Sunday, September 29, 2013

Race Report: Squash Blossom (Kent Hodges Memorial) Half Marathon 2013


The morning started off badly, my dog decided to eat our breakfast bagels and I woke to find my back had gotten worse. I was in a lot of pain and worried I wouldn't be able to run. We left the house at about 6:15 and it was 30 degrees out. It was still dark when we pulled into the staging area at the High Desert Trail. My back was killing me and we were both really tired, so we took a 20 minute pre-race power nap in the truck. After registering and getting our race bibs, we did a small warm-up jog. It was still only like 33 Degrees out. I ended up wearing a beanie hat and gloves to start the race, which started at 8:00 am. The course began with a 1.3 mile leg on a dirt road before it jogged south onto a short trail leading to the north side of the second mesa. This stretch was mostly flat ending with a steep climb to the turn around point (about 4 miles in). Bri and I were running together until this point where I started to fall back. My back was in a lot of pain. Bri started to pace with a couple of older guys and stayed with them until the end of the race, when she passed them with a quarter mile left. They were some locals who knew a lot about the course. They regularly run the High Desert Trail. The trail continued to climb for another mile or so. At mile 5, my back seized up on me and I was forced to slow to a crawl. I continued in excruciating pain until about mile 7 where I fell back into a grove, albeit a slow one.  At around mile eight the trail heads south, out of the second mesa and towards the first mesa loop. Both Bri and I had run this loop before, but in the other direction. In the west to east direction, the trail starts by a gradual climb that slowly becomes steeper. This lasts for about a mile before the trail flattens out and starts to head back down to the intersection at "6 Flags." the trail then heads east for a pretty easy two miles to the finish line. I was able to keep a pretty good pace to the finish, even with my back pain and a cramp in my right calf muscle. I was able to eat 2 GUs and keep pretty hydrated throughout the race. Bri was almost ten minutes quicker than me and finished in 2:05:57 which was a pace of   9:37 min/mile pace. I finished in 2:15:25, a 10:20 min/mile pace. The fasted time on the course was a ridiculous 1:15:05, which is a 5:44 min/mile pace! Even though I felt like shit almost the whole race, I was pleased with my time. Bri finished 10 minutes faster than her expected time and felt like she had a lot left at the finish. Next up, the Pass Mountain 50K in November.  -Matt

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