Friday me and Baboo packed up the car and headed up to Pagosa Springs for the Devil Mountain ultra run. This is one of a series of runs designed to raise funds to get kids outside and what better charity is that? The people that put it on really like trail running, so they aim to please. It's a small race, like many ultras, very casual. There is often no finish line, you just run to wherever they're pointing, and then someone hangs something around your neck--or-not--and you get to stop running.
I was signed up for the half marathon, since I"m still working my way back. Himself the Baboo
was signed up for the 50K. I felt kind of glum going into this race. It's hard to work your way up to doing regular marathons and 50Ks and then drop back to a half marathon, and watch others take off for the long runs without you. For the rest of the day I felt kind of apologetic.
"Did you run?"
Yes, *hangs head, looks at the ground* I ran the half marathon.
I know that doesn't sound like something to complain about, but it's just that it's hard
to lose so much ground after you've gained so much. But I'm patient. I'll get back there. I've got a 50K and an Ironman planned for September, and a 100K 3 or 4 weeks after that.
So. At Devil Mountain, I was determined to get an overall half marathon PR, but when I saw the first climb looming up ahead of me, I thought, okay, guess I'll shoot for a trail marathon PR.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. We drove up to Pagosa Springs and actually found a hotel at the last moment, before leaving Albuquerque. We made our way to packet pickup, and they gave us a kick-ass T-shirt:
This is a technical T-shirt, and I love it. It's bright orange. I have always been insanely jealous of the one bright orange shirt that Baboo
had, and now I had my own. So THERE.
Then we ate some good pasta (and here's grumble #1 for today: Pasta, even good pasta, should not enjoy a 2000% markup, especially if you're located in a strip mall, albeit a nice strip mall. But for the rest of you, if you like good pasta and don't care how much it costs, go eat at Nellos cafe. It was a decent meal.
After eating, we drove to the start line, to program it into the Garmin and then headed back to the hotel, where I slept very little because sometimes I'm just princess-and-the-pea
fussy that way on hotel beds.
The next morning I scarfed a half bagel and peanut butter, 32 ounces of gatorade, loaded up my hydration pack with Gatorade, and we headed out to the start line. I watched Baboo
take off, and tried to ignore other people's dogs running loose. Now here's grumble number 2: I have a dog. I like my dog. But I don't ever assume to presume that others will like her as much, and let her run amok, jamming her nose into people's crotches, trying to hump other LEASHED dogs, while I smile indulgently and repeat, oh, he won't hurt you.
That's beside the point, moron. There's bears, and hemlock, and people who are a bit tense prior to race time so LEASH YOUR
DAMNED DOG PRECIOUS BABY
There's something about trail runs I will never understand. I was doing a half marathon with people who were runners, some of them fast runners, but many of them trained for this very hilly trail half marathon by running loops around their neighborhood roads. WTF? How is that training? Anyway. I took off, with the rest, and started my race
Now the half mary in trail ultras is often the bastard child of the trail ultras, kind of an afterthought, and there was no profile provided, so I made you one:
This based on the 50K profile, since we did their last 6.55 miles out and back. It's misleading. It starts at about 8000 feet, drips down into a valley/canyon thing at about 7500 feet, and then climbs up to 8100 feet at the turn around and only aid station. I knew this, so I wore a hydration pack. That climb looks really tiny on the profile, doesn't it? Go ahead. Take a look.
Why, it's only about a centimeter! Hardly even! Only a centimeter, even if it is at high altitude, and you know I loves me some high altitude stair climbing. So then, it's about 1/3 of a mile or so straight up until the last brief, steady climb to the aid station, where you can pause for a moment and throw up, and then you head back. The aid station volunteers, as always, were AWESOME, and they had watermelon, which I had thought I was allergic to for 2 years but just now found out I'm not so I'm a major pig for it anytime I see it.
I chugged 2 cups of heed and a cup of water, took a gel, and headed back.
I swear I didn't remember that downhill on the way out being that steep.
And of course, by then, the sun was out. Whew. It's one of the hottest years on record in Pagosa Springs. So, I power walked that last mile or two, until I figured I was 100 yards from the finish, and then I jogged a little ways.
Final time: 3:06, pace was 13:40ish, a bit slow for me but a PR as far as trail half marathons. My closest to that was nearly 4 hours. So, all in all, I was happy. I have no cute pictures of my run like other people always seem to have but that's what I'm working on next: being able to do crazy shit and then still being cute enough to take a picture of myself (you know who you are.)
Except...it wasn't enough. I felt bereft, sitting there, like I should be busy doing something. I should still be out there on the trail, swearing and seething and asking myself why do I do this to myself, but instead, I was under a tent, cooling off, looking at my feet, feeling, well, unfinished.
I had some watermelon, and fended off the two unleashed dogs that were running around, humping and sniffing and trying to eat whatever they could while their owners chuckled indulgently...and then himself the Baboo came in, looking pretty strong, but I'll let him tell you all about that. Here's his race report.
The night of the race they put on a very nice feed and handed out awards, and I was 4/6 in my age group, 16/22 women, and 49/57 finishers, not dead last. The woman in front of me was a good 20 minutes or more in front of me, so it's not like oh if only I hadn't stopped to pee at mile 7
kind of a thing. I just need to train better, is all.
Next up, for the 2nd half of the year:
Meanwhile, yeah, I know. Train, train, train.