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McDowell Mountain Frenzy - Run25k

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Fountain Hills, Arizona
United States
Aravaipa Running
Total Time = 2h 36m 20s
Overall Rank = 23/47
Age Group = 35-39M
Age Group Rank = 6/12
Pre-race routine:

This is my pre-pre-race routine. I went to packet pickup on Friday and I saw Josh, Jen and Paulette. It was like the albums of BT had come to life. I all of a sudden felt like a stalker since I knew all (ok, maybe not ALL) about these people but they had no clue as to who I was. I eventually got over my fear of feeling like the BT stalker and went up and talked to them. Very nice people.
Now on to my pre-race rountine. I was supposed to get up at 5:45 this morning but at 5:15 I couldn't sleep anymore so I just got up. I had this fear that the parking lot was going to be full and that I wasn't going to be able to hit the bathroom before the race. Turned out both were not even close to being a problem. There were only twelve or so cars in the parking lot when I got there and I went to the bathroom twice before my race.
Event warmup:

I stretched a little talking with Tanya and Paulette before the race and ran the parking lot transition twice while waiting for the race to start.
  • 2h 36m 21s
  • 15.53 miles
  • 10m 04s  min/mile

I want to start off by saying that this was a stretch run for me. The longest I had ever run in a race prior to this was Pat's Run (4.2mi). I had never done a 1/2M before or even a trail run. But the thought of doing a 25km just seemed so enticing. Mileage seems so much further when you talk in km instead of miles. Prior to the race I had done a handful of runs in S. Mtn at or over race distance so I thought I was ready.
I had programmed my Garmin for a 9:45/mi pace but the trill of the start of the race got me caught up in the excitement and I started out with a 8:45/mi pace. That would normally be an indication that I need to slow down and I normally would have but I felt so good. By the first aid station things were starting to thin out. I had gotten myself into a group of 4 or maybe 5. There was an older man in in front of me and a woman in front of her and there was at least one guy behind me. Since I was carrying two gels and my Gatorade, I had no plans on stopping at any of the aid stations which should've been my clue to be on the side of the trail opposite the aid station when aid station two came up but, of course, I wasn't and the two people in front and to the right of me immediately cut to the left ot get something. A little fancy footwork is all that kept me from plowing right in to them. With those two stopping at the aid station, it was down to me in the lead and two guys behind me. Within about 1/2mi after the aid station, I could feel and every so often see that the second guy was slowing down and eventually we lost him altogether. The remaining two of us stayed together for the rest of the first loop which was about 5mi. We got to talking which was kind of cool because I had never been in a race where I could actually talk to someone. Usually, it is a quick "good job" or "lookin' great" as you pass one another. He mentioned that he had a friend who was going to take the first loop easy and then speed up on the second loop. I was surprised I told him because if I ever tried that by the time I reached the second loop I would be too tired to pick up my pace regardless of how fast I had run the first loop. I asked him if his friend was in front of or behind us and he said that he was behind us. It got me to thinking that I started out the race in the middle of the pack and then passed quite a few people as we all started filtering out. I couldn't remember anyone passing me so I had a pretty good idea that I was in the first half of the race which was one of my "I did awesome if I did this" goals. We got to talking more and it turns out that his name was Dan or Daniel. He had raced in two Ironmen, ran P.F. Chang's last week and is going to run Lost Dutchman. I thought "this guy is crazy!" and then I thought "I'm keeping up with a guy that did all that! Ya-Hoo!!" We passed by the thrid aid station with some cheering from the volunteers. It wasn't until probably the last mile to mile and a half of the first loop that this guy came flying past us with a 10mile bib on. He was the first and only 10 miler to pass us and that guy was hauling. From beginning to end, I don't think I saw him for more than 30sec. I could start to see the parking lot now when we came up on top of hills. It was a reassuring sight. It was around this time that I think I saw Paulette with her bandana in her hair finishing the first loop and I thought "she is to the right of us so the course must take a hard right before we get to the parking lot. Nope! All of a sudden blocking right as we were about to come out to the parking lot was a gate. I looked to the right down the parking lot and there was someone coming out of the end of the first loop. Somehow, I had gotten off the trail and on to a service road at the very end. (See picture at end of report) I never hand any idea that we were off track until we almost ran into that gate. I was dumbfounded because I had even run that route before when it wasn't even marked and not had any trouble. I wanted to run back and run the right course but I had no idea how far back I would need to go and I wasn't even sure if I'd find it then. I felt like I was going to be a fraud. I know that sounds a bit harsh but I wanted to run the same course that everyone else ran. I didn't want a little * by my name saying he ran "most" of the course. All this was going through my mind when Daniel called out from the other side of the gate saying "My watch says 10mi." Mine did too. There was also a spectator standing right there motioning which direction to go to continue the race. I relucantly climbed thought the fence and continued the race with a bad taste in my mouth and kicking myself that I had gotten lost on what was a fairly well marked course.
As I started out for the 5mi loop, Daniel took off. I eventually realized that he was following the same plan as his friend by taking the second loop faster than the first. I think by 3/4 of a mile into the second loop I never saw Daniel again. I was still kicking myself about getting lost when I came upon a truck that was on the trail and a fence in front of it. On the other side of the fence was the trail that led through the culvert. My spidey senses started telling me something was wrong. I yelled up to the aid station and said that I was on the second loop of the 25k and if this was the right course. They said "Yes!" and motioned me through the culvert. I hadn't gotten through the culvert very far when two guys came flying past me that is when I realized that I should go over the culvert before I go through the culvert on the second loop. I was cutting off about 3+ miles of the race and I was clearly out of my league. I doubled back and left the trail to climb up on top of the culvert and pick the trail back up. The aid station volunteers yelled to me that I was off the trail and I said that I knew but I was just trying to get back where I should be. (See other picture at end of report for where I think I got lost) At the aid station, I put some water in my bottle to dilute the gatorade and took off running again. Somewhere along the way I picked up a woman........I just realized that the previous sentence could be understood more than one way. Let's retry. Somewhere along the way I noticed that there was a woman running behind me. Here name was Erin. We talked for a while. She apparently completed two Ironmen also. What is it with me being the pacer for Ironmen?? She said that she liked my pace and didn't plan on going anywhere. So we ran and talked until the hills started. This was probably the last 1.5mi of the race. I was forced to walk the uphills because I was hurting pretty bad. I was surprised when she would walk when I would. We did somehow catch up to two other people. I don't remember how exactly it happened but I know that the lead guy lost his hat. The person in front of me dodged it so she wouldn't step on it and I picked it up. I figured I was close enough to the finish and it would stink to have to come back and pick it up later if I were him. We all stayed pretty much together until the last 2 uphills which I think were the steepest of the whole course. Very sadistic course planning! I almost could not walk up them and I told Erin it go ahead of me. She gave me some words of encouragement and took off. I used every bit of energy I had to get up those two hills and I had to stop at the top to catch my breath. I looked back and no one was behind me so I didn't worry about losing my standing whatever it may be. There were about 200 yards or so from the top of the last hill to the finish line. I mustered up a slow jog and started off. I came around a small bend and could see the spectators/other racers at the HQ tent and then all of a sudden (I think it felt this way because I was partially delusional) the whole crowd burst into cheering for me. The were calling my name, clapping, hollering, etc. Of the whole day, I felt the best at that very moment. I felt like a rock star.
My family and friends came over to congradulate me and I felt like the walking dead. As I walked around to get some food/water/warmth I noticed people looking at me. Not the "Hey! That guy is a rock star!" kind of looking but the "Is that guy alright? Do we need the medics over here? Is he really walking under his own power?" kind of look. I did my best during the race to stay out of the mud because I knew it would not be good. A couple times I got stuff stuck to the under side of my shoe but I was able to get it off after a few strides. I must have done a pretty good job because a guy came up to me after the race and wondered how I got though the race without getting very muddy. I looked at my orange shoes that were dirty but not too bad and then I looked at his and you couldn't even tell what color his shoes where originally. He even had mud going up his ankle.
What would you do differently?:

