One of my favorite races in the area is The Beast of Big Creek.
I like it for several reasons...
First, it's in the gorgeous Olympic Forest which always increases my enthusiasm. (I forgot my phone in the car, so I "borrowed" these gorgeous shots from my friend Alice because she plans ahead better than I do.)
Second, it's super cheap. It was only cost $20 to register.
$25 if you wanted to do the 21k to the summit.
Third, they have tasty snack at the finish line. Trail runners and Ultra runners really know the importance of proper fueling:)
I haven't run this race since 2015, but I was excited to run it this year. The Forest Services had finished Big Creek Campground and the race had slightly changed the course. (This turned out to mean that the "short" race was longer.)
2015 was 6.6 miles 2017 was 7.25 miles
The elevation stayed the same though at a nice "flat" 1100 feet of climbing.
I haven't had the guts to run the Summit course yet. They have a 4 hour cut off and I've never DNF'd before. I really like to keep that streak alive. I also knew that I hadn't trained for a race that ran up 5,000 ft elevation straight up a mountain. But NEXT year, will be my year. I know it!
This year we had smoky, crappy weather all week in addition to near 100 degree weather, so I wasn't sure what kind of race I would have.
|This is the IMPROVED air quality!|
I was also trying to decide if I had a cold, or if the stifling congestion and overall crappy energy levels I'd had for most of the week was just a by product of the air quality.
I drove up with my friends Jason, Alice, Rudy and Alisha and even though we had all run the race before we had trouble finding the starting line. The race had sent out directions but because we had all run it before we didn't really read them...Luckily we got there early so we had time to wander around lost. We did bump into a runner who was a little more strapped for time and I was relieved to see in the results that he found the start in time to do the summit. I know it was really close for him!
The race does an EXCELLENT job marking the course. Lots of yellow ribbon blocking off the trails we weren't supposed to turn on, and tons of pick ribbon marking the trail as we ran.
I didn't get lost once, which for me is an achievement. I've gotten lost on routes I've run for years.
I'll be honest. I struggled in the race. The congestion was hard to run through. Obviously I can breath through my mouth, but since I don't normally run and breath exclusively through my mouth I was a bit short of breath through the first 3.75 miles which were all uphill.
I wasn't sure where I was in the results until I could count the runners coming back down. That was when I realized I had dropped to 4th place overall woman.
If I had been feeling better I might have been able to catch up to 3rd and make it a "real" race;)
But I wasn't and I knew I wasn't. I felt kind of woozy on the way up. Enough that instead of grabbing my back of fruit snack and eating it on the way down like I normally would, I sat and ate them while I chatted a bit with the runners that came in right behind me. (That cleared up once I drank some Gatorade at the finish line, which makes me think that it was my electrolytes.)
|This is a photo from 2015. I didn't take any this year.|
Funny story about my ego: While I was waiting in line for the bathroom I noticed a runner who was holding a steal water bottle. The kind you carry around during the day, not the kind you usually see at a race. I figured she was planning on hiking the race and that I wouldn't see her again until I was on the way back down.
Plot twist! She was right on my tail for at least two miles before the turn around.
I always laugh at myself when I make judgments on someone's ability based on something as arbitrary as their gear. It turns out that water bottles don't run...people do! To make the story better, it turned out that she had signed up that morning because she didn't want to sit in the car and wait for her fiancé to run the summit distance. :) She nabbed 5th place in Overall Women!
I was relieved to get to turn around and start running back down the mountain. But MAN those switchbacks were rough! It's been really dry lately and it was hard to navigate the sharp turns without feeling like you were going to go flying off the trail.
Those don't last too long though, and then I got to open up and run!
Because I took that rest at the turn around there was a gap between me and the runners in front. I also managed to build a good cushion between me and the runners behind me, which is a nice feeling.