|September 3, 2015||Posted by Emily under Uncategorized|
I was especially tired yesterday, not just because I (spoiler alert!) ran 100 miles over the weekend, but because I stayed at our Tuesday evening hunt for an especially long time. Obviously I had some stories to share (and some Washington beer from my travels). Although, I got a lot of those out of my system when I rolled into town on Monday night and met up with a few of the guys for pints and celebratory fist bumps.
It’s from a brewery AND a hop farm. AT THE SAME TIME.
After I’d regaled the group with a few tales of the hypothermic conditions and skeletons hidden along the course (for real), the conversation quickly turned to HOW MUCH FUN it would be for a good chunk of our group to all go back to Easton and run the race next year. And then I proceeded to stay up well past my bedtime (hopefully) convincing them that this would be the best idea ever.
Because I want to do this race again. And again and again and again and again. Which has never really happened to me before. Sure, I’ve liked plenty of trail races along the way, and wouldn’t be opposed to repeating some of them if the timing is right. But, Cascade Crest is different. I’m ready to declare full-on groupie status and file for a lifetime membership in the race’s fan club.
If you asked me to sum up this year’s race in a few sentences, you would probably question the sincerity and sanity behind my profession of undying love.
First of all, the conditions were not exactly what you’d ever label as “ideal”, “prime”, “comfortable” or “safe.” We had everything from a very brief stint of sunny skies and rainbows to torrential downpours, near freezing temperatures, and gale force winds. All while picking our way across exposed ridgelines and summits at 6,000 feet up in the air for several hours at a time. If I wasn’t hyporthermic for a good portion of the race, I was about one storm cloud away from it.
And the course is HARD. Unless you’re part billy goat (which, looking at the results, may be the case for a few of the finishers.) One five mile section of the course took me nearly three hours to complete thanks to its laughably technical terrain and precarious cliffs and river crossings.
And then the climbs are never-ending, brutally steep and relentless. But it’s not like the descents are much easier. Many of them are so rugged that I covered them about as fast as I walk to the grocery store on a lazy Sunday. And probably slower if we’re being totally honest here.
But despite all that shit, I’ve never had SUCH an incredible time during a race. From start to finish, the course, the people, the EVERYTHING just made me so damn happy. I couldn’t get over how lucky we all were that hundreds of people were willing to put up with the worst summer storm to hit Western Washington (ever), just so we could spend the day running 100 miles of beautiful trails.
Sure, I had a few lows along the way, but they didn’t stand a chance of outweighing the enormous amount of fun I was having or the overwhelming love and gratitude I felt for my crew, the volunteers and supporters, my fellow runners, and the entire ultra community. It’s really just silly how good it all was.
And not just during the race. From the moment my crew rolled into the Eug on Thursday night, to the second I tearfully dropped them off on Monday evening, this weekend was just the greatest. Sarah captured it nicely when, on the drive home, she said, “I just kept waiting for something to be not GREAT. Like, we’re not even talking bad here. Just, anything less than GREAT. Like, maybe good or okay. But then it never happened.”
Which is true. Unless you count when it all ended. That was definitely not the greatest.
So yeah, I finished my second 100 miler (!!!!!!)
In 26 hours and 31 blissful, beautiful, and hard-fought minutes.
I can’t wait to tell you all about it. And then do it again.