Dawn - Sometimes An Ultrarunner

Dawn - Sometimes An Ultrarunner

August 26, 2014

Run Elevated Half Marathon Aug 23, 2014

I saw my first snowfall for the year on August 23 at 6 o'clock in the morning, while standing at the entrance to Alta Ski Resort.   Alta lies at the top of Little Cottonwood Canyon, and I was getting soaking with fat snowflakes, along with hundreds of other people, waiting to run down the canyon for the Run Elevated Half Marathon.    We were all basically wet, and cold, and a little miserable, probably wondering what we were doing in the dark dressed in skimpy clothing that high in the mountains.  The smart ones had brought umbrellas, and rain ponchos, and probably hot tea.  I wondered if anyone would notice if I entered a port-potty and just didn't come out again until the race gun went off.

A good half inch of snow collected atop our heads by 6:30 and the race start.  I ditched some of my clothing but since i couldn't feel my feet, I decided to keep my gloves and running tights for the first few miles at least.

Amazingly enough, as we lined up for the start, the snow stopped, the lights came on (ok the sun helped with that), and towering above us were snow-capped mountains which reminded us all why we love running in places like this.   Down in the valley the sky was clean and dry, and our race would be as well...the rain and snow hadn't scared us off.

This is Run Elevated's second running of the race, and last year I had been in rotten running shape, finishing in 1:51:55.    This time around, I started off a little slower with pins and needles in my cold feet, but quickly warmed up.  I was ditching all my extra clothing alone with everyone else at mile 3, which wasted a minute while I tried to escape from my running tights without falling over.

By mile 6 my calves were already painful, but I was in better shape this year and ticking off miles in under 7 minutes on the steep downhills, pretty fast for me.   I entertained myself by looking at the snowy mountains and doing math in my head.  Can I beat my time from last year?  Yes I can...just keep pounding down the descents as fast as I can.   If I can manage 10 minute miles for the last couple I will be at least a few minutes faster.

I must have managed more than that, as the miles ticked off in about 8 or 9 minutes even on the final flats.  Even better, I ran every step of the way, even that short, steep uphill which was so tough last year.

Final time was 1:41:55, almost exactly 10 minutes faster than last year, good enough for 18th place woman overall, out of 245 women.

See the full results here:  Runnercard Results

Wow, was I sore for the next couple of days, though!  Whew.  I had trained by doing downhill runs several times, but obviously it's hard to replicated the steepness and speed of a race like this.  As I write this several days later, I am finally able to walk without looking like I just hobbled out of a wheelchair.    Was it worth it?  Well, that view of the mountains at sunrise covered in fresh snow...that's worth every bit of it.  

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