Posted by: Karen | January 6, 2008

Inaugural Goat Run

My friend Gabino had an idea to get a group of crazy runners together this Saturday, and maybe raise a little money for charity while he was at it. No waivers, course marshals or clock, nothing heavily promoted – just a couple of on-line ads on local running sites and facebook. He marked most of the trail with orange chalk the day before, and we would all chip in an optional donation, maybe enough to buy a goat. The first one to finish the route would get to have the group’s donation in their name.

Cool, right? Yeah, Jason and I thought so too. A few others we knew liked the idea as well, but they couldn’t make it, so it was just Gabino, Jason and me for the inaugural running of what just might become an epic series of events.

We met at Angel’s cafe, north of the bridge to Edworthy Park. We ran east from there for a couple of miles along the north side of the river to warm up before hitting the slopes of the Douglas Fir Trail from the east entrance. Gabino sent Jason and I off promptly at 9 a.m., and hung back a little longer to wait for any latecomers.

Now, I haven’t done a whole lot of running in the last couple of weeks, and Wednesday I came down with a doozy of a head cold. The snot factory that had set up production in my nose on Thursday had abated somewhat, so I was up to putting in an effort. I trotted alongside Jason at a decent pace for me, and let him fill in the conversation gaps when I needed to catch my breath.

Just as we were approaching the train track crossing to enter the trail, a train came along and we had to wait. This was good timing for both me, who needed a break, and for Gabino, who caught up to us while we waited. Then we followed the trail up and down through the park.

The single track paths were mostly either hard pack snow or dirt. There were some icy patches around a couple of the wooden bridges, but most of the time we just zipped right along without much concern about our footing. The guys slowed their pace to stay with me, gents that they are, and helped me over one of the bigger ice flows.

There were a few other women out on the trail that morning. They had Yaktrax or ice cleats on their shoes and easily clicked right over the ice. I didn’t have my yax on – really didn’t need them for most of the course.

The temperature was just below freezing, with very little breeze, especially in the heavily treed park. Some of the handrails on the staired portions were slick with a thin layer of frost, but by the time we got to those I’d tucked my mittens away. When I needed to use them for balance I’d touch the side of my hand to the side of the rail.

As I was breathlessly toiling up one of the lo-o-o-ong, steep stairways, I tried to tell myself it wasn’t really all that hard. I just kept moving as best as I could. The best part about a hilly route for me is always the running DOWN part, and I thoroughly enjoyed kicking up my heels. Most of the downs were technical enough to distract me from whooping “Wheeee!” but I was thinking it inside. You know I was.

A few landmark moments stick out in my mind from the course. Aside from the glorious beauty of the heavily treed slopes, there is one part at the bottom where we run through a meadow of shoulder-high grasses next to the train track. This day the grasses were beautifully frosted up.

As we crossed the site of a former landslide, we saw a cuddly doll stuck up in a tree. It looked absurdly happy there, and we laughed as G captioned the image: “Where dolls go to hang out when they’re bored.”

There is a look-out area from the top of one of the western climbs with a fabulous view of the river and the pathway along it. We stopped there for a brief breather before tackling the remainder of the route.

We covered the course in 68 minutes, slowing down a little through the picnic area of Edworthy park and on the pedestrian bridge over the river for a cool down. After some stretching we headed in to Angel’s for hot drinks and a nice visit before heading home.

After my post-run shower at home I indulged with a little nap to keep the head cold at bay, and then got on with the rest of the weekend.



  1. Remember the add with the Mom and her bottle of cough medicine? Oh, right, you may not have seen that one. Well, your Mom is right there with you when you are suffering from a cold, okay? So get lots of rest, drink plenty of liquids (my Mom always made us hot lemonaide), take your Vitamin C, and just know that Mom is saying a prayer or two! XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXO
    PS Glad you had a great run.


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