Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Heard 2009 Squaw Peak 50 race report

Race went well. Kirk...Your advice was right on the money. Start was very fast! I think there had to be 25-30 guys running a sub 7:00 pace down the path to get to the single-track before the bottleneck. I tried to place myself somewhere in the top 15. Heres a brief recap...

Early climbs went smoothly and I felt really good. I was running with some local team runners (from The Runner's Corner running store in Orem) that I met at the pre-race dinner and I was feeling great. The views from the top looking back down over Utah Lake were awesome. Weather was clear and not too cold even at higher elevation. There was luck involved here, because leaving on Sunday morning there was light rain in the valley and you couldn't even see the tops of the mountains through the dark rain (snow?) clouds. I ran pretty hard on the downhill from 15 to 23 wile chatting ice hockey and Stanley Cup Finals with a dude from Michigan (I hate the Red Wings). I think I probably paid a price for this descent later on after Windy Pass. I made pretty good time on the road section at 23, but was glad to get back on dirt roads several miles later.

Gradual climb starts to get less gradual as you go from 27 to 30 and I was slowing down. AS#7 at mile 30, which was manned by the Wasatch Speedgoats Meltzer & Mason, was a welcome sight. A funny thing happened after leaving AS#7. I was running through Sheep Canyon for about 1/2 mile, and either Meltzer or Mason's dog had followed me the whole time. I stopped several times to try to yell at it to go back, but every time I started running again it would follow after me. Eventually I could hear someone calling the dog and it reluctantly turned back. I'd like to say that as fast as I was moving, only Meltzer could've caught up to me, but I'd be lying. Did I mention that the dog was a small Chihuahua! :-)

Just before I got into Little Valley-33m (AS#8) a guy with a Badwater shirt on was running the trail the other direction and yelled that I was in 11th place (I wouldn't stay there). Going through the first 6+/- miles of this next section and running past the evident work of a family of diligent beavers, I was expecting a steady climb the whole way. In reality there were more runnable sections than I expected and several times I caught myself in power-walking mode when I shouldn't have been.....YET. Then as promised (and expected) the climb up Windy Pass hit me like a tons of bricks. 1000' in 1.25M.....that is one tough climb! Paced up this climb with Brian, one of the Runner's Corner dudes I mentioned earlier on. Close to the top we were passed by 3 or 4 other runners.

After crossing thru the "pass" there was a brief snowfield to traverse and then we dropped down into the Windy Pass AS#9 at 40.5. After downing 1/4 of a PBJ, a homemade choc-chip cookie, and grabbing my water bottles, I was off down the hill. The next 6 miles were mostly steep down, and for me, it was the toughest part of the course. If my quads were not already shot from the earlier descents, then slipping and sliding out of control along the several snow sections in the first few miles after AS#9 really messed with me. As I lost all focus through this section...I couldn't help but think....maybe I'm only cut out to run in the low desert!....not this altitude and snow crap. Feeling pathetically sorry for myself, I was forced to walk several of the steeper declines and was passed by roughly another 8-10 runners.

Then as if the running gods could punish me no more, the trail mercifully leveled out a little just before AS#10 (46.5). I made a quick stop to half-fill my bottles and take one last GU and S-Cap before hitting the pavement for the last 3+ miles. The gradual descent felt great and soon I was hammering out 7:xx miles again. I even caught the last dude to go by me, and would've reeled in a few more had the finish line not auspiciously interrupted.

Haven't seen any results posted yet, but my time was roughly 10:02, and I'd bet I was between 20-25th place. Scott Jaime won it in something like 8:05!

I posted data from my watch here.... http://AndrewHeard.bimjournals.com. I found the elevation change by mile interesting!

See ya' Wed.

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