Saturday, May 10, 2014

Don’t Fence Me In

To set the mood, please play the song above,.

The Don't Fence Me In Trail Run is the 6th race in the La Sportiva Mountain Cup. The race is put on by the great folks of Prickly Pear Land Trust, who work to maintain and expand the trail system on which the race is run. The 30k is billed as “unsupported”, with just two water stops on the circuitous route through the Helena mountains.

Bird's Eye View

I knew going into the race that competition was going to be fierce. Fierce speaking of the talent, not personality, as my competitors are some of the nicest, most genuine people I have the pleasure to be around. There was Megan Kimmel who has won this race 3 years in a row, Paige Pattillo, fellow Washingtonian, local Sarah Kjorstad and college track stand-out Megan Deakins.

The weather looked foreboding days leading up to the race, everything from rain to snow to temperatures in the low 30's. We lucked out though, and started under partly sunny skies and a comfortable 41 degrees at 7:30 in the morning. Helena sits at 4,200 feet so our first climb of the day pushed us up to 5,200 feet. From there the course bounced up and down between 4,600 and 5,500 feet. My laborious breathing never ceased, but the elevation never hindered my performance as it has done in the past. I owe this strength to all the work I have been doing at Terrain. (Thank you , Tonia!)

~0.5m to go!
Megan D. took it out hard and never looked back. I ran with Megan K. for the first 3 miles and then began to pull away on a short scramble up to Mt. Ascension. She just raced a tough 12 miler last weekend and was still feeling it in her legs. For the next 16 miles I was pretty much alone other than the volunteers at pivotal crossings in the course. Tad had programed the course into my watch so when I couldn't see ribbons in the trees or people on course, I looked to my Garmin for reassurance.

Me and Paige. Can my smile get any bigger?
I held on to my second place and finished the ~19.3m course in 2:38:14. This race was another big learning experience for me. Navigating the trails alone and pushing yourself when no one is around is not easy to do for 2.5+ hours. I managed to keep the voices in my head positive and my focus never wandered. 

Thank you to Kelli Butenko and the rest of the Prickly Pear Land Trust staff. You know how to put on a well run (pun intended), scenic, challenging and rewarding event.

As always, thank you La Sportiva for all of your support and for making really awesome shoes. I can't help but notice all the people around me in races slipping and falling and I think to myself, "well, you should be wearing Sportiva's..."

I have to give a really special thank you to Dr. Chris Lockwood for taking heavy duty care of me leading up to this race. This past week I had some nagging hamstring/piriformis/glute pain which prevented me from being able to extend my left leg fully. Dr. Lockwood worked tirelessly to help relieve the pain and based on today's results, his efforts were a success!

Ian, of La Sportiva, and Me Post-race
Before the race I had my usual bagel with Trail Butter, this time with Mountaineer Maple. I had sustained energy throughout the race and my blood sugar never dipped. Tad and I are spending a couple extra days to explore the Montana mountains with Trail Butter in tow, of course.

I am ready and excited to spend the next 6-7 weeks training hard and preparing for the U.S. Mountain Running Championships on July 7th in Lincoln, New Hampshire. I don't know what is harder: 30k trail run at altitude or 5 miles up Loon Mountain. We'll see.

1 Megan Deakins Mountain View CA 35 23 F 1 overall 2:30:48.49 8:05/M
2 Maria Dalzot Bellingham WA 33 26 F 1 20-29 2:38:14.16 8:29/M
3 Paige Pattillo Ellensburg WA 107 25 F 2 20-29 2:49:29.13 9:06/M
4 Sarah Kjorstad Helena MT 74 38 F 1 30-39 2:49:36.84 9:06/M
5 Megan Kimmel Silverton CO 73 34 F 2 30-39 2:52:02.16 9:14/M

1 comment:

  1. You're rad. You look very happy and un-winded, which is incredible. I'm really afraid for everyone come xc season. It will be chump change compared to courses like this. Bow chicka wow wow.