Saturday, January 19, 2013

Coldwater Rumble 50K Race Report

“I'm in the hurt box!”
I don't know where I got that.
I think I read it in some interview this week.
It doesn't matter, because for the latter part of this race it was MY mantra:
“Ooh, you're in the hurt box now! Nobody else is allowed in here!”

I'll be honest, I wasn't that excited about this race. I waited until the last minute to sign up due to some lingering running related issues. I slept for four hours the night before, had been fighting a head cold for a couple days and frankly just wanted to bail and hang out with my lady. Woe is me, but HEY! I love racing and Aravaipa Running events are always well worth it.
We started in the light of dawn with our usual Aravaipa pre race briefing, plus some extra info about a non dairy non soy cheese (new Aravaipa sponsor), then we were off (that's actually some good “cheese”).
Brian Tinder, Brendan Halpin, Michael Versteeg, Sion Lupowitz and myself went out together. A few miles into the race I decided to drop back. I knew that if I kept up with those guys I'd risk either having a) the worst day ever OR b) a DNF. So I settled in to 5th place for the majority of the race.
There really isn't any climbing in this course, but for every foot of vertical the course lacked, it was made up for in annoying footing. There were a lot of rocks on the trails throughout the course: big rocks, small rocks, medium rocks, sharp rocks, dull rocks, ankle-rolley-rocks, through-the-rock-plate rocks, miniature get-in-your-socks rocks, etc... you get the picture. Rocks.
And then there were the sandy washes. Me, being the brilliant man that I am, didn't read the course description until the night before the race. Had I read the description I would've known that the course featured long stretches of soft sandy energy sucking river washes and I may have trained accordingly. I found short little fairy steps were appropriate here. That worked pretty well (the only things missing were wings and a tutu).
I had written Aid Station splits on my arm in permanent marker in case I was feeling good enough to break 4 hours. Even without a GPS, I managed to stick to those splits pretty well, I was only off by 4-5 minutes by the end of the race. The Gadsen aid station was my favorite. The ladies there were so sweet and helpful. They had such a good vibe that the last time I went through I just wanted to sit down and chill with them. 
I didn't really see the leaders for pretty much the whole race. At mile 17 I saw Sion up on a ridge about a half mile away. He stopped and looked back in his neon green shirt (I could have seen that shirt from outer space). He had taken a wrong turn. I waived him down, he headed back and we ran together for a bit.
Sion is a solid dude. He's a 02:54 Marathoner and we run together with TTR. We are roughly the same speed on the trails so I enjoy both training and racing with him.
Right before the mile 24.5 aid station I passed the then 3rd place guy.
The wonderful ladies at the Gasden aid station asked “How ya feelin!?”
“I'm not feeling so good! But that's ok.”
“Well do you wanna know how far ahead the leader is?”
“meh” I shrugged.
“Only 11 minutes!”
I laughed, thinking "There is no way in hell I'll catch that guy."
Off I went. Even though I didn't feel good, I managed to keep going at a decent clip. I never caught the leaders, but I closed the gap between me and the leader from 11 minutes to under 7 minutes. Those guys ran a strong race.
I just wanted that ice cold amber ale waiting for me at the finish line. I could just imagine it: Water beads slowly dripping off the bottle to the parched desert floor.
"Damn it! I'm almost out of water."
ClifShot. Up. Extra dry. No chaser.
On I went.
Over the last roller, down to the finish line.
I finished in 3rd place in 04:03:47.
I beat my 50K PR by one hour twenty minutes.
Aravaipa put on a great race as usual. I've said it before and I'll say it again: if you want to run an affordable, well organized trail race in Arizona look no further than Aravaipa Running. Those Coury brothers put on first class events.
Thank you to all the volunteers. Every single one of you are awesome and I couldn't thank you enough. In fact, I think it's about time I get out there and volunteer at a race to give back.

Feel free to follow me on twitter @koreykonga

See ya out there!

Sion and I at the beginning

Later on in the morning

Crossing the finish

I didn't have my Ipod for this race, but had I, I would've listened to this 30 times:


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  2. Dude!!! I love that song!!! Forgot all about it!! Thanks for the reminder :) Have you heard their song, "Good ol' Fashion Nightmare"?? I can groove to that one too!