This weekend was one heck of a weekend. On Saturday me and several Outlaws drove up to Los Alamos to participate in the Jemez Mountain Trail runs. A few did the 50K but most of us did the half-marathon. I was scheduled to be the only one on the team to run the 50 mile race but I have not been able to get my season off the ground with all my attention on the new job THAT I AM STILL UNBELIEVEABLY STILL ONLY IN TEMPORARILY and the new house. I also think I was pretty broken down from last season which, when I look back on it I feel 1) amazed and 2) like throwing up.
In any case, I chose to do the half-marathon and was very glad to have made that choice. I started with fellow Outlaws Mike, Tim, Jamie, Jane and the one and only GeekGrl. We went into this race knowing that we would be riding in the Santa Fe Century the next day so we took off, well, fast. I was running an 8 minute mile and said to myself “this is complete baloney” so I slowed way up and watched as Tim, Mike and Jamie tore off down the road. The run started on about a mile of pavement before heading off onto a single track trail that runs through a deep and narrow draw that wanders alongside the town of Los Alamos. The first couple miles were nice and wooded and cool and wanting to save my legs for a huge climb ahead and the ride tomorrow I approached this more like an ultra running the flats and downhill and walking most of the uphill sections.
I ended up getting passed by a number of people and thought I could tell who I would be catching later in the race. We quickly moved into the “burn area” and the shade of tress was gone and replaced by an increasingly hot sun. The burn area is the result of a massive forest fire that took place about four years ago. It isn’t still all blackened but it is bare. Somewhere around mile five the really big climb begins and lasts about a mile. It is kind of cool because it is a climb up to a ridgeline that is packed with switchbacks and gains about 1000 feet in about a mile. It takes you from 8000 feet to just over 9000 feet elevation. The whole time you are slogging up this mountainside you can see an almost continuous line of people filing upward. I was able to pass about 5 people going up that climb and when I got to the top felt good enough to get up a good head of steam on the five mile downhill section that ensued.
With about two miles left I was feeling pretty ready to be done and was congratulating myself for deciding to go shorter. I finished up the race in 2:41:11 still feeling pretty good but was wondering about my decision to ride the century the next day with almost no bike miles logged so far this year.
However, the next morning I was up and off to meet Outlaws Mike and Tim for the drive to Santa Fe. We arrived at the starting area around 6:45 and got registered and waited around for additional Outlaws. In all there were a bunch of us so I’m not even going to attempt a list of names. We took off around 7:40, which was weird because the Santa Fe century really isn’t a race but more a tour. People were already riding the course when Mike, Tim and I were driving into town and people just take off whenever they want so you end up passing and being passed all day.
The course is beautiful as it winds through the mountains heading south out of Santa Fe through a number of small villages. Every aid station is packed with people lounging about and chatting with each other, it’s quite the social event. There are bikes and cyclists of every description and at least from my perspective it was a very laid back event.
Not having any miles in my legs but a lot of extra weight on my butt I was able to fly downhill but it was as if I had square wheels going uphill. This being the case I headed off onto the hardest climb of the day, Heartbreak Hill, by myself leaving fellow Outlaws to continue socializing at the aid station. I figured that they would catch me in short order but it was never to happen. I ended up riding the remaining 60+ miles solo but still had a good time. My final ride time for the century was something in the ballpark of 5:30 but I can’t be sure because my Garmin went kaput at about mile 85.
I have growing plans for my season but they are unlikely to include any really long runs, maybe a 50-miler towards the end of the season, we’ll see. For now I have finally done a little more planning and have the Milkman sprint triathlon coming up the first weekend in June, the Valles Caldera trail marathon the second weekend in June and the Buffalo Springs Lake Triathlon 70.3 the fourth weekend in June. Beyond that I have the Socorro Chili Harvest sprint triathlon the first weekend in August and the Elephant Man Olympic triathlon in October. I am also considering the RedMan iron distance race in September but have not made any definite plans.
Right now my “A race” is lots of yard work at the new house and continuing to produce my best at work in the hopes that within the next month I will get the job offer I am hoping for.