Highlands Sky 2013
Upon reaching the finish line, I realized that the intense training for HS is no longer required. I was fearful that I would physically abuse myself had I not put in adequate time and effort in training. Every drop of the effort was utilized on Saturday. Questions have arisen regarding our PR’s. There is no doubt for me that the lack of heat and intense humidity contributed more significantly than the change in course. The CRR would have all done well given the amount of training assistance provided. David, Jeremy, Ashley, and even Dennis were quite remarkable. While many of you do not know Pete Daly (Dennis’s first cousin), he struggled with his stomach and did not finish as he had hoped. For a change, I did not think I was going to die on the course, but I did experience significant pain going down the ski slope.
Early in the race, Dennis and I were caught behind a large group that slowed us down significantly, but they may have helped us in the end, by preventing us from going out too fast. Ultimately, our only choice was to plow through the middle of a mud bog to get around them. In several of those bogs we went in to our knees. The fellow who took the pictures, Nick, followed us through one of the bogs and remained close for several miles, at least until the second aid station as could be seen in the picture. Dennis was rather patient with me, but after about 6 miles, he reluctantly went ahead as I suggested. I did not see him again until the end when I found that he had finished nearly 30 minutes before me. Kudos to Dennis.
For those of you unfamiliar with the course, and if you have not heard me speak before about HS, please know that I hate rocks. By the time this race was over I not only hated rocks, I hated rocks that were underwater and unseen. I hated rocks that punched through your shoes, I hated rocks that were slippery and I hated rocks that you have to climb over when your legs are spent. As a trail runner, I am very surprised at how much I looked forward to the gravel road and the paved road to the entrance of the park. I actually held back some earlier in the race so that I could pick up speed on that part of the course.
As usual, Dan put on a great race; there was great scenery, and super camaraderie. For those who have not attempted this challenge, start training early in the year and make it a focus to at least complete one. Sorry to run, but my client just got here.
Tired, yet content,