THe Training that I did leading up to Loon had been going great! I have run many 70-1 hour and 45 minute runs with fast tempos and some decent hill work. I was ready to roll. After a nice trip to New Hampshire, it was time to rock and roll. This year at Loon Mountain was the USA mountain running qualifying team race for the women as the race brought the best competition. As my second official mountain race I was really excited! Thanks to Chris Dunn at Acidotic for the great accommodations and event! And with this race, I ran conservative the second half but felt great at the top and now know what I must do to reach that next level. THe race went out nice and controlled and suddenly I found myself locked up with Jim Johnson (eventual winner) leading up the mountain. The first initial climbs were not too bad as I was ready for a long day. But what really surprised me was how fast the steep inclines came and how much distance we climbed in the whole race. It was about around the 2 mile mark where I let Jim and another guy go as I just hung back remaining relaxed flexing those legs muscles. Then at mile 3, I was caught by a few other guys including teammate, Judson Cake as I drafted right with him up the steep probably 25% grades. At this point, I began to tire and could not find my footing up the rocky gravel that made me slip with each step. I resulted in power-hiking the sections and did very well at holding charging runners off for the most part. ANy flat section gave me the chance to stretch the legs and fly. Then the race neared the Walking Boss. The sharp downhill was nuts and I went real slow to not get gravel between my teeth and though I was right along the top 10, I was just running to finish strong. As I came across the Upper Walking Boss, my jaw dropped at a sheer vertical cliff that was a 40 % degree slope. Jim Johnson later told me to side-step up the pitch though I just went with hiking up it as fast as I could cause it was CRAZY HaRD! After the 8-10 minutes spent on the half-mile incline, I was done in 15th place. It was a great day and the ride back down the gondola with Ashlee was awesome and it was great to have her be such an amazing sport riding up and down the mountain which I know can be pretty scary!
Thank you to everyone especially Chris Dunn from Acidotic Racing for getting me started with Mountain running in New Hampshire and I think guys are going to be seeing me a whole lot more in the SNowshoe, trail, and Mountain running circuits!
I love a great race that leaves you hungry for more and I look forward to racing and training with the guys of New England!
SOme awesome photos taken from the event!!!!!!