That's me, the little highlighted gray bar to the left. 39th out of 262. Hey, I know it's not about where you finish. It's about how you ran the race, and were you a good sport, and did you remember to finish your peas and say "thank you."
But I'll take 39th. And I'll take an 8:15 pace on a course that was equal parts swampy moor-crossing, gut-busting singletrack hill climb, and quad-burning twisty descent. And I'll definitely take 39th on road shoes, navigating tree roots, log jumps, and foot-deep mud (all with just a wee homebrew hangover from the night before).
I'll take 39th and build on it. Because I can feel my legs getting stronger beneath me. Every time I step outside and hit the asphalt or the trail, I'm stronger. Faster.
The Cougar Mountain Trail Series, put on by Seattle Running Company, is first class. Well-marked and well-supported, with a large percentage of entry fees going right back into the trails... it's a model for others to follow. The races attract some of the best trail runners in the region, and I'm just happy I could tug on their coat tails.
For the first few hundred yards, anyway :)