Glenn knows the course like the back of his hand, so he took Struth and I up to French Creek Cabin and we ran from there to Thorp Mt, then on to No Name Trail and then back again. When we got up there, it was incredibly cloudy and threatening to drizzle. This week I was prepared, unlike last week when I had to wear pink cotton. We started off and within 2 minutes I was feeling shortness of breath. Oh my, I knew it was going to be a long day. We ran up and down and up and down. And it took me a lifetime "worst" to run 4 miles. I already had to stop and eat. I didn't like my selection of food, so I had to raid Glenn's pack. He brought great stuff. Lots of biscuits for Struth, of course, and then sweet potato fries, peanut butter pretzels and licorice. I nibbled a bit and then we headed up to the summit of Thorp Mt. At this point, we had shed a layer and there were sun breaks. The view from up there was awesome! I really felt like I was running through the mountains. We were high up there and could see jagged peaks in all directions. We took a longish break to eat and chit chat about intricacies that are spoken high up on mountains.
From Thorp Mt. we headed back down scenic trail and continued to No Name. I had bursts of feeling good followed by thoughts of wishing I could row us back to the car. But all along, having a good time with all of it. I was simply amazed and how many ups and downs there were. At WR, it's pretty much UP for awhile, and the DOWN for awhile. Here, it's up steepness, then down steepness, a few steps of flat technical trail, then back UP, then DOWN, etc. There is even a part of the trail named Cardiac Needles. Cardiac Needles? That sounded rough. Then, we arrived at a vast open area and WOW, it really felt like I was out there. It was amazing. Glenn turned to me and said, I don't recognize this. Oh no, a wrong turn somewhere? Oh no. Backtracking? Luckily, we weren't that far off course, so it could have been way worse. And Glenn had a map which is more prepared than I might be, so we were back on track in no time. While he was figuring it out, Struth and I enjoyed the view. Struth has been many beautiful places with me and it really makes me smile when I see Glenn's photos of Struth running right next to me, or right behind me, he is such an amazing companion.
We kept running up and down and at one point, I looked at an UP and then I looked at Glenn and I thought, " I don't want to climb up one more hill!!" But I did, I dragged myself up and right on the other side of the climb was the turn around point. Why do they call it No Name Trail? Because literally, it has no name.Phew. We were finally half way. Struth was tired too. Earlier he had tried to shake a bull frog to death in his mouth, but now he was also feeling it and so we all sat around for a bit and ate and drank. I can't really speak for Glenn, but I think he was feeling it as well on the way back. He was holding onto my camel back in hopes that I would pull him up at one point. No can do! There weren't many snow balls being thrown, in part b/c there wasn't much snow and also in part, we were tired.
As we were running back, the weather was getting nicer and nicer. Although it didn't get really hot, the sun showed it shine and the clouds danced around changing our views of all the peaks around. Once I saw my car, I literally ran towards it and hugged it. I was so glad to see it!
Don't get me wrong, I don't mean to sound ungrateful for the beautiful day or wimpy for feeling as though 16 miles were actually 32 miles. I actually had a great day and was happy to be there and very happy to get an idea of what is in store for me when pacing Francis at CCC100.
After the run, we stopped at one of the nearby creeks and soaked for only 15 minutes this time. The mosquito's were INSANE! I had 2 shirts on and was still getting bitten and even today, I am still all itchy. With bug spray even! OMG! They were bad around me but every time I looked at Glenn, they crowded him out. He was waving his hands all around him like a lion or elephant would do with its tail getting in a whole other cardio workout. I asked him what his heart rate was but he had already taken his HR monitor off and so I'll guess 140. HA!
On the way back to Seattle, I got great advice from Glenn on things to do when pacing Francis and more information about the course and such. How lucky am I to learn from the master?
(professional looking photos by Glenn, others by me...)