Saturday was the 3rd running of the Black Squirrel Half Marathon. It's a roughly triangular route up and over the top of Lory State Park and back along the East Valley Trail.
I finished 97th out of 312 in 2:23:24. This is 7 minutes slower than my trail half on Taylor Mountain outside Issaquah, WA in June. I had a cold and hadn't slept well in a few days so wasn't at my best. Between the last two aid stations I was going backwards, but rallied enough over the last 2.5 miles to move up 3 places. Although I didn't do as well as I'd hoped, I enjoyed the race and finished with nothing left in my tank and no regrets. High points: hanging out with my friend and former ultimate teammate Jeanne (who finished 3rd in the womens masters category), not falling on any rocks, shady pine groves on the West Ridge Trail, and a great view of Longs Peak from the top.
Ruth battled back from a slow start to finish in 2:35:57. She said she passed about 50 runners on the singletrack going up and that the intermittent speed bursts and lack of consistent pace was exhausting. Aaron Anderson, who works in a lab down the hall from Ruth, was the winner in 1:30:02. This was 8 minutes faster than the winning time in Issaquah!
It's humbling to be a mere mortal among actually elite athletes, but it's also completely okay. See also Jacob Kaplan-Moss's great Pycon keynote on being average in running and programming.
Here's a photo of the run rising over the plains to the east before the start. I'm not a morning person at all, but I love the light and stillness of dawn.