Well, last Saturday was SOFA (Southern Oregon FatAss), the third installment of the FATSO (FatAss Trail Series of Oregon). I was excited to go back down to southern Oregon for this run on the classic Rogue River Trail.
Upon arrival in Ashland on Friday evening, I finally got to check out the Rogue Valley Runners running store. This is Hal's baby and it's a pretty sweet running store. In addition to himself, he's got ultralegend/manager Ian Torrence and ultranewbie Erik Skaggs, amongst others, getting up-close and personal with feet. Ian was kind enough to give me a tour of the shop and show me a bit of how and why they do things. The shoes! Holy cow, they have so many models - it really is incredible. I think the number I heard was 120! And crazy as it sounds, they still have to special order for some customers. They're going to double the size of the store next month, so watch out for some new and exciting stuff at RVR.
Pizza with the gang that night sure tasted good going down. However, walking back to Hal's place, the pizza turned into a brick. I had a huge gut ache all night. Foreshadowing...you betcha!
The morning at the Graves Creek trailhead was a little chilly, but great running temps and even better was seeing 30 friends and 1/2 dozen doggies out there for a day of fun on the trail. I immediately fell into a nice groove with Erik, Ian, Eric, Chris, Jenn, and Abby for the first 45 minutes. It was fun just cruising and chatting, but I could tell Erik was hurting from running so slow. At a small creek crossing, a few of us took the hard way while Ian took the easy and faster way, and was out of there quick. This was Erik's chance to run faster. He and Jenn chased after Ian, while Eric and I continued our relaxed cruise, with Chris catching back up to us shortly.
After an hour on the trail, the pizza started to rear it's ugly self. I fell back from Eric and Chris, almost caught back up, fell back again, and continued this game until the turn around. During this little game my tummy was playing with me, as I was just cruising along not really paying attention, I came across the 10-mile bear. Seriously. I stopped suddenly in my tracks when I saw a big black thing laying across the trail in front of me. Hm, it looks like a bear, but it's not moving. So I pranced around it rather quickly and continued on my way, with a few more stops, to the turn around. I was within a couple minutes of the gang in front, but thoughts of catching up and running back with them quickly faded back into the bushes.
I was hopeful that Mark and Brad would catch up to me on the way back, but they ran some extra credit miles (brown-nosers). So in addition to running back by myself, I had to fend off the bear solo again. Poor guy; it looked as though he tumbled down the steep ravine from above and possibly broke his neck. It was recent, as he wasn't stinking and no kitties had found him yet. This was definitely one of the craziest things I've ever come across on a trail run.
I eventually rolled back into the trailhead 5:21 after starting my journey (due to the out and back nature of this run, Sascha had to sit this one out). As always, I enjoyed running on this trail. It's beautiful, pretty hard to get lost on, and I only got one tiny little spot of poison oak this time. Tim was a gracious host and brought lots of goodies for us to feast on while chatting away the afternoon with friends. Full results here. Lots of cool pictures here, thanks to Ken.
As far as the FATSO standings, apparently Darla tricked Chris into finishing ahead of her at the SOFA by a minute, so she's currently laying claim to Oregon's fattest ass by a mere 1:10.
Darla 5:53 + 6:12:10 + 5:35 = 17:40:10
Chris 5:53 + 6:12:00 + 5:34 = 17:39:00
Me 5:19 + 5:28 + 5:21 = 16:08:00
Will Darla be able to hold the lead? Will Chris walk the last fatass? Or will I crawl my way to victory? Tune in Saturday as this inaugural series finishes at the MadAss.