Saturday, June 30, 2007

Tiger Mt. ~15.75 miles

Current Mile total: 785 miles

Today's run was out at Tiger Mountain. It was my second trail run with the SRC training program and I think I was in much better shape than my first. It wasn't nearly as hard. Or was it that I was just more prepared to walk/hike this time. And my pin in my ass didn't show up as badly although it still was a factor. We met up again at 9 am at the High point Trail head and were given maps by Byran. Another experienced ultra runner who ran out and marked the course for us. I started with Kathleen from the 50k and Kathleen, a friend from the Redmond Footzone club. We immediately hit the bathrooms on the way out so the majority of the party went on ahead. So with one other guy(I can't remember his name) and the two K's I headed out at a leisurely pace. This course started with a few minutes of flat warm up, which was a nice contrast from last week. But then we hit "Poo Poo Trail" and it was nothing but climbing for the next few miles. Man, it was tough. We just took it slow, run, hike, run hike, until eventually after what seemed eternity we started our decent.

OK, call me a bit dork, but this type of running reminds me of the chapter in the Lord of the Rings where Stryder, Gimli and Legolas track the Orcs in attempts to rescue Merry and Pippin. NAY!!, I am not a dork, I am a geek for knowing the actual names. At any rate. There's something primal about traversing miles of mountainous landscape at a break-neck speed. Almost as if you're life depended on it. I absolutely love trail running. I'm finding that I'm a bit of a dare-devil on the down hills. I think growing up on skis taught me how to read the right lines and fly down hills. When we got to them, I would put a lot of distance between me and the other runners. And I swear, just for Karma's sake, I'm trying to go at a conservative speed. After about 3-4 miles our group of 4 actually split and it was 50k Kathleen and I running as a team. I can't express enough how good of a runner she is. She really is tough and keeps a great pace. And she's willing to tackle anything just for the challenge. Here's a very badly taken picture of her taken at around 9-ish miles, maybe?

The trail changes constantly and you're faced with many different types of terrain. From wide open trails covered with a soft bed of pine needles, heavy with tree cover and eerily quiet; to the thick overgrowth of vines and weeds that rip across your legs and hide the dangerously muddy rocks and roots below. Sometimes you're hiking painfully slow uphill as your heart pounds deeply in your chest and you pray for mercy and an end to the suffering; then moments later you're flying downhill like a crazy stallion fiercely calculating every step and screaming to yourself, "YES!! NOW THIS IS RUNNING!!" It's like mountain biking for the sane. Still able to get the rush of timber by your ears, still able to accidentally check an unforgiving tree but a speed that has fewer consequences. And the workout. It's a great one. My legs are wonderfully exhausted after this run. Not painful, but rather glowing weariness that hints toward future strength.

At any rate, we finished the loop and decided to run for a little more so we could get the 16 miles needed. We just ran around the base trails for about 25 mins. Overall it was a great day for running. I felt tired at the end but still strong. Hmm, only 34 miles more

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