This week the plan was to finish up a solid week with a Race. The Big Brother’s Big Sister Half Marathon (according to several Garmin readings this course is closer to 13.5miles).
My recovery from a hard effort at the Canyon went a bit smoother this time. By the time Mike and I met up on Wednesday at
for our workout, my legs were in a pretty good place. The plan was to hit a 4mile tempo on the rolling loop and then mix in some hill repeats on the “sharp” graded hill. Buffalo Park
The 4mile Tempo went by pretty quickly. We kept the pace right at 5:20/mile, which felt pretty good. Then we took a short break and hit the 8x Short Hill Repeats. At that point, we felt like that was enough considering we had a hard effort coming up on Saturday.
Well.. before we knew it, Saturday had arrived. Chris Gomez (yet another local fast guy) was there so we knew the race would go out fast. Chris is famous for his fast starts… and usually fast finishes.
The gun went off and as expected, we shot out of the gate at a low 5min/mile clip. Mike looked over at me and said, “This is stupid”.. referring to how difficult this pace felt at the start of such a long, hard race.
After the first mile, Chris had about a 5 second lead on me… and about 10seconds on Mike. At that point, we started our ascent up Mars Hill.. this climb is UGLY. It covers almost a full mile and starts out fairly smooth… but by the end, the use of a grappling hook wouldn’t be out of the question.
Once we started climbing, I got antsy and started to press the climb. By the time we got to the top, I had about a 10second lead on Mike & Chris. This didn’t last for long.. and surging up this hill turned out to be a HUGE mistake. As I ran the flat section after Mars Hill, I was literally gasping for air. I was reeling.. it didn’t take much time for Chris.. then Mike to close the gap and quickly whip by me. I attempted to go with them, but the damage was done… I was in “recovery mode”.
I kept Mike and Chris in sight hoping to make a move to close the gap at some point, but it just wasn’t there. Mike ended up gapping Chris by a good distance and I was unable to close any serious time on either of them.
When I came through mile 8, I finally fell back in a good rhythm and decided it was “do or die” time. I worked my way into a solid pace and by the time I hit 2.5miles to go, Chris only had about 25 to 30seconds.. down from 1.5minutes. Mike was nowhere to be seen.
As Chris flew around a turn, I saw him look back for the first time… DANG IT!!!.. He spotted me. There was no more “sneaking” my way up to him. Over the final 2.5miles, I wasn’t able to close much of the gap.. and thus, ended up finishing in third place with a time of 1:17:45. Not a bad time considering the course is long.. we are at 7k ft.. the course is pretty difficult.. and I ran a VERY stupid race. Further, it served it’s original purpose of knocking some of the rust off before TransRockies... Good enough.
The View of My Short-Lived Lead (Photo by Bret Sarnquist)