Last weekend I ventured up to Flagstaff to again run Soulstice, which has become my favorite run in Northern Arizona, sorry Jim Thompson Trail in Sedona.
This year I didn’t have as much training as last year primarily due to so much going on with my family including my daughter doing very well in High School cross country and club soccer, my son playing football and my new job that does not offer the flexibility I had in the past-goodbye lunchtime trail runs. However I did feel pretty strong and was confident that I could beat last years time. I also bought the new GoPro hero a week before the race and had all kinds of ideas involving creating Oscar worthy videos.
Race day came and I was surprised by the balmy weather that was present. I almost ran without a long sleeve shirt but went with one and ended up being happy that I did.
The first loop was a challenge as always but I again was feeling strong even when needing to power hike up some of the steeper climbs. The main pack ahead of me faded further and further away until I ended up running with a group of 4-5 runners. My idea of hanging with the main large pack wasn’t happening.
I eventually got ahead of everyone in the pack before the start of loop #2 and I saw a few people up the trail ahead of me but I was only able to pass one of them before cresting the high point of the race.
Coming down the second loop my lungs were feeling the altitude however I swear that the Cordyceps helped out as I was never fully gasping for air. My legs got a good burn in a few spots and when I reached the 2 miles to the finish spot I remembered the beastly ankle turn, sprain, fracture I had going through that area last year. I did slow down a noticeable amount through this section as I didn’t want a repeat but I also was concerned about trying to beat last years time. When I got to the finish I was disappointed to see that I was about 2 minutes slower than last year. However when I got home and downloaded the GPS data then compared the last 2 years I was about 40 seconds faster this year. I don’t know how that happens but I am taking it. My goal for next year is to get a lot of hill running in and a few more trips to altitude before the race and try to take off about 1 minute per mile. That is reasonable if my training and diet is on point. Oh yeah, no raffle winnings this year, but some people were drawn multiple times and made off with some great prizes.
Still reading? I am impressed, thank you. So here are some pictures from this year and below are my cringeworthy videos. Bottom line is I had fun, a good hard run, and enjoyed a few brews once I retuned home to assist in the recovery process.
Click on the picture for a much bigger, better, beautiful picture!