|Just shy of 2000' of gain on this course|
|This bridge marks the start of the climb|
|Kings Mountain Rd aid station turn around|
We bottomed out onto Richards Rd Trail and reality hit me hard. I no longer had gravity working to my benefit and my legs were really beat up and tired. Others had to have this same shocking awakening, right? I bared down and pushed the pace as best I could. I kept turning up the heat until I passed a guy that use to be way ahead of me. He was the guy that was leaving the aid station when I was coming in at the top of the mountain. I kept getting glimpses of him from time to time during the previous downhill fury. Around the next corner I came up on two guys that were running out of gas rapidly. I passed them with just a few seconds of trail left to go and we all burst out into the meadows one right behind the other. The finish line was at the top of the hill where registration was this morning and people all up and down the hill started cheering for one of the guys behind me. I dug deep and pushed hard up that hill thinking that the cheering crowd was motivating the guys behind me. I literally ran through the finish and collapsed on a big log just off to the side of the course. I did not get passed so the 3 places I lost going downhill were reclaimed in the last mile. I finished 47th out of 118 overall and 6th in my age group at 1:56:15. The results can be seen here. Congratulations to Kevin Reese for the overall win at 1:30:34 and Hailey Manning as 1st female (4th overall) at 1:33:09
One thing that surprised me was that I achieved my sub 2 hour goal for 2014. I set this goal because a sub 2 hour half on the road has become the norm for me so I wanted that to be my norm for the trail half's as well. Even the really hard ones that have 3000' of elevation gain on them. This race had close to 2000' ft of gain so I did not expect to go under 2 hours. I thought it would be just over the mark with something like a 2:05:00. I was super happy with today's performance. I ran a very similar race out here last August and was almost 10 minutes slower on that day. That is an incredible improvement in my book!
Envirosports does not do Bay Area trail runs exclusively. They also put on swim events all over the country and even a couple triathlons and a duathlon. They are not as flashy as some event organizers. They have no start/finish line arch, no clock at the finish that I could see, no chip timing, no finishers medal and the food offerings are sufficient rather than decadent. I would love to have all of those "extras" at this race but will certainly live without them and continue to run this course simply for the course. Of all of the half marathon courses that run at Huddart Park, this is by far the best in my opinion. My wife might race in next weekends Angel Island event and if she does I will report back if it was as "no frills" as this event was.