Monday, October 5, 2009

Gold Country Trail Run 25K and Black Clouds

All week long I was waiting for Saturday to arrive. I was looking forward to my big 25K Trail Race that was being held in Auburn Saturday morning. From the moment I had heard about it (um, on Wednesday) to the Friday before I was just totally excited that I’d be running on the Western States Trail in Auburn with my friend Big D. Big D and I have been friends since the Summer 7 Trail Running Series. She’s in her mid fifties and she kicks my butt running trails but she is awesome and I adore her AND she is up for anything. So when I emailed her about this run this is what she said “Sounds great! I’ve had the flu all week but I’ll be fine by Saturday.” Yes, the FLU but ready to run 15.5 miles on some really tough trails. Gotta love her.

So the race started at 7 am but I was meeting Big D at 6:15 to register which means I had to leave my home at 5:30 am which meant waking up at 5:00 am. Ouch. The waking up was not too bad as I had barely slept at all that night. I was packing my awesome Nathan Hydration Vest that I love so much with water and all the wonderful Cliff Shot Blocks and gels I had just recently purchased and was excited to try.

I arrived at the Auburn Dam Overlook ready and excited despite the cold dark weather. I went to the back of my car to find my Nathan pack only to realize I had left it at home. Black Cloud #1. After about 10 minutes of freaking out and spouting curse words I realized I cannot do anything about it and luckily I had my handheld in my car. This was a race and therefore there would be aid stations so I will have to make do with filling my bottle up at each aid station and using their gels and fuel. Not ideal but doable.

The race was small. It was the Gold County Trail run with a 50K, 20 miler, 25K and 8 mile option. Big D and I were doing the 25K which should be 15.5 miles. Notice I said should be. There were about 8 people doing the 25K including Big D and myself.

Within the first 2 miles Big D takes a header and slices up her elbow and knee. As she is laying in pile of dirt she yells at me “Don’t you DARE stop!” That’s Big D for ya! About a mile after that I take a half spill twisting my left ankle into a position that I don’t really think it should be in at all. Black Cloud #2. The pain was pretty excruciating but there was no way I as stopping. I could still function so that was good enough for me. We trudged on. The aid stations were about 4 miles apart so that worked out. I only needed to fill my bottle once and I used their gel which didn’t sit well in my stomach but when I ate a banana later it seemed to ease things a bit. Love trail race aid stations. Better than sliced gluten free bread.

The course was partially on some of the trails we’ve run with Summer 7 and quite a bit we have not. We climbed the infamous K2 hill. This is more than just a hill. It is a freaking mountain that is 1 mile completely uphill without a break and it eats you alive. Your legs (and butt) will feel the burn on this one. It was brutal and I believe Big D and I were cursing the entire time up this hill. We just kept telling ourselves that means the way back will be down hill . . . or should be. Again, there is that “should be” phrase again.

Apparently Big D and I were the first females and actually the second and third runners overall in the 25K. Wow. Really? That was a nice boost to our exhausted egos. Bring it! The course really was gorgeous. So gorgeous that I was wishing for my camera but it probably was a good thing I didn’t have it . . . read on for more Black Clouds.

Most of the middle miles were uneventful. At mile 14 though a thought entered my head and caused me to stop dead in my tracks. Big D bumped right into me. “What?” She asks. “Um, I lost my car key. Somewhere between miles 4 and 5.” Yes. Black Cloud #3. I had taken my car key out of my shorts and put it into my water bottle pouch which I was going into often to take SCaps and gels. Yes. I was a complete moron apparently on Saturday.

One great thing about trail runners though is that they are the nicest people you will ever meet. They truly are. I was planning on leaving my name and address with the race director thinking that someone might find my key and they can mail it to me. Well, turns out someone DID and that key traveled the entire course and went to every aid station and made its way to the finish before I did! THANK YOU KEY GODS!! I had already figured out that I’d have to use Big D’s phone to call AAA and have them jimmy open the car because I was not about to tell Vans that I had also lost the key. That should subtract a cloud but for drama’s sake I am leaving it in.

As it turns out Big D and I finished and tied for second place in the race. We were ahead of the next runner by over 20 minutes. It was a tough run and we basically spent the last 5 miles in complete silence (except for that key losing talk). According to my Garmin we ran 17.3 miles and not the alleged 15.5. Also, that K2 hill took us from 29 feet to 739 feet in a mile. Sometimes knowing the details is not necessarily a good thing.

Black Cloud #4. My wonderful Nathan Hydration Vest that I love so dearly was not at home where I had left it. Apparently I had put it on the roof of my car while loading my running gear only to drive out of my garage and onto the freeway with it perched precariously on the roof of my car. When I realized this I wanted to cry. Luckily I found this out after I finished the race .

The rest of my weekend continued be shrouded in black clouds. I was excited to try Steve’s Pizza’s new Gluten Free pizza they have advertised only to discover that 1. It costs you an extra SIX BUCKS and 2. They apparently do not know how to take an order because they screwed up my entire pizza that I had been dying to have all day long. Vans was a sweet heart though and marched into Steve’s Pizza and demanded they “fix” the pizza while he ate the other one. Thank you Vans!! So that was my Black Cloud #5.

My Black Cloud #6 happened on Sunday when I sliced my finger tip pretty severely while cutting something in my kitchen.

I, for one, am so happy it is Monday. Black Clouds be gone!

PS: I did eventually find my Nathan Hydration Vest. Shredded and stuck to the side of the road about two miles from my house. I will pray that the Nathan Vest fairies are reading my blog (highly unlikely since no one reads my blog, not even Vans) and they will feel pity for me and a Nathan Hydration Vest aka my trail running buddy will appear at my door step! Hey. A girl can dream right?

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