This is uphill, actually. Trust me.
H dropped me off at the start in cool temperatures and under a slowly brightening sky. This year I had someone to run with: my work neighbor N, fifteen years younger than me and a Ragnar aficionado. She has the Drop 13 half marathon down Big Cottonwood Canyon coming up and then the Wasatch Back Ragnar, so she was going to use this little race as training; she prefers running downhill (unlike most runners who find it too hard on the knees/quads) and the half marathon is all downhill as well. We chatted together before the start and then we were off.
Surprisingly, N and I were pretty well matched pace-wise (afterwards, her race computer reported that we'd been doing around an 8:25 mile). We rabbited each other the whole way down until the very last bit, when the course turns south on Wasatch and shifts to slightly uphill. I had trained for this and just dropped my head and ground through it, dropping N and passing several other people. The course turned again for the finish, east and even more uphill into the shopping center. I felt like I hit a wall and didn't have much (any) of a kicker to push through across the line. That uphill finish, after 7.5 k.m. of downhill, is just MEAN.
At the finish, looking forward to bacon
N came in just a few seconds behind me and H joined us as we watched other finishers come in. It was cool and breezy at the finish, however, and we started to get chilled, so we said goodbye and headed out before they even got around to handing out the age group medals. H and I continued our tradition of going out to breakfast, getting up to Ruth's Diner just after it opened at 8 a.m. for eggs, bacon, lots of coffee and enormous homemade biscuits. Once again I was pretty beat for the rest of the day which, as H points out, is probably a mental issue, seeing how our recent Porter Fork hike was much longer and more difficult and didn't wipe me out, but since spring thunderstorms were rolling in, I didn't mind too much settling into the couch and waiting for the race results to be posted. Speaking of the race results, I continue to be Captain Consistency:
2015: 8/23 age group finish; 59/175 overall finish; time 41:24.02
2014: 5/23 age group finish; 65/174 overall finish; time 40:53.07
2012: 5/12 age group finish; 61/126 overall finish; time 44:15.11
2011: 6/15 age group finish; 45/106 overall finish; time: 41:09.75