Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Run Through Time Marathon 2013

The forecast was pretty intimidating – 2-3” of snow overnight and another 3-5” during the day, with 20 to 30 mph winds – all the makings of a good blizzard!

Saturday morning dawned to cloudy skies and dry roads.  The start was cool at about 31 degrees, but minimal wind and no precipitation.  A few miles into the race, the clouds were starting to part and I was wishing I had brought disposable hat and gloves so I could ditch them at an aid station when I got too warm.  About 2 miles later, the flurries started.  Within a couple of miles after that, we were grinding our way up a snow-covered gravel road, with the wind blowing snow in our faces.  By the time we got to the high-point, at around 9,000’, we were in full-blown winter conditions.   There were 2-3” of fresh powder on top of a layer of old snow.  The wind was blowing and the snow was coming down pretty steadily.  I’m guessing the temperature was in the upper 20’s.

After the half-way point, we turned off the gravel road and onto some narrow jeep trails.  This is where the cold was a huge benefit, as we were winding our way through some boggy areas that would have been incredibly sloppy, were they not frozen solid.  There were sections of ice and deep packed snow under the 3” of fresh powder.  Running through this section with a couple of other guys was actually pretty enjoyable, though visibility was diminishing, given the frozen eye lids and lashes.

At about mile 18, fatigue took its toll, and I stumbled on a downhill section.  I caught my left toe on some crusty snow, went down, did a quick tuck-and-roll, bounded back up in a ninja-like move, and kept on running without even slowing down.  Not a scratch, but enough excitement to get the adrenaline going.

I passed a few people between miles 13 and 20, but not as many as I had hoped.  By the last aid station at 23.7, there were a couple of guys a few hundred yards behind, and no one ahead.  At this point, feeling pretty tired, I figured that I would just cruise into the finish.  But, with 1.5 to go, I heard footsteps right on my tail – some guy who I had not even seen before, so he must have been speeding up for some time.  And behind him were a couple of guys that I had previously passed.

Well, I knew I wasn’t going to have the race that I had hoped for, but I sure as hell wasn’t going to let myself slide back a few more placings in the last 1.5 miles.  I kicked in the last of my reserves and one guy stuck right on my tail for the next half mile.  By the time I hit the final flat section, he had fallen well behind, and I was able to cruise to the finish 30 seconds ahead of him.  A great finish!  And despite my mediocre time, I felt good about finishing strong.

Instead of the typical Gatorade, this race served Acli-Mate.  It’s much milder on the palette and I find it easier to drink than full strength Gatorade.  The one problem is that, unlike water, it seems to flow right through me.  I had tested it out at the gym a week prior and found that I had to take pee breaks every 30 minutes.  During the 4:32 marathon, I had to stop 3 times!  I guess it’s better than being dehydrated.

This was also the inaugural race for my new Dirty Girl gators.  I think they probably kept a good bit of snow from getting in my shoes from the top.  They stayed on with no issues and I never felt their presence.

Garmin Connect

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