We packed up the truck on Thursday (and it's amazing how the things of two relatively bare-bones people can take up so much space, even just for a long weekend) and drove for Downieville, site of the (apparently quite famous) Downieville Classic Mt Bike race. Not surprisingly, I am no mt. biker, but Tom and a bunch of his friends are, so we all settled into a big site in a local campground and prepared for a weekend of festivities and bike riding. I initially thought I would join folks for some of the legendary riding (only one of our group was actually racing), but the more I talked to people and listened to their stories of grueling climbs and technical downhills (often on narrow singletrack inches away from hundred-foot+ cliffs) I decided it wasn't for me and reformatted the plans of my weekend to include plenty of reading and soaking my feet in the river. Given my very-much-a-beginner mountain skillz, I think this was the wise choice to make.
The first whole day we were there, I decided to go for a run while the others went biking down a different trail. Tom, taking an easy day, decided to join me, though he would hike while I ran and we would meet up. This was the plan, anyway, and we headed out on the Deer Lake trail, 3 miles to the lake and we'd do an out-and-back, meeting up at the lake.
Now this whole area, while very remote, is exceedingly beautiful. Really stunning, even with Tahoe as a comparison. Lots of forbidding territory, constant elevation changes with steep steep uphills and downhills, alpine lakes, wildflowers, you name it. The bit of the trail we did is part of the PCT. This is how it began:
Again, I am SO lucky to be able to live and play and run in such beautiful places. The run started great, I jogged up this trail and into areas unknown. I knew something was wrong, however, when Tom (hiking, mind you, that means walking) caught up with me, and then passed me. While I ran. Yeah. No more demoralized than usual, I continued on. I don't know if it was the elevation change (climbing), the elevation itself (7000 ft, but c'mon, I live at 6000 ft), or my lack of using my new friend the albuterol inhaler, but within a mile or so I was a gasping, wheezing mess sitting on a log trying to catch my breath.
The view was great, though!
Tom, worried, comes BACK (walking, remember!) to find me there in my running failure glory. I was done, at least with the uphill part. Just didn't have it in me, for whatever reason. I gave it up and walked the following mile or so to the lake.
Despite managing the last 2 miles, I was really feeling crappy about my running after this limp attempt, and furthered my plans to spend the rest of the weekend in a lawn hair with my feet in the river, and that's about all I did. Everyone went out for some hard biking, and I stayed in town and ate ice cream. Nice.