Saturday, June 02, 2007

XTERRA Trail Run Series: Bonneville Basher 12K

Up at 6:00 and out by 6:15 after changing into my running clothes. Met up with the small group of racers near Dee Events Center in Ogden. Because of its difficulty, trail running is not nearly as popular as road racing. There were about 70 runners total; 50 guys and 20 girls. This is the first in a series of 4 races put on by Xterra. Here’s a snippet from their web site:
“This year, XTERRA has grouped their trail runs in key regions, including: Northern and Southern California, Utah, Tennessee, the Midwest and Northeast, Chicago and Georgia. The series format encourages runners to attend several events in their area and offers a legit opportunity to sharpen their off-road skills in a fun and competitive environment. When the series concludes, Regional Champions will be crowned and invited to compete for the title of U.S. Champion, along with other leading runners from each region - in Lake Tahoe, Nevada - on September 29 at the XTERRA National Trail Running Championship.”
Points are earned by placing in the top 10 in your age division—75 for first, 67 for second, etc. Obviously, running all 4 races gives you more opportunities to accrue points. I went into this not expecting to earn points, just to run a great trail race. Most of the runners are in their 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s. I was one of the younger runners there.
Today’s race is called the Bonneville Basher. The Basher part comes from the reputed injuries sustained in past years. I received this advance blurb in an e mail last week:
“The course will take you along the Bonneville Shoreline trail to the 22nd St. trailhead and back. That’s all I can tell you. It’s a trail run, so there won’t be mile markers and aid stations every couple miles, so be prepared. There will be an aid station at the 22nd St. trailhead and the course will be marked so you won’t get lost. Think of it as an adventure. Don’t be late; the race will start at 7:00am sharp.”
I had a granola bar for breakfast, drank some Gatorade, stretched, and then sucked a GU. The race started promptly at 7:00 am.

After a short stretch of road, we entered a Bonneville Shoreline Trail head which is a single person trail.

I was happy with my position and pace, so it wasn’t a problem.
The trail was rocky, hilly, and very technical in parts. I had my eyes working overtime to plot out foot landings 20 yards ahead at all times. I tend to go full out on any downhill, so I have to be especially careful not to lose my footing. This was a 12K, or 7.46 miles, with one water stop at the halfway point. I took a quick sip and kept moving. I was breathing heavy the entire race, but felt good overall. I gobbled down one energy block just after the water station. Made my mouth too sticky.
I only had one mishap on the trail, catching a rock with my right foot, smashing my toes pretty good, but nothing broken. Flying down some really steep declines over roots and loose rocks, I wondered if others were as lucky. Finished the race in 1:03:17, an 8:29 mile pace. It felt much faster than that, but I guess all the uphill sections really slowed me down. I was 12th place overall, but only 4th in my age group: 30-39. This will earn me 56 points in the series, but I missed getting a medal for this race.
Mingled with the other runners after, trading stories. Several people covered in dirt and blood from falling or hitting trees. I was just amazed at the shape some of these older folks are in. The first place finisher is 38 years old, 2nd place is 50, and 3rd 53. At least I have something to look forward to in my old age. The next race is at Snowbird in July. They expect more runners to show up, so it will be tougher to place.

1 comment:

Samantha said...

wow nice pictures. It looks like a BEAUTIFUL run. Sounds pretty hardcore too.