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A gaggle of us Springs folk took advantage of the holiday weekend to head down to Los Alamos, New Mexico for the eighth annual Jemez Mountain trail run.  Jemez is a tough race run mostly through the Santa Fe National Forest and the Valles Caldera National Preserve.  Runners are treated to all kinds of fun – technical singletrack, rough jeep roads, lots of steep climbs, some true cross-country, and beautiful views of the Jemez Mountains.

Jemez has become somewhat of a tradition for me, providing some solid training as I prepare for Hardrock.  I was able to grab my fourth finish at the race, crossing the line in just under 13 hours.  Not quite as fast as I was expecting, but definitely some good time-on-your-feet training.  Maybe “race” isn’t the correct way to describe the effort, as you can see from this action photo taken at the unofficial mile 14 aid station:

 

While my day was little more than a long walk in the park, huge kudos go out to two local ladies who successfully completed their first 50 milers.  Amanda Ewing and Lauren Johnson didn’t pick an easy first 50, but they both rose to the occasion despite the hard course and high temps.  Here is Lauren approaching the finish line, trying to outsprint her four year old daughter:

 

I should point out that I wasn’t the only local Hardrocker out there putting in the miles.  Julian Smith got in a nice long run as well. It's looking like Julian and I will be joined by Neal Taylor at the start line in Silverton, as Neal is pretty high up on the wait list right now.

Another weekend, another race in the books.  It’s been a great season so far and I feel pretty good about my fitness.  Now that the warmer temps are here I’ll start to focus on the real fun part – getting in the altitude training.

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