Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Moab Red Hot, Time to Run on Some Dirt

Well, I suppose I should write a race recap from Moab, so here it is.
I raced, I ran, I came in 131st out of 299 runners that finished.  Probably about 350 started.  My time was 6:19:43, not my fastest, not my slowest here.  Ok, I'm done.  Oh, I was 8th in my age group (50-59) out of 22.  I felt pretty good the entire day.
Ok, here's more.
This is the third time I've made the trek to Moab in Feb. to run the Moab Red Hot 55K.  This is a super early season race that draws a lot of people, mostly from the Salt Lake area, but also a large contingent comes over from Colorado and quite a few from Idaho as well.  I think all of us want to get away from the snow for a few days and run on some dirt.
This year did not disappoint in the dirt department.
Karen and I took off Friday afternoon from the smoggy skies of the Salt Lake area and as we went further and further south, the air got clearer and clearer.  It was wonderful.  Not only that, but there was less and less snow, also wonderful since we've had a foot or more on the ground at our house since before Christmas.  I remarked as we were driving that I should do some dirt angels once we got down there.
The weather looked to be pretty much ideal, low around 25 on race day and warming up to around 50 with clear skies and no wind.
We got down to Moab while it was still light and in time to check in at Eddie McStiff's.  While my plan was to get in and check in, I always see friends and have to stop and chat.  I always get introduced by friends as "the RD for the Buffalo Run" to people I don't know.  We had a hotel room at the Best Western across the street from McStiff's, awesome.  We also had a Groupon deal for the hotel and got a king room for $55/night, double awesome.  Then we found out that a bunch of the HUMR crowd was at Jake's Place for dinner.  That's right next door to the hotel.  Triple play.  It was going to be a good weekend.
After dinner with the crew, we went back to the hotel and hit the hay.  Sleep was kind of hard to come by, the mattress wasn't that comfortable and we were both kind of cold all night.  Plus I could hear someone snoring in the room next door.  Oh well, that's the way it goes sometimes.
We got up around 6am and headed upstairs for the free breakfast.  There were already a bunch of other runners up there, imagine that.
Karen and I made it to the start at about 7:30 and met up with the rest of the Ogden crowd.  The temp was a bit on the cool side, around 25, but there wasn't a wind blowing and I had on my wool coat.  Glad Karen was there to cart it back to the car for me.  I had thought about wearing stretchy pants, but opted for just running shorts, a couple of long sleeve t's, gloves, and a beanie.  A little cool just standing there but once we got started it was fine.
Chris started us just a couple of minutes past 8am and about 400 of us started up the hill.  For those that don't know the course, it starts out going uphill, then drops down into a drainage.  The course itself follows several different jeep trails over the sand, slickrock, washes, etc. just north of Moab.  At about mile 2, I met up with Andrea Martinez.  She's a friend from the Salt Lake area and we hung out together for the vast majority of the race.  We were running about the same pace, she's actually faster, so it made me work a bit to keep up.  it was fun to chat the miles away and before we knew it we were at the first aid station ( mile 6).  I looked at my Garmin and we were maintaining around a 9 minute pace.  I thought this was way fast for me, but I felt good and it wasn't too much work.  By about mile 9 we were up on the top of the mesa and could look down about 800 feet to the starting line and the cars below.  Yeah, the trail takes you right to the edge of the cliff.  Lots of other runners, had stopped as well to enjoy the view, take pictures, and ooh and ahh.  The view was spectacular, the La Sal mountains off to the SE, crystal clear air, sunshine, in a word gorgeous.
meanwhile we kept on clicking off the miles.  We saw a few other HUMR's along the way. At about mile 8 we caught up to Shawn.  She was having a bit of a rough time but doing well.  At about mile 17 we passed Debbie's husband's truck.  Lane was there along with Pam cheering on everyone.  We rounded a corner and came up on both Aric and Jared.  Both were having a bit of a rough patch as well.  Jared later caught up and ran the rest of the race with us.  We ran with Cory for a few miles.  The course was in great shape, pretty much dry.  A few muddy spots and a couple of icy spots as well.  There was a bit of snow in the shadows, and sometimes negotiating these areas got a bit dicey, but it's all part of the game.  Before we knew it we had hit the last aid station and knew we had about four miles to go.  At this point, the course was on a dirt road with a slight downhill to it.  We started pushing a bit just to see if we still could.  Jared and Andrea eventually pulled ahead of me a bit and ended up finishing a couple of minutes before me.  It's always fun to come down that last stretch knowing the finish line is just around the corner.  I crossed the finish line in 6:19:23.  I was kind of hoping for a sub 6 hour time, but knew I probably didn't have the training in needed for that.  Still, I was happy with my time.
I felt great the entire time.  My ankles got sore, but that's from all of the slickrock, and off camber running you do in this race.  The legs held up fine, very little soreness the next day
The best part of the weekend was the post race HUMR party.  There must have been around 30 people in the condo eating drinking and having a good time.
The next day Karen and I decided to go to Arches National Park.  I had never been there and she hadn't been since she was a kid.  We saw plenty of other Moab runners out there since that's the place to go the next day.  We made the hike out to delicate arch, probably the most photographed arch there.  It's much bigger than I thought it would be.  When we got back to the car, Karen noticed a large puddle of oil underneath the car.  Not a good sign as it was transmission fluid.  We got in and hoped  we would make it back to town, let alone back to home.  We stopped in town and bought a couple of quarts of transmission fluid thinking that we could get home on that.  After I poured it in, I looked under the car and watched it drain out on the ground.  Now I knew that we probably wouldn't be able to make it home.  Thank goodness we found a parts store that was also a U-Haul rental place.  We ended up renting a truck and trailer to tow the car home with.  Yeah, not a good way to end the weekend, but at least we didn't need to stay an extra night and wonder how we were going to get home with a busted car.
Ended up that some sort of plastic tube going out of the transmission had basically disintegrated.  I got that replaced, had the tranny flushed and serviced and wasn't out too much money.  It could have been a whole lot worse.  So, the car is good for another 100K miles :-)
All in all, not a bad weekend.  It was good to get away from the snow, run on some real dirt and see lots of friends.

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