March 12: MUC 50
April 4: R2R2R (Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim)
This was my second time doing Canyons 100K. It's actually a pretty fun and challenging course going the reverse direction on some of the Western States course. There is around 15,000 feet of climbing with some of the steeper sections in the second half of the race. Ram was still in India so he could not come to Canyons this year. Pancho came into town to run it with Shaun and myself. Jess also came and ran the 25K and unfortunately tore her meniscus but did end up finishing the race. It was a nice cool day which is great for running. Pancho was off to a fast start. Shaun and I stayed steady for the first half of the race. We were both feeling pretty beat up during the second half. The wheels completely fell off going around the Deadwood Canyon loop. Then we started the last long stretch before the finish which is around 10 miles. I started feeling decent on the first big climb and Shaun said to go ahead. I was doing the old man shuffle in the flat parts and slowly climbing the rest. The last 3 miles was nothing but slush puddles from all the snow they got in the higher elevation a few days prior. The puddles were unavoidable so our feet just got soaked and we had to deal with that reality. Hearing the sounds of the finish line mic for a mile or 2 before you get there is also challenging but if you keep plugging along then eventually the finish line appears, and it did. Finished in 17:24 which is longer than last year but good enough for a Western States qualifier and a tough but rewarding workout.
This was one of my best races ever. It's a tough 50K with around 6,700 feet of climb. This race was going to be a kickoff to my training for Black Canyon 100K in Feb. 2023. I set a goal for myself to go sub 7 hours in this one and I knew that was going to be a tall order. I had a few decent training runs leading up to it. Jessica, Shaun, and Shaun's wife Jessica all did the half marathon. When the race started I was just trying to get into a groove. Pushing myself up the first climb as I knew that would be key to setting the pace. My plan was to make quick work of the aid stations as I knew I didn't have much time to spare and that's just what I did. I was being aggressive with my pace uphill and especially downhill all day. There was not a single point in the race where I just relaxed and leisurely walked to recoup. This was difficult because I had never pushed like that in a race before. Normally I just go with the flow and have fun but this time it was all business. I listened to hardcore music the whole day and it was fitting for my effort. I knew it was going to be close as I came into the last aid station. So I pushed as hard as I could to the finish and ended up beating my goal by about 5 minutes. This was very rewarding in it's own way.
I have wanted to try an official timed event for quite awhile. This particular race fit in well with my