Thursday, June 12, 2014

The "High Country" - Running a bit of Western States

By: Maggie

I am blessed. I have been reminded of this repeatedly over the last month or so, which (not surprisingly) correlates with a lot of beautiful weather and great running.
Suunto didn't feel like connecting the dots, but you get the point.
I was lucky enough to be invited to run with a group of INCREDIBLE individuals on a STUNNING course. I made a new friend, Jack, during the Silver State 50km race in May, and he graciously included me in a run this past weekend. He (kindly) said that it feels like we're old friends - I reminded him that it's because I run so slowly and he's stuck with me for hours ;)

Dawn and me at Watson's Monument.

While most everyone else was training for much longer distances, I was just along for the ride (read: trying to keep up). We started at Squaw and climbed up to Watson's monument, and then we ran along a ridge, down a canyon and back out. Describing it to Stephen afterwards, I sounded like Buddy the Elf, "I passed through the seven levels of the Candy Cane forest, through the sea of swirly twirly gum drops, and then I walked through the Lincoln Tunnel."

It was insanely beautiful and also a great learning experience. Being relatively new to trail running (did my first real trail race less than 6 months ago) I'll be the first to tell you I have no idea what I'm doing. I had never run on trails as rocky as these. I had never run on creek-y trails. And I'm pretty sure I had never "bonked" or been calorie deficient. So needless to say, it was NOT a boring day.

Fearless leaders!
So I made a list of things that I need to do for future runs: 1) Eat. Eat the night before. Eat the morning before. Eat during. Eat when you're not hungry. Eat when you are hungry. Eat. 2) Buy a hydration pack. Stephen's was wonderful, and now that I've experienced what it must be like to be a camel, I want one of my own. 3) Try new things - like salt tablets!

But even though I totally blew it with my preparation, I pieced it together like a noob and survived on the generosity of others (Rachel, thank you for the Gu-s. Jack, thank you for the pack, the salt tablets, and the PayDay!)

It was the longest I've ever run - over 8 hours! And I actually enjoyed it a lot. I saw a bear track, and I got to see a beautiful portion of the Sierras that I had never experienced (despite growing up in Reno!) I met some wonderful people that I hope to see many more times. I drank from a river, stuffed my face with Oreos, and laughed A LOT at everyone's great stories.

29.98 miles / 8 hours, 15 minutes / happiness
I'll be hitting the local trails for a while, but I'll be dreaming of the high country :)

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