"it's just a half marathon..." i said to myself.
ha ha. i am so dumb.
i mean seriously. by now i've run enough trail events to know not to take anything for granted. to know that there's no such thing as "just a half marathon."
and to know that you don't leave your legs on the trail during an 8-mile group run the day before the race.
oh, yes. i did that.
the course description for the rattlesnake ridge 13.1 says, "elevation gain: about 2700 feet." what it doesn't say it that the majority of that gain is in the first 5-ish miles. so if you left your legs somewhere in discovery park the day before, you might find yourself thinking, "i am a terrible runner. this is so runnable. i should totally be running right now," while you hike as quickly as possible.
so, as beautiful as the course and the day turned out to be (and they were gorgeous), my crabby attitude completely sabotaged the occasion.
saturday flashback: the group run was great, in that it was the first time since sun mountain that my legs actually felt healthy. in fact, it felt so good to feel so good that i was falling over myself to seize the day (even if it was the day-before).
and by falling over myself, i mean literally.
fall #1: stepped in a hole in the dunes above the bluff. whump. sand, all up everywhere.
fall #2: tripped on a root so cleverly disguised that it was nearly invisible even after i picked myself up off the trail and looked for it.
falling down is funny, really. especially when you're not the guy who fell down. twice.
i didn't fall down on sunday.
which i certainly could have done, many times over (and don't think that the thought didn't occur to me ~ many times over). the footing was tough in places, especially on the long descent to rattlesnake lake. lots of roots and rocks and lines of fall and, oh yes, the hoards of happy day-hikers heading up the hill.
"runner!" they'd sometimes say as we were trying to pass by without brushing, bumping or otherwise bulldozing grandma and baby hortense. other times no one said anything, and we slowed to weave through the sun worshipers and nature appreciators appreciating the sh*t out of the entire trail.
administrative note: as during most trail events, the rattlesnake mountain trail is not closed for the race. and i'm not saying it should be. i'm just saying, "holy sh*t, i hope i don't run into anyone or break my leg on this lovely downhill sprint and maybe i should slow down even though that's not so easy momentum and inertia-wise..."
i didn't fall down on sunday, and i don't believe i caused anyone else to fall down, either. any day i can say that, it should be considered a good day.
my attitude improved during the long downhill, possibly because i was moving at a more reasonable, gravity-assisted pace. then came the bottom of the hill, where you might think, "ha, i survived and i'm done!" and, like at sun mountain, you'd be wrong.
still to go was an interminable, flat-ish 3-mile out-and-back on the snoqualmie valley trail, which seemed to go uphill in both directions. you could see a loooong way down this section of old railroad right-of-way, and even though there were runners heading back from it, the turnaround point stubbornly refused to appear. this may have been symptomatic of my once-again deteriorating attitude...but i don't think so. i think someone was having fun, moving the sign farther and farther down the trail, just to see who they could make cry.
accord to the results web site, at some point i did cross the finish line. i'm not still out there, so clearly i stopped running, eventually.
i made (at least) two mistakes this day that i will endeavor not to make again:
#1: don't run the race the day before the race
#2: don't get so caught up in your "time" and "where you finish" that you make it impossible to enjoy a day that is impossible not to enjoy.
i mean, seriously.
rattlesnake ridge 13.1
mental difficulty: extraordinary
perceived exertion: more than sun mountain 50k
rattlesnakes seen: 0
fun had: 0
26/96 ~ overall
3/9 ~ 50-59