Snow Mountain Trail Half Marathon
At the last minute today I signed up for the Snow Mountain trail half marathon. The race is part of the Colorado Endurance Race series, which hosted seven trail half marathons around the state. Earlier I had run the XTERRA Snow Mountain 20K, in which I placed 6th. I figured that this might be the same course and so I might have a chance to improve my time since I would know all of the hills. However, this time the course was totally different, involving two laps on a rolling course that had about ~1,400' total gain over the 13.1 miles. There was also a 10K at the same time, so when the gun went off I was out with the lead 10Kers. The course was great, with some grass running, rolling hills, single track, and a few sections of dirt road. After the initial mile or so I was in 5th and stayed in that position until the second lap, at which point I ended up in 3rd (as two of the runners were in the 10K race). From here, I could see the two other people in front of me, and tried to stay just behind them until closer to the end. This plan worked, as on the final climb before the descent and then the final crossing of Pole Creek to the finish I kicked it a bit harder and passed the guy in 2nd. Then I really let it fly, and as I was coming down the hill people were telling me to not let up as he was right behind me. I kept my pace, but on the final ~100' climb to the finish line I almost lost it as I tried to really put in a final push. Turns out the guy had dropped off and came in about a minute behind me. I finished in 1:37:05 which was good for second place overall (out of 175 people according to the RD). This could be a fluke, or I could finally be getting the hang of racing. My adrenaline was still high, but not nearly as bad as previous races. Either way, a super fun race on beautiful trails - and the big bull moose on the course sure gave a few people a good scare! I would recommend this race, and according to the RD there will also be one in Winter Park next year, which could be really cool (and hard).