I can tell you right now that this post will not do the experience justice. It was a big experience, and as many things that I learned, I'd also like to forget about this race. So I'm keeping this post super brief.
Elevation Profile. Trail starts at the right of the map, and ends on the left.
Yep, that's me and Brian feeling pretty good at the start... Weather was nice, and Kristin had just dubbed us Team Ginger Balls (a name we will take with us to the Trans Rockies). But after that things did not go as smoothly as planned. This trail was no joke. Incredibly technical, challenging terrain, just something I don't think either of us was ready for. We saw some nasty spills out there. It was a very new and enjoyable experience for both of us for a while. Seeing how much faster other people were covering ground versus us was a little eye-opening. I thought our fitness level was pretty good, but for this type of event, experience running on tough trails plays a major role. I found out the hard way. As we were entering the third rest stop, I took my eyes off the trail for a second, and boom, sprained ankle. I could tell by the reaction of the volunteers that it wasn't pretty. Learning that it was like a three mile hike down to civilization from there, I decided that we should press on... If I had only known that the most challenging part of the course was coming up. The climb up Blackhead (seen briefly in the video below), and then the descent down the other side, I would have definitely pulled the plug and stopped racing. That mountain was brutal. Brian was nice enough to hang with me for the race, and then patient enough with my super slow pace after the sprain, and then smart enough to decide that we were done when we got to the the 12 mile mark aid station. So after 3:32 minutes, we decided to 'DNF' and walked off the trail to get picked up. It took us 45 mins to get to a road, but fortunately, thanks to a volunteer remembering the name of the road (Stork's Nest) and Kristin having navigation in the car, we were saved. And I was really happy that was over with.
Now I'm nursing a sprained ankle. The good news is that it is healing quickly, probably due to the fact that I had no ligaments left in my ankle to really sprain. Because of so many injuries my ankle is pretty much just supported by muscle, and maybe muscle heals faster than ligaments? Who knows, just a crazy theory. I'm just psyched that the pain and swelling are coming down nicely. Haven't done anything but intense ice and compression since Sunday, but may give walking a few miles at the 24 Hours Around the Lake race this weekend a try. See how it goes. If all goes well I'll hop on the MTB on Sunday for the Darkhorse 40 which I'm signed up for as a relay with Rick.