|Calico Hills at Red Rock National Recreation Area|
We started at 7:47am so we had about a 13 minute head start on everyone else. We started on the Grand Circle loop at the trail head just past the entrance gate to the left. The first 4 miles of the trail passes between the roadway and the Calico Hills, and is quite rocky and rises steeply. I was pleased that I was maintaining about a 12 minute/mile pace on this section without any overexertion or excessive stress on my recovering hamstring. The trail was tricky and I did stumble and fall at the 2 mile mark but luckily I had gloves on so I was able to break my fall as I landed on a small bush (no thorns, thank God) and only sustained some small scraps on my leg. Well I said to myself a little blood would only make me look a little more "bad ass" as I dusted my self off and continued. This actually became my mantra throughout the day. Whenever I would be going through a tough patch and start thinking of cutting it short and turning back, I would ask myself, "are you going to be a fat ass or a bad ass."
|View from mile 4 looking back down into the canyon|
|White Rock loop|
|The back of White Rock loop|
With two miles to go I could see the visitor center. At this point the trail joins and leaves the road a couple of times and I was on the road looking for the trail again. I could have just stayed on the road all the way to the visitor center, but I wanted to do the full race legitimatley on the trail. I looked down the canyon to my left and saw what I believed to be the trail. I angled my way down the canyon to that trail and continued on. One and a half miles later I began to doubt that I was on the corrrect trail as I should have only been 1/2 mile from the visitor center which was nowhere in sight. Drat! I stopped to check my GPS watch and yes I was off course and I was able to confirm this by the sight of houses to my left. I turned right and headed back up the canyon but when I got to the top there was another canyon ahead and then yet another after that. I could see the main highway now so I headed there and then made my way back to the entrance where we started. In all I had added about 2 miles to my trip. My final time was 7 hours and 37 minutes for a total 33 miles, an average pace of 13:51 per mile, but that included a lot of walking and standing around at the end when I got lost. I was getting exhausted and discouraged now quipping to myself that I had gone from "fat ass" to "bad ass" to "dumb ass." Oh well its all just part of the experience as occasionally all runners and hikers lose the trail at times. At 50k my time was 6 hours and 21 minutes, just 21 minutes more than I predicted so not a bad day at all especially for the first ultra of the year and coming of an injury. I doesn't seem that I have strained my hamstring any worse and I look I am looking forward to running more miles in the coming weeks. All in all, I was very please with my run as most of the day went really smooth and I was even able to capture that feeling I am always looking for as I run - that feeling that you get when you have pushed yourself to your limit and you become totally focused on the activity you are in and feel a sense of connection between yourself and all that surrounds you.
|The result, some minor blisters|