This morning was the Escape from Prison Hill trail half marathon, which is the first in the 4-race High Sierra trail half-marathon series and my second race in five straight weekends racing. The race was scheduled to start at 7 AM, so I had to get up pretty early and leave Reno at about 5:30 to arrive in time to pick stuff up, get organized, then stand around and freeze. Pretty chilly morning - it had snowed yesterday in Carson City, and there was still a dusting on both sides of the trail for much of the race. I eventually opted for shorts, a long sleeve shirt under a short sleeve, and gloves. Decent choice; I could've been warmer for the first few miles, but didn't really need the long sleeve toward the end.
Managed to see the one person I knew at the whole event, and got to hang out with Gretchen for a few minutes before the start. The start was delayed about 15 minutes, which was good - there seemed to still be people arriving at 7:00. But after a guitar solo Star-Spangled Banner, we headed out.
Check out the elevation profile - the "Escape" is really two big hills - or rather, over the same hill once, then back over from the other side. I'd run the first half of it in a relay a couple years ago with Chris, so I was pretty ready for the early miles. I felt good, walked when I needed to, and didn't feel like I was getting in the way (like I did two years ago.) As we passed the relay hand-off spot, though, I was in unknown territory, not sure what was next...
THAT was a serious hill. Walked pretty much the whole thing, keeping pace with a couple people near me who were still running it. One person passed me on the hill, but after we crested the top, he didn't seem to speed up much, and I flew past him on the downhill. And what a downhill it was, too - soft dirt made it feel like you were walking on the moon, bounding along and sinking into the puffy soil. There were a few uphills sprinkled in to keep you honest, but if you kept momentum into them, they weren't too bad.
At the bottom of the hill, the course ran along the river for a ways, and I was prepared for a flattish run into the finish. I wasn't ready for the last little hill, about a quarter mile up to a dirt road, and it almost killed me. Had to walk a little up to it. After that there was less than a mile left, and I set my sights on the one person I could see in front of me - a guy a ways ahead. I pushed it to get pretty near him at the finish, but then he peeled off and didn't even go through the chute - headed off to the parking lot! Not sure what that was about...
After I finished, I quickly grabbed my camera from the car and got back just in time to grab a shot of Gretchen pounding down the last hill to the finish:
And then we hit one of the greatest perks of this race, the breakfast burrito bar!
And waited for the awards. I thought I had done pretty well, but I was in a REALLY crowded age group. I don't have the official results yet, but I think I was something like 24th overall, and 9th in the Male 30-39 AG. Here's the board where the tags were posted:
I'll post better results when they become available. Until then - had a great run, a great morning, and am looking forward to another race next week!
Results finally emailed out. Looks like I was 23rd overall, 20th Male, and 10th in my age group.