I was nervous prior to leaving for the race and a very small part of me wanted to bail on it but the competitive side of me won out and off I went.
I met up with my ride at the base of Mount Washington and on the way up the hill we were met with drizzling rain and fog so thick in parts that we could barely see the road. Things didn’t look so promising for a scenic run! We arrived at the event site, got our race bibs and were informed that the race format had changed. What was supposed to have been a 6K climb to the top of the ski hill turned into a 2.5K climb and a 3K descent. SWEET! Too much snow on the original route necessitated the change.
As the announcer gave last-minute instructions I struggled to get my Garmin to start lol! With 5 seconds to go it finally kicked in. The climb was pretty intense and quickly narrowed into single track trail…if you can call them trails. More like rock populated crevices and gullies marked with yellow tape all the way up! Unfortunately, because of my own lack of confidence in myself, I placed myself at the back at the start line.This resulted in my being stuck behind 12 people in a tight line on the narrow trail mid-way up and was unable to pass. Well, I could have but I was too shy to speak up! Silly me! I did eventually pass as gaps began to open up. By this time 2/3′s or more of the participants were way ahead.
The climb was hard but so worthwhile. It’s good to challenge yourself and push outside your comfort zone once in a while. There were some parts where you almost had to crawl and there were a few places where rocks were worked loose and would slip out from underfoot, making for a sometimes precarious climb!
There wasn’t a lot of talking going on during the climb. Everyone was concentrating on the ascent and their footing. It was kinda neat to hear all the loud breathing as we were exerting ourselves on the climb! It was almost like a symphony
We did run into some snow but nothing that affected the race.
Once I could see the turn to begin the descent at the 2.5 K mark I grew very excited thinking it was now going to be a cake walk downhill. HAHA boy was I wrong lol. The downhill was intensely technical and downright scary in parts! lol
There was a few near falls for me along the descent and I hurt my finger, of all things, grappling onto a rock to stay upright. Bent it backwards but it doesn’t feel sprained, just tender!
I put my camera away for the descent as it would have been too dangerous to take pics and I really wanted to make up some time. It was exhilarating to fly down the hill, at times it felt like I was barely touching the ground, just kinda bouncing and boy did I appreciate those Thursday night trail runs as they taught me how to negotiate roots and mud and to really use my arms for balance and take short, quick steps to maintain speed and agility. I sorta looked like a chicken trying to fly…elbows up and out, feet quick and light. I wish I had a picture of the downhill route. There was wet, rocky and grassy parts all the way down and sharp, short switch backs that really had you putting on the brakes in order to make the turns. You really had to focus on the trail, look up occasionally to make sure you were on the trail, locating the red descent markers and then quickly re-focus downward. Let me tell you, if you happened to fall on the downhill, you were going to tumble for a little ways! Thankfully no one did!
The home stretch was on a gravel road and I was intent on gaining speed for the final 1/2K. I flew through the finishers chute with such excitement and energy and exclaimed “that was so fun!” A few high fives and then off to the food table for a well-earned snack! :)
As with any of my races, I know not to expect to place in my age category but I like to stay around for the draw prizes; you have to be there to win. The last GutBuster I did in June I had won a North Face tech running shirt so I was not expecting to be twice lucky…but I was! This time I won a North Face Hoodie!
I finished 10/14 in my age group (40-49) and 108/122. I am happy with this. Oh and remember I had trouble with my Garmin? lol, as with all of my races, I forgot to stop the timer! Too excited I guess…
in running and health