For the fifth year in a row, Boulder-area ultrarunners ushered in the new year with the informal Southside Fatass 50k race. And for the fifth year in a row, my conditioning would not be nearly the level to run a 50k in the first days of the January. Yes, I’ve been running pretty hard lately, but my longest run in the last four months was only 13 miles. I’m definitely not in injury-free ultra shape quite yet. However, thanks to the geometry of the course, it was pretty feasible to hit the more interesting, western half of the large loop and skip the boring eastern half at the beginning and end. So I decided to join in the fun anyway with a 33k “half-ass”.
[For those of you keeping score at home: Marshall Mesa, Community Ditch, Dowdy Draw, Springbrook, Gosshawk, Fowler, the steep climb up Rattlesnake Gulch, then back down hitting the other half of the loops before finishing Dowdy and the long Flatirons Vista trail and back to Marshall via Greenbelt Plateau.]
All things considered, it went pretty well. Packed snow the entire way (except for a few drifty areas) where traction was not really required but definitely helped in some places (I wore my spikes anyway). After a couple miles, I fell in with a good group of people, leading the pack on the climbs and falling off the back on the flats, as usual.
By the time we got to Flatirons Vista (mile 18 for me), the weather was looking ominous and it was starting to snow. Jon and I turned north and ran a stoic few miles up and over the hump. As expected, the last mile was painful, but no more so than should be in a season where my long runs have been in the low teens.
Thus kicks off the official training for my large summer endeavor. 21 miles is less than 31 but was still a good deal more than I’ve done at one go recently. Except for the last three miles or so, I felt reasonably good. Many thanks to Cindy Stonesmith for organizing, various kind souls for creating a pair of tail-gate aid stations, and the various folks I ran with for four hours. It was nice to put faces to a number of names I’ve seen around.
Strava stuff: http://app.strava.com/activities/236244380