Sunday, June 19, 2011

Mount Washington...The Hardest Race EVER!

Everyone...words, pictures, videos do not describe how difficult Mount Washington can be.  This thing is absolutley killer!!!!!!  I never thought running up a mountain could be so difficult. I thought it would be very challenging but challenging is a true understatement.  This thing is known to take the best runners and turn them into crippling piles of mush.

I was able to place 31st in a time of 1 hour 14 minutes and 51 seconds not too bad for my first time but I am very hungry to imporve upon my performance now that I know what to expect.

The race started off hard as the mountain is just one large hill and it never provides any form of comfort even from the very first incline.  They say the average percent grade of the course is 12 % with the devastating hairpin section at 16-18% for a long mile and a half and then the short finish that tops out at 22% . I think that the course's lowest grade is 12% and the average is slightly above that.

For the first two miles  I was mixing it up with the men of the top 10 and the pace and the hills did not feel too bad.  It was until I reached mile 2.5 that my calves just tightened up on me and I felt my legs were planks. It was difficult to push off the road and then began my big slow-down phase.

I went from 7-8 minute pace all the way to probably 14 minute pace as people started passing me breaking my spirits.

I didn't run the tangents of the mountain because I had no idea how crucial this can be.

I felt my biggest race mistake was wearing not supportive enough flats and not hydrating enough which probably led to my tight calves.  At the 3 mile mark I wanted to walk down but I knew that I had to keep pushing for the sake of myself and everyone that was waiting for me at the top.  I just dug deep and pushed on the tips of my toes.  I latched on with Kim Dobson the winner of the women as she was the one I hung out with the day earlier as we rode a free trip up to the top to see the course.  She was flying and I just latched on with her all the way up to the end of the tree line at 4 miles.  The moment I hit the rocky section, I had gained 4 thousand feet in 4 miles which was what killed me in this race.  The humidity of the clouds within the trees that sapped my energy had waned and the sun began to shine illuminating the view of the mountain range underfoot.   I had never seen such a beautiful sight in my life.  At this point in the race Kim had separated herself from me and I just wanted to finish at this point.  I had a second wind and was able to surge my snail pace to 8min miles again as I caught many people that had passed me earlier.  Then the hairpin caught me and I kept my place.  After all was said and done I hit that last incline with people screaming in my face and I stopped, asked myself if my calves would hold out for one last push and went for it.  I ran 1 hour 14 minutes and 52 seconds and placed 31st as the only runner not from Colorado, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts to place as high.  I felt I represented Oklahoma well and I look forward to running this race next year as I know how difficult it was and how to train and race for it.

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