Tuesday, November 5, 2013

GrassRoots Events and the US Champs

So much has changed since moving back to Colorado Springs at the end of our road trip.  The original plan was to move back to the Springs so I could go back to school.  Then, in October, I went out to Moab to work a TransRockies Event and met Chris Martinez.  Before I knew it, I was co-owner of GrassRoots Events and applying for permits for the Behind the Rocks 50/25 Mile.  I have always wanted to be a race director and it will be great to work with Chris and have him teach me everything he knows.  

We have already been really busy creating our newest race, Behind the Rocks 50/25 mile on March 29th, 2014.  Even though it is advertised as a 50/25 mile, the race is actually 53 and 28 miles.  The race will feature Behind the Rocks trail, Hunter Canyon Rim, Hurrah Pass, Jacksons Ladder, and Amasa Back.  I believe this will be one of the best early spring races on the calendar and will give runners a chance to enjoy great weather and views of the snow capped La Sal mountains.  Like all GrassRoots events, this race will have a great after party!

This past weekend we traveled to Moab to run the US half marathon trail championships.  I ran the marathon last year so I knew the course well; plus, I spent a week on the course earlier in the month.  I came into the race not sure how I would run, especially after some poor races leading into the event.  I did have some confidence because I started training with Joseph Gray a few times a week, and we had completed some really tough workouts together in the previous two weeks.

We arrived in Moab after midnight, on Thursday, and decided to get a room to avoid a late night tent setup.  I picked up Joe the next morning so we could go and preview the last few miles of the course and see the creek section.  I decided, while on the run, I didn't want to get my shoes wet and tried to walk across a small pipe.  I almost reached the end when I started to slip and then fell on the pipe.  It bruised and scratched up my left quad but nothing too serious.  I guess the whole incident could have been avoided if I had just packed two pairs of shoes,  lesson learned.  

I was happy to discover that the race would be starting at 9 a.m.  I was able to sleep in a little.  I started the race fast due to a short downhill but slowed down after a few minutes.  I was in fifth place until the top of the first climb.  Then, at mile five, I was able to close the gap on the third and fourth place runners.  The three of us jockied positions until the single track on Hunter Canyon Rim around mile 7.  This section is really technical and the downhill allowed me to put a few minutes on the other two guys and bring back over a minute on Jared Scott.  

Here is a video of the race:

I moved past Jared, around mile 8.5, just at the bottom of the rim trail.  He caught back up and put a small gap on the next uphill.  I tried really hard to keep up on the hill but I just can’t climb like he can.  I was able to close the gap he put on the uphill on the downhill road and Amasa Back trail sections.  With a mile and a half to go we were running side by side on the creek section of the course.  Now you don’t just cross the creek a few times you actually run down the creek for a little over a half mile.  We were right together until the end of the water section when I decided it would be faster to run through the water and Jared ran up on the bank.  I lost 15 seconds and he pulled away even more on a short uphill out of the creek.  I tried to push the last road section to the finish.  I was closing the gap but I ran out of time.  Overall, I was really happy with the race and it was so much fun fighting it out with Jared over the last four miles.  Danelle did a great job of organizing the race and designed a very challenging course.  

After lunch at the Moab brewery, we headed back to Colorado Springs so I could run the third race of the Fall Series on Sunday.  I was sixth overall in the series and wanted to race even though I had raced the day before.  On the warm up I didn’t feel too bad and was hoping the race would go better than planned.  I finished fourth overall and moved into third in the series.  I didn’t feel too fatigued, I just didn’t have the motivation to push too hard.  That evening, I registered for the Bootlegger 50k coming up this Saturday.  It’s going to be a fast race and should be a great event!

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