Friday, December 22, 2017

Moab Winter Sun 10K Weekend

The Moab Winter Sun 10K has become my December tradition - it's a fun speedy course and a great way to end my racing year. 2017 marked Year #5 for me and I was excited to also make a weekend out of it this year, as opposed to just driving over for the day. December is also a fun time to be in Moab because the fall crowds have disappeared but the weather is still usually fairly nice.

I drove over on Saturday morning and we arrived into Moab with a nice amount of time to get our race packets and get ready for the 10am start. This was my first race since joining the Moose Herd - which is the Mad Moose Events Ambassador Program, so I had to change into my new Mad Moose Jersey that I received that morning (Winter Sun 10K is now put on by Mad Moose Events).

As we got off the bus that took us to the start line, I was surprised at how warm it was! I did a quick warm-up, said hello to a few people and then it was time to line up at the start. In all honesty I wasn't sure how this was going to go this year. Ever since my 100, I've been spending my time without any structured training and some very low mileage weeks. This race is downhill and pretty speedy, so I was hoping I could still pull off a sub-50 minute 10K, but I knew it was going to be some work!

Mile 1 started off okay, but I could tell from the get-go that I had been taking time off from running, and specifically any form of speedwork. The first mile is mostly flat and I ran it in 7:53 but it wasn't easy... going sub-50:00 was going to be tougher than I thought. Mile two is where the downhill starts and I was able to pick up a little bit of speed, running this one in 7:47.

Right after Mile 2 is the biggest hill of the course - about 1/4 mile long and is always the hardest part of the race - but I always tell myself I just have to get over the hill and then it's smooth sailing downhill until the end. With the hill slowing me down, Mile 3 was an 8:29, but as expected, the nice gentle downhill began after that and I was able to pick up miles 4 and 5 running 7:46 and 7:45.

Right around Mile 5 you turn into a neighborhood and then onto a bike path until exiting near the Moab High School, where you run a short section across the grass (this is always though when you're tying to keep your speed up), and then onto the high school track for the last 400 meters. I always tell myself to pick it up on this section but my legs don't ever seem to want to listen... I finally finished in 48:38 - my second slowest time on this course, but still pretty good for me, especially given my lack of training lately!

Race: Moab Winter Sun 10K
Distance: 10K (6.2 Miles)
Date: December 2, 2017
Bib Number: 4
Weather: Warm - 50's and sunny
Official Time:48:38
Average Pace: 7:50
Overall Rank: 51 of 287
Gender Rank: 20 of 194
Age Division Rank (F25-29): 1 of 10 (this was a HUGE surprise!)
Splits: 7:53, 7:47, 8:29, 7:46, 7:45, 7:53

Age Group Award!

All of the Grand Junction runners!

Photo by Rick Ahern

After the race, we went and had lunch at Zak's (one of my favorite restaurants in Moab), and then went for a hike on Slickrock Trail. This trail is a well known mountain bike trail that I had never been on, and it was awesome! Right from the get-go you are on this vast expanse of slick rock with great views of the La Sal Mountains. We hiked about 3 miles just enjoying our incredible surroundings before heading back to our hotel.

The next day we enjoyed an incredible sunrise, went for a short run, and then made our way to Fisher Towers for a great final hike before heading back. This was my third time hiking Fisher Towers and it remains one of my absolute favorite hikes:

Incredible Moab Sunrise from our hotel!

So overall, this was a great weekend in Moab! I just love living so close to this incredible place - it makes for some AMAZING weekends. I'm also super excited to be a Mad Moose Ambassador this year because that means I'll be heading there more than usual, starting with their newest race, Arches Ultra in January (I'll actually be volunteering at this one!), and then following it up with some road running for my 5th time running Canyonlands Half Marathon in March. If you want to enjoy some epic running in Moab, definitely check out their events!

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