I have always wanted to run the Speedgoat 50K, so when several of my running buddies signed up earlier in the year I joined in and figured it would be a great tune up for the Wasatch 100. I can say that Speedgoat has not been my focus at all this year, but it was always there in the back of my mind and last week Craig and I were talking about how this race just kind of crept up on us and I can say that I was not physically or mentally prepared going in. My knee has been bothering me for a few weeks after having a run in with a large boulder on a summit ridge in the Uintas and it meant that my training has really suffered. I also had a stressful week with work, coaching soccer and family issues and I ended up getting just a couple hours of sleep the night before. I have never felt this unprepared going into a race and I thought there was a good chance I would have to take a DNF at some point. My goal was to get up to Hidden Peak and assess the knee and how I was feeling and go from there.
We arrived at Snowbird to sign in and rubbed shoulders with the local cast of ultra characters. These are great people and I always love getting to chat and laugh with them before a race. Along with the usual local cronies there was also a large contingent of ultra elites from around the world and one thing I love about ultras is that from the top on down everyone is just really cool and mellow and there are very few elite attitudes in the group.
After a few words from Karl Meltzer, the race director we were off running up the hill on our way to Hidden Peak. Almost from the start my knee hurt, but it wasn’t that bad and I knew I could deal with a little pain. I just hoped it didn’t get any worse. I ran with Matt Williams for a while, but he wasn’t feeling great, so I put some Oingo Boingo on my iPod and started grinding up to Hidden Peak. Other than the knee pain I felt fantastic. I didn’t’ want to push too hard because I knew there was going to be a lot of climbing and I wanted to save my legs.
It was a pretty good climb to Hidden Peak where Zac Marion and Kendall Wimmer were both there waiting to fill my bottles and get me what I needed. I had a few pieces of watermelon and some water and I was out of there. I was feeling really good and so far the knee pain was tolerable, but over the next several miles it would get worse with the steep downhill run to Larry’s Hole. I figured out pretty quickly that the down hills were painful and the ups didn’t bother me at all. My pace was slower than normal, but I felt great running into the Larry’s Hole aid station where I was greeted by more running friends. I didn’t even stop and just gave a few fives and obscene gestures as I ran through. My aid stops were very efficient all day long and I was able to run right through at least half of them.
|On the way up to Hidden Peak|
I was in and out of Larry’s Hole and not looking forward to the 2200 feet of climbing up to Baldy, so I got into grind mode and went for it. On the steepest part of the climb I broke out more air guitar and drums and cranked up the Crue. Awesome. I finally hit the summit and took a quick second to take in the incredible views and then ran the rocky ridge slowly back down to the aid stop below Hidden Peak. I pounded some more watermelon, refilled the gel flask and took off through the tunnel. I knew we were going to descend and have to climb back up to Hidden Peak, but I didn’t think it was going to be as far down as it was. I started muttering 4 letter words and thinking about all of the expletives I wanted to call Karl at the finish. The climb back up to Hidden Peak was simply brutal.
At the top of the peak I took more watermelon and a few jokes from Jim Skaggs and started the painful descent to the finish. Everything was still feeling great, but the knee was hurting and I knew the steep grade was going to hurt and it did. I was slower than I wanted through the talus field, but once I got onto more runnable terrain I thought there was some hope for a sub-eight finish and I pushed it hard for over two miles until I realized it wasn’t going to happen. I still finished strong and did have a few words for Karl. I thought the course was brilliant. Incredible. Fun. Hard. Course records were broken and PRs seemed to be had by many. This really is a world class race and one I will definitely be back to run again. Once again the Altra Lone Peaks were simply amazing. After running through some gnarly terrain for 31.5 miles I had zero blisters and my feet felt fantastic.