Saturday, August 18, 2007

Kendell's Katwalk, Pacific Crest Trail 22 miles

Current Mile total: 998.25 miles

Hey, I'm back. Yeah, it's been a few weeks since I've been able to jot down my thoughts on running. I went on a running hiatus for a week and when I got back work was super busy and I just never could seem to get around to writing about it. Besides, it seems there's only so much you can write about running before it all sounds the same. Well, today's run was extraordinary so it deserves a post, with pictures no less.

So the day started out the same, met Kathleen at her place and she drove up to the trail head. We get there and Scott runs through a few items worth mentioning like running technique and hydration. Then we all head out, Brian in lead of course. Scott wanted all of the 50 milers to run somewhere in between 4-5 hours. It was an out and back course so we figured we'd run about 2:40 out and that would get us approximately 5 hours. We headed up and immediately I could tell that finally i was feeling strong. After weeks of feeling sluggish with fatigue, I was back to feeling fresh. Unfortunately Kathleen was not feeling as good. But she's a trooper and she stuck with it the full distance. I had only run a half marathon the week before, she ran a full. And she was out the very next week running a very difficult course for 5 hours. The girl has guts. After a few miles I can see that I'm going a little fast for her though so I slowed up and ask her if she wants to take the lead so she can set the pace and not feel dragged along. She then shows me that within 5 minutes she was stung by a bee. "Are you allergic?", "yeah, but it won't hurt my running.", "you sure?" , "yeah." OK,... so we head out, she wants me to go ahead and run my own speed, doesn't want to hold me up. I do but I feel like crap. How can I leave her behind. Fortunately two things happen at this point. The first is the course levels out a bit which allows Kathleen a break from the climb and she can keep the same pace now and then when the hill does come back the tree cover clears and I'm able to pull out the camera and take pictures. This allows me to stop take pictures and let's her catch up. This was the mode of operations for the rest of the day. I'd run my own speed and then I'd find a good place to take a pic and she's catch up. She was never far behind, maybe 20 secs. And I wasn't disappointed at all because this place as you can see from the pictures was absolutely heaven on earth.

Our first grand view is Kendall's Katwalk, a man-made path blown out of the mountain side with dynamite. The view is spectacular. By this time we have caught up to two other runners, Dan and Tim. We ran with them for a few miles but they decided to turn around at the 2 hour mark. At that point, aside from Brian(the elite), Travis(the viking-call him that cause he's tall built and blond) and some new girl(professional soccer player), it was just the two of us running out. It was kinda encouraging to know we were the strongest of the bunch that day heading out the furthest. When we get to the 2:35 mark, we meet up with Brian and company. I ask them how far they went and he says maybe another quarter mile up hill. This makes me very happy cause I've been stopping to take pictures and the strongest elite runners only got a half mile in front of me. Not bad. So we decide to turn around and its mostly downhill here on out. Oh, btw, Kathleen's hand is now HUGE. Its swelled up from the bee sting and she says its throbbing and very painful, no doubt it looked it. Again, she's quite the trooper. On the way down I fell twice, first one I hit my knee and had to take a moment to shake it off. Second time I fell in front of a group of hikers. I had just passed them and then turned around on a switch back when I fell and slid a few feet. This one didn't hurt and I got up immediately, brushed myself off only to look up above me to see the group all staring at me in horror. Hehe, nothing like an audience for a crash. We got down off the trail and I felt great. Sure I was a little tired but my legs still felt strong and I felt positive. Scott was waiting and told us that everyone else had headed off to go soak their legs in the river. So we did the same. Figured out this time that if you keep your socks on it doesn't hurt nearly as much. This has been by far the prettiest run I've been on so far but according to Scott, its only #3 in his book. He says we'll be running the others soon. I can't wait.

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