The Cougar Mountain Marathon. My. First. Race. This. Year.
And it went well! And I have zero pictures. :(
I learned a lot.
2014 has been a year of healing and waiting and healing and waiting some more. After logging a few 15-20 mile days on the trails I figured I was good to enter my first race. And why not make it my longest run of the year? Exactly, no reason.
I went into this race treating it like a training run. And guess who should show up with the very same agenda, Bill Huggins. Nice, it was great to chat at the start.
The gun goes off and I hang back. Or maybe it was just that I jogged out and everyone else ran, either way I was instantly at the back of the pack. But so was Bill! We kept up our banter around the grassy field and onto the trail.
My goal was to start mellow and hopefully maintain. If by some miracle I felt good at the end I would try and speed up but I did NOT want to die/slow down.
Long story short, I ran very conservatively. After perhaps four or five miles Bill started to pull away just a bit and I had to let him go. I stopped at every aid station for a gel, to top off my bottle and to grab some treats. I guess I was passing some folks but I was not paying any attention.
Until we headed down to 900. As I was descending to the aid station I noticed that there were only four people in front of me... was it too early to race? The answer was yes, it was way too early. But I did remember what colors each of the people in front of me were wearing.
From the midpoint of the descent to 900 on I was alone for quite some time. Somewhere around the top of the climb I sneaked past one of the guys that was in front of me and I figured that was that. If I could just maintain I was going to get 4th and that was super cool by me.
As I got to the last aid station I did the usual top off and snack break and as I headed out one of the volunteers yelled after me, "3rd place is just ahead of you!" I thought whatever, I can't go any faster so what does it matter, and off I ran. Just two miles later, there was 3rd place.
I caught him on a descent and figured it was best to just go right on by. I did push just a little here so that my pass was authoritative and not tentative... I think it worked.
I'd be lying if I said I didn't look over my shoulder once or twice for the last few miles but in hindsight I needn't have worried. I got lucky with my pacing and this guy looked pretty cooked. I did have to walk a couple of inclines (damn it!) but just a couple. And I never blew up.
As usual the finish kind of sneaks up on you but I did manage a tiny acceleration at the end and was totally psyched with my run. And it turns out Bill won! How cool is that. Nothing like going out for a training run and having a good time. The good result was a giant bonus.
|Waking HR||5:00 AM - 45|
|Workout Food||bottle w/2 scoops Perpetuem, 3 gels, fruit, pretzels, PowerBar Energy Blasts|
|Time of Day||8:30 AM|
|Weather||mid 60s, sunny, dry, calm|
|Results||1st - 50+|
3rd - Overall
|Equipment||Brooks PureGrit 2, Ultimate Direction Fastdraw Plus, Garmin Fenix 2|
|Clothing||Injinji Run Original Weight Mini-Crew, Brooks 5" Essential Run Short, Brooks short sleeve EZ T III|