Monday, May 28, 2012

Soaring Eagle 5 Mile Trail Run

What a FABULOUS day!

A VERY happy Quins fan
First, I have to explain my clothing choices. When I signed up for this race, I had NO IDEA that my beloved rugby team, the Harlequins, would be playing in the championships of the English Premiership. For all the Americans - basically, it was the rugby Super Bowl. So, I got up at 7am to watch the first half, thinking that my friend would meet me at 7:45 and we'd head out to the race. Said friend pulled out, which meant that I got to watch the first 15 minutes of the second half, too, but had to PUUUUUUUUULL myself away from the match. I'm not saying I didn't think about staying, but I remembered how excited I'd been about this race for ages and thought I'd really regret it if I didn't go.
Let's just say…you haven't lived until you've frantically refreshed the Premiership Rugby app on your phone at EVERY stop to see how things are going. And BOOM! They WON!!!! I had my own mini celebration blasting the team song in the car and hugging my mini Harley Bear mascot. I was wearing my Quins jersey over my tech shirt, but made the last minute decision that I WAS going to celebrate by wearing it for the race. I mean, surely non-tech fabric couldn't kill me for the only 5 miles, right (spoiler alert - it didn't)? Awesome choice!

So, this was a pretty small race, although I got the feeling that it was bigger than some of their other trail races (fair enough - the weather was gorgeous and I think the relatively dry week convinced people that a trail race seemed like a good idea). Plus, it was only $28 for the 5 mile race, if you registered in advance (there were also 10M, marathon, and 50K options). Bargain! We had a pre-race briefing, which was kind of a first for me. Basically, we were told: follow the orange flags…and we were off!

My poor Sauconys! I had to do some pretty
serious scrubbing on my legs later, too.
And, I have to say, that was SO MUCH FUN!!! And, it was SO MUCH WORK!!! Five miles on the trails are so much harder than five miles on the road. We were on the fire road for the first 0.75 miles and then for the last mile and on single track in between. It was quite rolling, which was a real test for my legs - but a good one. And, of course, there were pretty steep sections on that last mile, too. There was mud, as well. I tried keeping my shoes clean some of the time, but at some point, I just had to give up! Glad I wore black socks and old shoes…because, really, I wouldn't have missed the fun of sloshing through the mud. I can't remember the last time I laughed gleefully during a race, but the mud was pretty awesome. I'd note that this was a DRY week - I suspect this course gets really sloppy when it's wetter!

This was my first real trail race, other than the extraordinarily tame North Face 10K in DC last year. I was really looking forward to seeing what this whole other discipline of running was all about, particularly in an area of the country where there are so many beautiful places to run off the roads. I have even more respect for trail runners now - it takes so much more concentration to watch your footing and the terrain is so much more challenging. Those little ups and down really took it out of me (even more proof that I need to do more of this kind of running, because it'll make me so much stronger). I absolutely see more trail running in my future. I've heard Cougar Mountain has some lovely trails. :-)

I would also firmly endorse the people who put on this race - Evergreen Trail Runs. The entry fee was just right, the organization was great. The trails were clearly marked, there were plenty of volunteers making sure we didn't get lost and the post-race spread was very nice (even though the jalepeno and Nutella bagels were an interesting choice - I don't think they knew they were jalepeno bagels, to be fair). I even liked the Zico coconut water that the company was passing out - I don't even usually like coconut water, but I drank one before and after the race (it was pretty hot & I was sweating up a storm). But, my favorite thing (aside from meeting some really nice people)? They took race photos and put them on Facebook! I will take that ANY day over a t-shirt (which were available for an extra fee), especially since some of them were pretty darn cute.
I found a Stade person! (They're our big European rivals)