Crushing or Crushed at the Cutthroat Classic?

Oh my Goddess, a freakin' RUN!!  Seriously.  With absolutely no training - I haven't been on a trail run in 6+ weeks - I joined Patsy and a bunch of friends to run the Cutthroat Classic.  Ominously, a friend of ours warned us that it had "destroyed" him a few years ago, but Jason always does things at 110% effort so who can be surprised?

Our friend Justin sent me an email in February, not long after I had come home from Antarctica.  All it said was, "Interested?"  Patsy was trying to get motivated, I wanted to do something outside with her, and with our friends too.  How long is it?  How big?  Who cares!

The Cutthroat Classic is a fantastic run with a brutally direct route:  run 5 miles and climb 2000' from Rainy Pass to Cutthroat Pass, then descend 7 miles and 2400' to the trailhead on the other side below Cutthroat Lake.

Patsy was religious in her running - even now, she averages 5 days a week.  I was religious in going to Meander's for breakfast in between trips, and I counted on all those days with moderate paces and moderate packs to get me through, eh?

We all met in the morning at the Mazama Community Center, where organizers from the Methow Valley Sports Trail Association had arranged for local school buses to drive us up to Rainy Pass.  Wesley, in true form, had to make a last ditch run to the bathroom and almost missed the bus.  Once up at the Pass, we split up into our heats - Wesley was in the first, Justin and Dave in the second, Jen in the third, and Patsy and I in the fourth and last wave.  That meant that each successive group got a little less of a cheer - and we got none - but its all good.

Of course, right after the start Patsy and I realized that we needed to pee again.  Thankfully the Port-O-Potties were right after the starting line!  Then we fell into an easy "run on the flats, walk on the hills" pace.  This was Patsy's first run ever, so I promised to follow her until she felt like cutting me loose.  In turn, she agreed to let me put in my headphones immediately and tune out everything but the trail in front of me.  And her backside! ;)>

Is this dude having fun yet? Photo | MVSTA
45 minutes or so later - I wasn't wearing a watch, so I kept track by song titles - Patsy said I should get going.  It took me another 10 minutes or so (3 songs) until I found my uphill rhythm, but then it was over.  Up up up up up up.  I reached the pass expecting someone to be calling out our time, but instead there were two loan photographers cheering us on.  With no watch, I had no idea and no cares.  I stopped for a minute, feeling guilty about all the people who I had just passed moments earlier, who were now passing me, who I was about to pass again on the downhill, but I really needed to tighten my laces for the descent.

This guy's shirt reads, "I may be a fat ass, but I'm ahead of you."
I passed him around mile 8.  Photo | MVSTA
The descent was magical - completely focused on the feet, long legs, and moving down down down down down.  The trail wiped these huge switch backs through the alpine, in the full sun, down down down into the the trees.  Everyone was really nice about letting me pass.  Finally reached the only aid station, pack-horse supported, two miles down.  Only four more miles to go!  At three miles I started to feel my face flush from the heat and the effort, and my thighs started to chafe, and my feet to hurt.  Running straight through the creeks instead of on the rocks gave them a moment's cold respite.  I worked to keep a consistent pace, not to make it a race of catching the next runner ahead.  The trail started to flatten, and then suddenly there was Jen, Dave, Wes and Justin waiting for me just before the finish line.

Patsy came made it down a bit later, and we all over-piled onto a bus for the ride down.  "I'M NEVER DOING THIS AGAIN!" Patsy called out as she got on, to the cheers of the audience.

At our BBQ at Mark and Sheldon's cabin in Mazama that night my knees were stiff and my feet sore.  The next day the pain migrated to my hips.  And another day to my calves.  I was greatful I didn't have another trip heading out until Friday.

Rematch next year!

Statistics:  Methow Valley Sport Trail Association's Cutthroat Classic.  27 August.  12 miles, 2000 ft gained and 2400 ft descended, high point at Cutthroat Pass, 6840 feet.

Wesley - 1:41:45
Justin - 1:48:52
Dave - 1:52:34
Jen - 2:03:16
Me - 2:19:18
Patsy - 2:54:46