Defn: a human male displaying evidence of devolution - exhibits distinctive "caveman-like" tendencies. This man often dribbles in public places; cannot drink a beverage without spilling it on himself, the floor or someone else; may also run into objects like lampposts & bushes; has a definite "sloopish & short legged" running style that is slow and low to the ground, often resulting in the dragging of knuckles.

These throwback neanderthals, along with their questionable diet, should clearly be avoided.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Turkey Tracks Half Marathon Race Report

I had this trip planned before the Black Forest fire claimed 2 lives and over 500 homes.  The day before the race we learned that our house was still standing, and likely would be okay.

So I drove to Pagosa Springs - with my mind on the fire and my family - but also with a desire to just get away from some strain and stress.

I scoped out a couple of different sections of the course later that evening.  I had found a happy place.  The 13 1/4 mile course was at least 12 miles of singletrack - almost all of it smooth, dirt and just simply beautiful.

The area is named after wild turkeys that frequent the area.  I didn't see any while there.  There were plenty of wildflowers.
The half marathon course was a clockwise loop, run at the same time as the full marathon - which did the same loop, for their second lap they ran counter-clockwise.  A small turnout of runners.  Just over 120 for the half.  60 for the full.
Pagosa Springs sits just to the West of the Continental Divide at an elevation of 7200'.  Scenic, rugged, beautiful.

I started the race way too fast, trying to get to the single track where I knew passing would be difficult due to the narrowness of the trail.  Shortly after we started I reminded myself I was nowhere near race fitness condition - my focus should be on just running, enjoying myself and eventually finishing.

So the miles clicked off, the first 5 miles were a gradual downhill so I dialed back on the pace and just settled into what seemed doable, comfortable - it happened to be an 8 min pace.

The runners spread out and we all settled in.  I was leading a conversational pack for several miles, chatting about the trail, fires, stuff.  At 5 1/3 miles and about 42 minutes into it, we took a sharp right turn and began the gradual climb for the next 5 miles.

With the now gradual uphill, my pace slowed somewhat but so did that of others in front of me and behind.  Our conversational group spread out, I began passing people.  The miles continued to click by.  I was enjoying myself, not pushing hard, but still putting forth effort.  By now I had purposed in my mind that breaking 2 hours was not only a realistic goal - but doable.

A few steeper sections slowed me, definitely a lack of training and fitness being the cause.  They were short however and eventually after 10 1/4 miles or so the trail leveled out.  By now I was down to an 8:45 avg but feeling fairly good - no aches or pains in my ankle or knees.  No lack of hydration and not looking to eat the bark off the pines and aspen trees.

So, I ratcheted up the effort a bit, and pressed forward.  The trail snaked through the trees which were thin in areas, allowing glimpses of runners ahead.  They became incentive to catch.  For the next couple of miles I began thinking I didn't have enough miles left to catch up to those ahead.  That is a thought I very rarely - if ever - have.  I am usually wanting a race to be done.  But here I was saying to myself - "give me more, I don't want to be done".

Alas - the trail ended and the last 3/4 mile was on a forestry road.  I put my head down and upped my effort more, passing a few more people and eventually finishing the 13 1/4 miles in 1:53 and change.  Good for 23rd place overall and 5th in the always speedy 40-49 yr old age division.

I was pleased with how I did - still early in training for my goal race in August - this was a good indicator to show that I have a ways to go to get to peak fitness, but I am heading in the right direction.  It was such an enjoyable course to run on, the organization of it was first class and I would consider doing it again.
Socks and a homemade finishers medal - made out of clay

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