For those not in the know (you know? No?), "Fatass" races tend to be put together in the winter months, long after race season has subsided and we all pack on those lovely extra pounds from grazing, boozing, and in some cases (coughcough) both, around holiday-time.
Kate and I had planned on running a 50 KM (and in looking more closely at the mileage, Kate, we did more like 53k!) so this past Saturday, and lo and behold, we did. For we have "followthrough". See?
Parking at Forest Park's 53rd Ave trailhead, leaving my car at that, our turnaround point , loaded to the roof with cookies and cinnamon rolls, hot chocolate, and chicken soup, Kate drove us to the start/finish trailhead at Germantown Road. After some last minute typical runner-panics ("Do I have my keys? My wallet? Did I remember to grease my nipples? [that one was mine]"), we set off in the cool morning temps on our adventure on the winding singletrack, Kate up ahead: The leader of our twosome.
We were greeted within the first hour by snow: Big, looping flakes, tumbling from above the barren treetops, and it was such a treat to run in the fluffy stuff. I can't count the number of times we both sighed, "Thank GOD this isn't rain", but I know I at least thought it about 598 times. Divide that in half, and you likely have the number of times I uttered it. I am a mathematician.
We caught each other up in our lives, having not really spent much time chatting since the 100 in August, stomping through the slop and muck and generally having a grand ol' time, although my gloves had become wet about 10 miles in, so I began losing all feeling in my fingertips. This was a tad distracting, but I knew we'd reach my car soon, where a pair of fresh, dry gloves awaited.
As we approached the Firelane 1 intersection, two runners were headed down the trail towards us. After passing by, Kate and I said at the exact same time, "That was Tom!" We passed about 8 other runners on the trails that day, many of whom are elite stars in the sport of ultrarunning. Oregon is loaded with talented long-distance weirdos. And I say that with all of the love in my heart.
About 20 minutes later, we reached my car, hopped inside, and ripped opened our goodies. The soup I'd brought had cooled quite a bit, but Kate's hot chocolate was SCALDING and sooooooo perfect. With my hands thawing by the vents of my heater, we wolfed down our food and then, relucantly, opened the doors.
Holy. Crap. The winds were somewhere in the neighborhood of 30MPH on that ridge, and we both were shivering like a couple of virgins on prom night. Knowing that the quicker we returned to running the warmer we'd get, off we trotted, back towards the direction which we came, this time, with me at the helm and Kate behind.
I had a feeling around mile 22-ish that my pace was a tad fast for Kate, so I checked in with her, and she replied, "Hey, I'm keeping up so far!", so we stayed at my pace (I calculated with 1/4 mile markers all along Wildwood trail that we were doing around a 10 mn mile) and kept trucking. Which is when the rain started.
It wasn't torrential, but it chilled us to the bone, so we picked it up and ran harder. I think the last two miles we were cruising pretty damned hard, hammering the downhills, scrambling the uphills until we reached Kate's car and the "finish" in just under 6 hours.
The winter storm hit Portland/NW Oregon within 5 hours after we finished. Timing is everything, I suppose. Now, the streets are so covered wit ice, getting to Forest Park will be next to impossible until the weekend.
Glad we snuck that one in.