But back to the trail race. Part of the Roots Rock Trail Running series, the Timber Town 10k starts in a grassy meadow, up the trail a bit from the main trailhead in Port Gamble. My husband and I had it penciled on the calendar, so recent slacking or no, we were going to give it a shot. We didn't want to miss out on all the fun and great prizes. Plus, we didn't want to miss the chance to earn points for the series, a serious matter, for sure.
After parking in the grassy lawn near the race start, registering, and hitting the bathrooms, we ambled up the lane with the other runners to the starting line scratched in the dirt. The next thing we knew Poulsbo Running's Chris Hammett had shouted "Go!", and we were trotting off through the lifting fog, across the meadow and on into the single track trails leading to the main forest roads. Heading, seemingly, up and up for the first couple of miles.
Again I had failed to warmup properly and my stomach was a bit off - I"m blaming it on all the ice cream cones and Dove bars I have indulged in since it finally warmed up around here after the Fourth of July weekend. Plus, a consistent lack of sleep this last week due to the late night and wee morning yipping of the eight week old German Shorthair Pointer my husband arrived home with last week. (That's another story.)
Or maybe I was just running too hard up the hill. Hm. Anyway, after ambitiously passing two runners on the twisty single track, I found my stomach rebelling and had to pull off in the bushes to regroup. I was immediately passed by said runners, as well as another, one of the local elementary school principals who happens to be a devoted trail runner himself. "Hi Charlie!" I gasped. I certainly didn't want him, or anyone else for that matter, to see me hurling trailside at only two miles into the race-the finish line would be so much more appropriate. So I took a deep breath, focused my mind on controlling my nasea, and got myself going again, hanging on to Charlie's heels as best I could.
After another half mile of rollicking single track, we crossed a logging road and Charlie, apparently tired of me breathing down his neck, graciously encouraged me to go ahead of him. I plunged ahead into the skinny, wooded trails again, hoping I would make it to the finish line without tossing my cookies.
Happy day! I soon found my rhythm and settled in, enjoying the romp through the forest; a smile plastered to my face. It truly is a great way to start your day. Even if you're feeling a bit queazy. Seriously. The second half of the course offers exhilerating downhills on trails and roads, with just a couple short, sneaky inclines toward the final mile. After sipping the water at the aid station, I dumped the rest on my head and felt relieved by the coolness. Aaahh. Now to push hard to the finish.
Half a mile from the finish I stuttered at a wrong turn, following the runner in front of me. We both quickly realized we needed to stay on the main road to the finish, and we were off again. As I approached the finish line I could see my husband and heard him shouting, "strong finish!" and I decided to make it just that.
We milled about by the finish line, watching more runners come in, rehydrating and grabbing some fruit and bagels while we waited for the awards. We knew there would be some great prizes from the dynamic duo of Chris and Brooke Hammett, owner's of Poulsbo Running and the race organizers. Raffle prizes included a pair of shoes, Smartwool shirts, socks, hats, an Amphipod running belt (which I won, hooray!), and lots of other great prizes. Shawn and I both earned points in our age group for the Roots Rock Trail Series. I took first place in my age group and Shawn took third place in his.
Roots rock! - Michelle
Up next in the series: Port Gamble Half Marathon, August 8th, 2010
Our new pup and future trail hound. It's hard to resist this high energy surprise. Okay, we can keep her. :)