Two real things about Salida. First, the weather, scene, and camaraderie were top notch. Second, I ran a crappy race. That's pretty much all you need to know about it! With the first real warm weekend on the books for spring, it seemed that everyone and their mother came out to Salida for the marathon.
I brought the whole gang and we plopped down at the Thomas House. While pricey, it was close to the start/finish, and gave us plenty of room to spread out. We grabbed a quick dinner at Fritz, caught up with Nick and his fam before catching some sleep.
As for the race, well it just was not a good one for me. Probably a combination of things, but I definitely hit the mark with my slow start to the year as last year I felt I tried to race too hard for too long. So, under trained and perhaps a bit unprepared, I found myself working too hard for what was really a pedestrian pace. See below...
Once we hit the dirt road and the second aid station, I essentially knew my day was over, and did my best to just grind it out. I'm not in shape to run climbs hard right now, and I was dropped repeatedly by my encouraging friends :) When I hit the turn around, the leaders were long gone, not having seen any of them on the way out.
The middle part of this course is truly spectacular, heading back at the divide with massive views and some rolling jeep track. While a bit muddy and snowy, there was no ice or other crap to deal with so it wasn't really bad. I had a nice little stretch here on the downhills catching a few runners and finally meeting up with Todd. We ran a few miles together commenting on how Leila was murdering the entire women's field (along with most of the men). At the penultimate aid station Todd gapped me when I stopped for water and then just buried me on the final climb. In no man's land with nobody in sight I cruised around some delicious single track and plopped my way down into Salida in 3:52 (Results).
We hung around the finish for a short time, but some fussy children made a long morning for Rachel so we decided to grab some quick grub at Moonlight Pizza before heading home. Never fear though, I managed to stick around to watch JT finish and lose his bet. Leaving Salida was tough though, as returning to the city always leaves me a bit deflated. I think it's time to start enjoying the fresh air of the deeper mountains even if it means crusty post-holing and some ice capades...
So, lots of work to be done. The next 11 weeks are critical for me, and I hope to make a decent run of it out in Fruita and then at Greenland before heading up to Bighorn.