This weekend we went ‘camping’. Kind of. We booked a cabin at the KOA near Placerville, one of our favourite parts of California. When we were booking, we had to choose between a simple cabin and a ‘fancy’ cabin with a fridge, a microwave and a TV. My boys’ eyes LIT UP at the TV (we don’t have cable TV at home) so I relented and we booked our fancy cabin.
I didn’t run at all this weekend. I had cramps, I was all bloated and sore, I felt rough…does any girl really want to run during those few days? So I kicked back and enjoyed my time with my boys.
On Saturday, we went to Apple Hill – like Wine Country for apples. It’s full of orchards where you can pick your own apples, eat apple pie, drink apple cider and pretend that you’re basically Tess of the d’Urbervilles with apples instead of cows.
On Sunday though, we made a ‘pilgrimage’ to Auburn – the end point of the Western States 100. Like many of us, I’m an armchair groupie of ultra-running and the Western States 100 is trail-running’s Wimbledon, World Cup Final and Superbowl. Our first stop was No Hands Bridge – the famous little bridge 3 miles from the finish line. We ran across it pretending to be ultra runners and hiked a tiny way up the trails. I kind of felt like a footie fan stepping on the hallowed turf at Wembley…it was a lot of fun.
In the window of the Auburn Running Company store were a number of WS trophies – we kind of drooled over the glass at them.
Later that night, Alisyn and her boyfriend Matt came over to our little cabin for a BBQ. We last saw them in June – since then, the Husband did his Ironman and Matt ran Western States. He very kindly brought his silver buckle to show us…we were hugely impressed! (To read his race report, click here!)
We were wondering about what’s harder – the Ironman or the Western States. (In a nice way, not an obnoxious way, honestly). The general consensus online was that a 100-mile ultra is harder. It’s longer, you get more tired and it’s the same sport all the time so it taxes your body enormously. The Ironman is a massive challenge too, but you use different muscles at different times which must help a little. We did find a very neat little comparison of the two though which made us giggle.
‘A 100-mile ultra race is an enormous test of your endurance. The Ironman is more a test of your spouse’s endurance’.
Our peaceful Sunday night BBQ was ‘disturbed’ when the campsite set up a karaoke competition bang opposite our little cabin. Matt and Alisyn were great sports about the whole thing. We fuelled up (with wine and beer to give us courage) and then headed over. The Dude charmed the crowd with ‘Twinkle Twinkle’ and ‘The ABC song’. I gave a British version of Dolly Parton’s ‘9 to 5’ and then Alisyn wowed them all with some super-fast show-tunes number!! Once a drunken group got up to do ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ we knew it was time to retire to our fancy cabin!
One of the things I most love about running is that we ‘normal people’ get to run exactly the same roads and trails as the elites. No tennis fan will get to knock a ball about in Centre Court. Few footie players will kick a ball into the net at Wembley. But the Western States trails and the Boston Marathon roads are also there for us, the armchair groupies who run our 25 miles a week. This sport is so cool, I do love it!