Sunday, August 19, 2007

Cougar Mountain 14 miles

Current Mile total: 1012.25 miles

Although yesterday's run provided better scenery, today's was more inspiring for me. First, it must be mentioned if you hadn't noticed, I crossed the 1000 mile marker. Now I long ago crossed that marker, but in the blog as I mentioned at the beginning a few months ago, I only accounted for the miles that were tracked in my GPS when I did use it. I started this blog just over 4 months ago and in that time I ran over 500 miles. I've tracked every mile since and I can now officially say I've run 1000 miles. Yup, I could run 500 miles and I did run 500 more.

So it was a rainy day. Rainy day at Cougar could set one up for a depressing run. But I showed up thinking I was going to have a good day. I felt my legs were still fairly fresh despite yesterday's 5 hour run. Kathleen decided it was best to take the day off from running so I was on my own. Only 3 other guys showed up and then of course there was Brian, the only other runner who ran the day before. He decides he wants to take a short cut to the trail head instead of taking the usual boring access road. the short cut is very steep and there's absolutely no warm up. After about a half a mile I'm nearly hyperventilating and decide i need to take it my own speed. So I let them go. I probably would not have cared much but we met up with some County workers who said that there had been a lot of bear sightings that weekend and to be aware. YAY!! So I'm running alone on a wet, technical course. Aside from being a little nervous I manage to find my stride and relax. My breathing got good and I began to really enjoy myself. It been a long time since I ran alone, and felt alone. When I do run solo its on the Burke-Gilman Trail and you're never alone out there. So I felt great running with my thoughts and then the greatest thing happen. I caught the others. They stopped to lay down a marker at the next intersection and took a moment to let Brian take off his jacket. They claimed that they "had just stopped" and "were about to talk smack about me", "no, no," Brian said, "I was about to tell these guys that this is your recovery run, that you ran yesterday for 5 hours." "5 HOURS?!!" , "This is your recovery?!" and "Cool."
That's what I needed to make the rest of the run easy. You see, Cougar has kicked my ass nearly every time I've gone out there. And its the location of my race, the 50 miler. So its been very discouraging. How can I run 50 out there if I can't run 20? Course I know I'm running fatigued but it still wears down on you and makes you doubt yourself. Well, here I was running with three strong runners who had not run the day before and I was holding my own. And it felt great. For the rest of the run the 4 others would get ahead of me and then I'd catch them as they were making the trail marker(this is usually done by laying three fern leaves down in an arrow shape). So I was never more than one minute behind the group. By the end of the run, I actually caught up to them and finished the last half mile with them.

I left feeling great. I had finally run Cougar strong. I didn't always feel great but I always felt positive. I can see I'm getting stronger and that all the training is finally paying off, which is good cause the race is just a month and a half away. Just 48 days.

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