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.