Aaaah, the ups and downs of running. Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t. (read: sometimes you’re crazy about running, sometimes you’re not). At first, I wasn’t so crazy about signing up for my upcoming trail race. The Lithia Loop Trail Marathon put on by the amazing Hal Koerner and the very groovy people of Rogue Valley Runners sounded so cool, but when my ultrarunning momma mentor, Carolyn, (who blogs over at Happy Spirit Running Spirit) asked me on a training run if I was excited about the race, I said no, not really. Even a week before the big day, I hadn’t hit that “I’ve had too much coffee” feeling about it.
But then, when I was laying out all my stuff in my hotel room the night before the race, it hit me – Oh, I’m just not as nervous! I’m more comfortable with this distance running thing; I know potato chips will be my salt of choice, that I need to Glide most of my body, that I will wear two shirts if it’s 41 degrees and one if it’s 50. This realization made me feel like a trail runner! This was doubly confirmed when the race was over. It. Was. Hard. And it was probably best that I didn’t know Lithia is one of the most challenging courses in the Northwest. Had I read OregonLive’s report before the race, I wonder if I would have signed up.
Here’s my apathetic pre-race gear pile fireside chat
Oh, about the race… Here’s the down and dirty play-by-play (or scroll to skip to video)
9 miles with 3,200 feet elevation gain. People there called it “the hill”. Not “hills” as it was one. big. hill. At mile two I told myself, “you better start getting your brain around this NOW, you have a long way up.”
12 miles of slightly rolling, but mostly flatish logging road. I know the course description said logging roads, but for some reason, I ignored that and was thinking there would be more single track. Lucky for me, I hooked up with Stephanie from Sacramento, a fitness trainer originally from Germany. Wunderbar! I got to practice my German and make plans to run together in December when we visit friends in Sacto over Christmas.
A blast!! 6 miles of speedy downhill. The first mile or more of it was quite steep. Steep enough that you’re asking yourself “could I stop if I had to?” Then things really got fun with 4 miles of fast, single track, banked turns straight downhill. Though I loved hanging with Stephanie, I couldn’t resist cranking up my tunes and kicking it in gear. THIS is the terrain I’m used to and love. I don’t train on Mt. Pisgah’s backside for nuthin. Weeeee is the best way to describe it. The last mile was pavement and an 8:21 pace. I was a happy camper and even happier to see Carolyn cheer me on at the finish. She had a stellar time, of course, coming in 14 minutes ahead of me.
After a gorgeous black bean/chicken burrito, awards ceremony and chatting, with a free finisher’s coupon in hand, we headed to the Chozu spa for a cold soak, a hot soak and fantastically long showers before the ride home.
Yep, more trail racing is in the plan. I guess I’m getting used to it and I’m kinda ok without the “I think I’m gonna barf” nervousness.