Suze was our first runner. She was pretty brave to go first because there was a TON of rain the night before the race and the trail was supposed to be extra muddy and slippery. She came back with great advice about where there were slippery spots (and loose horses – seriously, there were horses that got loose during the storm and they were running around the course. The race directors had to call animal control!) and then I took off.
I was kind of nervous because this was going to be my longest run since… March. I figured I’d just take it slow and enjoy myself We had like 7 hours to finish the relay so I could basically walk the course backwards and my team could finish within the limits. But I found myself running a lot and having a great time.
Same gorgeous course as last year.
It was pretty hard to get going but once I did, I felt great. I got pretty tired at around 4 miles but still managed to get through the leg with a smile.
After this picture I promptly doubled over against a tree and wheezed for a solid hour... until I fell asleep in the grass.
The last two runners really blew through their legs and before I knew it we were meeting our last runner to cross the finish as a team. I loved it. I couldn’t have asked for a better day with a better group of girls.
But wait – the day gets better. Right after we finished the course, Dean Karnazes was doing a meet and greet. You may remember that I had the world’s most awkward and hilarious encounter with this ultra running great last year (if you’ve never read that post – you should. It’s easily the clearest picture on the whole internet of how I act…all the time). Of course we had to go talk to him again. I’m pretty sure that the Dean Karnazes post is what prompted the North Face to reach out to me about being on their blogger team. There’s likely someone sitting in their office with a crazy sense of humor who wants to see how many times I can act nuts around Dean before he gets a restraining order against me. Hopefully the answer is more than two, but I wouldn’t be so surprised either way.
The absolute highlight of my day – and really of this year – was walking up to Dean Karnazes and having him say “Hey, I remember you guys from last year. You’re crazy!” But in the nicest way possible… with a big smile and a laugh and all the calmness I mentioned I felt while sitting around the race site.
Still the nicest guy ever.
I told him my theory about how my awkward encounter with him probably landed me this gig at the race and I was so excited about it. He was again, super nice and signed my bib while I babbled about random topics. Theresa managed to talk me out of telling him that I think he looks like one of the Human Body Exhibits with real flesh draped over it. Probably for the best.
I really can’t speak highly enough about the North Face race series . I enjoy this race so much and will definitely do it again next year.
Have you run trail races before? Do you think they’re a lot different than road races (other than the obvious course differences)? How do you keep yourself from acting insane around really cool people?