So back in early spring, fueled by running on trails for the first time since the summer I signed up for a half marathon with a mile of vertical gain. I also coerced my good buddy Ben Carr to come join me.
I first visited Ashland back in Fall of 2014 on my weeklong road trip around NorCal that culminated with Weaverville 50k. So Ashland had some sentimental value to me, it signified a time I was really discovering trail running and quickly improving.
Fast-forward to Friday, August 12th. Given that my foot injury isn’t resolved I could not run this race, but I decided to come down to hang out with Ben, who lives in Portland, watch some Shakespeare and enjoy the warm Southern Oregon.
At midnight, greeted by the loudest geese I’ve ever encountered we arrived at our campsite at Hyatt Lake. We quickly set up our tents and jumped in bed just to wake up at 530. Fueled by a splash of caffeine Ben and I drove to downtown Ashland. After giving Ben a pep talk on heat management and pacing, the runners went out. Next time I saw Ben was at Mile 13 up on Mt. Ashland where runners were crawling, both literally and figuratively up a very steep,25%?, grade hillside, to quote another runner – it was like “the trail of tears.” Ben looked tired but not broken, he paced smart and saved enough energy to finish the final obstacle.
We were later rewarded, by tasty lunch at Caldera, then soaking at the lake back at the camp. This foot setback continues to give me insight that I would not have had I been healthy. I think being a healthy, single, fairly successful runner shapes you to become quite self-absorbed and dismissive of other people’s achievements. Volunteering, supporting and encouraging your friends and the rest of the community although has not come easy is teaching me to see the things I was not able to when I was healthy. For that I am thankful.
With that said, I am looking forward to running this race next year!! 😉