Tuesday, July 02, 2013

racin' jason...

do you ever get a song stuck on "loop" in your head? and it just stays with you for hours, no matter what else you're doing?

of course you do. silly question.

this was mine on saturday as i ran a half marathon at taylor mountain...

you could do worse over the span of a couple hours, i suppose...it just kinda played on background while the rest of me was on autopilot over 13.1 miles of ridiculous trail ranging all over the mountain.

the prerace briefing warned everybody about technical single-track trail and stream crossings and mud and loose rocks and heat and dehydration...all of which was spot-on. what it didn't mention was how much fun all that could be if you're feeling good and moving easily and have a breezy little tune playing in your head.

which would've been a pretty weird prerace meeting message, admittedly.

i don't have a coherent narrative for this event, just a bunch of free-floating impressions that are popping up as i write this.

there was mud. lots of it. more than once i saw someone plant a foot in the middle of the quagmire and come up without a shoe. they were obliged to go in elbow-deep to retrieve a shoe-shaped mud-thing. one guy reportedly schlurped through the muck for half an hour and came up empty, causing him to lurch the last few miles on one bare foot. which could not have been fun on the...

...long downhill strewn with loose rocks. you would think in a litigious america that race directors would never take a chance with this kind of liability exposure. thankfully, that wasn't the case at taylor mountain. i don't know how long it went on, this ankle-rolling knee-buckling teeth-jarring scree, but it wasn't long enough. getting through it unscathed was terrific, actual fun.
taylor mountain foliage.

narrow corridors of lush green foliage. there were places on the course where the growth of brush and ferns and wildflowers was so thick and unruly that it nearly closed off the path. the trail itself was pretty obscured, which meant you had to take many (many) steps on faith and hope for the best. some of the brush was composed of nettles and blackberry brambles, but still ~ beautiful.

horses (several). horse poop (lots).

streams...too wide to jump. the first one came early on, and my thought was, "i don't want to run the whole race with wet feet." so, all clever-like i daintily tiptoed my way across wet rocks and a mossy fallen tree trunk. dumb. wet rocks and mossy logs are a bone-fracture hazard, and dry feet were never an option this day. future reference: jump in, get through, get on with it.

roots. downed trees. low overhangs. steep, slippery switchbacks. thisclose to several full-on face-plants, complete with pupil-dilating adrenaline surge. awesome.

first race wearing my altra superiors. they hung in there on the sketchy terrain, and kept me upright where i might've deserved otherwise. the zero drop profile in these (and my altra torin road shoes) takes some getting used to, but now that i've made the adjustment ~ love 'em.

a great event put on by the folks at evergreen trail runs, who do a first-class job every time. now thinking about doing something slightly crazier toward the end of july, say the chuckanut mountain 30k.

"It has a little of everything and will test runners' skill on narrow and technical single track trails, long climbs and descents, a shorter steep climb, with some beautiful views from the Chuckanut Ridge, Fragrance Lake, and Lost Lake Trail. Course has about 5,000 feet of elevation gain."


s'ok. i couldn't catch anybody...

on my feet and moving.

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