My first time at Moore Mountain Trail Run turned out to be an ultra half-marathon because, remaining true to character, I drifted a bit off course.
Just a bit.
We didn’t get lost, we just went a few steps farther.
The trail was marked quite well with bright, neon orange flags and chalk arrows. On top of that, volunteers were scattered throughout the course, providing encouragement and direction to pedestrian space cadets such as myself.
I’m just that good at getting lost.
Both the 5k and half-marathon races kicked off on a grassy field in Moore Park, overlooking Upper Klamath Lake. I parked under some trees in a lot across the street to give my dog a nice view of the lake while he waited for me to finish.
I didn’t want Bruce to run with me since I was completely unfamiliar with the route, and neither of us really enjoys running long distances with a leash.
Luckily, he didn’t have to wait alone! One of his new dog friends, Yarrow, pulled up right next to us with her family of runners. Yarrow wasn’t running, either. I met Yarrow and her owner, Jessie, a couple of days prior at the Ashland dog park (best place ever!)
Jessie is a radiant badass who celebrated her 18th birthday by running her first 50k at the Siskiyou Out Back and was the 3rd female halfie finisher at Moore Mountain.
She was kind enough to snap this photo of me and Bruceski at the finish-
Okay, I promise to stop talking about my puppy now.
After moving from lush grass to smooth pavement, the route ascended some switchbacks and was dirt trail the rest of the way. A little hilly, a little rocky, but overall pretty easy on the feet, especially compared to the local Headwaters course I’ve been going to for most of my long runs.
As mentioned earlier, the route was super well-marked. But I wasn’t paying attention to any of that. Instead, I found myself blindly trotting behind my friend Lee Ann because I know she can push the hustle.
I had no way of telling my pace because I left my Garmin watch in my hydration pack, and left the pack in my truck. That was a different kind of error.
Anyway, I figured I’d make good time if I kept Lee Ann in sight.
So, imagine my bewilderment when I saw her running toward me.
“No footprints!” was all I could hear her say as she whizzed past.
I wouldn’t have noticed.
We gradually moved our way back up in the line, passing runners who got ahead of us during the little detour. I’m not sure, but we could have tacked an extra half mile or so onto our races. Couple of serious overachievers right here!
Eventually, I passed Lee Ann, and then started following another lady for a few miles.
My whole race strategy was to catch up with whoever was ahead of me and run right behind them instead of trying to follow the trail myself. This would work for a while, and then the runner would pull off to the side and insist I pass. I guess it’s just as annoying having someone tailgate you on foot.
I followed a really sweet runner from Medford named Lynn until we got to a technical downhill, pausing for a half-second to admire the killer view from the top.
After listening to me fantasize out loud about moving with gravity instead of against it, Lynn graciously stepped aside and sent me down the rocky slope saying, “It’s your time to shine.”
I’ve always loved running downhills. This is mostly because a lot of runners hate them and it’s my chance to make up time. But now that I’ve switched to running in Saucony Peregrine trail shoes, I LOVE THOSE HILLS EVEN MORE!
Holy shit, the tread on these kicks make me feel unstoppable. They’re like rubber crampons with wings, and work beautifully on trails that are just begging to twist your ankle.
AND they make mens sizes in pink and purple! This is crucial for big footed broads like me, who sometimes (often) need to buy mens shoes.
I just fucking love my Peregrines, and nobody is paying me to say that.
So, back to the race…
I was legitimately beaming for most of the race, not only when there happened to be a camera in my face. On top of the beautiful scenery and perfect weather, there were a lot of cute little kids and dogs hanging out with the volunteers, and all those things make me smile big.
Since I didn’t have my watch to remind me when to eat, OR my pack to carry fuel, I ended up running low on energy around mile 10. I didn’t think I would need to carry anything since there was an aid station placed pretty much every 2-3 miles.
All I had was one cup of soda at the mile 7 aid station. I stupidly opted not to pick up a gel or water at the next one I passed, and really regretted that decision.
At the top of a ridge, the trail got a little technical again, and there was no one in sight for me to chase. I felt hungry, tired, weak and lonely.
Instead of crying about it, I tried to trick my body into thinking it just ate something. In other words, I imagined bananas.
I think it maaaaaay have started to work just as I closed in on the next aid station.
“Sugar!” I yelled at the small group of older gentlemen manning the snack table.
“We have water and electrolyte…” one of them started to say, holding up two white plastic cups.
“SUGAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAR!” I repeated, screeching like a hypoglycemic velociraptor.
“We have gels.”
The man looked terrified, as if I might eat him, and waved his hand over the assortment of energy gel packets that lay, neatly arranged by flavor, on the table.
Normally, I’m not a big fan of such “foods,” but they do kick in faster than anything else. I thanked the snack men and hopped along, making sure to squeeze at least 75% of the sugary goo into my mouth.
This gob of suped up corn syrup went straight to my legs, carrying me through to the end of the race.
I finished in just under 2:10, which feels pretty good. I’ve only ever run one other official half-marathon, and that was a road race five years ago. I think I finished it 2:02 or something.
Overall, it was a really fun race with great people.
I don’t know who most of these people are, but I like them.
I also won that sweet Headsweats visor in a raffle! I’ve always wanted one, and now that wish has come true.
But really, the absolute best part was the homemade cookies at the finish line :)