Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Moab Red Hot 50k+ (or - ?)

Note: the above (-) only reflects my performance last Saturday, and in no way indicates the course or course management:)

After a long lay off since the Grand Teton Races I was finally able to get back on dirt, well sort of. As my family and I drove South over Soldier Summit we began to worry about the amounts of snow that had seemed to accumulate recently on the deserts of Utah. The further we drove, admittedly the more disappointed we became. Friday we were able to spend a fun day at Arches National Park, checking out the different views and hiking out to delicate arch. It was good to see everyone at the pre race packet pick up and then we had dinner with Roch and Catherine (thanks!). After dinner the kids and I watched a movie at the motel and Andi caught the latest romantic comedy at the theater. Definitely a win-win situation.

It was cold on race morning. I chatted with a few other runners that stayed at the same motel while I waited for my ride to the start. There was a huge line of cars on Potash Road. I felt a little under dressed in the 18 degree weather with a beanie, gloves, arm-warmers and my shorts and singlet but I was optimistic it would warm up. The race seemed to start before any of us were ready and I tried to find some sort of easy pace up the snow-covered road. The road section had been driven on by Jeepers and footing wasn't too bad. It wasn't until after the first aid station that we started weaving in and out of the junipers and the slick rock. When we reached the rim we had to post-hole for several miles. Chris, Kevin, and I took turns breaking trail and tromping along until we reached the road again. It was here that turned out to be my Waterloo. When we finally had good footing I really pushed the pace, quickly dropping Kevin (until later of course) and see-sawing with Chris and Dakota and hammering the downhills.

By the time I reached about mile 23 I was starting to feel the heat of the earlier pace and I slowed, hoping to save a bit for the more runnable section at the end. Chris assured me that aid was coming soon and not a minute too soon as I was out of NUUN and gels. Unfortunately when we got to mile 25 a photographer informed us that because of the snow that the aid wasn't for about another 4.5 miles down the trail. At this point Chris offered some food but I thought I would be fine and he sped off. I was still feeling okay and in 6yh or 7th place when my lack of long runs caught up with me. I bonked hard, took a wrong turn, and was passed by a bunch of 33k runners and even some 50k guys. Jared Campbell caught me at the last aid, I slammed a couple of snickers hoping to finish strong but I ended up gimping in in 11th place in 5:00:01. Not exactly where I wanted or expected to finish, but I finished none-the-less.

On the bright side I have recovered fairly quickly. I have the coach's mile at Simplot this weekend. My feet survived 34 rocky miles in my New Balance MB 100s, and I am definitely motivated to pick up my training a notch as I get ready for the Pocatello 50 in May. Bring on the hills, miles, and dirt!

(photos by Greg Norrander)

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