|Badger Cove is part of the "Ultra Series"|
|Badger Cove 2014 early in the morning.|
Right after getting settled in I ran into Jennifer and Julianne from the Dethrone Distance Runners group in the Peninsula. We chatted for a few minutes and I found out Jennifer was running the half while Julianne was running the 10k. They are both strong runners. I ran the Crystal Springs Half with Julianne back in the fall and about that same time Jennifer was crushing my half PR. I intended to race this to my best ability and I'm not certain that will be enough to beat Jennifer. Perhaps I can pace off her and get pulled into a faster time.
|Badger Cove has 2250' ft of elevation gain.|
|Badger Cove course map|
The aid station was jam packed with runners from all distances and I didn't want it to slow me down so I ran on by. I turned right and the 10k runners turned left heading for the finish. The 2nd loop is basically flat for the first mile and then the all to familiar climbing begins again. I tried to bob and weave around the other runners for that first mile to take advantage of the flat. When the trail splits and starts to climb the 5k runners turn around.
Having just run this loop I knew what to expect and I knew when to push it and when to conserve. This meant I ran more and walked less. I was hoping for a sub 2 hour finish but as I started the climbing my average pace was 9:30 and I knew I wasn't running a negative split so sub 2 is out. Once again I walked a bit of the first big hill and then ran past aid station #2. I felt strong going through the out and back which again revealed that Jennifer was still just 2 minutes back. The crazy downhill from earlier had almost everybody walking down it this time around. I tried to do some short choppy hops that seemed to get me down fairly fast and again I felt like I could topple end over end. The crazy steep uphill on the other side was unbearable. I stopped about half way up and just stood their for a moment trying to build up some strength. It dawned on me that it is rare for a hill to be so steep that you have to take a breather half way up! This course deserves the "Ultra" title for sure.
I knew that was the last significant climb and at the bottom of the next section I would turn left at the aid station and head for the finish just like the 10k runners had done earlier. I turned up what little power output I could muster and bombed down the last hill. The last mile back to the finish is fairly flat with some very slight rises in the terrain that felt much worse then what they really were. When I exited the dirt fire road and got back onto the paved section I knew I was very close. I could here the announcer in the background calling out the names of the runners in front of me. That seemed to go on for about 14 weeks until it was finally my turn to be announced and cross the quit line.
The results of the race are published here. I came in at 2:11:02 which was 10th in my age group and 79th overall out of 279 finishers. Big props to Nick Scalfone (1:22:55) and Andrea Kramer (1:44:08) for taking the Men's & Women's overall. Nick's time is absolutely unimaginable. It is a new course record and one that will likely stand for a very long time. That is a road half marathon time not an ultra trail half time. I also want to give a shout out to a stand out runner I kept seeing all morning long, Sharlet Gilbert. She was the first place winner in the female 60- 64 age group with a blistering fast 1:55:31. That's absolutely my goal in life! To pull fast times regardless of age. So inspirational!!!!
The Ultra Series is ranked according to average time back. In this race I came in about 48 minutes behind the winner. My next race in the series will be the Diablo Trails Challenge and my time back on that one will be averaged against this one and so on and so on until I get the best average time back of 5 races in the series. I'm hoping to decrease that average obviously but Diablo is suppose to be even more challenging than this one so who knows.