Saturday, June 3
Ultra Marathon #23
Weather - perfect!
The Dirty 30 is one race I had never done because it always seemed to conflict with something else. Back in February I decided to make this my "A" spring race. And then the same thing happened that seems to happen every single time I have a goal race. I didn't properly train and the weather was shit in the month leading up to it.
Unlike my last "A" race, Lean Horse, I wasn't injured going into it. But with 11 months of anti-treadmill running under my belt, a super chaotic schedule, new job, etc., I simply did not get in the proper training. I didn't get in any really long runs (I think I maxed out at 18 miles... but that was two months before the race) and I *certainly* didn't get my trail running in. With all the moisture (both rain and snow), I think I only hit the trails 2-3 times ALL TRAINING CYCLE.
So it should come as no surprise that I pretty much fell apart during this race... but let's rewind.
About two weeks prior to the race I figured I should start planning my race day. That's when I realized that in order to do the early start I would need to carpool - WITH AT LEAST TWO OTHER RUNNERS. Awkward, since I didn't know of two other idiots like me that were running the 50k - all my friends were running the 12 miler. Luckily, there was a ride share link and I managed to connect with some runners that allowed me to tag along. Also a stipulation for doing the early start was picking up my bib in Golden on a week day, which I managed to do the Thursday before the race. Phew.
The plan was to meet at Amy's house in Golden at 4:30 in the morning. I unfortunately woke up before my alarm went off (at 2:57) and opted to not go back to sleep. Turns out the extra time was helpful. 1). I forgot my purse and had to go back to get it and 2). the on ramp for the highway was closed, so I had to take more side streets than expected. I still arrive at Amy's house a few minutes early. Jesse and his girlfriend, Brit, arrived a minute later and we loaded up all our gear. I tried to offer them gas money and they wouldn't take it.
I was very glad someone else was driving, as it was dark, there is no cell phone service once you enter the canyon and I had NO idea where we were going. (I'll refer to my lack of reading information more than once in this post).
We were parked with a little less than an hour until the start. Used the bathroom a few times, and then with maybe 15 minutes to go we headed down the hill to the start line (where I used the bathroom at least two more times). Amy, Brit and I were all doing the early start, but Jesse wasn't, so he offered to take my coat back to the car with him. (Seriously, these guys were the best random strangers!)
And this is where memory fails me. All I can seem to remember is that the course was either up or down, there did not seem to be any inbetween. Since I haven't mentioned it yet, the scariest part of the race is the amount of climbing. We were supposed to climb over 7,200' over the course of 32ish miles. Holy crap.
|Somewhere around mile 8, just before all the elite males ran by me (remember they started an hour later)|
|One of my teammates captured this as I was coming into an aid station|
The trail also got exceedingly more technical. There was a section where we had to climb over boulders, and then, when the climbing FINALLY stopped, it also became ROCKY. Where I lack in my ability to climb hills, I'm normally able to compensate with bombing the downhills. Unfortunately, my quads were like liquid lava. They were shaky and hot and exhausted. I cautiously tried to run down, only to roll my ankle on a loose rock. Not what I want to happen going into peak trail running season! I made the decision to take it easy on the downhills, which really hurt my overall place, but at least I wasn't going to hurt myself.
|And the sky was ominous...|
I was ecstatic to see Terry and Ben volunteering as course marshals! I had been in a dark place and it was so awesome seeing some friendly faces. As I headed down (WHY ARE WE GOING DOWN JUST TO START CLIMBING AGAIN??) I was thinking, shit. I'm going to be coming back up this way in a bit.
|My jacket is NOT a rain jacket...|
Finally I saw Brit on her way down - she looked fantastic and was in good spirits. And then finally finally FINALLY, made it to the summit. My bib was marked and scanned, and then headed back down. I again ran into the same issue with the trail being a bit too technical to really run down (lots of tree roots and rocks), but at least I could breathe, and at least my legs were functioning.
The hill to get back to Terry and Ben that I was dreading THANKFULLY didn't seem long or terrible. (I mean, it wasn't a walk in the park, but not was bad as I thought it would be). Gave Ben a hug and he said it was "mostly downhill" to the finish. Ben is a liar. There was a decent amount of climbing for a half mile or so (although very tame compared to what we had done earlier) and then the last 3/4 or so was rolling and downhill - FINALLY. It was also NOT as technical, so I was able to run this part. I was able to run into the finish, and was really happy to see Alison (who had run the 12 miler) still at the finish line. She got a few pictures of me running in.
|Elevation profile... see flat anywhere?|
Official time - 10:16:49
Overall place - 339/353
Gender place - 101/110
Division place - 44/49
I immediately saw Jesse and Brit, and they had brought my bag so I was able to get out of my shoes and into my oofoos. Went to the finish area and got my beer and burger. We headed out shortly after 5 and they drove me back to my car in Golden.
- This course is not to be taken lightly. I took the early start option because I really *am* back of the pack slow on trails. Had I not taken the early start I would have DNF'd because I would not have finished in the TEN HOUR TIME LIMIT.
- There are a ton of spigots and turnoffs on the course. The course was marked exceptionally well. There was only one section (near the bouldering) where I had to look around for the next flag. Granted, I'm slow and walked a lot, so it may have been more of challenge for the faster people.
- Pretty low-key event. Other than my bib and race shirt, I got nothing. There are no medals or general finisher awards, although I'm sure the winners get something.
- Post-race festivities were great - beer and burgers.
- Would I do this again? Probably not... not because it was a bad event, just because it's a little bit "more" than I like to have in a race (difficulty-wise).