Cows and tapering, hmmm, I agree, don’t really go hand in hand. Brooke, Kouba, and I decided to make one last trip to Mt. Ashland on the 3rd, a week before the big race day. The previous week, in the first few miles of our run, we saw a baby bear. This time, we hear a strange clanking sound. A cow bell? Really? It was early – we were running before 7am – and we thought it was most likely another person out for a hike trying to scare off the chances of seeing some of the more dangerous wildlife.
Nope, it was free range cattle - an entire herd of them. They saw us and started running.
Really, cows? Trying to contain my laughter on the trail.
Thankfully, they were running away from us and not towards us. On the other hand, they decided to run down the trail. I hope to never experience running behind a herd of cattle with clanking cow bells (on every single cow) again. The smell was slightly overpowering and I finally gave up on dodging the “little” cow pies left behind. They aren’t really that fast either. We were walking for a good portion, afraid of getting too close and really scaring them in to stampeding us. I started craving a juicy free-range hamburger for dinner that night. And then, right as it seemed we were doomed to be following the herd for miles, the cattle took a right turn up the mountain and we all went our separate ways. The clanking cow bells and distinct cow smell soon became non-existent as we pressed on.
Another mile had passed on the trail and we lost it in the snow. We hiked up the mountain side to the fire roads, and continued on to the 15K turn around (our snow-woman from the previous week had melted). I’ve heard the 15K course has now been plowed and shoveled free of snow – thank you to all the volunteers – and the 50K course is looking pretty good too. I wish I had more time to help, but summer schedules have quickly become full. So full, in fact, that I’ve barely made it for a run since that last trip up to the mountain. I’m holding on to the theory that "tapering is good for you" trying to rest my uneasy mind that I’m quickly losing my endurance (it’s not working very well). I guess we’ll find out on Saturday.
I truly am looking forward to race day. I’m looking forward to putting my foot on the start line at 6am – but not so much the waking up at 4am part. I’m looking forward to spending almost seven hours on the beautiful Pacific Crest Trail with good friends from near and far. Most of all, I’m looking forward to crossing the finish line - the endorphins and hugs and smiles of completing something awesome. And then…to be done. To be done with the huge time commitment of training and stressing if I’m really ready for this. Although, I have a feeling I’ll be going in to a slight withdrawal of not having to get together with my good friends to go for a run. I know we still will. After all, we have the Nike Women’s San Francisco Marathon coming up in October. I’m hoping “just running a marathon” will feel easy after doing the SOB 50K. Who knows, maybe somewhere deep down I did really enjoy scheduling my time around hours of trail running in the mountains… maybe there will be another ultra in my future…. but first, I have to finish this one.
Out-of-towners become in-towners: Dave, Katie, Julie, and Steve arrive!
Gu Reviews (yes, still planning to write about all the different flavors I’ve tried)
The drama (good and bad) of putting together a team to run an out of state race.