Saturday, June 07, 2008

XTERRA Wolf Mountain 10K Report

Rolled out of bed at 5:00. Slept better than usual the night before a race. Took a couple hours to drive up to Eden. Rained the entire way. Wolf Mountain is a ski resort, and the race begins at the base of the chair lifts. After picking up my registration stuff, I hung out in my car to stay warm. So did everyone else.

Stretched and jogged around a bit. The rain had stopped, but everything was wet. Big group out today for the first race of the series. Bigger than any race from last year I think. About 80 runners. Things started off very slow at 8:00 am. We all jogged a few hundred yards uphill, then slowed to a grinding walk/hike up the mountain side.

A thousand foot climb over a mile and a quarter is no joke. Everyone was breathing hard and striving to pull out a short jog burst before being forced to walk some more. I just remember raising my arms in the air upon reaching the final crest. The view was absolutely amazing.

The descent down Green Mile was a muddy switchbacking trail through heavy foliage. It dropped fast, and I felt like I was constantly on the verge of overshooting a turn or sliding through the mud and over the side. Back and forth, back and forth, down the side of the mountain. I passed a few people on this stretch--I'm weaker on the uphill, but fearless on the down.

The next rolling stretch of trail was filled with water obstacles. Lots of run offs to leap over, except for the large stream. There was no avoiding your shoe's watery fate. Splash, splash, splash through the icy water, feet, shoes, and socks soaking wet. I knew I should have brought my trail shoes, even if they aren't broken in.

Someone shot this of me coming out of the stream

The write up for this course simply said "up Nordic Valley". What a massive understatement. I don't think I've ever raced up a steeper trail than this for such a long distance. About a mile of up the most grueling muddy trail imaginable. Near the top, the front runners started coming back down after having reached the turnaround point. While we worked to keep putting one foot in front of the other, they struggled to just keep their feet under them.

I counted runners as they came down. I was in 20th place after reaching the summit. No raised arms or cries of jubilation this time. The run down was just as difficult and painful as the climb up. The angle was so steep that it was nearly impossible to slow down, and when you tried, it resulted in painful knee jostling or sliding down the mud. Several times I felt "out of control" and hoped for the best. There were several spills down this section. I felt fortunate not to be one of them.

Back along the trail we came in, which meant another dip in the river. Exiting, it felt like my shoes weight 5 lbs each--filled with water and an inch of mud caked on the bottom. Winding Moose Run had quite a few hills. I would drop to 20th on most climbs, and then move into 18th coming down.

The last mile I held my 18th position, even making a try for 17th the last quarter mile of steep downhill to the finish line. I was going full speed as I came upon the guy in front of me. Once the people at the end started cheering, he looked back and saw me coming, which resulted in him sprinting to the finish too. He beat me by 1 hundredth of a second.

Normal 10K times are disregarded on a race like this. The 33 year old guy who won today had a time of 59:59, which would be terrible on a flat road course. My time of 1:13:02 got me 18th place overall, 15th out of the men, and 7th in the 30-39 age group. The guy in front of me, also with a time of 1:13:02, was of course my same age. There were 22 of us in my group, as opposed to 12 in the 20's and 9 in the 40's. Oh, and the 77th and 78th place ladies to come in: 2 hours 19 minutes. Tough course.

I'm happy with how I did. I'll score some points in the series for my 7th place finish, and hopefully add to it in two weeks at Snowbird. My dad is going to run that one with me. There was only 1 guy in his 60's today, so he will likely qualify for nationals after just one race. Lucky.


HHM said...

Nice work Shane. I wish I was back in shape to run this series, but I will probably do it next year. I am shooting for Oct. to run a few tune-up races and then do the Vegas Half Marathon in December.

Supercords said...

Would you come up to Utah to run our series, or head over to California? I don't think Nevada will have their own trail races by next year.

Rachel John said...

I'm totally ignorant of running - what is a series and what did you mean about qualifying? How many races does that involve? Are they weeding out slower runners for later races?

Supercords said...

There are a series of 4 trail races in Utah. Runners can score points in each race for placing in their age group. The runners with the most points at the end of the series qualify to compete at the national race in Bend, Oregon. You can also run at nationals for fun, so I'm planning on going whether I qualify or not. I'm also attending the world championship in Oahu this December.

Nichols Family said...

Wow! That sounded like so much fun! I wish I was in good enough shape to run something like that...not next year...not the next...probably not ever! :) The closest I've come to that was hiking to Havasupi and it wasn't a run. Good work, congratulations!

Anonymous said...

I am excited for snowbird coming up. Hope it's not wet. I have been running 2 hours at a time lately and feeling less pain. Good blog write up. Where did you get the pictures?

Supercords said...

It might not be wet, but it will likely be snowy. They had a photographer on the course, and mine just happened to be one of the 5 or so they posted on the web site.

Marshall and Alison said...

I am impressed. really impressed.

HHM said...

If I were to do the series, I would probably do the Utah runs, believe it or not, Colorado does not have the "Trail Run" series. The only ExTerra events in CO are the multi-sport: swim, run, mountain bike.