This became a central theme to the birthday/race weekend. Driving up to Steamboat took a long time… really long. We left Albuquerque on Friday at about 9:00 AM and finally arrived in Steamboat around 6:00 PM. After picking up keys to our condo we arranged a meal for the evening and were in bed by about 10:00 PM. I had decided on racing with a hydration vest instead of handheld bottles as it may save me time in aid stations and leave my hands free of the extra weight. My nutrition was prepped with 4 Generation UCAN Packets mixed with some EFS drink, as well as 2 GU’s for later in the race.
Breakfast was simple, 1 can of Ensure Plus, 1 banana, and 2 UCAN packets, which adds up to roughly, 650 calories. All very easy on the stomach, which to me, is key for a pre-race meal. The temp was fairly cool and we stood around shivering for the race start at 7:00 AM.
Soon after we were off on what would be a 9.5 mile climb to the top of Mt. Werner. A small pack formed of 5 runners, with 1 runner, Trent Briney, off the front early. After about the frist 5k I was feeling pretty antsy to set my own pace and got to the front of the pack and created some distance from them.
After popping out onto a short road section and climbing for awhile I was caught by a runner with a very steady pace, Jon Dyck. We ran together until the top of Mt. Werner, and again as we approached the 6 mile out and back section of pristine mountain running. At about mile 10.5 I took a face forward fall while moving at a pretty good clip. This shook me for a moment and I stopped to inspect the wounds on my hands and right knee. Seconds later I was off running again. A mile or so down the trail I looked down to check my watch only to realize that it was gone. Bummer. $300 donated to the mountain. I tried to focus on just running after this and soon found an OK groove. My legs were not in top form as I didn’t taper for this race like I normally would. I kept the forward progress but did not have much pep if we went up any sort of hill/climb. Approaching the mid-way point and turnaround at Long Lake I moved into second place. Arriving at the aid station I filled my spare nutrition bottle with water and hoped to find some extra gels, but there were none. A volunteer doused my bloody knee with water and I left as quickly as I could. The next 6 miles were fairly rough as I could feel my glucose stores about empty. I consumed a gel at mile 17 and another around mile 20. I maintained my second place position during this time, but was not fully confident I would find my legs the rest of the race. Approaching the aid station I stopped to grab some water for my bottle and a shot of Coke. Coke always sits well with me and I was happy for the small boost it provided. Heading back down the mountain I stopped to pee and looked over my shoulder at a runner about 200 meters back and approaching quickly. Now the race was on. I then proceded to descend very quickly, but comfortably. About 2 miles later as I was cruising along I tripped/slipped for a second time. This occasion coming down hard on my hands and right shoulder and right hip. Ouch! Now I was plain frustrated and mad, but still had to race to keep my position. I found my rhythm once again and kept plugging down the hill. I extended my lead a bit through the single track section of the last 4 miles and finished in 4:55. Happy to break 5 hours, but more than a little banged up.
Great course. Excellent volunteers. Gorgeous morning on the mountain. Now on to the Mt. Taylor 50k in September, which is lining up to be another challenging mountain 50k.