I had a strong season opening run through time, as they say. The Run Through Time Marathon took place in beautiful Salida, CO. Despite some packed snow on the north facing trails, we had spectacular conditions for an early season trail race.
It was a relaxed race day morning. easing back into the routine: eat, dress, check-in, & stretch with Julia, who was also running (cough cough… winning!) the marathon. We knew it would be a special day immediately, as walking in to check-in at the Salida Steam Plant Event Center, Colorado trail running super fan, Bill Dooper held the door for us. Not sure who Bill Dooper is? We were lucky enough to happen upon this video a few months ago, as we were looking for inspiration to continue training on the trails through the winter. Bill is the kindest and sweetest fan in the sport, and helps confirm our reasons for loving trail running so much.
As for the race: I took off quick from the start, anxious to be racing again, and excited to get to speed through new trails. I was never cautious or concerned about my pace, as when it comes to trail running, I tend to maintain a consistent pace throughout. I suppose this is a learned trait, but it is an unconscious habit that I just chug along. Researching the course profile though, I’m always a smidge overconfident on downhill-ending courses:
For a race with this type of profile, I focus on racing through to the “peak of climbing,” as it’s all downhill from there, right?! In my head, I knew that if I pushed it through mile 16, it’d be a cakewalk the last 10-miles “downhill” to the finish. I’m over-using these “air quotes” on purpose, as the course profile does no justice to the “experienced” last 10-miles.
The course was broken up into an awesome 8-mile single track climb, then a hideous 8-mile forest road upward slog, then a 10-mile single track descent back towards Salida. I lead the race until about mile 9, as the more experienced runners passed me on the road. I would learn later that I was in pretty good company:
I thought nothing of it at the time, but pro’s such as Josh Arthur, Timmy Parr, and Nick Clark would pass me on the road. I was honored to be mentioned in Timmy Parr’s Race Account, as the wily rabbit. I recall as he passed me on the forest road, he asked me if I was running the half-marathon (which was starting an hour after the full-marathon). This was a polite way of telling me that I went out too fast.
Regardless, I hung on to finish in 4th place in a time of 3:26. It wasn’t the fastest course due to snow pack and mud spots. I would have liked to be about 10-minutes faster, maybe next year! I was pleased with my performance, again consistency is my key to maintaining myself through the rigors of trail running.
In other news, Julia Griffith kicked ass on the challenging trails and won the whole thing for the women’s field! (Mentioned here on iRunFar.com) She was so cool, calm, and collected at the finish line, as if she had just completed a recovery run. She’s gonna do big things this year. Boom.
Julia has a really cool account of the race… much different than mine. She is far too outgoing and makes so many friends out on the course! On the other hand, I enjoy the solitude of racing and the union between mind, body, and earth. Julia was ecstatic about the support that she received throughout the race from guys that tried to keep up with her [wouldn’t you 😉 ].
We loved Salida so much that we stayed one more night to soak in the true-grit mountain town vibe.