|above the Colorado River|
photo by Glen Delman
photo by Cory Meaker
Half marathoners, marathoners, 50kers and double marathoners all started together at 0630. Runners of all distances had $100 up for grabs for first male and female runners to make it up the first climb at mile 1.3. For the fourth time my Hoka teamate Timmy Par snagged the prize. He went on to place 2nd in the marathon behind elite Skimo racer, Jon Brown. I was the third runner to complete the marathon, in 3:37, at which point I turned around and went out for another loop in reverse direction. Running against traffic of the finishing marathoners was great. High-fiving friends Cory, Graham and Jeff, cheering on and being cheered on. I end up finishing first in 7:37.
The runner who was in 2nd place for the double marathon got lost unfortunately. The course was very well marked but it was extremely windy at times. I heard he had his head down during a gusty spell while running through an intersection and went the wrong way. While the cloudy low light conditions didn't make sunglasses necessary from a brightness standpoint, I wore my Julbo
Venturi's with light lenses and they proved extremely valuable out in the turbulence.
At mile 49 of the 52 mile race I was trying to pick it up a bit and finish the race off strong. It was a rocky section and I caught my toe and landed on the rock square on my chest pretty hard. Knocked the wind out of me, sunglasses flew off, got a mouthful of dirt. The way I hit the rock made me hit it and stick, more than slide or bounce like I normally do. I slowly pulled myself off the ground, moaning a bit and heard a loud growl. I looked over at the edge of the rim I was running on and saw a large canine tail dart into its cave. Better keep moving. I busted my watch in the fall, so I picked it up off the ground and started to shuffle my way to the finish.
I hear ad nauseam about how cool people in our sport are but recently I couldn't help but realize that yeah, we really are a nice bunch. Minutes after posting a picture of my broken watch I received a message from a nice guy I met in Silverton last year, Christopher Agbay. He said that he had his old 310XT watch sitting in his closet and would mail it to me if I would like. Sweet! A couple days later a package arrives on our doorstep and in it were two of his old GPS watches and...
Christopher is a professional baker and runs Wicked Good Cookies, a Massachusetts based micro-bakery. Thanks for the delicious treats Christopher, "See you in Silverton."
That watch that I broke last Saturday, was generously given to me by Keith Swiatowski after he saw a picture I posted of me breaking my watch about 16 months ago.
And how did I get that original Garmin? A group of friends got it for me as a present 6 years ago, to replace the massive old watch I was using... that my ultra running mentor, Andy Salinger, gave me as I started getting into running. So I have yet to purchase a GPS watch. Friends keep handing me down their old ones, as I break them =)
After the race Elissa, Penny and I wandered around Grand Junction for awhile until the after party/awards shindig started at Edgewater Brewery. Free beer and wings, a great way to cap off this early season race. The Desert Rats Trail Running Festival was a great event. Unfortunately, many entrants couldn't make it due to snow and road closures on I-70. The McInnis Canyons Conservation Area where the races are held is definitely worth checking out, and with race distances from 5 miles to 52 miles it has something for everyone.
Hoka One One: While I usually reserve my Speedgoat's for use in mud and/or snow, they felt great on the dry dirt and their sticky vibram outsoles kept me from sliding around on the slick and steep rocky surfaces.
VFuel: I consumed 19 gels during the race. One every 20 minutes. At the end I had a couple handfuls of chips and sips of coke as well. I wasn't nauseous and had consistent energy the whole 52 miles. I consumed the Maple Bacon flavor quite a bit in the morning (breakfast time) and saved the Peach Cobbler flavor for desert towards the end of the race. The Mountain Berry flavor is definitely my favorite though.
Drymax Socks: The 1/4 crew trail running socks kept my feet comfy and warm. No blisters or hotspots.
Julbo Sunglasses: As I mentioned earlier, the Venturi's kept the wind out of my eyes and the Zebra light (photochromic) lenses were perfect for the cloudy, low light conditions.