This is long delayed, but does it really matter? Back in July I ran Powderface42, a trail marathon with epic scenery. I ran this race for the first time in 2010 and really enjoyed the course. It’s lots of single-track through the foothills of Kananaskis Country with amazing views of the mountains. The course is tough, some large climbs and then some wicked downhill. This year it was particularly muddy adding another element.
I think I came into this race with bit too much confidence. My result at Coulee Cactus gave me hope that I could better my 2010 time of around 4:50. I felt the only way of doing this was to try to stick with a few faster guys at the beginning of the race and make up time where I was slow last time. Given that I haven’t done much, if any, training at higher elevations, this turned out to be not a great plan. I struggled to stay with a few faster guys who seemed to be almost out for a ‘walk’ in the mountains and then I paid for it later on. The second half of the race was a lesson in humility as runners seemed to just continually pass me. But alas, about half way through when I felt I’d killed most of my speed I realized I needed to enjoy the adventure. So I chose to really absorb the beautiful scenery and the experience that was running Powderface42. The mountains, beautiful trees, clear creeks flowing through meadows and forests, wildflowers, birds – it’s all just so beautiful. There’s an irony of trail running, we trail run because we enjoy being in nature, yet when race day comes we often are so obsessed with times that we fail to appreciate what we’re running through. I decided this race would be different. I just focused on what was before and gave up on the watch. No need to worry about personal bests here, the day was too perfect.
I continued to plow through the muddy sections, hopping through puddles and streams, just being a kid and having a good time. I hit the final aid station at around 4 hrs and the volunteer mentioned I could still run sub 5 hrs, I told my friend John who was standing beside him that I had no interest in suffering that much and I’d already done that, so the charm was lost on me today. I struggled a bit through the last section, gathered myself for the finish line and then ran through the finish and into the arms of my wife and kids. It was a beautiful day to run in the mountains and foothills of Alberta.