Saturday, August 12, 2006

Cougar Mountain Trail Run - 13M

This was my first race back after missing a couple months due to breaking my toe. Based on my daily trail run loop (10K and 2000 feet of climbing) I am about 15 percent off of peak race form. The 15 percent is a combination of pain in the toe, especially when running downhill, and lack of fitness due to the long layoff. I decided to do the race anyway. I expected a fair amount of pain and the likelihood that I would fade late into the race.

I stayed overnight in Issaquah and drove the five miles to the race start on a glorious August morning (Seattle is so nice in August and September). I laced up the thickest most cushioned trail shows I have: Montrails (which was the best shoe to wear most of the time while recovering).

I felt great at the start as we ran out Clay Pit Road to the Coyote Creek Trail and started climbing. Hitting the first ridge I still felt great. The downhill from Anti-Aircraft Ridge down Klondyke Swamp Trail (which we would ascend later) was exhilirating and I passed several runners. Apparently footspeed and technique deteriorate slower than overall fitness on a layover. Once we got to the bottom I maintained speed. Around mile 8 as we had started the ascent back over the hill on the Quarry Trail, I ran out of gas and slowed down quite a bit. I actually started walking on the hills which I almost never do. But I finished in 2:20 and right around the times of several familiar runners that I had raced with in early season Northwest races. However, I had clearly lost the fine edge I had gained in several midseason Colorado races at altitude.

This is a great race. If possible I'd like to do the other three earlier races in this series next year.