Race Report – 2017 Wild Moose Chase 25K
As some of you may know I have been running with an injury for well over a year now. If you have ever had a nagging injury you know just how depressing this can be. I absolutely love to run and push my limits. Thankfully I also love to mountain bike as well and I have been able to stay active with riding. I know mountain biking isn’t for everyone, but I think I would have been severely depressed this year without it. Actually, I think I am still flirting with that dark depression now. Since my injury has not really improved with PT and exercises, I decided that I would start signing up for running races again and just suffer the consequences.
Hence I signed up at the last minute for the Wild Moose Chase 25k. Actually because this course is so runnable, it’s not actually my favorite for a trail race. I prefer a route that has some steep climbs and lots of single track, only because I generally do better on courses that consist of long climbs than I do with fast runnable courses. But no matter, this is a great event and is a fundraiser for EWU’s physical therapy program. My recent training has looked a lot like that of a beginner runner preparing for their first 10K. I have only been averaging approximately 20 miles per week with little or no elevation gain. The foot pain that I have been experiencing after every run has lead to my general depression and a lack of motivation. WMC is staged out of the Selkirk Lodge at Mount Spokane State Park. This year the run started off utilizing a small section of the Nordic trails before heading west onto a small section of trail #100 to Smith Gap. This was my favorite part, fun fast downhill singletrack with some moderate climbs. It is so much fun to be running with a group laughing, whooping and hollering like a bunch of kids. That’s what trail running is for me, “playing.” That first 4 miles were a blast for me until we reached the aid station at Smith Gap. I knew that this next section would be physically and mentally difficult for me. This was the start of a gradual climb on Kit Carson Road. It’s very runnable and I had no excuses for walking here! Yet still, I was having a blast (as much as you can while your HR is close to being pegged). All this time I am consistently monitoring my body to stay within my limits, and all this time my foot hurts. I keep telling myself that “YOU’RE FINE” and keep going because honestly my foot is going to hurt not matter what I do.
I was playing follow the leader with a group of about 5 runners; sometimes I would pass and sometimes I would get passed. That’s the fun of it all though, who has the strength to finish strong. After the gradual climb (3 miles) we hit our second aid station and started a descent onto Trail #130. I didn't spend much time at aid stations mostly because the selection of food was not what I would usually eat on a race. This is when I got to witness a battle between two ladies that was fun to watch. One lady was obviously a climber and the other could fly downhill. They yo-yo’d for the remainder of the race. I had my money on the climber mostly because I knew what the course looked like, we still had 1300’ of climbing over 3-ish miles. By this time I am past the 11-mile mark and my legs are hurting, not from injury but from racing (I love that feeling). I love to suffer and I love to see others suffer and see how other’s handle themselves. I know I know-I’m sadistic! My foot is still throbbing but I am able to ignore it because I am having so much fun. All this time I am watching the ladies switch positions. I am also in a little race with another pretty solid runner myself, so this just adds to the excitement. The ladies are obviously stronger runners than I am but I wonder if I have enough at the end to pass them. We make it to the middle of the last 3-mile climb and none of us really stayed at the aid station long. At this point I keep telling myself “I will be FINE!”
We finally reach the top of the last major climb and start descending back to the Selkirk Lodge. I do eventually pass one of the ladies and the other runner that I was yo-yoing with, but I know he is faster on the downhills than I am so I need to turn it up a notch. I am working my way up to the other lady who is great on the descents and I start thinking “wow.. maybe …” She and I hit the small climb up the parking lot and to the finish when she started walking! I was thinking she is toast, but then she hears me coming up behind her. That’s when she proved to be the stronger runner and kicked it back into gear. She beat me and kudos to her!
I felt I ran the best race that I could that day. I’m not the fastest runner out there, but I sure did enjoy being back in the game. Now the Monday after the race when I could hardly walk was a different story, but all in all it was so worth it to me. Mt. Spokane has always been one of my favorite places to run and I’m glad I did the WMC.