Last October, UIH and I signed up (in time) to do a fun little trail Half Marathon called That Dam
Fast forward to Sunday, when UIH toed the starting line for the Miners Revenge Trail Marathon (there was a half option as well, which is what I had planned on doing).
|Seriously, it was a starting line.|
I had some weird nerves going into the day, because I totally felt like I was banditting the race!! Obviously, I wasn't going to eat at the aid stations or take a medal or anything, but I felt so guilty about running on a marked course without a bib. I cheered at the start for UIH and all the runners who were smart enough to meet the deadline, then lingered for a bit, wandering back to my car to get my gear ready. As I was walking back, a friendly voice called out to me, "You should be running this race! So I could read about it on your blog!" Hey!! It was my AR50 aid station fangirl! We chatted for a bit and I still didn't take a picture with her. Next time, for sure.
I chatted with the RD for a minute, also, which totally helped me feel better about the whole "bandit" thing. If the RD knew I was running the course for fun, then I must be okay! He was super nice and friendly.
So, off I went! Even though the course was marked, I was a little worried about getting lost. There's some precedent for this fear, as you know, so I tried to be extra vigilant about watching for the blue ribbons marking the course. I needn't have worried (yet), because the course was extremely well-marked.
|Damn. All told, my day included something like 4,200' of elevation change.|
|You can't tell, but this was a very, very, very steep uphill, which is why I stopped briefly to take a photo and catch my breath.|
I thought a lot about That Dam
n Run while I was running. I remembered a lot of the course and the friendly runners I had chatted with that day. One guy had recognized me from another race we had both done, and another guy had joined our conversation, which meandered onto the topics of shoes, training for ultras and awesome local races. There was one section of trail that I had particularly enjoyed last October, which was a little trickier on Sunday because it was somewhat overgrown and there was lots of poison oak. It struck me how very different the trail looked in springtime versus late summer/early fall, which is the only time I've run it.
I saw the first marathoner coming at me when I was about seven miles into my day. Yep. He had run 19 miles in the time it took me to run seven. Whatever. I stepped off the trail and cheered for him. He looked like he was out for an easy 5K, the way he blew past me. I will never, ever look like that while running.
Second place guy was quite a ways back, then third place guy was pretty significantly behind them. I was really happy about seeing the marathoners, though, because I knew I would get to see UIH soon! I was running along, thinking how happy I would be to see him, when I came to this completely unmarked fork in the road:
|Hmmmm, which way to go?|
My excitement about finding the trail didn't last long - less than another quarter mile on this trail, there was another fork with no ground markings that was in much denser trees and covering. I wouldn't be able to see the other side of the fork if I traveled too far in either direction, so I stood there and waited for a marathoner to come through before I decided which way to go. Thankfully, I barely waited a minute, and then I was off in the correct direction again!
I was at more or less Mile 10-ish for me, and was starting to see marathoners pretty steadily, but no UIH. I told myself not to worry. Just because I should have already seen him didn't mean anything was wrong, particularly since I had been off the race course for somewhere around ten minutes or possibly more. I texted him. No answer. I tried the Find My iPhone app. His location hadn't been updated since yesterday. Okay, I was pretty sure he wasn't dead in a ditch somewhere, no need to panic. So, I only panicked a little. I kept running, going over the possibilities in my head.
And of course the answer was Number 3. I returned to the starting area with just about 14 miles on my Garmin and checked in with the timing tent to ask if I could track a runner. UIH had bolted through the first 13 mile loop in 2:15, something like the 14th person to cross the line (which included the speedy half marathoners who were finished with their day at that point!) I was so excited for UIH! He was having a great day!
I hustled out to the car to get my jacket and my post-run shake, then settled onto a rock to watch the runners coming through. I knew if UIH had pushed the first loop so fast, that he would do his best to barrel through the second one, too. Around four and a half hours on the clock, I knew I would see him any second, and I was right!
|My amazing UltraIronHubs, finishing a trail marathon with about 10,000' of elevation change in a time that's faster than all but two of my wimpy road marathons! He's such a beast!|
|Race schwag was a DUFFEL BAG and an awesome finisher's medal! The super cool pint glass was for winning second place in his age!|
Next year? Totally signing up for this race!! Also, here are all the photos I meant to blog about way back last October:
|The aid station volunteers were fantastic!|
|Little bit drier in October than it was in April, huh??|
|Finish line decorations.|
|How the hell was I this fast just six months ago??|