29 September 2009

So I Run

The earth is turning brown and I'm turning white and the blue sky is old and no longer easily impressed. So I run.

The wind is getting cold and I'm getting older and everyone is getting older, too. New shoes, new shorts, worn trails, same changing seasons. Same changing seasons.

So I run.

It's a lonely car at 5:30 in the morning. After a long summer, even the sun is too tired to get up this early anymore. Sadie's head hangs out the window and I bundle up with an extra sweatshirt. There are lonely dirt roads at 5:53 in the morning.

The mountain is green from a distance but up close it's orange and yellow and red. Up close I am dark under the pine canopy. Up close my skin is creased and brown. Up close my fingers look no different than my grandfather's. So I run.

The earth turns brown and there is no one to impress. The seasons won't stop and the sun won't stop and the sky won't stop and the earth won't stop, so now I will run.

13 September 2009

Moscow Mountain Madness race report

So there's a killer 12 mile trail race on some of my favorite trails right up the road from me. I ran it for the first time yesterday. Sweet.

They call it Moscow Mountain Madness. No dogs allowed on the run, though. This is the reason I haven't run this race since I found out about it a few years ago. Part of the joy I get from running is to run with Sadie. But I decided to give it a shot this year. And to make it up to Sadie, I promised her some extra fetch and no bath for at least three more days.

Early morning registration

Getting my game face on

Sadie stretching with me
in hopes of getting to run too.

There were two divisions of mountain bike races that started 10 minutes before the runners. Some of the trails were shared, but with their head start there wasn't much of an issue. Here you can see the runners starting:

(from race website)

I run these trails often, but I usually don't try to burn through them because I've never been faced with an ominous clock ticking at the finish line. You've seen my posts, I love to stop and take photos. I find vistas and enjoy the views. I love to find creeks for Sadie to swim in. So I was very curious to see how I could handle the trails with a little bit of speed incentive.

The run course was basically an out-and-back. (The advanced bikers got a lot of the sweet, looping single track for themselves.) Climb for five miles, then a couple miles of ups and downs, then descend to the finish.

Google Earth snapshot of the course

I felt pretty good the entire way. I've gotten used to walking up to conserve energy for ultra distances, but I pushed hard and basically ran the entire distance - minus a few water station stops and short burst hikes up the steeper terrain. It's a great feeling to see the training I've put in pay off in something more than the ability to eat more chocolate chip cookies then I should. I charged hard on the descent and it felt great. Wish Sadie could have run, though.

View on the climb near mile 4
(stock photo from my Moscow Mt. library)

Cruised to the finish line in about 1hr 41min (8:25 min/mile pace). The results haven't been officially posted yet, but the results board placed me 9th overall on this tough 12-mile course. I'll chalk the race up as a success.

I am a rock star
(in my own mind)

Keep running!