This was the view on the way to our first trail race of the year.
Needless to say I wasn’t too happy about it. This winter has dragged on, just 5 days ago I went for a morning run in my fleece pants, so I was worried, I just didn’t feel up to being cold and wet for 6 hours.
Thankfully the downpour ended, however running a course that took place on a ski hill meant that we had one last bout of snow running ahead of us.
PYP takes place at the Snow Valley Heights Ski resort, we had never run this race before so we didn’t know exactly what to expect other than we would most likely be running up and down ski hills. The course is a 12.5km loop that you can run once, twice or four times (at one point I really wished that there had been a three loop option). Dan was running the 25km and I would be taking on the 50km.
The course was fantastic, all on trail, some smooth double track mixed with some sweet hilly single track. Very well marked, not a single worry about getting lost. There was 3 aid stations which allowed us to run without a pack or bottles (especially since it was pretty cool out when we started). My goal for the race was to run consistent, unlike my training, and try to run the same time for each lap and as always, not stop and linger at aid stations.
Lap 1 I ran with Dan and we tried to start out slow, actually I feel like we did a pretty good job of this, we started near the back and stayed calm when we hit the first single track in a big conga line. We opted to run all the slight inclines and walked the steep ones, which there were plenty. We finished lap 1 around 1:27 (official results are not yet up so this is a guess from our watches) so now I knew what I had to do for the 2nd.
Dan and I started out lap 2 together, I knew Dan would probably take off when we reached some fantastic single track after the 2nd aid station but I was happy to have his company for most of the lap. Again we ran the small inclines and walked the steep ones, I found walking across the snow covered portions of the trail easier than running, the snow was slippery. Dan took off when I expected him to and I started talking to a girl who’d been running close to us for while, Carolyn, she was aiming for a sub 6 hour finish so I decided to try and stay with her. That lap was around 1:27.
Lap 3 I started out on my own but had seen Hutch go by while I was fueling and decided to try and chase him down. I met Hutch at Limberlost last year, he is a young guy with such an impressive endurance drive, it was great to catch up to him and hear about all of his adventures, he carried on while I stopped to grab some water at the first aid station, the rain had completely moved on and the sun was now making an appearance, it was warming up quick. I caught back up to Carolyn as we slipped across the now melting snow, we ran the rest of the lap together, she was good for me to run with as I pushed us up the hills and she pushed us down (why don’t I like going down?). Finished this lap around 1:32. This was the last I would run with Carolyn as I needed to use the bathroom. The nice thing about this race is that we got to use the ski chalet, making for a very civilized bathroom experience, the bad thing about this race is that if you needed to go you had to walk a little off course, down some stairs and then back again to get back on course.
The bathroom break killed my momentum. I started out lap 4 happy with the knowledge it was my last lap, but then I just got tired and had a side stitch. I forced myself to run the first few kilometers that are nice and flat, as soon as I hit the first incline though I treated myself to a walk, but then I started to get annoyed with myself because I know I could run this section and I knew if I kept walking this lap was going to take forever. I suddenly felt super out of shape finding every little incline tough and I don’t really know why. I’m still working on my nutrition so that may have been it, but I was also getting really hot and regretting not having a water bottle with me. I used the snow on course to my advantage and started putting little snowballs down my shirt and on the back of my neck. Eventually I caught up to Chris, who I also met at Limberlost and we had a good chat. He had run 100 miles at Across the Years in Arizona this year and we realised that we knew a few of the same people and shared a love for AZ. That really seemed to revive me and I eventually pulled away, at this point I hadn’t been passed the whole lap but I noticed a guy slowly reeling me in. That was all the motivation I needed to keep moving, I resolved to not let him get past me. He got close and if the loop was any longer he probably would have had me, but I threw myself down the final hill, half running but mostly skiing across the snow and splashing through the water at the finish from all the melting snow. Final lap took about 1:43.
No medals for this race instead finisher socks.
We also got some honey, which is awesome since I go through honey at an alarming rate.
Dan even won a door prize, more socks.
Post race we had burgers and salad which were tasty (most things are after running for more than 6 hours though). I beat myself up on the car ride home for falling apart on the last lap, but after sleeping on it I feel pretty good about my effort. I did run pretty consistently, I was unprepared for the heat and my nutrition still needs some tweaking so I’m actually quite pleased with my result.
I’m disappointed about my new shoes though, I really like them but this was the longest distance I’ve done in them and I learnt that they don’t drain water too well, my feet were wrinkly when I removed my socks and I got this;
And I do declare that spring has sprung because I also got this;
My first sunburn of the season, a nice base for my farmers tan.