My training for the last month and a half had been focused on the Hotter than Hell 6 and 12-hour run; in other words, lots of slow and steady miles. Unfortunately, the day before the Hotter than Hell race, a massive forest fire broke out only about 6 miles from our house and we almost had to evacuate (talk about hotter than hell!).
Needless to say, I skipped the HTH race, allowing Jethro Smith and Matt Thau to come dangerously close in the overall points in that series. Congrats to both of them for clocking some serious miles in the 12-hour run and also to Lainie Callahan-Mattoon for winning the 6-hour race overall and setting a new CR in the process! Just don't get any ideas, Matt and Jethro, I'll be back for the next run ;-)
I am happy to report that the fire is now contained, but unfortunately it left roughly 4000 acres burnt, including a lot of my favorite trails. The estimated price tag for the damage is 11 million dollars.
Back to the race. First of all, hats off to RD and local runner Ariel King Lovett and all the volunteers that made this race possible. You could not tell that this was a "first annual" race. From beginning to end, this race was incredibly well organized. There were great goodie bags, multiple aid stations, Taiko drummers (like the ones that line the climb up to Hurricane Point in the Big Sur Marathon), lots of volunteers on the course, and a fantastic finish line spread with gourmet coffee, pastries, and more. It certainly left me hungry for more and I hope the race will be back on the calendar next year.
The course might have been a bit short (I measured 5.90 miles on my Forerunner), but there was no shortage of hills, starting right away with a steep 1.5-mile climb through Nevada City.
I think that it was on this first hill that the race went south for me; In trying to at least keep the fleet-footed front runners in sight, I went out too fast, covering the very hilly first mile in about 6:30. In the remaining 35 minutes, I could never quite recover from the deficit that I incurred in the first mile and a half. The damage was done and I just kept running as fast as I could and I finished in 6th place overall in exactly 42 minutes.
Not a great time, but not too bad either, considering my primary training goals--I have about five weeks left to train and sharpen up before the Tahoe Triple and I am just a few pounds over my ideal race weight.
Larry and Neel ran a great race. Either one could have won the race on a good day, but we had two fast visitors from out of town--Ryan Ogliore and Jesse Bloom--that ran away from the local field.
Ryan Ogliore had come up from Berkeley for the weekend to get married on Sunday. He won the race in 37:02--a great omen for the upcoming wedding. Congratulations, Ryan! Or, as some of my southern-Italian relatives would say, "Auguri e figli maschi." (Congratulations and may you have male children...)
Next Up: The Lake of the Sky 50K--a final long training run before this year's Tahoe Super Triple.