September 19th and I finally ran my first trail race of the year. It wasn't even an ultra, but my body is trying to claim otherwise today. New RD James Varner added a 25k version for the re-routed Cle Elum Ridge Run. Knowing I wasn't close to being ready for a 50k yet, I opted for the 25k. It was a good choice, as the 25k was all I could handle yesterday. It was a typical Jame course - tough with lots of climbing. He listed it at ~4,000 ft of gain and ~15.4 miles. I don't know about the elevation gain (it felt like at least 4,000'), but the distance was longer than billed. GPS tracking placed the distance at 17.96 miles. It will go down in my log book as 18 miles and I am comfortable with the rounding. At 3:26:37, it took longer than many of my road marathons (back when I was a runner).
I enjoyed getting to see some familiar faces at the race. Jim Kerby was also running and 25k. Unfortunately, Jim had his knee flare up again on the return leg. I did a dumb thing and ran in new shoes. My left foot started losing the heel pad to a blister on all the downhill coming back when the shoes loosened up and I didn't re-tighten the laces soon enough.
Still, it was good to be back on the trails again. It did highlight just how far I have to go to get ready for Cascade Crest next summer. Endurance seem slow in coming back.