Training week 15 and Salida trail marathon recap

The last week was challenging. I reached a new personal mileage record, ran 9 consecutive days (ending Wednesday), finished the Run Through Time trail marathon on Salida's Arkansas Hills Tail System on Saturday, and then went out for another long run on Sunday.

  • 68.4 miles
  • 12 hours 45 minutes
  • 6430 feet D+

The weird thing is that I'm feeling good and not at all worn out or burned out. I guess my training regime must be working. Next week is a recovery week. I'm going to do much less running and more cycling, yoga, and hiking with my kids on the weekend.

Friday I drove 200 miles from Fort Collins to the town of Salida in the center of Colorado to participate in the Chaffee County Running Club's Run Through Time trail marathon.

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My race bib.

In the 1990s I used to come to this part of Colorado regularly for hiking and skiing in the Sawatch Range, but it's been a while since I've visited Salida. The race day weather was fine. Cool and sunny with just a bit of a breeze. I wore my windbreaker, hat, and gloves at the start and for about half a mile of the course, then stashed them in my pack for the remainder.

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At the starting line with Mt. Shavano and Mt. Princeton in the background

My performance expectations were low. The race was coming at the end of what were, for me, three big weeks of training. I didn't feel tired, but I didn't feel very fresh. After the start I drifted towards the back of the pack while trying to find a suitable pace. After a few miles I settled in and started to feel comfortable on the winding, rolling singletrack at the bottom of the course. At mile 7, the course turned onto a steep graded road for six miles. I hiked most of this and passed a number of runners. I've been working on hiking quickly and efficiently and was satisfied with how I did during the race.

At the top, the course switched onto completely snow-covered trails for about six miles. The snow was deeply drifted in places and the footing was poor. I took this slowly, got passed three times, and conceded a bunch of time. As the snow clear, the descent turned very steep and rocky for five miles. I managed this well, but my legs were feeling heavy in the last two miles and I conceded more time. I finished in 5 hours and 33 minutes, two hours after the first finisher. I'm pleased with this. That's 15 minutes faster than my 2017 Blue Sky marathon time, on a comparably challenging course, without any tapering or rest before the race. I'm also pleased that I was able to recover and go for another long run on the Coyote Ridge and Blue Sky trails on the way home from Salida. 37 miles in all for the weekend. I'm feeling more confident about finishing the Quad Rock 50 in May.

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Tenderfoot Mountain, Salida landmark, and the first climb of the day