Every so often things just click. Before the race, Asher and I discussed how this was the first time he was going into a trail race, where his training had gone nearly perfect. He would be fully prepared, and there would be no training excuses. No short build-ups, no missing this or that. The reality was – was that Asher had never been so ready for a race.
The result showed.
Asher ran 3:47:55, beating out Mark Austin of Boise, who ran 3:54:13. Both of them obliterated the course record that was set the prior year, where Perrin Smith ran 4:22:08.
I saw Asher first, around eight miles in. He had approximately a 2-3 minute lead as he headed back down from top of the world one. He told me he felt “relaxed”, but I wondered if he was making a move too soon. After-all, Mark Austin was in the field, a hand-full of other trail runners with respectable resumes.
Asher’s father, who was also running in the race, shared the same concern when I saw him on the trail and told him that Asher had made a move. He had a short laugh, and said, “I hope he didn’t go to early”.
The reality was that Asher was fit, and ready to roll. He’d spent a good portion of time on the course beforehand, and when I saw Asher around 18 miles, he looked good, and verbally reinforced that notion. He was “comfortable” he said. This was a far different race than the USATF 50 mile, or his last race in Klamath. He had a full build up, he spent time on the course, and most of all – he showed patience.
As Pat and I drove back down to camp, both Asher and Austin had already finished. Asher was cooling down in the river. He walked up to the post-race celebration with a smile on his face. He told me his finishing time, we hugged, and I congratulated him on what was the best race of his life up to this point.
It’s only so often that things just click. But luck had very little to do with the day. Asher had been paying his dues for a while. He showed up to the starting line healthy, fit, and confident with having done many weekend long runs.
It’s always nice to have an ultimook runner protect the HQ. Stanley is not exactly home turf for Asher, but there is no other group out there spending as much time on those Tillamook logging roads as us.