Enter the Fourth of July Trail Races. We'd heard good things about the Trail Maniac races, but hadn't ever run one. There wasn't much information on the website – barely anything compared to what we put up for Rainshadow races, actually – but I figured it didn't matter: it was a 50-mile run, starting at a pass. Figured there'd be some climbs, there'd be some single track.
Except there mostly weren't, and I'm admittedly not mentally tough enough right now for that to not bother me. I'm spoiled when it comes to trails, so spoiled. I need tough climbs. I need single track. And when my stomach fell apart (it hadn't been handling heat well, especially the last year or two), I was just over it: I dropped at 34 miles. Yes, I hadn't kept much down, and no, I didn't feel very good, but mostly, I just didn't care. I wasn't having fun. I don't like running when it's not fun, at least when it's not on my own terms.
I'm reasonably certain I could have hiked it in – I had 6 ½ hours to cover the last 16 miles – but I didn't want to. I just had no desire at all. Getting a 50-mile result that just demonstrated how much trouble I've been having lately with nutrition and electrolytes when it's hot didn't make a whole lot of sense; knowing that Cascade Crest is almost always hot, I don't want to run it until I get that part dialed back in again, and am really confident I have warm weather running under control again. So I called it a day at 34.
I really like Dave, the Trail Maniacs race director. He seems like a great guy, and I think I'd really dig some of his other races – I just didn't care for this one. That's probably at least in part that I'm not in shape, and at least in part that I didn't have the kind of day I was hoping for, and that's okay. Not every run is a run we're happy about.
More, though, we're realizing we're not really the sort of people that run races, not really. We love helping at them, and putting them on, and seeing folks do things they haven't done before or challenging themselves in new ways, but running in races themselves aren't really our thing. That's okay, too.
I'm sure we'll still help with some of Dave's races as we're able, and if you are the sort that likes running races [and especially if you live in Eastern Washington, Idaho, or Montana], his series is worth checking out.