When I looked down at my watch I realized that my overall average mile pace of 22.50 was not going to cut it. How had it come to this? What was I doing wrong? I’m too lazy to be a fast guy but I haven’t become that slow, have I?
Let’s back track a bit, I signed up for the Inaugural Broken Arrow SkyRace 26k in Squaw Valley about 2 months ago. Although I hadn’t really researched the race, I assumed it was one of those standard fares where we get to walk up a few hills and run down a few more and bathe in the glory of the mountain country throughout.
Upon starting the race, I was so energized by the participants and the race crew, that I could hardly contain myself. I mean, really, who wears authentic lederhosen and blows into a giant horn thing to start a race? It was very cool.
As the race course began to climb, I crested the first hill only to see people sliding down on their butts to the base of the next hill. I gave my best look of confidence to the two ladies’ behind me as I took my turn and sat down with my poles to guide myself during the ‘slide’. As I looked back, giving those two a glance of reassurance, I felt my glissade path ‘alter’ and I was soon sucked down into the melted snow base of a pine tree. I realized that my lack of research was going to make for a very long day. Don’t get me wrong, in the end I loved this race, I truly did, but, what I didn’t realize was that I would be fighting the 20 minute per mile cutoff.
I’ve never run (or stumbled, slid, slalomed, glissaded) a trail race before where I was working so hard for so little gain and it didn’t help that I had a bad case of diarrhea from the night before. Why would I drink beer the night before a race? I drink beer every other day but not, ever, before race day! Why? Well, I can tell you why, I was in Squaw Valley for the Broken Arrow SkyRace trail festival that was occurring the night before the big event. I met some old friends at a restaurant, had a few beers, and then went to the trail running movie festival….where, they handed out… more beer. I then sat and briefly watched Victor Ballesteros’ band play. They were excellent by the way…and of course I had another beer.
This ‘consumption’ and possibly something I ate, did not bode well for me that evening nor the morning of the race but, as a trail runner, we pack our packs with the appropriate ‘resources’ and hope for the best.
After I finished the race and talked with a few of the friends who let me stay with them the night before, I walked around Squaw, bought a shirt, and felt incredibly relieved that I didn’t sign up for the 52K. I literally smiled the whole way home for being wise enough to sign up for the shorter race and shuddered at the thought of continuing on, as my friends had, with the 52k course. And there stands the problem with trail runners, as much glee as that decision brought me, I can’t help but think, now, how cool it would have been to tackle the 52k course. Next year…. And no beer before race day this time me thinks……
This race is a real beast for lack of using a better ‘curse’ word and I am so glad that RD Brendan Madigan has brought it to America.