Sunday, March 16, 2014

Salida Run Through Time Marathon

Spring in in the air.
Outside it is beautiful and fair.

Snow is still on the ground here.
I will not worry or fear.

I will run hard and ever fast.
To try and be the opposite of last.

Yesterday I went down to Salida for their annual Run Through Time Marathon . It was my 7th time running event. All week I had several people prodding me on for the race and asking how I’d do. I answer truthfully: I was unsure but was hoping for a sub 3:20 time. Little did I know I would miss this goal by 7 seconds.  During the last few weeks I had talked at length with training partner Marco about his goals for the race. We both knew he was fit and I was predicting a 3:18-3:21 finish for him. The race started promptly at 8:00 am. The temperature hovered just above freezing. The top group went out controlled just trying to warm their muscles up. While warming up we chit chatted. There were 4 previous winners in the race Josh Arthur, Nick Clark, Ryan Burch, and myself.
There seemed to be little pecking for position… we were letting it sort out on its own. By the time we got 2 miles in, heading up S Mountain, the positions in the race were falling into place. Nick led by 15 yards, I took it a little easy behind him, Josh was waiting to pounce right behind me.



Around mile 4 Josh passed me caught up to Nick and their race was off. I knew I had to run my own race. My speed was lacking as I’ve run, well actually jogged, on way too much ice this winter. It is only in the last 2 weeks that I’ve started incorporating speed back into my workouts. I stayed back running a controlled pace. Marco caught up to me in fourth at the aid station (near mile 8). I was feeling ok, not perfect but decided to start cranking up the long hill. Soon I realized that I had inadvertently dropped Marco. Periodically I could still see Nick and Josh running neck and neck about ¼ of a mile ahead. I knew that today my race was for 3rd. I kept rolling and was able to maintain a 30-40 second lead over Marco.

Overall, I felt decent but was running at a near tipping point threshold. It was a gamble… how long could I maintain the pace. Mile after mile clicked by 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, all the way to the mile 21 hill. I still felt decent and ran up at a slow controlled pace which I was convinced other runners could not exceed. At last I topped the hill with about 5 miles to go and it hit me… I had reached the tipping point. I started cramping and felt like I was near to passing out. I ran down the hill and onto the serpentine single track. I slowed my pace and drank some electrolyte mixture to try and regain my composure. Slowly over the next mile I started feeling a little better… not much better but enough that I could at least maintain my pace. At a long switch back I suddenly heard Marco call out to me. He was about 30 seconds back and running hard.

I maintained my pace ever trying to increase it. Yet, like in a nightmare, I felt like I only got slower. I got to the last aid station with 3 miles to go, all downhill. I still had enough liquid and felt like I could make it the last 3 miles. I rushed through the aid station and ran downhill. The downhill has many tight switchbacks on which I would look up and see Marco ever decreasing the gap between us. I poured on the coal running at my threshold as if on the edge of a knife. I was close to falling off. 400 yards left and I gave it my all. I ran and crossed the finish line taking 3rd by only 21 seconds. My final time was 3:20:07 Marco came through and I congratulated him. It was a great race for 3rd.

Overall, I was quite pleased with my run. My endurance was decent, while my speed could use some work. I’ll continue to improve and I’ll be ready for my 50+ mile race at Dessert RATs

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