Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Mt St Helens

Epic. The word may be overused these days, but it is appropriate to describe the Volcanic 50. The first “running” of the circumnavigation of Mt. St. Helens was a crazy hard day. It meant so much to me to be on the volcano all day. When I would start getting negative, I could look up to the cone and think “hey, I get to run around Mt. St. Helens!” I lived in Spokane when she blew on May 18, 1980 and remember it vividly. In fact, the volcanoes of the Pacific Northwest have been my “spiritual homeland”, if you will, for quite some time.

At the start line, I got to give a quick hug and good luck to Kevin Downs and Marta Fisher.  Scott Blum was my campanion for the weekend and a great travel partner.  We gave high fives all around and we were off. 

What was so hard about 6,700 feet of altitude? We do that in Montana frequently. It wasn’t the boulder fields that got me down, or the rope climb up the cliff. No. The thing that got me was the constant silt between my toes. Three days later, my toes are still throbbing where the blisters were worn by the ash, sand and silt of the mountain. On a side note, I ordered new gaiters this morning.

That is not to say that the last boulder field at Mile 30 wasn’t a wee bit irritating, because it was. By then, I thought I was done with all that and ready to pick up the pace to the finish. I was supremely happy from the day by that point, so even the angry guy behind me complaining about the last boulder field at Mile 30 didn’t get under my skin. Turns out, he and his buddy had taken a wrong turn at some point in the day. I passed his buddy in the last 2.5 miles, thereby coming in 3rd from the back. Yea!

This is a great race. If you go, be prepared, bring the route directions with you and go with the flow. It won’t be a PR, but it will be EPIC.

See the trail?  Me neither.

More bouldering.

One of the river crossings.

We went up and down these crevasses all day!

Mt. Rainier in background.

                                                                              Blast zone!!