Bib #23 – Cougar Mountain Trail 10.8
I tipped my red Altra trail sneakers over the toilet bowl, watching small rocks and sand particles float to the bottom and settle on the white porcelain. This was sand from another time and another place; the Anza-Borrego Desert California Riding and Hiking Trail, an 8-mile single track rising 4,000 feet, which I’d climbed in miles 40 through 48 of the Badwater Salton Sea 13 days ago. I’d not run more than two miles since then. I was afraid I’d forgotten how.
Silly, but a fear nonetheless. In the days following Badwater, I’d done what I always do post long ultra. I spent several vacation days in Los Angeles, spending hours each morning walking the Griffith Park trails. Back in Seattle, I ran/walked along the Lake Union sidewalks for a fraction of my typical training run distance.
I took to the start line of the Cougar Mountain Trail Series 10.8 mile run this morning with metaphorical cold feet, turning literal when, within the first quarter-mile, I was soaked through to my socks, the trail grasses wearing days of rain. By the two mile mark I’d settled into a pace and a group of runners with whom I would stay in proximity for the entirety of the race.
And when I was done, the fine yellow dust of the Anza-Borrego desert was gone from my sneakers, replaced with the thick, brownie-batter mud of Washington trails in the springtime. Turns out my body has a good memory.