Sunday, November 16, 2008

Race Report: XC

We went all twisty-turny and up-and-down on wide paths through the woods next to Sandy High School yesterday morning. The sun shone and a breeze came from the east, warming as it came off looming Mount Hood and down through the canyon to the southeast edge of the metro area, where we raced.

Question: Is it a race if nobody passes you and you pass nobody? I was way back from the start as a hundred or so really skinny guys in singlets took off after it. This wasn’t a fund-raising fun run peopled by a cross-section of the running public. No dabblers or weekend warriors here (me excepted). This was strictly hardcore, and over 8000 meters of mostly mildly muddy terrain, there were, for me, no moves made nor challenges rebuffed. There was a lone guy about 20 yards in front of me the whole way, which was nice because I didn’t want to lose my way. When we doubled back I noticed four or five guys behind me. Thank goodness for those active octogenarians.

Yeah, I was trying to avoid running the entire month of November -- maybe next November? -- to give my irksome Achilles a chance to heal. And I came so close to not running today! I woke up at 6:30 and told myself I’d walk over to the farmers’ market instead. At 7:30, after oatmeal and coffee, I noted that there was still plenty of time to get out to the race. At 7:40 I got my running stuff together just in case I decided to go. At 8, I was on my way on the 40-minute drive to Sandy. What can I say? The day was too nice not to run.

Anyway, it was tons of fun, even being rusty as hell after not having run for two weeks, even being five (OK, 10) pounds overweight. Running cross-country races is kind of like doing an ultra, in that you’re get some variability of terrain, you get some woods, ruts, tree roots, rocks and puddles. But you only have to go five miles, not 50! Can’t beat that.

No comments: