Posted by: jawsome | February 21, 2011

Moab Red Hot…or freezing rain and wind, whichever

Moab this past weekend was awesome. I have a complete inability to be concise and organized, so I envision this blog post as turning into a rambling mess. You have been warned.

Matt and I headed out to Moab on Friday morning with oppressive and looming clouds. I thought the desert was supposed to be, you know, dry? Apparently there are two types of weather to be had in the desert: hot and dry, and flash flood.

We checked into the Bighorn Hotel, and Japhy set about becoming everyone’s favorite barking guard dog. Delightful. Matt and I don’t have cable, so I spent the evening reminding myself why by watching a bunch of crap on TV.

Saturday morning dawned cold, rainy, and windy. I realized that I forgot my handheld water bottle, so spent some time trying to devise a holder out of floss and plastic garbage bags. McGyver I am not. I ended up just carrying a bike water bottle of Matt’s. Not too bad actually, during the race. More on this later.

We arrived at the race start to see a lot of familiar faces, and I watched the 55k group take off through the rain. We had a large Fort Collins contingent, and several top ten finishers. Great race, guys! The start line confirmed what I have been suspecting for a long time now: I am a huge wimp. I think my “happy” temperature range is somewhere between 76 and 76.5 degrees. It wasn’t even that cold at the start – maybe 40? But the rain and wind was a little scary to me and I decided to keep my fleece on over my three polypro layers. Seriously, Joselyne? There were people there in shorts! Although I ended up shedding the fleece in approximately 4 seconds, it turned out to be a good choice because, as I had no pocket on my nonexistent water bottle holder, the pockets in the fleece got to hold all my used gel packets. And actually, having a great flopping fleece tied around my waist wasn’t as annoying as you might expect.  

We started out up a slight hill, into a driving rainy headwind. The hill was fairly icy and wet, and I began to have doomsday visions about the rest of the race. But, (and curse the wind all you want), wind does have the bonus effect of drying out the course. After the first hill, the rain slowed down and it was fairly dry. In fact, the rain was a boon in the sandy sections, as I felt more like jogging across some extra springy dirt than slogging through sand dunes.

Miles 1-4 were fine, didn’t drink much water but had a cup of Heed at the aid station. Slowed down around mile 5 due to some technical difficulties (try to take off fleece while running, drop in mud, try to tie around waist while running, almost fall on face, choke on gu, rocks in shoes…) overall mile five was sort of annoying. I got most of that out of the way though, so the rest of the race was pretty awesome.

I still cannot eat during races. I am really going to have to work on this if I ever want to run 50 miles. I saw the pretzels, cookies (oreos? Really? I mean I love oreos as much as the next person but urk!) and couldn’t imagine it. I did have some flat coke which was exciting, but other than that I stuck to gu and heed and it seemed to work fine. Miles 5-8 were up some fairly steep slick rock sections, and I was glad for all the times I’ve hiked Towers.

One thing I will say for myself, I seem to have a fairly good ability to speed down hills (for my fitness level and mean pace). I would pass 10 people at a time zooming down the slickrock (only to encounter them again next steep hill, curse you, hills!!) If I can find a completely downhill trail race, I might start having more breakthrough performances 🙂

After mile nine the course trended downhill, and I was finally able to cruise. I started passing people right and left (further evidence that I REALLY need to work on my hills). I had some minor issues with side stitches (my nemesis) but nothing too bad as long as I remembered to keep grunting like a gorilla.  I almost ran out of water before the last aid station at mile 15, but it came just in time and I filled ‘er up. Kept passing people while feeling pretty good myself, so I know I trained well for this race. In retrospect, I probably could have run it a little harder but I didn’t really know what to expect. Watch out for next year, Moab (and if you could cooperate on the weather, that would be super).

Finished up in 4:24, which beat my B goal time by 6 minutes. Still 25 minutes off A goal, but I was expecting that. Overall, very happy with the run. I felt great almost the whole time, the scenery was amazing, and the course was very interesting. Also, the potato leak soup at the finish line was bomb.

Went back to the hotel room to clean up, then headed out for the after party – only to eat 3 pieces of pizza and feel like conking out. Instead of rocking the dance floor, Matt and I watched more bad TV until we fell asleep. Sunday morning we went out again, and I took Japhy for a 3 mile walk while Matt biked. I felt pretty good, but am having lingering tendon pain in one of the posterior tibial tendons in my right leg (just above the ankle bone on the outside) and the left tendon behind my left knee, but nothing sharp and I think they should calm down in a day or two. No running for me, though.

Matt and I finished up our trip a la tourist by checking out Arches National Park. Japhy touched some dirt (dogs only allowed on pavement) don’t tell anyone.

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Responses

  1. What fantastic scenery, and way to hit your B goal!
    The weather was so out of whack here in the desert west this weekend, but made for pretty sights!

  2. congrats on a great race! looks like it was beautiful, too. i’m a pretty fair downhill runner, too, and it’s a good thing because going uphill…not so much! as far as food, it is definitely weird to eat real food mid-run. but i figure for my 50 i’ll have to so i’ve got to practice now. after my 20 miles on the trails this weekend my legs are sore in the same place, i think it’s from all the stabilizing our muscles do on the trails!

  3. Well done! You looked great when I saw you near the finish. And I have trouble getting a lot of calories in too. Shot bloks work best for me since they are only 30 calories each and I can usually get 1 or 2 down per hour. If the drink mixes work for you, carry one mix bottle and one fresh water bottle and just keep sipping a bit at a time. You can get by pretty well on a very small amount of calories as long as you stay consistent.
    Enjoy your recovery time! Take it easy on those tendons and go to a yoga class to stretch out.
    Hopefully I’ll see you out at a social run next week.
    Pete


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