Thursday, September 10, 2015

Rut 50k & Beyond

Elissa & I flew up to Bozeman and met up with the Schulte's at the Big Sky Resort before the race.

Idyllic setting for a Skyrunning event

Mike Wolfe bugles on his elk call and we're off.
photo by Myke Hermsmeyer

My knee had been pretty tender and temperamental in the weeks leading up to race and it flared up the day before the race on Erik and I's 4 mile shake out/cheering 25k racers.  I stretched a bit the night before the race, put a hand warmer on the knee the morning of the race and hoped for the best.  Surprisingly, the knee withstood all the rocks, 10,000' of climbing and 10,000' of descending on the course.

Up & over Headwaters Ridge, then Lone Peak
Saw a lot of Hoka Speedgoat's on the mountain, four of them here making their way down Headwaters Ridge.
photo by Dom Grossman

If my knee held up, I thought I was in sub 6 hour shape for this race, which would put me right around the top 10 in years past.  I finished in 5:59 and 12th place, 2 minutes out of the top ten.  While finishing in the top 10 at a competitive race like this would have been 100x cooler than finishing 12th, I'm still happy with my race.  It wasn't an A race for me (but should have been), I didn't toe the line in my best shape, but I was in decent shape, and these mountains and this type of course inspire me.  I paced myself well and had a blast.

Cruising over a graupel covered bridge in the early cruiser miles around the resort base.
photo by Meghan Hicks
After Hardrock back in July and some backpacking adventures in the Sierra's, my brain has constructed a governor for my speed, making it feel a bit unnatural to spin the wheels as fast as I should for a 50k.  Putting in some faster training runs prior to the race helped loosen up the governor a bit, but it's still there.

The Rut was an awesome event and I highly recommend it to people who appreciate big mountains, and aren't afraid of rocks.  I liked the energy of the event, tons of spectators, cowbells, hundreds of runners in each event every day, and the international field.  Little local races in majestic mountains are more of my "thing" but the atmosphere at races like the Rut are very cool to immerse oneself into.  It's easy to feed off all the energy around you and use it to fuel yourself up, over and around the mountains.  In addition to the Schulte's, we got to hang out with Andrejs Galienks, Dom Grossman, Katie Desplinter and I met Luke Nelson before he ran to a speedy 7th place finish in 5:47.  Good company.

Now what?  I'm going to take a couple weeks off then destroy this flimsy speed regulating relationship that is presently existing between my brain and my legs.  I think I'll jump into a fast road marathon, run a PR, then carry this newfound speed into training for the North Face 50M in December.

Hopefully I can arrive at the starting line of North Face better primed and feed off the competition and hype of that event and see if I can't surprise myself with what I'm capable of.  I feel like I have a lot of untapped potential that I'm slowly unraveling.  It is time to turn into a lean, mean running machine and work my way to the runner I want to become, gone are the days of showing up to work and polishing off half a dozen donuts.