I've been seriously blog slacking again...so I'm gonna update my entire summer in a few posts.
Back in May I raced the Fear The Deer half-marathon close to home at Deer Creek park. It had been raining like crazy, so training was interesting leading into the race and it fully felt like the PNW
here in Colorado for a few weeks. Myself and teammate James Walsh were both racing and honestly though the race would be cancelled. Luckily the trails are pretty "gravely" and the water drained well and the trails actually weren't terribly muddy. Race morning was overcast and drizzling and rain was coming...It was kinda cool and way different than our "normal conditions". People milling around the start were complaining about conditions which I find so bizarre. My thoughts: If you don't like the conditions, don't race...no one is forcing you. Why start the race in a bad mood or negative place? I think being positive CAN affect your race as much as fitness. Noticed some legit fast folks at the start. (J. Marshall Thompson, Stevie Kremer, and some fast marathon road guy (Jason Fitzgerald I think?) the race director called out before the start. (no pressure!)...and of course my buddy James is always crazy fast even though he was just "training". My goal was really to break 1:40 for a hard 13.1 miles with roughly 2500ft of climbing. I knew if I felt good I should break 1:40 by a few minutes and hopefully be in mix for a top 3 finish. It's fairly technical but runnable terrain and favors strength over turnover. I know these trails really well and hoped that would help me out.
J Marshall and Jason F. quickly took the lead on the climb right outa the gate. I was hanging back just a bit and was pretty maxed out on the climb, but still within myself. Once we hit a first little downhill I caught up to Jason really fast, as his descending was slow...I realized that second this guy is definitely a road runner and with the amount of hard downhill's we had left I could put time on him and hope he didn't crush me too bad on the climbs. The three of us already had a decent gap and started up "the wall" together for the rest of the first long climb. It was obvious J Marshall was the guy to beat. He is a world class skimo racer and has won all kinds of mountain races of all distances. I could tell Jason was working harder than us so I was happy to ride his feet and wait to see what happened. I topped out at Plymouth around 19min and they only had about 20 seconds on me. Caught back up to Jason and passed him (he was struggling) and could see Marshall up a few seconds. We hit first turnaround together and started back down to main trail (red mesa loop)...it was drizzling and pretty cold, but and we were pushing hard. On way back we saw the rest of the top 5-6 runners and James was crushing and making up ground big time. On the long descent before the last climb I pulled into the lead and realized maybe I could out descend him (or he was just letting me dangle?!) On the last grind up to Plymouth loop he put in a solid effort and dropped me. At the second turnaround he had about 30 seconds on me. On they way back I saw James and he had just passed Jason and a couple others. I hammered the descent and could see Marshall a few times but knew I wasn't likely to catch him. As I got close and saw Becca and the boys there cheering me on. I was trying not fall as this was the muddiest and slickest section of the whole race. I finished in 135:48 (exactly a minute behind J Marshall) and was told we both ran CR on a slightly longer course in the rain. James had a great first race in his new Colorado home for 3rd.