I finished and I'm recovering well! What a great time! I called it my little 'mini-Hardrock' (although it is nowhere close to the difficulty of that race!)
Kenny also finished it with me. He had never run a marathon before and the longest he had run this summer was 15 miles. He did awesome - living at elevation has its advantages. He was ahead of me at the beginning and pretty much was ahead of me the whole race. It was fun running with him - never in my life did I expect him to do a marathon. Never say never, people.
Total miles: 26.2 miles (my Garmin calculated 27.05 - little bonus, I guess)
Finish Time: 6:34
Total cumulative elevation gain/(loss): 6,839/(6,929) feet
Start point: Silverton - 9,333 feet
High point: California Pass - 12,930 feet (Garmin read 13,043)
My goals were (in order):
1. Have fun. Check!
2. Finish (without injury). Check!
3. Don't finish last. Check!
4. Finish in 7 hours 30 minutes. Check!
5. Finish in under 7 hours and 30 minutes! Check!
You know, if I didn't lollygag at the aid stations and chat and stop to take so many pictures, I could have shaved some time off. But that's part of the fun! And, it is all about the fun. The aid station volunteers commented to the RD's that Kenny and I LOVED the aid stations. I loved chatting with the volunteers. They were awesome.
This is the most beautiful place I have ever run - the San Juan mountains are unbelievably gorgeous. You absolutely MUST put this on your race calendar for next year.
Rodger Wrublick (Across the Years RD) and Jamil Coury (Javelina Jundred RD) were the race directors. This was one heck of a well organized race. Due to the late notice (Rodger and Jamil had picked up the race from the town of Silverton, which was unable to complete the race organization), the registration was low. So, they decided it would be a 'fun run' and our checks were returned. I made a nice donation to the Silverton School Sports Program instead, which was an option we were given.
The aid stations were supremely stocked with the best sports drinks and food, we got t-shirts, a free pair of Drymax socks, gourmet breakfast from the Wyman hotel (French toast to DIE for), and an awesome barbeque lunch afterwards. What a deal. They even drive us over to the race start in a trolley. How cool is that?
Start (Silverton) to Howardsville (mile 4 aid station):
Here we are at the start - it was around 40 degrees. Brrrr. Me running along the rushing Animas River - just amazingly pretty and peaceful. I usually run along here when I visit Silverton. Howardsville to Eureka (7.6 mile aid station):
Yes, it really is this pretty.
Eureka to Animas Forks (11 mile aid station):
Coming into Animas Forks aid station and I'm happy...
Animas Forks to California Pass (16 mile aid station):
This section is the big climb of the race.
Pretty neat old structure right outside of Animas Forks aid station:Probably about 800 sheep up on the hillside in this section. They call 'em mountain maggots up there. They made lots of noises as we passed. Seemed like some of them were screaming or maybe cheering us on. :) All sorts of remnants from old mining operations in the San Juans (I thought this was a cool pic with the clouds and all).The last of the big climb to California Pass: Finally at the top at 12,930 feet! I really struggled to get enough oxygen the last 15-20 minutes of this section. I was VERY slow on this part. But, I made it!California Pass to Gladstone (19.6 mile aid station):
After having some boiled potatoes and salt (favorite aid station food!), I was happy for some downhill. My mood had improved! On this section, you head downhill for a bit, but then back up again to Hurricane Pass. Here we are at Hurricane Pass (and then it is pretty much all downhill from here!): This section is one of the prettiest on the course:Gladstone to the finish (Silverton):
Here is the town of Silverton coming into sight, and finally, us coming into the finish! We couldn't have asked for better weather - lots of cloud cover and perfect temperature for running. No storms at the higher elevations. Just perfect.
The last 3/4 mile is on pavement, but the rest of the race is on jeep/dirt roads. Overall, I felt pretty good at the finish. Rodger was cooking us up some food, so I had 2 bratwursts on buns. Wonderful. Anyone who knows me know that food is king with me. :)
Afterwards, Kenny and I went down to the Animas River and found an inlet where we could soak our legs in the cold water! It felt good and the dogs had a blast. Cracker Dog swam for the first time. She was happy to see Dixie and Taos Dog. What a great race! I would definitely do it again and would recommend it highly. I would never have done this a year ago. That's what the Tucson Trail Runner runs have done for me; given me confidence. What a difference a year in your life can make.
"Well, there's people that will tell you it's just no use, and there's people that'll tell you that you're gonna lose, people that'll tell anything you're gonna listen to...Do what you gotta do." ~ Garth Brooks