Photo: Compliments of UltrAspire
The first race of the year! It finally arrived and I was very excited to get out of town and head down to the red rocks. I left work Friday afternoon just in time to get to the packet pick up. We arrived at Eddy McStiffs as they were cleaning up the check in. Grabbed my goodie bag then walked over to eat a late night pre-race meal. Before I sat down I was approached and got to say hello to some great folks from UltrAspire. We chatted a bit and I sat down for dinner. I ordered the usual pre-race IPA and decided to go with the vegetarian lasagna. After dinner, Jim and I headed over to the hotel to get settled and ready for the next day’s festivities. Moab Red Hot is not just a race but a party. The quicker you get to the finish the quicker you get to have fun.
I tossed and turned all night long, apparently the lasagna just didn’t agree with me. When the alarm finally went off I was still in bad shape. Not only was I worried about a week’s worth of shin splints but now my stomach wasn’t being friendly. I tried to take care of that issue before we left to the start but no luck. Showing up to the start line in Moab is always a joyous occasion. So many familiar faces that you haven’t seen since the fall are all there with grins from ear to ear. I wandered around a bit saying hello and found my place at the start line. The thought was to go out at a decent clip and see if I could get myself to throw up. When the RD said GO, we were off. After about 20 yards I realized that taking first place wasn’t going to happen. After about 30 yards I realized a podium spot was just out of reach too. Dang! Oh well, time to find a rhythm and go. The first 20 miles were pretty uneventful. I locked into a solid pace and though at times it was just a bit faster than I wanted, I wanted to treat this as a long training run but also take a few chances. About mile 21-22 is when the grind up the red rock starts and ironically is when my shin splints kicked in for the first time. I looked at my watch and knew I was primed to go sub 6 which was my goal. I have run this race 3 other times and knew the downhill starting about mile 26 was a point where I always made up time. SPOILER ALERT! - This year would be different. The red rock was bringing me to my knees with pain in my shins. By the time I hit the downhill I was in bad shape. I could not take the pounding on my favorite part of the course. I knew I needed some things to change if I would hit my goal. For the next 4-5 miles I became a slave to my watch. I looked down continually and tried to do math in my head to predict my finish time. It wasn’t until I knew that a sub 6 was out of reach that I quite looking. For about a mile or so I was a little bummed but that soon passed when I started to think about the year I had in store. Was this my goal race? No. Was this going to determine my season? No. Was this race going to set the tone for 2012? No. SO I decided to cruise in and play an all too familiar game. Near the end of a race I like to watch the runner in front of me. If they turn around to check where I am, when that happens the game begins. When I see that, I tell myself- pass them. So there are races when I hope they don’t turn cause I don’t want to go faster but today I needed the fun. Well it happened to only 3-4 people but it worked. I came through the finish line in 6:17- 43 minutes faster than last year but 17 minutes short of my goal. This tells me 2 things- training is getting better and I still have a long way to go. Luckily I get to train with some of the best people I know so it’s easy to get out the door. Overall I consider Moab a success- a good place to start. I already look forward to next year on the Red Rock. Congrats to all my friends on their day. It was great to see so many people I know. I am already looking forward to the Buffalo Run 50 miler in a few short weeks. As for the shin splints- there still there but if I ever ran pain free I may be in too much shock to run.
As for some details…. I used my amazing UltrAspire Isomeric Pocket handheld bottle to carry straight water (it was a balmy 60+ degrees during this one). For nutrition I used First Endurance Liquid Shot mixed with EFS drink and water. I combine 3 ounces of liquid shot with one scoop of EFS powder and top off the 10 oz flask with water- PERFECT! My energy and hydration were spot on all day. No issues at all. After the race and before the beer I chugged down a bottle of Ultragen-cappucino style!
Photo compliments of UltrAspire