Sometimes I wonder how I do it. I went into the Zion 100k with the intention of running strong to the finish. I had no intentions of “racing” off the front. It just happened. With a total of about 130 miles on my legs since the Moab 55k on February 14th, I managed to squeak out win # 55, and setting a new CR in the process.
The field was not particularly stacked, but at the same time, a win is a win, and knowing I can still pound out 62 miles off the couch is a pretty good confidence booster heading into the summer months.
We started the race with the 100 mile runners at 6am. Jeff Browning and I ran through the cold air for a few miles up to the top of the Flying Monkey trail. I then pulled away from Jeff in the twisty singletrack, putting time on the field slowly. I felt great running down the road to the second aid station at mile 14. I had my wife Cheryl confirm that the tall runner with Jeff was running the 100k. It was Joe Taylor. I met Joe at Scott Jaime’s movie showing the week earlier and knew he was a speedy one. I also knew this was his first 100k. :-)
I continued to roll through the smooth twisty singletrack acquiring a 4 minute lead at mile 20. I ran through the aid station without stopping, knowing that Joe would likely stop for a bit. I decided to turn up the throttle for a little while and see what kind of lead I could produce. On the climb up to “Goosebump” aid station, I would continually look back to see where Joe was…No Joe in site. I knew I had at least 10 minutes. Upon reaching the aid station at Goosebump, I knew the trail would turn technical for 12 miles. This is where I thrive. The chances of Joe gaining ground on me now would be slim, even if I second guessed myself on a short out and back losing 6 minutes. While I continued to roll through the twisty singletrack, running it all, at a comfy 9 minute per mile pace, it was pretty clear that I could run away with this one, as long as I did not cramp….Cramping is overrated.
Upon reaching “Goosebump 2″, my lead had stretched out to “something”. I had no idea what it was, but no way was anyone catching me through the technical junk of Gooseberry Mesa. 6 miles of road running, another 5 miles of twisty junk and my lead has swelled to 32 minutes. It was some “other guy”. My guess is Mick Jurynec, another fast Salt laker. I knew if I did not have issues, I was long gone. Upon reaching the “Goosebump 3″ aid station at mile 57, one of the aid station volunteers asked me how far the guy behind me was. My response, ” I don’t know, I don’t look behind when I’m leading” :-) He was perplexed at my response. I then dropped down Goosebump Hill and proceeded to jog into the finish setting a new CR in 9:09.
Another good strong run for me off the couch. I will say I’m tired of running “off the couch”. Perhaps one of these days I’ll actually be fit to race some strong competition.
The Zion 100 and 100k courses are very scenic and difficult. Some fast dirt roads, some super technical singletrack. It takes some good technical running to throw down a decent time. Needless to say this course fit me fairly well.
It was a bummer that I could not race Jeff Browning in the 100 miler. Jeff and I are very close on the competitive side of things and would have been a great race. Next time….perhaps. Jeff set a new CR as well, running a stout 16:49.
So that’s my report…short and sweet. Next up:
Speedgolf Tournament #1, Salem Oregon, April 27th.
Wings for Life World Run, Denver CO, May 4th
Massannutten 100, May 16th. Still debating on this one.
Appalachian Trail Recon May 7-28.
Western States 100 June 28
Speedgoat 50k RD July 19th.
Then I head east to hit the Appalachian Trail to attempt to break the FKT on the toughest trail in the US. 2182 miles is not that far.
Hugs and kisses to my stellar Hoka Rapanui’s for providing me some old man leg speed!