I thought I was reducing my risk by having run the course back in late December but somehow I still managed to get lost. TWICE!! I think I will have to pay closer attention so that I don't get confused between the trail and a service road which is what I think happened in this race. I would also take my Camelbak over a hand carried waterbottle. I trained that way and I should've raced that way. I also should have carried water and gotten Gatorade out on the course instead of the opposite.
Post race
Warm down:

Stumbled around getting chilli, Oreos and water.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I am a little disappointed that my legs gave out a mile or so before the race ended so I would say that I should've trained more. However, I had a training plan. I stuck to the training plan and I can say that I held nothing back. I gave it my all. I started out faster than I had planned but to tell you the truth I don't think it would've helped me much in the end anyways, I would've be frustrated seeing everyone pass me in the beginning and I don't think I wouldn've had so much fun so I don't regret going out fast at all. This was my first trail race and my first race over 4.2 mi and I think I did awesome. I placed higher in this race than I ever had in any triathlon! I was in a lot of pain the rest of the day but it was a good hurt. It was the kind of hurt that makes you want to go back out there and do it again. AND I WILL!

Event comments:

I complained about the manual timing prior to the race but Tanya was right and it didn't make any difference at all. I think it is more fun to have awards for top 3 in each AG. At least, you feel like you have a chance but just as with the manual timing, it didn't make any difference in at all. I thought it was a good race and even though I got lost twice I think it was my own fault and they did a good job marking the course. I would do this race again and I plan to.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2009-12-02 12:00 AM
02:36:21 | 15.53 miles | 10m 04s  min/mile
Age Group: 6/12
Overall: 23/47
Performance: Good
Course: The course was on the McDowell Mtn competitive track. It followed the same loop as the 10mi race which followed part of the Sport and Long Loops and then after a transition in the parking lot a modified loop of the Sport and Technical Loops.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Below average
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2010-01-25 12:18 PM

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Mesa, AZ
Subject: McDowell Mountain Frenzy

2010-01-25 12:45 PM
in reply to: #2633472

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Subject: RE: McDowell Mountain Frenzy
Great run! I always have dreams of getting lost at races. I hope it never happens to me
2010-01-26 9:37 AM
in reply to: #2633472

Subject: RE: McDowell Mountain Frenzy
Awesome job!!!  Sorry you got lost...that sucks! But you did it!!!!
2010-01-26 9:50 AM
in reply to: #2633472

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Big Bear City, California
Subject: RE: McDowell Mountain Frenzy
Great job, that is a tough race to have be your longest yet and you did great.
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