The Speedgoat has become an annual sufferfest for me and the 2013 edition was no different. Being familiar with the course, I had hopes of running under 6 hours but a 2 hour pity party in the middle of the race altered my plans on the fly. My thoughts went from thinking I should quit, hating Karl Meltzer and maybe pausing to puke to feeling a rebirth or sorts, surging to the finish with energy to spare.
I don't have the answers yet but I enjoy the questions and the ensuing experiments.
Good memories from this year's Speedgoat started the night before when friends both local and from out of town joined us for a pot luck/BBQ at our house. Other highlights have to include the cool overcast weather, distinctly enjoying running through the wild flowers in Mineral Basin, that popsicle just before the tunnel, and then for the first time in four years, being able to run hard from Hidden Peak to the finish.
Things to fix seem to be staying positive throughout the whole race, fueling more evenly, and maybe training more specifically with more intensity. Oh yeah, and not falling down. Midway through the course, there is a long descent into Mary Ellen Gulch that is choking with talus and quite treacherous. If there was anywhere to fall it would have been here. But, my fall came on the smooth flat out-n-back section just after the Pacific Mine aid station. I was having fun seeing friends ahead of me and behind me and somehow caught my toe and fell right at Matt Stewart's feet. I think he was shocked at my ridiculousness but offered a hand to help me back up. I tried to wave him on but he insisted. What a guy!
Out front, the big boys put in some incredible efforts with Sage taking the win in a record 5:08 and Tony K closing hard just behind in 5:09. Two other notable performances in my mind, having known these guys for years, were by Luke Nelson and Lars Kjerengtroen. Luke is probably better known as a 100 mile specialist but he was fast and consistent throughout finishing in 6th. Lars is an All American runner and the namesake for my boy but he has taken the last decade off of competitive running. He was in contention for placing 5th-10th the whole race until sore feet and tired legs dropped him a couple places over the last few downhill miles. Watch out for both of them in coming races!
On a final note, I need to thank some good people that supported or inspired me throughout the day. First up, thanks to Jared and Aaron for running around on the course and trying to convince me that I was doing better than I was. They snapped me out of my mid race funk and got me psyched to try and chase down some people over the last few miles. Thanks to SCARPA and OR for the great gear. Also, thanks to Laura Howell for accepting my poles and waist belt on the fly as I crested Hidden Peak for the last time. I felt so free shedding that gear for the final descent even though I'm sure she really really didn't want to touch my sweaty nasty belt. And finally, thanks to Jessie and Lars for coming up to offer support. Jessie is pregnant, works full time, is a great mom to Lars, and lets me run around the mountains all day all the time. She does it all with grace and I can't wait to support her when she returns to running competitively.
Some friends took some pics which I'll post later but for now, here are some links to some great photos by Matt Trappe and others.