6.17 miles 1:18:37 total time 12:44/mile pace 2012′ gain
Well it was my first time doing this one. I had signed up once before but did not go as I had gotten into the La Luz Trail Run, which is always the next day. So I was very excited to give this one a shot. I had always heard it was tough (it is) and that it was beautiful (it is).
I left work at 12pm to make the 3.5 hr drive to Taos Ski Valley for packet pick up and more importantly to claim a campsite in the Carson National Forest. It took a bit longer than planned but I made it.
The Taos Ski Valley is beautiful. I think I’ll have to come back more often.
After packet pick-up I headed back down to the camp-site I had claimed to eat dinner, and read before bed. I ended up having a pleasant chat with my neighbor who is very into something called ‘Stellar Nations’ which sounded very ‘hippie-out there’ which she acknowledged. But I said I’d look it up and I will. It was a cute, quiet little site just above an ice-cold stream.
Race day dawned bright and what few clouds were present quickly diminished (which in New Mexico means ‘hot’). Thanks to my Rabbit gear I was comfortable and (I later learned) one volunteers favorite runner due to my bright outfit.
**Seriously folks Rabbit doesn’t pay me a thing but go check out their line up. It’s comfortable, light and made for the long haul.**
The race itself is only a 10 but it’s all up in that first 5k (approx 2600 ft according to the website. I ran what I could and power-hiked the rest. I tried hard but I did not try to over-exert myself. I tend to really bomb the downhills and I wanted to have some leg left to let go after the peak.
That being said, I took a few pictures on the way up (I had time) but not on the down hill. I was moving too quickly.
2600′ elevation gain in 5k is no joke. I averaged 18.3 minutes/mile on the first half and 7.3 minutes/mile on the downhill portion. So no, I didn’t stop for pictures.
I did have a spectacular fall though. Rounding the first big turn on the downhill my left foot hit loose gravel and slid wide. I went down, hitting my right knee hard. Leaning into my momentum I rolled left, scraping my shoulder and back and returning right to my feet. I continued running with barely a loss in movement. It might have been my most bad-ass-ninja move yet while running and I’m sure it went unseen. Until I got to the bottom.
With all the twists and turns, this run ends on a nice downhill stretch where you can kind of let it go if you want and it makes for a nice finish that you’ve earned after all that work.
I few people noticed my leg, including a wandering medic. I politely declined offers of assistance. I told them I am a nurse and I have my own kit in the car to clean up. Once I did finally clean it up though I realized it was much bigger than I thought. I lost a good chunk of myself up there.
Turned out it was a nasty abrasion with a 3cm long and 2mm deep laceration. It took my 30 minutes to clean it up and get all the grit out. Then I placed some Bacitracin over it and a gauze pad until I could get home. Then I cleaned it yet again and pinched it together abd placed steri-strips to hold it. I visited work today and gave myself a Td shot just to be safe. Biggest lesson: I need to learn to do sutures. I could have sewn myself up.
Seriously though, this was a very fun race with lots of great people. I ran into a couple of running friends, met a nice fella named Pablo from San Diego who’s bumming aroung NM for a few months and Rosa the founder of Rebel Workout in Albuquerque and her partner. They are super cool and I’m looking forward to working with them at their place. Check them out if you are in the area.
My total time was 1:18:36 which netted me 50th overall (of 307) and 15th in my age group. It was also only 22 minutes behind the overall winner. So that’s how tightly we were packed in there and I feel pretty good about it all.
It is a hard race, harder than La Luz but it’s over faster and half of it it a fun (scary at times) downhill. I’ll be back in Sept for Bull of the Woods and probably for the Up & Over next year.