24 November 2014

Trails of Glory

Be dirty and get some trail!

a prerace view of the finish line
On Saturday, I ran my final race of the season, Desert Dash's Trails of Glory.  It was held on the trails of Cottonwood Valley on the west side of Las Vegas.  The following distances were available: 8K, 12K, half marathon, 30K and marathon.  For my season finale, I opted for the 12K (mapped long at 7.6 miles).

I originally registered for this race months ago and planned on have a lot of time post-St George to train specifically for it.  As free races at longer distances came up, I realized that this was going to be more of a fun run and it was. I even went so far as to not take my Garmin.

Packet pickup was simple.  It was held at McGhie's which is a (primarily) bike shop in Las Vegas on the day prior to the race.  At it, I got my shirt but did not get my bib.  Oddly, bibs were not given out and had to be picked up on race day near the starting line.

On race morning, I showed up at the trail head around 7:15 AM and found parking in a small dirt lot immediately off the highway.   After that, I went over and waited in line for my bib.  While waiting, I watched the volunteers set up the finish line aid station and a lot of folding chairs. I also checked out the massive inflatable duck with the Santa hat on its head.  Once I got to the front of the line, I got my bib and went back to the car to hang out for a bit until it was time for the race to start.

The half marathon, 30K and marathon were scheduled to start at 8 AM with the 8K and 12K starting 15 minutes later.  With that in mind, I left my car at 8 AM and walked to the start line to find out that 8 AM was when the race directors gave directions to all of the runners in the three longer distances.  It took 8-10 minutes and then they were off.  At 8:15, the 8K and 12K runners were all directed to the start line to receive our directions and a safety brief.  After that, it was race time.

I just ducked under the Duck Tree.
The race started in a paved parking area and after a very short run across it, there was a bottleneck at the trailhead and we slowed greatly as all we merged down to a single file line.  Once I got onto the trail, the fun began.

I enjoy running downhill on winding singletrack and that is how this race started.   The first two miles were a nice winding slightly downhill section.  At Mile 1, we passed the Duck Tree (see picture) which is named as such because we have to duck to go under it on the trail and, well, it has been covered with rubber ducks.

Everything was going smoothly until I reached the 3 mile mark.  At this point, several trails intersected and along with everybody ahead of me, I went straight.  Apparently I was supposed to turn right.  I realized it about half a mile later when I came across a larger road and realized there were no trail markers.  I back tracked to the previous intersection and luckily, guessed correctly on which way to turn.

After that, I knew that my time and placing were shot and throttled back the pace while I enjoyed a lot of nice scenery on the long uphill (3.5 miles) section.  At about the official 5 mile mark, the course met up with the 8K route and markings once again became good.  After that, the route was easy to follow and the final 2.5 miles flew by pretty quickly with the final mile being a fast downhill through more winding singletrack.

At the finish line, I got my finisher medal and grabbed some water and a muffin from the aid station. After that, I called it a day and wandered back to the car to go home.

Today, Desert Dash posted all of their photos for the runners to download and reuse.  Unfortunately, official times are still not available as the organizers specifically sort through the 12K times.

Update: I got my official time this morning and ended up finishing in 1:12:23 which put me right in the middle of the pack.

Trails of Glory finisher medal

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