Sunday, September 13, 2015

Ossian Mountain Run 2015

Saturday morning, standing in the rain with goosebumps from the dampness and chill, waiting around to run uphill for 8 miles, I wondered why I had signed up for this race. But of course I knew why I had signed up for this race. It sounded hard. And the hard things are the most worth doing.

Thanks to Sheila for the photos above and below.
The Ossian Mountain Run takes place on some beautiful single track trails around the ski resort in Swain, NY (though I use the term resort loosely. It looked more like a ghost town). It's a 4 mile loop on some sweet mountain bike trails and you have the choice to run it once or twice. I did the 8 mile race. Because the only thing better than 4 miles of hills is 8 miles of hills. Or something like that.

Infinity of thanks to the Valones for driving us to the race and to Jeff for running with me and giving me chocolate milk afterwards. Waiting at the start, looking around at everyone else who showed up to run this race, all of them much better runners than I am, I felt like I was probably in over my head. But that has never stopped me before. Plus at that point I just wanted to start running so I could get warm. We started uphill, of course. There was a lot of steep uphill and steep downhill, the kind where you just have to keep going and hope for the best because you couldn't stop if you tried. The trails were slick with mud and I felt like I was an injury waiting to happen. But luckily I didn't fall at all. There were more than a few close calls, but no actual falls.

For most of the first loop, Jeff and I ran with Eric, who was doing the 4 mile in his triumphant return  to racing after an injury. I can't recall a single local race where Eric and Sheila weren't either race directing or spectating/volunteering so it was nice to see Eric get a chance to be on the running side of things again. I think it took us about an hour to complete the first loop. I was just happy we hadn't gotten lapped by the winner. Jeff and I headed back out for the second loop, knowing the steep, slippery descents that awaited us but trying not to think about it. Despite being slow and feeling bad for holding Jeff back, I was having a great time. The weather was perfect for running. My legs felt heavy at first and I got a side stitch but I just took a salt tab and thought eh, better here than at Water Gap 50K next month. Once I got warmed up, my legs and stomach felt fine. We were having fun running through the mud, chatting and appreciating the stellar views and mostly just trying to stay upright.

Finish photo by the legendary Valone. I sat in his Subaru.
Race Director Andy had said something before the race about how the secret to mountain biking is to "fully commit or die." I think that's the secret to most things in life. You can't let your fear - of failure or embarrassment or faceplanting - hold you back. Sometimes you just have to take the leap and trust your feet to find their way. Sometimes when you go over that hill you will find that it is actually a bike jump and there is 4 feet of nothing between you and the ground. Sometimes you will forget that and do the same thing on the second loop. It's all part of the adventure.

I was nervous for this race and probably for good reason. I'm okay at uphills but far too hesitant on the downhills. I'm working on it though. I'm trying to trust that my limbs will find the way. Only sometimes it's hard to trust my limbs because they're always bruised and I'm still not sure what kind of trouble they get into while I'm sleeping. But I got to run some awesomely slippery and scenic trails and all my bones stayed on the inside where I like them, so there's that. And there's no better way to spend a Saturday morning than at a good race with good company, with chocolate milk in one hand and a cookie in the other.

Lyric of the moment: "Out there's a world that calls for me. Heading out into the unknown. Wayfaring strangers and all kinds of danger. Please don't say I'm going alone. To the ends of the earth would you follow me? There's a world that was meant for our eyes to see..." ~Lord Huron "Ends of the Earth"

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