A friend of mine from South Carolina traveled out for a long vacation in Breckenridge this week and he signed up for a trail run race on Saturday called the Hunky Dory Half Marathon. Its a 13.5 mile run done mostly on single track trails, has 1500+ feet of vertical and takes place between 9500 and 10,500 feet. I decided a couple days before the race to go up there and join him. Since I raced Boulder 70.3 on Sunday, I wasn't super keen to run really hard, but I thought it would be a fun way to get in a longer run up high.
The event only had 79 runner so it was a completely different feel from the events I've grown accustomed to. The run started with about a mile of open road before heading onto single track trail. I wanted to go out quickly enough to make sure I got a clean line, but then I wanted to keep things in check as times from last year looked very slow (read: hard course). Two guys took off quickly and I didn't see them again until the finish line. One other guy and I stayed together for the first thirty minutes and then I eventually pulled away after one of the longer climbs.
My trail running skills are mediocre at best. I do alright scrambling up the hills and running along the flatter, less technical sections. However, downhill scrambling and quick pacing through the technical sections was not one of my strengths yesterday morning. I have to give major props to the guys out front for having the skill and dexterity to fly through those sections.
The course took us through some awesome terrain and around 5k to go we had to run back up some really steep trails. There were times where I was pretty sure I was just standing still as opposed to running up the steeper grades. The final 3K included some more steep technical downhill, but fortunately I didn't crash and I crossed the finish line in 3rd, well back from the leaders (they went 1:37 and 1:39, I was 1:47).
It was nice to break out of the norm and have some fun in the mountains. This past week has been a bit of a regroup following Boulder 70.3. I'll be moving into my final block of training prior to IM Tahoe this Monday as we are sitting six weeks from race day.