last night was the Turnagain Arm Trail race. a 4 or 8 mile race that alternates departure from either Rainbow TH or Potter TH every other year. this year's race started at Rainbow, beginning with a steep 1.2 mile climb.
having trained on this course back in March/April i was eager to run it 'all out'. hoping for under 1:30 i really dug into the first, more technical half of the course. i passed a few runners on the uphill section and several on the first long downhill, then settled in. i was keeping a good pace (for me) and wasn't passed in the first 4 miles. hitting the halfway point at McHugh creek in :45 was right around what i hoped for as the difficult part was behind me.
the transition at McHugh (where the 4 mile race starts) is always difficult for me as it emerges into the middle parking lot before looping up into the upper lot to reenter the trail. this 1/4 mile of pavement always takes it out of me. i was passed by 4 runners before i even got back to the trail. feeling slow, i began the last 4 miles. it is usually quite muddy in this section but as we have had a pretty warm spring so far, the trail was in great shape. i was passed by several more runners and was mentally not feeling strong.
pre-race i had decided to try to not eat anything during the race, which is not my usual strategy for races over an hour. at about 1:02 and feeling poor i ate the powergel i had brought with me. eating that, coupled with drinking from a trailside creek really boosted my energy and i kicked it into high gear realizing that i had only around 2 miles to go. no more runners passed as i kicked along. i even passed one back up.
i held steady going into the last 1.2 knowing now that i could get a negative split and finish under 1:30. i coasted in at 1:25.36. it had been a gorgeous evening, and an encouraging kick-off to the summer racing season.