Sunday, July 15, 2007

Snowbird Challenge 10K

It was another blistering hot 100 degree day out, and the numbers didn’t fall the way I was hoping they would as I climbed in elevation up Little Cottonwood Canyon. It was still 90 degrees out at Snowbird when I arrived at 1:30 for the Xterra Snowbird Challenge 10K.

I didn’t do much of a warm up since I was already sweating from my walk through the parking lot. I guess the 2:00 pm start time scared people away, because there were only about 50 runners signed up. 

So the first mile was a short uphill and then mostly downhill, causing me to throw pacing out the window and let myself go. It’s always bad news when I’m in the lead a mile out. But then the next mile was almost all uphill, and I was quickly put in my place. I made the mistake of looking above at the people riding the chairlift up the mountain, and caught my foot on something. It sent me sailing forward, bent over with my hands out in front of me. I skidded my hands along the ground and managed to catch my footing without any serious injury. Eyes to the ground from now on.

With the merciless heat, the 8200 ft elevation, and the steep inclines, I was having difficulty regulating my breathing. Just when I thought I might be able to catch my breath, another steep incline would appear around the corner. Add to that having to avoid roots and rocks, jump across small streams, and keep your footing on loose gravel, and it makes for one tough course.

That was just the first loop. I was breathing really heavy and feeling very overheated going into the second loop--then I came to a massive uphill section—about a mile straight up with zero shade. Everyone in front and behind me walked it. It wasn’t really a question. I had been walking here and there before, which I hate to do, but I felt no shame in walking this entire uphill section. 

I was dying of thirst and completely overheated by the time I reached the top. The view was amazing, but I had an insane downhill looming ahead of me to worry about. It’s extremely hard to run downhill when you have nothing left. Gravity pulls you forward and you have to use all your muscles and focus to keep your feet under you and slow down when necessary. 

It took me an hour and 3 minutes to finish this race—the toughest 10K I’ve ever run. (and walked) That’s like a 10 minute pace. Terrible. Even though I finished 14th overall, I was only 10th in my age group. (30-39) In comparison, there were only 2 guys in the entire race in the 20-29 category. My age group is extremely competitive. But, I do get 33 points for finishing 10th, so it’s not a total loss. Had I got 11th, I would have been really pissed. (Xterra series points are only given out to the top 10 finishers in each age group)
Drove home and took a long, cold shower. My feet were filthy from all the trail dirt. I took some pictures to document the occasion.

That's dirt, not a tan.

I know. My feet are disgusting. And yes, I was wearing socks AND shoes during the race.


The Clark said...

you are more ambitious than i!! serious props. way to go.

ashleyboice said...

shane...i love how you have a crumpled paper under your feet for the picture. That is SOOO you. I love it.

Supercords said...

The dirt was blending in with the color of the carpet. I needed to show contrast.