I have to say that there is nothing like this race. Last year I didn’t decide until the morning of that I wanted to do this. I needed a longer run to get me on track for my 100K in April so it was perfect timing. It was a training run and I hadn’t run over 15 miles in 2 months. Best race.
This year I thought of it as a race. I “tapered,” I had a different mindset going in. Probably because I had won the previous year, there is that little bit of pressure to preform well again. I knew it would be fun also because I had friends and a client running also.
I wake at 4:30am to check the weather again (yep still 5 at the start), pick out my clothes, eat, and drink all the coffee. It was tricky, I knew this course and I knew we could be sheltered from the wind most of the time, and that it would warm up (30) by the time I would be done. I keep reminding myself that I should be cold at the start, as much as I want to wear all the layers.
Leave the house at 5:45am, with Roubaix on my lap and a nap, it seems we arrive quickly. I run inside to get my number and check in. Go to the bathroom, and straight back to the car to keep warm. I was informed that the fresh snow fall meant that there was no need for screw shoes (Roger had made me a brand new pair the night before that will have to wait for another day).
I head into the shelter around 7am, switch from boots to running shoes and find Angela. She was going to be running with her neighbor Dean who were both using this run as a training run for the Zumbro 100 in April.
Race briefing at 7:15 stated that the course was the same as last year and conditions looked good. Time to line up.
As I am lining up I see my client Patrick. He looks nervous. A few questions on how he feels are thrown out. A hug for good luck.
7:30 and its go time. I know that the first part of the course is single track and that I will want to get our front early. Done.
The route consists of an out and back to the right and then a loop to the left and then back up the single track to the shelter. 4 times with an out and back on the single track. With this race people are allowed to start early fearing they won’t make it in time. This within the first loop or so gets a little confusing. With the layout of the race you get to encounter people at many points, and trying to figure out your position in relation gets tough. So it is pretty much a guessing game for the first half.
I am feeling pretty good and Angela, Dean, and Patrick all look great. I latch onto a guy in the ultra scene, we tend to run a bunch of the same races. I know he is much faster than me and I know I can usually only hold with him for a loop, maybe two.
I take a Picky Bar at the end of the first loop and eat half. My legs feel a little fatigued, but not horrible. I know that I was wasting a bunch of energy with the condition of the snow. It was too cold to stick together and slick at the time time. It made climbing very difficult. In the second loop I think about changing into my screw shoes thinking that would help. After talking to a few people I realized it wouldn’t.
Third loop I eat the other half of the bar and know I will need more before I get to the start/finish area. Thankfully Roger was at the halfway unmanned station. I met him there coming out of the second looped portion (my favorite). All I could think was “I’m so hungry,” and then he was there. It was glorious! At this point I had caught up with “the guy,” we ran together a bit and he passed me again as I stopped to feed my face.
Coming into the check in at the start/finish for my last loop, I grabbed some water and I was off. No food as I had just eaten. This is where I must have passed “the guy.” On my way out at the beginning of the last loop I come up on Patrick. He says he feels great, we chat a bit and then I head off. At this point the snow had become pretty much like sand.
At the T-intersection where you transition from the out and back to the second part of the loop I met Roger and took the magic food. Sweet and Salty Almond Nature Valley bar. Seriously the best late in the race food. All I can remember was that it was warm, usually I am carrying them and in the cold they are frozen and hard to chew. Not this time!
Up the single track I am repeating in my mind “just up, turn around, to the T and back.” I get to the check-in, take a swig of water and right back out. I am ready to be done. Turn around and I get a few high fives and some congratulations before I hit the single track. I see Angela on her way out on the 4th loop and shes all smiles!
Coming out of the woods and off the single track I hit the pavement and an incline. Every time out of the woods I felt like my legs were lead. I had a nice kick left and sprinted around to the finish.
I knew at this point, actually before this that I was in first for the women. Defending the title felt great and I finally beat Bruce! Probably the only race that will happen in. Out of the 141 starters, 70 finished.
We stuck around to see Angela and Dean finish but had to leave before Patrick finished.
What a great race! I found out after the race that while I was racing I got drawn for the Wasatch 100! second 100 miler of the summer here we come!
This race was dedicated to Chris Kegel. I ran for him. The love and compassion this man had for everyone will out last us all. He left this earth on Tuesday 2-7-17.