What a great day to run. I got up a little early so I could get to the start and watch some friends take off on the 50k. They left at 8 am and the 33k started at 8:30. It was such a nice morning, just enough chill in the air to make sure you felt alive. I waited for the race to start and spent the last few minutes with the girls. The countdown started and I approached the line not really knowing what to expect. It was just so nice to see a dirt trail! The RD got us started and we were off. The first part of the race went up a nice little grind that still had some ice on the trail. Once to the top of that we had a small downhill followed by some flat trails. I felt good and looked at my watch to see I was going a bit faster than I prefer but I decided since it felt so good- just go. I hot the first aide station at 41 minutes which wasn't bad, it put me at about a 10 minute pace. On the trail I met quite a few people and ended up turning my ipod off most of the race. There were a couple sketchy parts where a few got lost. I followed a group of about 6 runners and they led me off course. I learned my lesson quickly, keep your eyes open and don't just follow. It was a nice day and the course was beautiful. I felt really good most of the day and just kept running. I hit the last aide station and decided to finally look at my watch. I was shocked. I had a chance to finish the race under 4 hours. I needed to push and knew it would hurt a little but I had a flashback of the Wasatch Steeplechase last year. That race I had a goal to finish under 4 hours and I didn't push enough at the end and finished in 4:01. I wasn't about to let that happen again. I took a gel, ate a few shot blocks and I took off. I probably passed about 7 or 8 people and it felt great. It was almost like my body realized I was going to push and it didn't fight back. About 3 miles from the finish Skaggs and Anton came blazing by me. They made it look effortless. I finished in 3:49 which was good enough for 29th overall and 8th in my age group.
I'll take it.
Overall, the race felt like a success. I could tell my training and diet are paying off. It was a huge boost for my confidence and hopefully will jump start a busy year. The first race of the year is under my belt and I am ready for more.