Sunday, July 15, 2007

Crystal Mountain 23 miles

Current Mile total: 859.25 miles

Today's run started out with big questions. Would we make it? Would yesterday's run ruin our ability to complete a grueling 23 miles in the mountains?

I headed over to Kathleen's place and picked her up. On our way down, not really knowing the way, we saw the SRC van pull up behind us and we were able to join the caravan to the starting point. We're becoming familiar with a lot of the faces now in the group and its just another little running family like my Footzone, and SRC except these people are HARD CORE!! After a quick restroom break at a gas station we all get to the trail head and with very little ado, we head out. The first 6 miles was all just rolling trails next to the white river. We actually had to run down in the basin for a stretch because the trail was damaged. We met Scott at the first of two aid stations around the 6 miles mark and he gave us electrolyte tablets. "take 1 every hour he says as he gives us a little stash to take with us. The tablets help your body process the water back into your muscles and help you avoid cramping. They're great! I used them first at the 50k. So after refilling our water bottles we headed out and up. The next 8 miles was all, and I mean ALL up hill. Aside for maybe a couple hundred yards it was climbing for the next two hours. Over 3000 ft of elevation change. We did a lot of hiking(walking) but amazingly we ended up still passing other runners. And it went by fast. When we finally reached the top we came across a mt. biker who told us that our next aid station was just about 3 quarters of a mile downhill. So with that exciting bit of knowledge we headed downhill fast running toward bottle refills and WATERMELON! As I bounded downhill giddy with expectation a small root catch the tip of my toe and pull me down. I have to say that I'm a champ at tucking and rolling but one of these days my luck will run out. My speed was enough that I rolled once and was sprung right back on my feet in a hockey stop. Were was my camera man. It was such a cool ninja-like move. I manage to escape the fall with just a minor scratch on my knee. That and I broke the seal on one of my water bottles. Oh well. Five minutes later we were at the aid station. Scott's SRC van with goodies. We stopped for a couple minutes and were told we still had to got up to the summit of the mountain. The loop was just 1.5 miles. So we refrained form eating anything until we returned. Up we went for another 15 minutes to reach the top. The view should have been spectacular but it was a bit cloudy. So we headed back down on the access road. This would be the rest of the run today. Nothing but access road for 7 miles. So we knew at this point we had done it. We would complete 33 miles of trail running in one weekend. We got back to the van, loaded up on snakes and headed back down. Gravity is so nice sometimes. It took us all the way down to about a miles left were we then had to apply some effort. I actually decided to pick up the pace with about a miles left and when I finished, I finished strong.
Today I wore my Gaitors and let me tell you, they work. Nothing got into my shoes and it was wonderful. We soaked our legs in the river again and ate lots of watermelon. Most of the runners here have peaked in their training for the White River 50 Miler in just a few weeks. Kathleen was talking to a few of them and apparently they all were saying that the two of us are very strong for were we are in our training and they're all very impressed. Big Smile there. It's encouraging to hear that. And these are seasoned trail runners. I think joining up with Scott was the best choice I've made as a runner. He is just whipping us into shape.

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