I can't even think about this run in anything other than disappointment. I finished the "race" in 3:31 for 17.25 miles. There was about 3,500 feet in gain and around an equal amount of loss. The race took you up 7 miles of dirt trail from 3,800 feet in elevation to a little over 6,000. Aid station was at a bit over 9 miles and then a trip down 4 miles of nearly non-existent "trail" as part of the long Arizona Trail. Thorns, briars, cactus, snakes, stream beds and full on river beds. Probably the most fun part of the course but then we came back out on a jeep road that returned to a packed dirt road like the beginning.
My legs were only ready to run for about 300 meters of this entire race. From the start I felt heavy footed, dead legged and unmotivated to do anything. When I did feel like running my stomach was rolling and spinning to the point of near vomit. This went on from miles 2-17. Couple that with my left hip tightening up and then my right side of my groin straining due to dehydration I had a miserable run. I certainly could have pushed it a good bit harder up the mountain and down the last stretch but my stomach was NOT doing well and afterall, it was only a "fun run." More importantly I knew I had a very tough run in the Grand Canyon a week away and I didn't want to damage my body for that trail.
A few really good positives:
Lot's of familiar faces. Jon Roig, Coury brothers, Laura from WMRC, Paul Bonnet, Honey of course, Boone, Paulette and a few people I've seen at other races in the past. I also had a chance to run with Matt Schmidt who I'll be pacing for 2 laps at Javalina Jundred. We ran the course together for the entire way and had a great time talking to him along the way. I felt bad I was holding him back a bit on some sections due to either my stomach or groin but I held up several times on the sketchy trail heading down so we'll call it almost even.
The views are amazing. In every direction the mysterious and rugged Mazatzal Mountains loom around you. While it was a jeep road for the majority of the 18 miles it was beautiful and absolutely perfect weather.
Arizona Trail section heading down the mountain was both fun (saw a 4 ft snake), rugged and dangerous raging down the trail. Several times we lost the trail, nearly fell down the cliff, cut our legs to pieces, and all in all had a great time. Until we came back out to another jeep trail...
A lot of people say this is one of their favorite races every year. One guy even said aside from Hard Rock it's his favorite race. I think maybe I just dislike running on roads so much I just wouldn't enjoy this course. It's scenic and it was definately fun but running up a dirt road for 8 miles only to run down a dirt road for 12 miles isn't necessarily my dream course. So I'll probably do it again next year...:)