I huuuurt. ~ John D. Roach
Today I ran the Sage Burner 25K in Gunnison. I am hurting WAY more than I should for a 15-miler but I think there might have been one flat spot on that course. It was technical and tough. Good stuff.
The weather report said cold and rainy for the start but the weather was actually perfect. Cool and overcast. Great running weather. I started in a t-shirt and gloves and that was more than enough for this course.
There were about 200 starters, nearly triple the number who ran last year. Being one of the newcomers, I was familiar with parts of the course but definitely found myself just following vs. knowing what to expect around the next bend or steep uphill. Subsequently, I just followed the pace which probably resulted in a better finishing time but man, I was hurtin’ by the time I was done.
We started at 8:00 and quickly made our way up, up, up into the Hartman Rocks recreation area. This was my haunting grounds as a highschooler – THE place to ride, hike and (ahem) throw the more than occasional party. The course then followed familiar mountain biking trails (98% singletrack) in a clockwise direction for a nice tour of the Hartman Rocks area.
The pace was pretty quick to start and stayed that way for most of the race. (For me, at least.) The first four miles wound through technical rocky sections and sage brush. I was in decent shape early on, running with a good group, then I stopped to take a leak and found myself running with another group who had someone in it who would NOT shut up. Here I am suffering up steep inclines and she just kept talking. I could have possibly communicated in hand-gestures and grunts at this point so I felt she was adding insult to injury. Makin’ a brotha look bad…
So when she and her crew stopped at the first aid station, I just blasted right through with a solid half-bottle to spare. A couple miles later they snuck back up on me briefly, then I put the hammer down on a long downhill section and my ears (and ego) were given a break. Whew!
The course just kept rolling and rolling. After the second aid station (about mile 7.5) I started really feeling it and started trying to focus on staying smooth, with good form. Easier said than done. My abs started really bugging me shortly thereafter so I just tried to settle in and keep up my mantra of “Most Guts”. Ironic? Perhaps.
I did manage to pick off a few people in the last 5 miles but things were pretty strung out at that point. I was also passed by one woman who really put on the heat in the last climb/descent. I should feel bad but by this point, I was pretty ready for the finish. The last mile or so featured a brutal downhill (down Collarbone Alley). Not really my idea of good times in the last miles but I wasn’t consulted. I blame Wiensie (Dave Wiens, mountain bike legend and all-around nice guy.) I did manage to turn it over pretty well in the last few hundred meters, so that felt pretty good. I finished right in the middle of my desired range of 2:30-3:00 with a 2:45. Not blazing, but I’ll take it. My GPS said it was 16.17 miles, for an average pace of 10:15 mpm. Not too shabby.
Afterward, I was really pretty jacked up. I tried to sit in the creek for a bit but my feet were having none of that. Way too cold. I probably should have stuck it out but damn… my toes were unhappy. I took a quick shower and actually thought I was going blind for a bit (yikes!) so I wacked down a thing of Pedialyte and felt much better thereafter but still a lot more hurtin’ than I should have been for a race of this distance. I attribute this to a few things:
- Fast pace: I really wanted to run a 50K pace but mixing the 25K and 50K participants made that more than a little tough
- Electrolyte imbalance: I need to get back in touch with my Salt-Stick habit
- Ambitious shoe selection: I am too heavy for flats. The Peak XC is a great shoe but at 180, I am just too heavy to run long distances in this set-up. Hey, I tried, it didn’t work for me.
- Wicked hard course: As I said before, this course was tough. Not a lot of sustained climbing (like wicked high passes with 3 miles of uphill), but tough nonetheless. Made it tough to get into a sustained groove but hey, that’s racing.
I don’t have results just yet but will let you know how I did in relation to others soon.
Speaking of not keeping score and comparing myself to other golfers (“Height.”), Dad and I hit the links about an hour and a half after I got home from the race. Needless to say, I was a little wrecked at the start but still managed to hit some decent shots. I had some crappy holes for sure but overall, played better than usual. I guess I need to run a boatload of miles before I play. I still logged triple-digits (a completely honest 108 with no Mulligans) but overall, I played much better than normal and considering that was the first time I lifted a club this year, ran 16+ hard miles beforehand, and generally suck at golf, it wasn’t too shabby.
Dad and I capped off the day with some killer grub from the always awesome Donita’s Cantina in Crested Butte. If you are in the area, get your ass in there. Then be prepared to haul an ass and a half out of there.