(bike race results listed first, scroll to bottom of .pdf doc for foot race results)
Pre-race Lead-up: Ran some tough hills the past few weeks in Colorado and Idaho and felt pretty fit cardio wise coming in to this one. I was a bit worried about a run I had done earlier in the week covering 22 miles, with 9 of those on snow and some big climbing. I rested for 2 days pre-race and decided to enter the race the day before.
The run started behind the Jug Mountain Ranch Clubhouse with a gently uphill jeep road and soon got steeper. I began quickly and took the lead within a minute. By 1.5 miles, I had left the early leader, Daryl, but was caught by my strongest competition for the day, Kevin. He lead for about a mile, but I overtook him on the first real downhill of the day at mile 4. I made a note of this and decided to reserve some strength on the ups and flats, then try to make gaps on the downs. This makes a challenger work harder to close gaps when the running is harder- on the flats and ups. Usually, my strategy is opposite of this; I prefer to dominate the climbs. However, I really had no climbing legs after mile 3 or 4 from my long run earlier in the week. So, I decided to go for it on the downs.
Kevin caught me again and we ran across the flattest section of the course together, crossing the dams of the two reservoirs and getting wet and muddy as we chatted some. Each time I made a move, Kevin answered. Kevin hung right with me past mile 6 as I began to worry about my endurance. My legs were tightening and I was unsure if I could keep this furious pace. Not sure what happened, but there was no Mile 6 aid station as promised. I took a glance back and could see some daylight as I tore down the jeep trail at top speed. I did get to the Mile 7 aid station (mile 7.5-ish), just as it was being set up. A young kid poured a quick 1/2 cup of gatorade stuff and handed it to me as I ran past. I got a third of it in my mouth, but it helped. I had planned to eat a gel here that I was carrying, but I did not have the time to drink the fluid that would be needed to wash it down.
The final sustained climb loomed and I hit it as hard as I could. Lots of rocks and obstacles kept the pace slow but steady. I stole another look back and I caught sight of Kevin a few switchback behind. I hit the top and was tired of being chased, so I decided to end it on that downhill. I opened my stride, began pumping my arms while driving downhill and leaping granite boulders and mud pits. The pain and fatigue subsided and I just ran like a maniac. I smiled big and thought of GLH. He would have enjoyed the intensity of that section.
At the bottom of the climb, the course rolled over some small meadows and the golf course came into view- signaling the end was near. I caught another look back in one open meadow and saw no one, so I reminded myself to run my own race, stop worrying and have fun out there. Soon, the finish line came into view and I sprinted with my remaining strength, crossing under the arch in 1 hour and 7 minutes.
I had a nice time out there, running some trails I knew from training days and some new ones. The course was good mix of fast and slow with no real sustained bits. It kept changing and kept me on my toes throughout. I wished B had come out, but she had Farmer's Market sales to make and a bum knee. They made me stand on a podium for my award, which I had not done since 7th grade. I drank a little beer with my recovery snacks and headed home to watch the live Western States 100 feed on the internet. Nerd.