A Fairly Impromptu Rotary Park Trail Half Marathon

On Tuesday, my friend Andrea and I were hiking at one of my favorite trails, and I said, "Hey, I'd like to do a trail half marathon here sometime."   She said, "That would be great."  We usually run anywhere between 3 and 6 miles together on trails once or twice a week.  We run far together on roads--anywhere from 9 to 15 miles during any given training cycle, but for some reason, we always stop around six miles on our trail runs.   I said, "How's Saturday?"   The next thing we knew, we were planning Andrea and Donna's Rotary Park Trail Half Marathon or ADRPTHM.  Andrea's one of those GREAT kinds of friends who is up for anything.  Don't we all need one of those??

I invited several other friends to join us to help pass the miles.  And by several, I mean six.  The trail running community here is fairly small, especially on the female side.  I invited just about every trail chick I could think of, all five of them.  One came!  My neighbor and long-time running buddy Christie joined us.  The male side of the trail runners I know are all generally too fast for us to keep up with.  However, my neighbor and total trail beast Jeff generously came out and blazed a great and challenging 4.5 mile route for us.  He'd run ahead.  Stop.  Wait.  We'd catch up.  It involved this long serpentine hill of switchbacks over a very long time, followed by another fairly large hill.  It was great training for my upcoming trail races (Chuckanut Mountain Half Marathon, Rock and Root 18 miler, and Stump Jump 50K---I seemed to have missed scheduling a 26.2 in there....)

We really had fun out there.  Andrea and I ran fairly well on the first 4.5 mile loop trailing behind Jeff (nice pun....).  We did well on the first part of the second loop on our own until we confused a turn and wound up backtracking here and there and wandering in circles, then going back our original way after we decided it was, indeed, the correct route all along.  (It happens.  More than I'd like to admit....)   We made it back to our cars at 10.1 instead of 9.  I wouldn't say we were LOST per se, just couldn't recall where the route we were supposed to be on went.  We knew kind of where we were for the most part.  (Convinced?  NOT lost.)

I'm not going to lie, the last three were not pretty, especially the last one.  We had both had few carbs and with stopping by our car "aid station" a couple of times and taking pics and hitting the CLEANEST. PORTOJOHN*. EVER., we'd been out there a LONG time.  (*Runners really appreciate a fresh port of john.  Really.)   But we had good conversation and kept running (albeit slower and slower near the end), and it was a success.

Zero snakes.
One blister.
Five challenging hills.
One sore toenail.
13.1 miles on a gorgeous trail.

It was a GOOD day.