Short report for now- 1st place overall, 2 minutes off course record pace. Great, beautiful, but very challenging course- never flat, always hilly, almost always rocky (see the course map). Good run despite fatigued legs. Drew first ever blood during a trail race. Won a homemade apple pie! Still undefeated at trail races marathon distance and longer. More details later.
Full report- I had been looking forward to this race since last year, when I almost did it. It is a true trail marathon- 99% singletrack, running from Deer Valley ski resort to Park City to The Canyons. The trail is on the Mid Mountain trail which roughly follows 8000' contour, but is never flat, always hilly, and most of it is very rocky, requiring careful footing. There are a few great views of Park City and all of the run is gorgeous- much of it through thick forest. Going into the race, I knew I had a chance to win it- the average winning time the past 3 years was 3:11, with a course record many years ago of 2:59. As the race got closer, I made one goal for myself: To WIN. I kept telling myself that I would win and I would not let anyone beat me.
I stayed Fri night at Adam RW's house (Thanks!) and drove to Park City Saturday morning. Weather was almost perfect- slight breeze from the north (headwind for much of the race). Temp was ~45 at the start but quickly heated up to 60+. 200 people showed up for the fun.
The race started and I felt ok- my legs were still sluggish/tired from lots of recent miles, but not too bad. I quickly discovered that the somewhat crude course map doesn't do justice to the elevation changes- the race is never flat! None of the hills are incredibly steep (for a trail run, though more than you see on a road) but the ups and downs are unrelenting. Through mile 18 (when my Garmin lost signal), I had run 4159 feet ascent and 3934 feet descent. I would estimate total ascent of 4800 feet and total descent of 5800 feet (the biggest hills are a steady climb from mile 16-20, then 1700 foot drop from 20-26).
I went through the first aid station (mile 3) in 4th place, then the guy right in front of me slowed up. The first 2 guys had started fast and we had let them get away, but I caught up to them by mile 8, just in time to stop and tighten my right shoe in an attempt to prevent a nasty blister I could feel forming. I felt very relaxed through mile 10, then went into race mode. Passed the 13.1 mark at 1:35. I finally passed the 2nd place guy on the backside of the beautiful Iron Mountain at about mile 11, then caught and passed the leader (and previous race winner Dominick) at mile 15 or so. For the rest of the way, it was just me and the pace car, a nice mountain biker wearing an orange shirt (he really was wearing a bib that said "Official pace car", which I found hilarious). Miles 17-20 were tough mentally and physically, but I wasn't going to let anyone catch me- lots of positive mental statements. The garmin started losing signal in the forest around mile 18.5 and was worthless after that. On the downhill at mile 20, we caught 2 other mountain bikers and the pace car/bike had to shew them out of my way, since they were slowing me down (on good downhills, no less!). The pace car later said he had never had to work so hard in previous years to stay ahead. The big downhill at the end was very fast- some of it was definitely 5:30-6:00 pace, even with the rocks. I took a big digger on an uphill at about mile 24 and scrapped up my hand and knee, but not too badly. By that point, I couldn't focus well enough to avoid all the numerous rocks, so was just running over them. I almost sprained an ankle many times. By mile 25, the balls of my feet were bruised from the rocks and very painful, so I was glad the end was near. Pushed through the finish in first place overall, finishing in 3:01:28. Dominick was 2.5 minutes back from me, and the next guy was another 9 minutes back. Top female was 3:27, 10th place overall.
I was very happy with this race. It was well run, gorgeous, great people, dedicated volunteers, a good all around experience. Before the race, the race director said the course record is so fast that the guy "must have been on steroids or something", and I was only 2 minutes back despite not feeling quite 100%. Hopefully I can run it again and beat the record next year. It's a fun experience to win a race- only my 3rd win at a big race in the past 4-5 years. And I can say I have won all my trail races that are 26.2 miles or longer. Yup, both of them.
Finish was great- pizza, drinks, beer, other food, music- very relaxed. Top 3 finishers won HUGE homemade apples pies- yummy! Can life get any better? I also won a free pair of Salomon trail shoes, which will be appreciated. And the t-shirts are cool, too. Then I went home and had a 2 hour massage. Great day. Other than very sore bottom of feet and a few blisters, I feel good.
I doubt anyone cares, but I'm sure I will want these numbers to compare for future years:
|| 127 ft
|| 141 ft
|| Incl. 30 seconds to tie shoe
||Big down, but lots of up, too
No usable data beyond this point. But the last miles were screaming fast, though I'm glad there were no huge ups or my tired legs may have given out.
Ascend- 380, Adrenaline- 32