I went into this race with such high expectations. I had been running some pretty steady mileage and slowly starting to increase my pace over the past couple of months since running my last race in January. However, it was not to be. Spoiler: the course and its hills will pretty much devastate my legs after the first up and down and I was essentially hanging on for dear life for three hours at the end.
I wanted to start out fast, shake out the legs and then settle into a good pace climbing the first hill. The fast start was no problem… I started out at a good pace and started up the hill. I soon found out that I had sorely underestimated the hills on the elevation profile. The hills were steep and pretty rugged. I quickly started dropping back from the leaders and I knew right a way it was going to be a long day – so I set of to engjoy the sights as I climbed. The area was absolutely beautiful and after the first section of uphill (where the half-marathoner turned to make their loop), the trail became much more runnable and enjoyable. The hill topped out at around nine miles and then dropped off to the turnaround. This again was extremely steep with loose rock. I did my best trying to bomb down the hills in my Hokas and although I did make up some time, my legs were trashed when I got to the bottom.
The hike back up the hill was extremely slow going and when I got to the top, I was not moving fast. This would be the theme for the rest of the day. I was only able to maintain about 8-8:30s on the down hill as my feet and legs were sore and the uphills I was reduced to merely walking. By the time I reached the wash with the sand and the drops I was completely wasted. I even fell (for the first time in 2 years), landing right on my nose because I was too tired to pick up my feet any more. (At least I have some battle scars to show for my day in the sun.) I think I ended up pretty much walking the majority of the last 5 miles.
Overall, extremely challenging and yet beautiful course. When I wasn’t breathing so hard, the views were amazing. I was disappointed with my overall performance, but live and learn. I’ll just chalk it up to a good experience and a good time. Overall race directors, race support, and volunteers were awesome.
Official website here.