Ahhh, the Cle Elum Ridge... What a High!
Such a lovely race weekend. Nothing but perfect conditions, company and weather... At the start of the race, I prepared myself, my gear, my mind and began to look around as the countdown began.... "5, 4, 3, 2, 1, Runners begin!" Toeing the line with my running idol, turned training coach and now good friend, Yvonne (Naughton -Irish Ultra Team), was a surreal experience. I had barely any time to think about the recent issues I had been having with my right foot and hip again for the first time since surgery and immediately began to climb.... And climb and climb (Nearly 7,000 ft!)! I began to think about about of all the Veterans and other individuals unable to walk, let alone run and was instantly relieved to know that I was capable of running again.. I was doing it! I remembered why I was there that day and just who I was trying to help by simply signing up to run this race. Then I thought of all the people trying to help me succeed to get to where I was right at that moment... Running this race. Dropping never entered my mind and just as I always do when I head to the mountains to recharge, I talked to God, prayed for others, asked for guidance and promised I would keep doing what I could to SHARE my story and continue RUNNING FOR COMBAT VETERANS and anyone else I might inspire to RUN again.
My hip held strong and my foot never rolled on me as I kept shuffling along over the thousands of "hurdles" on this bikers single-track haven! Though it was a HARD rocky trail, I never felt too weak that I had to stop -except for water at Aid Station 3 and to stretch my hip a few times along the way! I ran for about 15 miles with some new friends named, Travis and Fabien and we kept each other "sane" for a time, sharing stories about our lives and how we came to be running this exact race.
Around mile 20, we all split up... Travis ran ahead, Fabien dropped behind, and I spent the last 10 miles on my own as I normally did in the mountains.... Grateful to God to be "able" to run again after all that my body had been through and so I kept my pace up the last uphill. Just then, I saw a yellow arrow pointing downhill to "the finish."
I was elated. Down I went, running as fast and furiously as my normal downhill for the last mile or so and through the finish. I managed to come through the finish as the 2nd Place Female behind my dear friend, coach and inspiration, Yvonne -as fate would have it! I couldn't have been more humbled by God. What a DAY!!