Here Comes the Sun
Trail Runner|Fall 2021
Where pessimism meets its match
By Claire Walla

In any other context, I would have rolled my eyes. I had, in fact, rolled my eyes at myself several times for saying these words during my own races and while pacing friends through dark shadows and into the bleary, tea-colored haze of morning. As much as “Here comes the sun” is a statement of fact, it’s also a worn-out cliche, perhaps the most-uttered line in the history of overnight racing— aside from “I’m tired” and “It hurts,” which were more my bag.

In an ultramarathon, suffering is the only guarantee, and it was in full swing during Twilight Overnight, a 12- hour nighttime run on a 2.3-mile loop in the Cascades. The event is meant to be fun: an all-night party at a horse ranch with trail friends, bonfires, pancakes and (of course) lots of miles. After years of hearing about Twilight from my friend Gretchen, who puts on the event each year, I had been looking forward to it … and preparing for the worst.

Sure enough, my legs hurt and my eyes drooped as I walked that dirt path beneath the pines, above a valley of green grass and dusty stables, suddenly well-aware that during the pandemic my running had been scant and my racing nil. It had been two years since my last race.

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