Sunday, May 22, 2016

The April race report

So now that May is 2/3rds over, I am finally getting around to writing about the races I ran in April. I'm really trying to get caught up, I am. Writing has never been an easy thing for me to do, so getting myself to sit down and get it done is always a struggle.

But here we go! The first race that I ran in April was the Behind the Rocks 30K. I enjoy any chance to head to Moab, and running a race there is always a pleasure. Behind the Rocks was no exception. I had never been to the area where the Behind the Rocks trail is. The area isn't well advertised and that's not at all a bad thing. I just wish that the dudes on 4-wheelers didn't know where it was...

The race started out on a hard packed dirt road, but turned to slick rock, single track, with more dirt roads interspersed. The weather was ideal, the scenery was lovely, the runners were friendly. The trail was mostly well marked, although I did miss a turn a time or two on the slick rock, but was able to correct my course before I got too far off.

I had been sick for most of the week before the race, but that never stops me from showing up to run when it's race day. I felt alright for the first couple of miles. The new scenery helped to keep my mind off of the tiredness I was feeling. But by mile 7, I was feeling pretty awful. I was just really drained, so I mostly just walked. I didn't start feeling better until mile 18, Since the race was only just over 19 miles, I got to enjoy that last little bit, at least.
The famous stopping my watch shot.
I really enjoyed the race itself. The organization was good, the swag was nice, the course was a good kind of challenging. It would have been nice to feel better during it, but that's nobody's fault but mine.
My first ever finisher cowbell.
The next race that I ran was the Salt Lake Marathon. I had run the half marathon at this event the past two years, but Jamie had talked me into doing the full this year. I wasn't really looking forward to it, since road marathons always stress me out. (So why do I keep doing them?!) The first few miles went by pretty well, then I tanked pretty hard around mile 6, which is a weird time to bonk in a marathon. I was worried that I wouldn't make it through the whole thing. I had started to consider dropping to the half instead of turning off at the split for the full. But around mile 10, things started to feel better so I decided to give it a shot. I'm glad that I did, because I felt better and better as the race went on.

I ended up finishing with my third fastest marathon time, ever. My splits were incredibly even for once. The second half of my race was very nearly as fast as the first. That never happens to me.
Photos courtesy of Scott M. Stringham. I have no idea why I'm pulling a face that looks like Beaker from the Muppets.
Marathon #15.
I was registered for the West Mountain Marathon the very next week. I realized when I arrived at the start line that this would be my first time running marathons on back to back weekends. I was feeling pretty prepared though, since Salt Lake went so well. The weather was not looking good on race morning, so much so that the race director changed the course to an out and back instead of a loop so that he could keep track of the racers better.

I had prepared for the weather by making myself a rain shell out of a trash bag. I'd seen runners do this before and it seemed to work for them.
Some shots from the course. 
The sky looked like it was going to let loose any second, but the race started and we were off. As we ticked off the first couple of miles, some blue sky started appearing in the west. I'm a Utah native, so  I know not to trust the weather, ever. So I kept my trusty trash bag rain coat on until mile 11. I only took it off then because the sun was roasting me alive in that black plastic. But I was wearing my elastic race number belt, so I tucked it into the back of the belt and ran with it for another few miles, just to be safe.

The weather decided to be pretty nice, for those first 13.1 miles before the turn around. At the turn around, we got hit full in the face with wind gusts that hit 30 miles per hour.
It looks so peaceful. But the wind was about to give us hell.
The wind kept up for the entire second half of the race. I had been feeling alright for the whole race, and I did manage to pass a couple of people in the last bit. But the wind had really taken its toll by the last couple of miles. Scott had run up the course to meet me, and get some of his miles in for the day. I'm sure he enjoyed the choice words I had to say every time a gust hit us. I still managed to finish the race only 5 minutes slower that I did at Salt Lake the week before.
Close to the finish now, photo courtesy of Scott M. Stringham.
It was a pretty little race, and I didn't mind the course change because things always look different on the way back.
Marathon #16.
The next weekend, I was supposed to run the Salt Flats 50k. I had signed up for it quite a while ago and had forgotten the very important fact that the race was on a Friday and not a Saturday... Oops. So I had booked my hotel for the wrong night, asked for the wrong time off of work, and all that.

Scott and I had already made plans to have dinner with his friends, who live out in Wendover, so we decided we were still going to take the trip anyway. I emailed the race director about my mistake and asked if he needed any volunteers for Saturday, since the 100 miler would still be going on. The race director was really nice and offered to roll my registration over to next year.

We made the trek out to Wendover, had a lovely time with Scott's friends, got a nice 10 miler in the next morning before heading out to take over the last aid station for the 100 miler.
Hiding out in the car while wind gusts and rain battered the aid station. Photo by  Scott M. Stringham.
Once we got to Wendover, I didn't feel so bad about not getting to run it. The rain had gone non-stop basically all week leading up to race day and the Salt Flats had been turned into a lake. A lot of people had to drop from the race due to the elements. I was happy to help the runners that were left finish up their race.  It was really neat to see them come though at mile 95 and see their determination to finish those last 5 miles, even with all they'd been through.

I'll do a May race report after my race next weekend (hopefully). I need to have everything caught up so that the Bear Lake triple will get its own blow by blow, because it's not going to be pretty.

Until next time, happy running!

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