The course started off with a little climb and some awesome sections of xc-skiing trails. Nice and gently rolling. Ran into a friend who took the early start. And then a plunge down the mountain.
I ran the first 17 or so miles with another Scott (we carpooled up together). He pushed my pace early on a little more than I had probably planned to push it, but it was good for me. :) The trails just didn't want us to go any slower they we were going. (And I was geeking out about my new shoes, so I had a little extra bit of adrenaline early on.)
It seems the more beautiful a course is, the more deceptively challenging it can be. When the views are photo-worthy and the trails are welcoming and the colors are spanning the entire spectrum, it's easy to get lost in the moment(s), but by mile 20 I got hit with a not-so-gentle reminder in my legs that I've been running and climbing for a few hours.
The summit of Mt. Spokane was the highpoint of the course, but from the starting line it didn't look like it was going to be that tough of a climb. But if you look at the elevation profile below, you can see that there was a bit of descending before we got to climb up to the top, and that it gets a tad steep near the top. My legs felt pretty strong most of the day, and even on the really steep stuff I felt I was able to keep a decent power-hike pace.
Did I mention the views were awesome? I bring a camera on just about every run I go on, no matter how short or far (never know what awesome photo-op there might be), but this was one of those runs where I was particularly glad to have my camera. Sometimes a race isn't so important that it's not worth stopping for a couple minutes to take some photos. :)
I eventually finished too. 5th place overall -- results.
Enjoy some images from Mt. Spokane:
|Mt. Spokane 50k elevation profile.|
|Gathering at the start. Mt. Spokane in the background.|
|This view greeted us at the top of our first climb.|
|Top of first climb too. The clouds were amazing all day.|
|Cruising with the other Scott about 8 miles in.|
(Photo by Candice Burt)
|Some sweet single-track.|
|More juicy trail.|
|Some rocky bits too.|
|Brooks' new Pure Grit. This is their new lightweight trail shoe.|
|From the summit of Mt. Spokane.|
|View coming down the summit.|
|Looking back up to the summit and the beautiful wildflowers.|
|Finished in 5:23:21.|
|Where's my beer?|
|Sadie didn't get to run this one, but|
she wasn't mad at me for too long.
My calendar is quiet for the rest of the year. I'll probably throw in a few more local races when they come up. And I'm going to try to get to the mountains with Sadie as much as I can before the snow hits hard.