It's been a long time since I've actually "raced" in a race. Usually I just go for a good time. But at the Hurricane Trails River Run this morning, I decided I'd push myself to see if I was a man or a Muppet.
The course includes 515 feet of elevation gain over four miles but most of the course is fast and runnable. Basically you run down a canyon to the river bottom and then run back out. The first mile ticked away at 8:18 and I was feeling good. But we hadn't gotten to the tricky parts of the trail yet.
Since I've been doing almost all training on trails, I felt right at home when the trail got more hairy and technical. This race was radically different from the 100 miler in May. In the ultras, you have to be very patient and not let yourself get into the danger zone. But for this race I felt comfortable pushing the whole time. The only problem was that I was sweating roughly the same amount as if I had a sleepover in a sauna.
Finally we got to the meat of the course where you climb a few hundred feet in 1/2 mile. That hill is nothing compared to the Zion 100, but enough of a climb to get your attention. I caught a few people at this point.
We had one last climb before the home stretch which seemed to be a good excuse for everyone (including myself) to take a little walk break to catch our breath.
And before I knew it, the finish line was in sight. One last kick and I was there. Not even any chunky burps.
My friend Tom Dansie is the race director and I appreciate the time he put into the race. Additionally, race directors earn serious bonus points when you see something like this at the finisher's table. I ate until my stomach threatened to make a deep-fried mess on my shoes.
My friend Cherie Santiago (a guru at UltraSpire, and one of the most giving people you could ever hope to know) designed the shirts. It is an unspoken rule that you never wear the race shirt on race day. Which is exactly why I wore it. At the end my shirt looked like it was sprayed with a fire hydrant.
I loved the Hurricane Trails River Run. I love the atmosphere of races. I love trails, and how when I pass somebody they say "Good job" and I love telling someone "Good job" when their legs have more kick and they pass me. I love pushing my body to see how much it is capable of. I love the feeling of crossing the finish line knowing that I worked hard. And I definitely love stuffing myself with doughnuts at the end. Yes. I definitely love the doughnuts.