Posted by: Karen | November 8, 2009

Edworthy Park XC – Number 45

Yesterday I ran my 45th consecutive CRR XC Grand Prix race. I *heart* this series. All of these races begin at noon, so there’s time to sleep in, have a nice breakfast, warm up a pot of soup or bake some cookies, etc. before heading over to the parc-du-jour. I baked chocolate chip cookies and even remembered to pack my bowl, plate, cup and spoon for post-race lunch.

There was a long sign-up line-up in the parking lot at 11:35, but Leana kept me company and the line moved quickly. Check out her race report. It was her first time at one of our beloved soup races and we’re looking forward to having her back for more.

I started the race behind Dawn, with the usual penalty of having her snap a couple of photos of my backside as I passed her in the first flat loop at the top of the park. Les and I continued together through the dipsy-doodles of single-track dirt trails along the ridge.  Eventually I settled into a brisk pace between Julie and Barb, with Liesbeth close by and Helly a ways ahead.

We kibitzed back and forth as we negotiated the first switchback descents, and I tried not to think about what would happen if I fell on some of those roots and broken-off stubs of brush sticking out of the ground. In the trees half-way through the flat stretch along the bottom I said aloud to nobody in particular “This is where I usually get lapped.” As if on cue, the three front runners appeared behind me with a “HUP” and I made room for them to zip by.

I walked up the very steep hill, pulling over briefly for other faster runners to lap me along the way. I gasped for breath as I climbed and crested the hill, and then crazily headed back down through the switchbacks for more. Why just run one lap when I could enjoy two!

Halfway down the second time I remarked that I’d just died and gone to heaven, or was about to. Someone asked if that was because I was enjoying the race or suffering so much. I answered “Both.” You know how Calvin and Hobbes have those great conversations in the wagon as they careen off cliffs? Yeah, it was like that.

Near the bottom of the descent I had picked up a lot of momentum. I ran right over the single patch of ice without missing a beat and let out a whoop of joy as I barreled down the rest of the incline. Helly heard a couple of us coming and nearly pulled in front of me in a valiant attempt to get out of the way. I hadn’t given her any guidance as I was going too fast to decide, but thankfully I missed her.

Mowing down my role models is not a practice to which I aspire, but it’s happened before. Thankfully we all remained upright and I carried on with renewed motivation. I was sure that Helly would pass me back on the hill or up top on the plateau, but I still tried double-hard not to let her pass me back. She’s one heck of a competitor and stayed close on my heels. At one point I wasn’t sure which way to go due to ambiguous flagging. She caught up but pointed me in the right direction and off I went again.

The winding route along the top of the plateau back to the clock always kills me. I’ve always used so much of my breath and mental energy surmounting the hill that I feel like the race should be DONE! Just DONE! but it’s not. I chided myself with “Run now rest later” and worked as hard as I could to put a gap between Helly and me.

If Helly had fallen off the ridge or something, I would have gladly stopped to rescue her, but no, she dogged me mercilessly and I gave it more than what I thought I had left. We finished within seconds of each other, totally spent, grinning and grimacing with immense satisfaction.


Photo Courtesy of Dawn Henry aka "The Pink Chick"

Julie cheered us in, and we welcomed Barb and Liesbeth before heading over to the hall for soup, stories, and snacks.



  1. I don’t like having Helly in front of me at races! I hope to be like her when I am her age. Good job on your trail race. I read Leana’s report too. One day I will participate, maybe the one across the street from me at Nose Creek will be it!

  2. Well done Darlin!


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