To read about the first half of Kacey’s race on Thunderbolt mountain look here…..and now for the rest of the race!
After one takes in the 360* view of the pines, rocks, big sky, fluffy patches of white clouds, and says a thanks to nature, while standing on the tippy top of Thunderbolt mountain, one gets to fly down.
And by flying, I mean by the wings of ones own feet!
One final deep inhale of the pine in the sky and it was time to go.
The road up may have been filled with soul searching, determination, moving forward when I wanted to stop, lungs burning, pushing out negative self talk, and making myself stay in gear. The road down however, was all about finding a new gear.
I get that it’s not trail etiquette to go barreling down the side of the mountain when one knows there are racers grueling it out going up…..but I just couldn’t help myself. I let people know I was coming and I hope the smile on my face was enough of an “I’m Sorry” and “This will be you soon” to get some runner forgiveness.
The first runners I saw I was able to let them know that they were close and it was fun watching their frowns turn upside down and then away I quickly went.
It was also on the fly that I too, finally ran into my friends from MI. They had come out to celebrate Rick Leedy’s 50th birthday party…..from around a bend I heard him say, “That must be Kacey, I’d recognize those Runner Legs anywhere!” I stopped to hug each person in the party, Welcome them to Montana, smile, and then keep on truckin’.
My run at this point was all about me. After nearly a year of every running step I took, hurting to the point of tears, this steep downhill gave me no time to notice it. I just kept picking up speed, and loving it. I was bound to fall at the pace I was clipping and sure enough, a tired runner wasn’t moving over and I tried to go up the embankment. It was too steep, with not even enough room for my size 5 foot and I went rolling ass over tea-kettle. I didn’t even bother to look at anything because quite frankly, there was no way I was getting off this mountain by anything other than my own feet, so what was the point? If there was something to be tended to, it would still need tending at the end……and so I kept going.
I in no way think I’m invincible, and I’m not telling anyone that this is a smart way to run an event….but it was my way, on this day, and I wasn’t about to slow down now! Everything was heightened, I was breathing hard, my quads were on fire, and there were logs to be jumped. I made most of them, until I didn’t, and then down I went again. I have to say, I’m a pretty good trail runner, in fact I’ve been lovingly called a ‘baby billy goat,’ but the trail was making sure I knew whose mountain this really was……so I again picked myself up, wiped off the dirty top to my water, and kept a movin’ and a groovin’……
The final trek into the finish was all about rocks, and jagged, and I was forced to slow down a bit because it was so rough I couldn’t even go fast. This was fun too, as I was really able to take in the last couple of miles of what had been one of the best runs that have ever been ran.
It was Montana through and through. Cool morning when it was the toughest. Views that bring tears to the eyes of anyone with a soul. Warm and too hot afternoons that light up the meadows with all of their colors, as if they had bloomed gems.
I broke away from the last guy I was to pass as we moved into the final turn, over a bridge, and was able to run in to the applause of the churning Mountain stream. There may be no better way to end a race.
Groovy Girls Go……Their Way……FaSt