The hip was appreciative of yesterday's ice bath and that's about all that mattered during this morning's Summer Roundup 12K. It didn't particularly like the stairs in the middle of the course, but if that was the only complaint, I'll take it.
Now, to get a better idea of the racing conditions this morning (beginning at 7am) feel free to turn your oven to broil and climb in. Now, once you're in the oven start running. It's a bit cramped in there? Ah well, do your best. You may occasionally take a drink of water and dump the rest on your very hot, very sweaty head.
I sincerely hope no one tried that, I love my readers and would rather they not fry themselves. Nonetheless, I was incredibly thankful for the occasional stretch of shade this morning.
The Roundup caps its field at 750 runners, so it's considerably smaller than the bookends to the Triple Crown Series, the Garden of the Gods 10-Miler in June and the Ascent or Marathon in August. It didn't feel this way for the first half mile or so. In fact, the cramped quarters and heat of your oven would be quite an accurate simulation of that first stretch. I started toward the back of the line up to give my hip some time to warm up into the run. Even when my body is totally cooperative, I tend to prefer longer distances because I'm slow to warm up so I appreciate the time and space endurance events allow for that. While the start was definitely congested, it was probably to the benefit of my body - I couldn't go out too hard and end up achy and regretful midway through. Instead it was a really controlled start on single-track trail that then opened up a bit.
While the unexpected stairs in the middle of the course weren't pleasant I was able to make up some time on the downhills. This is new for me, but it was fun! Usually I'm a cautious klutz on downhills, today I was pissed off at myself for walking the steps so I pounded it out. Hopefully this downhill experiment will give me some confidence as I look toward next weekend's Barr Trail Mountain Race.
Next stop in the Triple Crown Series is the Ascent; just 40 days until we get to tackle that big bad monster!