Sunday, September 22, 2013

Xterra 10K Trail Race at Snowbasin

I ran this race last year for the first time.  I was going to do it as a lark with my Pilates instructor as she had lost a bet to me and had to do a five mile run.  Instead, I decided at the starting line to push it and race.  Well, last year I ended up placing 23rd out of 80 runners and first in my age group.  My time was 57:??  My mistake?  I went out way too fast on the parade lap around the parking lot and by the time I got to the first climb, I was shot and hung on by my fingernails for the rest of the race.
This year I played it a bit differently.  I did a little bit of a warm up run just to get things loosened up.  When the cannon went off, I didn't bolt out of the gate.  I cruised it around the parking lot.  Near the front, but running within myself.
By the time I got to the first climb, I was ready to power up it.  I managed to pick  off all sorts of runners this year going up that climb.  Love it when I can let the trail and mountain running skills shine forth.  In addition, my plan was to push hard and expend just about everything on the four miles of climbing.  I knew that the last two miles were a screaming downhill and I could recover on that.
Well, things worked to pretty much perfection.  I was in the lead group and we were spread out.  I didn't have any other runners behind me.  Much different from last year.  I kinda like running out front, it's not as crowded.
When I finally hit the high point and started downhill, we met up with the slower 5K runners.  I bombed the downhill, pushing sub 7 minute pace pretty much the entire way to the finish.  Ah, the downhill, rocky trail practice does in handy.  Lots of people were picking their way down, I was flying past them.
The results?  Well, there were 150 runners this year.  I managed to eke out 15th place, 11th, male, and 1st in my age group again.  Not only that, my time was almost seven minutes faster than last year.  50:23.  Pretty happy day for me.  The old man can still finish in the top 10% when he gets lucky and knows what he's doing.
The one thing I noticed with my Garmin was that the course showed as 5.8 miles, not 6.2.  Not sure if my Garmin was off.  I didn't track last year's race, so I couldn't compare.  Here's a link to the course.  Oh, wore my heart rate monitor just for fun too.  I was pretty much redlined the entire time.  HR averaged 156 and was over 160 for quite a bit of the time.

Useful hardware, it's a beer bottle opener too!
Nothing like running a short race to remind me of why I do ultras.  This thing was hard, way too hard.  At least it was over fairly quick.  An now, back to my regularly scheduled ultras.

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