I missed this one last year, and really ended up regretting it. I did a run up Great Falls way with the ever annoying Lucy Helena, whose favorite pasttime was making me late for races so I couldn't get stretched out properly, and arguing with me about what to wear for races. However, no such problems this time, as I get to pick up the packet at Tread Lightly, and get ready for the Big Dipper Last Chance Half Marathon. I see that the shirts are way cool Sporthill shirts (everyone is ordering those these days), and I get the standard Hammer Nutrition pamphlets. I also get another Hammer gel to add to my collection, which is currently flush with little gel packets to open up and goo out during races.
We start over at the edge of Le Grand Cannon, on the traily part. I see Scott is doing this race, and I'm talking with his friend Chris before it starts. As the race starts, I see Scott come running back toward the starting line. The RD decided to give us all a few early minutes, which caught Scott unprepared. I'm having a tricky time getting paced out on the starting part, especially as the trail is hammering my feet in the trail gloves. Those are the worst shoes for trying to tackle gravel. Big rocks they can handle (or I can avoid), but there's nothing to be done about those piles of killer little pebbles. I'm not feeling fast, but I am going fast. I'm a bit behind a triathlete who is doing a warm up half marathon. I also am behind two girls with hypnotizing ponytails on the Le Grand Cannon asphalt path. Y'all know me, I'm obsessed with hair.
We head down from the Le Grand Cannon trail into the mansion district, where I get to 'wooooooo' at the high school cross county volunteers. Y'all rock volunteers. There's some nasty up and downhilling, and some awesome aid stationing provided by Debbie's family. I'm still getting myself established before hitting Park.
Once we hit Park, the officer is nice enough to keep traffic stopped, and we begin a long uphill. There's a three mile steady hill climb past Unionville that we all know about, and get to deal with in our own ways. I keep at a steady pace, and slowly start passing through the pack. At some point, along Rodney Ridge, I remember passing someone at at 12:00 min / mile pace, which is normally going molasses speed. Yeah, there's nothing quite like slow speed passing, even when giving flatout effort. I eventually reach Unionville, where I start to run into the race leaders coming back from the turnaround. I like turnarounds, they remind me that I'm doing the same event as faster runners. Once we get past Unionville, I know that I've got roughly a mile to go before getting away from the uphill hell and back downhill. I see Scott at roughly a tenth of a mile from the turnaround, so I figure I might have a good shot hitting him on the downhill. I high five the volunteers at the turnaround, deal with the last part of the hill, and change gears for a downhill run.
As I'm hitting the downhill, I realize that I'm not going to pass anyone. Actually, I do pass one guy who was two gals for a support crew and is getting his photo taken. I'm not going to pass Scott, and that's all that matters. I end up getting passed by a gal who comes out of nowhere and is flying down the course as the course makes it way back to the city limits. I also get to deal with staying on course, which is hard when I'm used to running a section in a certain way. I manage to stumble my way across the finish line, which is cool, and actually feel good doing it,
Garmin stats: 13.10 miles, 1:55:15.97, 1552 feet ascent, 1727 feet descent