Uuugh, I have officially reached that place where I am so behind on adventure recaps that it’s getting hard to get back into it. So I’mma just start and see how this goes.
First up: Sun Mountain!
Highway 20 opened just in time for us to do the beautiful drive through the North Cascades to get to Winthrop. I had forgotten just how gorgeous it is – we haven’t seen too many big mountains lately, so maybe I just appreciate it more now?
We stopped at the Diablo Overlook for a picnic and I was in awe. Nora loved it too, because we told her that Davis Peak was Svinetoppen (Swine Mountain), which the pig in her bedtime stories likes to climb.
We stayed at the Patterson Lake cabins, part of Sun Mountain Lodge, which was the perfect choice for us with two small kids along for the adventure. The cabins are right on the water and on the Sun Mountain trail system, so you can run in all sorts of directions right from your doorstep.
So, race day. Unfortunately little Norbert did not get to run her first kids’ 1K due to a…toddler malfunction, but I had all sorts of fun on the 25K. (By “all sorts” I’m obviously including Type 2 Fun.)
I ran the first half with two old friends from back in the TNAB days, which was a great motivator to beat the cutoff at the aid station – I was genuinely nervous about that, but we made it with lots of time to spare. I pretty much always run by myself, so it was interesting to note how much farther I could go without stopping when I was trying to keep up with others. It’s the best kind of peer pressure.
Once I got past the aid station, I kind of fell apart a little bit. The heat really got to me, and my knee, which has been bothering me whenever I’ve run anything longer than 8 miles, was not happy with the steep, downhill mountain bike trail that we were on for what seemed like forever. I don’t really remember much, because my body doesn’t really function well in the heat. A lot of us westsiders were struggling under that unforgiving sun after training in cold drizzle all winter and spring.
I ended up walking so much of the rest of the course that it was downright embarrassing, especially the last two miles – I could even hear people cheering at the finish line but I just could not get my legs to run. I ended up crossing the finish line at 3:33:10. My only goals for this race were to have fun (Type 2 Fun counts!), to beat the aid station cutoff, and to use it as motivation to get me out on the trails for guilt-free postpartum endorphins and alone time, so that’s a win on all counts.
(Of course JK decided on a whim to run the Dirty Turtle 25K the following weekend with no training except for two runs on Mount Patterson, and he finished in 2:44:something even with over 5000 feet of elevation gain. Way to make me feel slow, dude! But whatevs, I’m here to live up to my Trail Snail moniker.)
After I got my well-deserved high five from race director James Varner, I spotted a super excited Nora running toward me for an even better high five and a big hug. The best! She was all about the post-race pizza party, so we walked (I waddled) over to a shady spot to spread out on a blanket and get our feast on. They even had gluten-free vegan pizza topped with kale and roasted garlic! And there was bluegrass music! And happy people! And little Noras dancing! Total bliss.
Also how amazing is this finisher’s glass? #hearteyes
As the party wound down, we went back to our cabin and took an ice bath in Patterson Lake while Lily napped. Aaaah. So awesome.
The next day, after a combined effort by my spawn to ensure I got less than one hour of sleep, I somehow felt really, really good. We ended up having a perfect, relaxing vacation day, something we really didn’t think would happen after that night. It’s that Sun Mountain magic!
We went for a short but beautiful family hike, swam in the lake again, and then both girls actually napped simultaneously so JK and I could read and relax on the porch. Aah.
JK kept gushing about the run he had gone on the night before, so once the girls were in bed (and they actually stayed in bed this time, thank jebus), I headed out for a run of my own.
I had hiked up Mount Patterson before, back in 2012 while JK ran the 25K, but it was overcast and hazy and it didn’t make that big of an impression on me. But this! This was amazing.
Golden evening light, fields of balsamroot everywhere, lupine-scented singletrack…it was trail running perfection. I had the mountain to myself (except for an assortment of animal friends), so I took to running the downhills with my arms flailing every which way and yelling wheeeeeee at the top of my lungs. Best run of my life.
The next morning we had to leave, but we made sure to squeeze in a visit to the pool up at the main lodge before the long drive home. That view, man.
So, Sun Mountain. I love you. Let’s make this an annual thing (but hopefully with more sleep next time).