But I won this one today.
The Horsetooth Mountain Trail Half Marathon was supposed to be held on June 13 (my 40th birthday) and 5 days before the Bighorn 100. I had already started my taper for Bighorn, was coming in with well rested legs, and was hoping for a sub 2 hour race (that might win me some kind of award in the old man's division). Well the rain and mud postponed the race to today (8 days after the Bighorn 100) and it looked like I might have to set my sights a little lower. At least the competition was thinned out a little with original race favorite Nick Clark off at Western States this weekend.
I did this race 4 years ago when it was first added (the short course race of 7.3 miles has been around for many years) and finished in 2:14:02. Maybe I could at least beat that time today. At the start I looked around for Corey Hanson (4-time winner of this race) who also did the Bighorn 100 (7th place) but he was probably smarter than me and passed on the race this year.
From the start, I knew there would be little pep in the legs. The first 2 miles are all uphill and I can't remember laboring this much going up Horsetooth Rock Trail in a while (at least not this early in a run). I know this course literally like the back of my hand so maybe I at least had an advantage there. Despite the sluggish legs I was still running in 5th place in this small field of 24 runners. I tried to just keep 4th place in my sights throughout the race hoping that I could at least hold my postition or maybe make a move toward the end. The funny thing about doing a half-marathon a week after a 100-miler is that I felt like I was doing a 5K. I couldn't believe how short the race seemed. So I kept a steady pace and actually made my way into 4th on our second climb up by Horsetooth Rock. I took it to the finish with all I had on this day for a 4th place finish in 2:07:33. For as conservatively (not by choice) as I felt I ran this race I was surprised by my time. I think I may have had a shot at that sub 2hr two weeks ago. I may have to come out and do the course in a time trial training run later this year. So I was pretty happy with today and actually really enjoyed the race after the 1st 2 mile uphill grunt. I even got to bring home some hardware (a big rock) which rarely happens for me. I guess that is an advantage of getting old.
Sam Malmberg got the win in 1:47:49, a couple minutes slower than Corey Hanson's course record. I got to talk to Sam after the race and it sounds like he is ready to start gearing up for Pikes Peak this August. Maybe a sub 4hr?