something new) next year!


Jenny, in the car, pre-race

We started the morning in fog with temps in the low 30s. In the few minutes we stood to listen to pre-race instructions my toes and fingers went numb. Our start was uphill, which helped bring some feeling back, but it took a mile or two before I felt comfortably warm. Abi, Cat and I ran together, with a goal of enjoying the forest and the day. We knew that the others - who were all running the 50K - would need more time than us, which meant we could take it easy.

We were about two miles in when we saw Jenny walking down the trail toward us. We were bummed to discover she had twisted her ankle and was calling it a day. After many assurances that she'd be okay walking back, we headed on.



The course offered multiple types of terrain - smooth dirt, deep mud, creek crossings, rocky, dry stream beds, zig-zag switchbacks, more shoe-sucking mud, and puddles of water both small and large. At one point I commented that my feet were still dry and Cat told me I'd just jinxed us. It wasn't long after when my foot slipped from a fairly stable bit of mud into an ankle deep shoe-popping bit of mud and she got to remind me of my ill-advised comment. After that, I gave up on trying to avoid mud and water, even wading through two small streams rather than rock-hopping through - after all, it provided me with cleaner shoes!

I had a moment out there... We were running through the trees when what we thought was hail began dropping on us. We could see it falling all around, but when we looked to the ground, we saw small, flat panes of ice. Looking up, we discovered that the trees had iced over in the fog, and as the sun was beginning to burn through, the ice was falling off in chunks. The experience brought home to me the simple joy of nature, of sharing an amazing sight with friends, of the sheer exuberance of the day. It was a sight that I will likely never experience again, though I hope that future runs will bring that moment and those feelings back to me again and again.



We were the last of the first-loopers to come in, and we were greeted by the sight of Jenny, leg propped, ankle encased in ice, smile on her face. She was seated between the two burning barrels, and anxious to hear about the rest of the run. Her ankle looked like it had a tennis ball sticking out the side. We changed and ate, and chatted with everyone who came in. It came to me that this was the part of our races I usually miss, because I'm typically one of the last ones in. I got to talk to lots of people who are usually gone when I finish. I garnered a lot of interest with my veggie-bacon sandwich and ended up breaking off little pieces of veggie-bacon for others to sample. It caused a lot of laughs from the group (the verdict was that it looks like dog treats, but tastes much better. I wonder how they know it's better? Who tasted dog treats?)

Once Eric came in, cleaned up and ate, we brought the car closer and helped Jenny hop her way over. She reported today that it's still swollen and she's going to see the doc. Hope it heals quickly!

Next race is Saturday - Pigtails 50K. Pigtails is the first 50K I ever ran. (And, that day I thought I said I'd never do another). It's a 10 mile loop with rolling hills, and a short out-and-back. I know I will have company for one loop, and I'll probably be running the second two alone. I'm hoping for a slightly better time than before, and mostly, hoping to feel much better afterward than I did the first time. I'm in much better shape now and recover quickly, so I think that will happen. Here's hoping for another sunny NW day!

16 comments:

Irene said...

I am continuously in awe of some of the places you get to run, even though some of those places are freezing cold!

I hope Jenny will be OK.

justrun said...

Beautiful run there! I wish I could come do a loop with you next weekend.

robtherunner said...

Sounds like a great time.

Cat said...

That "hail" was unforgettable. Thanks for another fun run! Oh, and you DID jinx us! :-)

Darrell said...

The ice fall sounds truly spectacular.

Wes said...

What a bummer to twist an ankle so early in the race! Yea, it is kind of surprise to get an ice shower like that, and those suckers hurt!! (although I'm sure it was beautimous :-)

Annette said...

Sounds and looks like it was a beautiful (cold!) run. Bummer for Jenny - hope her ankle heals soon. Good luck on the next one!

Dori said...

Congratulations on another great run. The ice shower sounds beautiful. Good luck next week!

Jenny, Maniac #401 said...

Well, one of these days I'll get to post! I am still swollen and lovely bruises all over. After an long day of work I am swollen in new places. I felt like my foot would explode from the swelling! I have more range of motion today, but am opting for crutches for the week just to heal and help with the swelling. I am glad you had a good run and got to experience the neat hail effect. I am sorry I missed that. But it was okay to get to hang out with all the volunteers and other runners while I sat there too. Have fun at Pigtails. I think of you!
Jenny

Bret said...

Good job on the 25k Michelle. Have fun next week at the 50k. Gail and I are off to Hemet, CA for a trail marathon. See you all soon!

wendy said...

I could almost SEE your moment - you make running sound so very peaceful, even in the mud! =)

I saw you at the Y today - I was right behind you, but rushing to get to sharon's class on time. =)

I should be up to speed on my running in the next few weeks and hope to have some runs with you on your recovery days! I miss our chats!

olga said...

You are one tough chica, and there is nothing to ever stop you.

lizzie lee said...

Dear, first of all, I agree that the experience you had with the "frost" falling down must have been unique. I totally believe that these are the gifts we get everyday (Craig's post).

I am happy for the good time you had after the race, and sorry to hear about Jenny's ankle. If I do that kind of races that would be my "daily bread". I am kinda dumb walking on uneven terrain.

Please, let me know what is that veggie-bacon of yours. It didn't sound too appealing per your friends comments but I can give it a try...

Good luck in your Pigtails 50K, and no need to say, but....

keep running!

Joe said...

Great reports, Michelle.

You're OK on the speed question. Hey, you're not going to make the Olympic team...and you keep moving and thus stay in shape. And THAT is impressive.

Sunshine said...

You turn the world on with your smile!

RunnerMom said...

I'm thinking of a trail race---may I ask what shoes you run in on the trails?