Monday, October 19, 2009

Mtn View Trail Half Marathon

I don't do speedwork.  It's not that I don't like running fast but when I'm training for 50 or 100 milers that go up and down mountains it just doesn't seem prudent.  That and I usually hurt myself in some fashion when I decide to run sub 7 minute miles for extended periods. Well, after coming back from a semi flat weeknight run with a PR and a big smile, Betsy talked me into running the Mountain View Trail Half Marathon that she had already signed up for.
As the race drew closer Greg helped me get ready by doing some focused training earlier in the week that involved post-holing in knee deep snow up Alexander Basin to Gobblers Knob.  The speedwork came on the way down as the weather turned on us and the temperature started dropping.  I think we were both moving faster than we had anticipated that evening.  In retrospect I am sure this is why I ended up doing better than I had anticipated.

On race morning we got there plenty early and I jogged around a bit so I wouldn't cause to much damage from running faster than I was accustomed to.  It was a beautiful morning.  The temperature was a bit brisk at first but as soon as the sun peeked over the ridge it felt perfect.  Betsy was walking around with a fleece and I urged her to ditch it in the car because I knew she would be plenty warm once we got moving.  While listening to the pre-race instructions from RD Jim Skaggs I ran into my friends Jeff Gerke and Ryan and Lindsay Lauck.  It was good to see a few familiar faces because most the people that were there I didn't recognize.  Kind of a road race meets trail event but it was all good.  Over at the start line I ran into Cory Johnson and chatted about future race plans while we waited for Jim to send us on our way.  Cory looked behind me at a tall lanky kid and asked him if he was going to win.  He was wearing a singlet and high cut racing shorts.  He just shrugged his shoulders and said something about being on the Weber State University cross country team.  Hmmm this could be interesting I thought.
Right from the start the pace seemed pretty fast and the two guys that had lined up with singlets were right there as we ran stride for stride toward the first climb.  Once we were on the slight grade I pushed the pace just a little bit to see who was going to hang around.  I have to admit I was having a good time mixing it up at the front and getting my legs turning over.
There was a little stretch of pavement at the top of the climb then we angled off downhill on the dirt road toward the singletrack.  I was a little bit surprised as we turned the corner and I saw the first aid station maybe two miles into the race.  I was even more surprised when I saw my friend David Hayes who happened to be working the water stop, hold up his hand for a high five as I came running by.  We blasted the descent then hit the Mountain View trail that would take us all the way to the finish at the Fielding Garr Ranch.  At this point I was running in 2nd place and decided to have a look around.  There were two guys behind me then a pretty big gap back to 5th place.  The four us swapped off taking turns at the front before Cody (eventual 4th place finisher) dropped off the pace.  Then a short while later I started to lose contact with the Tyson (WSU runner) and Kevin right around the 7 mile mark when we crossed the road for the 2nd time.  By the time I saw Greg shooting pictures, Tyson and Keven had put about 20 seconds on me, a trend that would continue for the rest of the race.  Cody stayed fairly close behind me for the duration and as I closed to within a mile or so of the finish I thought he might catch me as I had to slow down for a herd of buffalo.  In the end I was able to hold him off to slot in to 3rd at 1:28.07, as Kevin jumped around Tyson for the win in 1:25.17 (full results).  I was very pleased with my race since I didn't know what to expect going in and I went under my goal of 1:30.
I hung around the finish for a bit talking with everyone and distracting Aric from from doing his job taking finishing tags.  Soon enough I saw Betsy cresting the final hill, well ahead of her goal with a time of 2:17.  She's been making great progress and I'm super proud of her for such a great effort.
Before we left we grabbed burger from the BBQ and a most excellent homebrew prepared by Jim.  Thanks to Jim for once again running an absolutely flawless event and keeping his deal with the weather gods for one more race.


FastED said...

Nice job Christian! Well.... I guess the speed work is done for the year -huh?

Manners said...

Great job Christian. It was great to see you, Betsy and Greg.