|Me getting aid from Celeste and Maddie at mile 13.|
The race is small, but the safety and comfort of runners is their top concern. For me, this is the most important test of race quality. Aid stations were well-stocked with necessities and friendly faces even when supplies had to be driven on rough roads in 4-wheel drive vehicles or hiked in. The course was patrolled by park rangers as well as EMTs on mountain bikes. It was really an amazing event.
I did not come close to my goal for finishing the race. I say that heat is my kryptonite and with temperatures reaching 85 degrees and no shade after mile 11, it was not an ideal race day for me. While I would like to say that my slightly disappointing performance (slightly because, hey, I finished) was all the heat, it was not. I made some mistakes. And I am very proud of these mistakes.
|Still smiling at the beginning of the second half|
What?!? You ran a less-than-ideal race, didn't make your goal and you are still proud? Yep. You see, normally I am very conservative in races. From my first step, I maintain a pace that I know I can maintain no matter what. I run happy and comfortable. However, I do not push myself. I do not race.
For Blue Sky, I attempted to race. I went out hard, but not too hard. I carried only what I needed and I was focused. I did not spend a lot of time waiting for people or making friends along the way. While I did enjoy the spectacular views and have the occasional exchanges with my fellow runners, I attempted to push myself each step of the way.
By half-way, I was ahead of my goal pace. I was running strong. I had some ups and downs before then, but I felt great at the halfway point. Then I got hot. I was not able to maintain pace. I slowed and felt "bonkish". I did not completely hit the wall, but I was in pain. I slowed. My legs cramped and I found even the most gentle downhill on easy trail almost unbearable. It was a great experience, because I learned a ton.
|Slusher, the masters winner, greeted me with a smile at the finish.|
Now I have a new goal for Blue Sky next year. I know that I trained hard, and I know that I can train harder. I broke through a mental barrier and I can take that with me to the next race.