This year's new Summer Trail Roundup course offered some different challenges and eliminated the infamous High Drive shuffle. I kind of missed the uphill grind and fast descent of High Drive but the up and down course this year combined with some narrow single track, stairs, and temps starting in the high 60's and quickly climbing to high 70's made for a hot run.
I had run the course with the Striders the prior week so I knew generally what to expect as far as the route. I tried to start out toward the front because I knew the trail would bottleneck in less than a quarter mile. If the fasties behind me got stuck, I was stuck, too. My apologies. Once the course opened up, I did my best to push the uphills and downhills. After mountain biking above 9,000 feet in Crested Butte for the three days prior, the short power hills seemed doable. If I had ridden Monarch Crest Trail, I would probably have had a different opinion about the hills. There was still too much snow on MCT to ride. I'm convinced that cross training on the bike is helping with the uphill running although some experts may disagree that bike fitness doesn't translate to running fitness (which I was totally feeling after the grunt up Strand Hill the day after riding up Gothic Road to 401).
The few days leading up to the race, I ran about a mile total by the campsite. I think the time off my feet helped, although I was a little concerned about the race on Friday as my legs were pretty dead from all the pedaling that I wasn't accustomed to. I took Saturday completely off and got a good night's sleep.
My legs were feeling O.K on Sunday and I didn't really know what kind of time I would run the course in. This was a completely different course so I wasn't worried about PR'ing but I managed to surprise myself. The Summer Trail Roundup is my favorite because it's the only race I ever place in my age group and I like the up and down of the course. Maybe I'm a little ego-driven or perhaps I am starting a collection of horseshoes to shoe that pony I always wanted as a kid. I managed to run the my best Roundup time this year finishing in 59:15, placing 1st in my age group and 10th overall female. My fellow purple and gold brethren, Jill Gaebler scored some 1st place age group hardware, as well as Sean O'Day, placing 20th overall male and 3rd in his age group. I was ecstatic to finally beat Bubba in a Triple Crown race.
Now it's time to get serious about training I guess. I've been playing in the mountains a lot and have not followed any specific training plan. Sometimes when I'm out there just to have fun and don't take things too seriously, I mysteriously end up getting fitter. Funny how that works.
Good luck to all those Triple Crown Runners who are choosing to risk destroying themselves on the downhill at the upcoming Barr Trail Mountain Race (Mary Baldwin). For the few remaining days before the Ascent, I plan on continuing my adventures with a little stint in Yellowstone. Maybe I'll get a run in at the Tetons while I'm out there. If I don't get eaten by grizzlies, I look forward to seeing everyone on the starting line of the Pikes Peak Ascent!