I might have mentioned that I have a streak of trail races going. Last Saturday I raced my 99th CRR XC in a row, and it was a lovely day for it.
The Friday evening prior I skipped swim club so I’d have enough time to cook up a pumpkin soup for the lunch afterwards. Last Halloween I cooked down a huge Jack o’ Lantern into 16 cups of pureed pumpkin, and stashed it in the freezer. Friday used it all to make a savoury soup. I added some red lentils, a yam, some vegetable broth and cumin for extra nutrients and flavour.
Saturday morning I finally remembered to hunt down the tape and taped my feet where they’ve been getting sore spots from the orthotics during races. At Nose Creek race two weeks ago I had blistered the left arch, and I didn’t want a repeat of that. I wasn’t sure exactly how to tape my feet, but I covered the parts that had hurt, and it worked.
Once I’d dropped off the soup at the hall, registered, and trotted over to the race start, I had enough time to put on my Kahtoolas over my shoes and socialize a bit. It was a good thing I had the spikes – there was a lot of ice. I started way at the back of the pack, but early in the race the pack of runners ahead of me parted and started picking their ways through the grass on either side of the ice-filled single track. I trotted up between them on the ice, no problem. The first big descent was icy too, but again no problem with the spikes. I yodeled a big WOOHOOO and bounded merrily down. That’s me, annoyingly perky.
I trotted on past a few more other ice-challenged participants, all of whom must have chosen the 4k distance, because they don’t show up behind me in the results. I almost caught up to young Kaiza several times, but she was determined to stay ahead, and her determination kept me running harder, too.
As I headed back down into the coulee on the second loop, a volunteer let me know I was only a short ways behind my favourite running buddy, Ken. We often train together, and he kindly loops back for me because he’s faster, and I’ve never caught him in a race… until this one! When I caught him he’d been walking. We have not been running much lately. I razzed him and gently kicked his butt. He gave me a high five and sent me on my way. Maybe my swimming and bike commuting is helping out my fitness after all.
The 8k run wasn’t easy, especially in the last few kilometers, but I had strength and energy and perseverance. I ran on a beautiful sunny day, in a snowy coulee, with friends and trees and trails. We shared mutual support, whoops of victory, soup and brownies and camaraderie. Happiness.