Woolley Trail Run, Sedro-Woolley WA, Feb 16, 2013
Fort Ebey Kettles Trail Marathon, Coupeville WA, Feb 17, 2013
Dear Ocean, do I get Grapefruit credit for running on Whidbey yesterday?
Friday night went to painful work dinner at the yacht club, where you are cordially invited but it is understood you must go if you value job security. I like my coworkers, but there’s something about a work party that just makes me want to drink to oblivion. So had a couple/ few too many cups of single malt when I got home, then had to get up at 4:30 AM to pack for my double and get up to Sedro-Woolley by 6:30 for 7 AM start. Woke up fuzzy headed and overslept until 5, CRAP. Where are my water bladder, backpack, nuun, gus, snickers, tape, body glide, extra socks, shoes, shirts, pants, sports bras, underwear, sleeves, gloves, hats, jacket, toothbrush, advil, coffee, burritos, what else am I forgetting?
Barely made to the race start by 6:50, no parking, no toilets in sight. I knew from last year there is only 1 porta potty on the entire 32 mile course, located at mile 0.5, and not even any good bushes to go in. Didn't want another Code Brown so waited for 2 faster people in line and by the time I got out, no one was around. Soon caught up to a fellow Maniac from Tricities who was also doing a double, and chatted for 10 miles. There are 5 races going on this holiday weekend in the Seattle area, and it makes the drive across the pass more worthwhile if you can catch 2. This is a flat, out-and-back course on rails to trails. It rained about 80% of the day, slosh slosh slosh went the Hokas which felt like they weighed 5 lbs apiece. Hangover headache and muscle cramps were helped by 5 tabs advil and 4 S-caps supplied by aid station volunteers. They sit out in the rain for 6+ hours in the middle of nowhere just to fill up water bottles and offer up cookies, M&Ms, and pretzels and tell runners "good job". I look forward to volunteering at an aid station just so I can save someone from feeling as crappy as I did. Somehow placed 2nd female with a slow time of 5:38, there were only like 5 women total that day.
The Oceans graciously agreed to let me crash in Casa Muk between races so I could save an hour of driving, and I must say Mr. Ocean’s culinary skills are reaching new heights. Homemade Wiener Schnitzel and Spaetzle, if only he liked parmesan cheese! The spaetzle are the new crack. I tried to blow dry the Hokas, which were the only shoes I brought, then went for a stroll on St. Andy in hail to stretch out the stiff legs.
Was awesome to be so close to the Muk ferry the next morning. In all my trips to Whidbey had never taken the car there before. Fort Ebey state park was 32 miles up from Clinton to Coupeville, got to pass Freeland, Greenbank, the elephant all in a few minutes.
Lots of Maniacs....
Walked down the grassy slope to the start. Lots of parachuters jumping from the bluff, and good wind to sail.
If biking Whidbey taught me WHIDBEY DOES NOT MESS AROUND, running it sure reminded me. 5000+ ft elevation, even if in short bursts of hills, add up. Ate all my bars but was still hungry.
Reached the half at 3:22, not a good omen for the 7:00 cutoff, had no headlamp so might have to resort to using the flashlight app on my iphone to get through the dark, rooty forest at the end. Thankfully ran into fellow Maniac Monte who was also doing a double, his 23rd double, 279th marathon. He had twisted his ankle, so we hobbled along, and I asked him had he ever considered DNFing. He started to tell me about a run where he missed a cutoff by 5 minutes but I meant, quitting early. He seemed a little bewildered by the question, but no, he had never contemplated quitting in all the races he’s done. I had already considered quitting at least 3-4 times before the half, not to mention the dozen+ DNFs in the past 2 years. I need to figure out what makes people like that tick.
The miles go by so much faster with company. Running in the dark, quiet forest on soft pine-needle carpet, pitter pattering to avoid rocks and roots, power walking up dirt single track can be meditative,but my favorite part is when you see the light at the exit of the forest. Here you find yourself on a sandy bluff overlooking the water then scream down the single track with the ocean breeze and sunlight in your face.
By then I wanted to continue because the trail was so beautiful, my new favorite trail. I always think every trail is my new favorite but this one might be. We barely made it in 6:50. Will be back next year.