Bib #28 – Cougar Mountain Trail Run 19.5
5:00:21 was the time to beat; set in 2016 by a woman who was exhausted in every fiber of her being. Just returned from a 6-week work stint in Grand Forks, North Dakota, where she ate Amy’s frozen rice bowls for lunch and pasta for dinner; politely accepting the chocolate covered potato chips and deep fried Oreos she was offered as “local delicacies.” Despite finishing a 19.5 mile trail run on her first weekend back in Seattle, she just didn’t feel well.
That woman stuck around until October when, deep friend Oreos nearly forgotten, she crossed the finish line of the Chicago Marathon with a 7-minute PR.
Back on Cougar Mountain one year later, I had something to prove. I’d followed up that Chicago PR with three near misses between January and April, a 100k run good enough to qualify for the 2017 Western States Lottery, and my fastest 10k in eight years. Still, I couldn’t be certain that woman was gone until I looked for her on Cougar Mountain, where the course climbs 3700 feet over 19.5 miles.
For four hours, thirty four minutes and forty six seconds, I searched for her.
When the race was over I collected my commemorative Cougar Mountain Race Series rocks glass, filled it with keg beer, and sat on the grass.
Now I was sure; that woman was gone.