I joined a bunch of happy trail runners last Saturday for Spectrum’s Saddle Blazer race up near Kileen. It’s held on a private ranch with miles of trails: mostly double track, a few dry creek crossings, lots of turns, the normal Hill Country rock quotient, and lots of mud. Spectrum had marked out 2 different loops that they used for the marathon, half marathon, and 10K events.
I was walking to the check in and shouted hello to Josh Beckham as he jogged to the start line for the marathon. He nearly missed the gun, but proceeded to dominate the race, finishing in 3:50 despite running an extra mile or so due to a missed turn. The second place overall finisher was the women’s winner, Katie Wainright, in 4:05. The top 6 overall were the top 3 men and and top 3 women, kind of unusual:
The half marathon started out fast and I felt fine until the mud accumulated on my shoes. It was rarely slippery or treacherous, but the extra weight slowed me down. The top 4 sorted out quickly, with the positions at 0.5 miles holding for the rest of the race. Colin Hagen stayed with the rest of us only long enough to be sure that we were truly not going to chase him down. He took off and won by 13 minutes, in 1:32. 7 minute pace on that muddy trail is impressive. Andy Bitner continued his string of good results, placing second in 1:45, about 40 seconds ahead of Justin Wendling. I was 5 minutes back in 4th.
The women’s race was won by Sam Godbold in 1:59. Leann Rominger Scott placed second in 2:04 and Torey Lasatar was third in 2:09.
I emailed with Sam Godbold about her race:
Armadillo Running: What was your plan for this race? What changes did you make in response to the course and conditions?
Sam Godbold: Honestly, I didn’t really have a plan other than enjoy the trails! I knew it was a new course than last year and the year (when I previously ran it) before so didn’t really know what to expect. As with every race, I do body/mind checks every few miles to see where I’m at. The conditions made the course fun and sometimes laughable as I was skating around especially on the 2nd loop where we shared the same course as the 10K. The reason I love trails is that you never know what to expect and every mile is different so making plans to execute a trail race is difficult. I pushed when I could and held myself together when I needed to.
AR: You won by about 5 minutes, over Lean Rominger Scott. Was it competitive, did you see her on the course?
Sam Godbold: We chatted at the start line about what we thought we could do. I told her 2 hours given the conditions, so I was pretty spot on! Ha! She was ahead early on and I trailed her for a while as I settled into a pace I was comfortable with. I hardly consider myself competitive with others but I know what I’m capable of and I like doing the best I can do for myself. I think she said she ran the Austin 1/2 the weekend before. I was well tapered compared to her!
AR: The Rogue Trail Series is coming up and you’re the defending champ for the 30K. Are you running these again? What other races are on the calendar?
Sam Godbold: Oh man! I may have to. Ha! I would not have been champ if it weren’t for Amy Baker getting hurt before the last race of the series. They were definitely fun and kept me training during the spring. You may just see me out there! I don’t have any other specific races in mind but the distances I’d like to cover are 26.2, 50K and (gasp) maybe even a 50 miler at some point. It turns out I can’t go much faster so farther is my only option 🙂
AR: Who do you train with? What Austin area trails do you like best?
Sam Godbold: I train mostly on my own. Between my kiddo’s and my husband’s schedule I’m a little limited in meeting up with others. I love to change them up but the easiest trail to hop on and the one I consider “home base” is Walnut Creek and am thankful for a network of trails so close. I think I know every inch! I also love Barton Greenbelt for a nice out and back. Deception at Brushy Creek is always a great one for mental training. Forest Ridge and River Place are fun for a hill challenge. You just can’t go wrong with any of them!
Thanks and congratulations to Sam! I hope to see her at the first Rogue Trail Series event next month at Walnut Creek.
The last event to start at Saddle Blazer was the 10K. As part of the half marathon, I ran through the start/finish area just a minute or so before they started. It didn’t take long for the top 4 or 5 runners to pass me. I knew a few of them so it was fun to shout encouragement as they zoomed past. The top 3 were all fairly close, with Bob Peckham speeding away for the win, in 44:45. Allen Daniel was second in 46:28. Samuel Griffith was third in 46:44. The women’s race was also close, with Emily Sanders winning in 55:10. Rachel Su was just 15 seconds behind for second place. Holly Gureski was another minute behind for third.
Saddle Blazer results are here. This was the last race of the season for Spectrum. Their next race is Sky Island in September.
That’s it for local races, but some local runners were competing in the Tokyo marathon. Farshid Parandian struggled with cramping the second half of the race, but still held it together to finish in 3:29. Bryan Morton had a great day, finishing in 2:25, a new PR by several minutes.
Bryan was only a few minutes behind Amy Cragg, who ran 2:21, good enough for third place and the fifth fastest marathon ever for an American woman. Tokyo is hosting the Summer Olympics in 2020 and Japan looks to have a deep field of marathoners. Second place in the men’s race was Yuta Shitari, with a 2:06, and 6 Japanese men were under 2:09. Coverage by Runner’s World.
The Austin Marathon and Half Marathon were the last races in the annual Austin Distance Challenge. There were 5 races in each of the Full Track and Half Track divisions: 80’s 8K, Run for the Water 10M, Decker Challenge Half, 3M Half, and either the Austin Marathon (full track) or Austin Half Marathon (half track).
The women’s Full Track winner was Kendall Dinwiddie, about 13 minutes (cumulative) over Ashley Voeks. The men’s winner was Tim Bayliss, over Grant Glauser by about 4 minutes. Glauser ran 2:59 at the Austin Marathon, beating Bayliss by about a minute, but it wasn’t enough to get the series win.
The Half Track winners were Lauren Howell and Pablo Lomelli. The men’s series was incredibly close, with Lomelli running 1:23 in the Austin Half, about 5 minutes faster than Ryan Steglich, to eke out a series win by only 3 seconds.
Check out all of the DC standings here.
I have a race coming up in a couple weeks and I might try this method, reducing your coffee intake in the days prior to the race, in order to improve the affect of taking caffeine during the race. (H/T to Dan Hannon)
Also from Outside, a good article on the Diggans/Randall team that won the first US gold medal for cross country skiing.
An interview with the Speed Goat, Karl Meltzer, following his 40th victory in a 100 mile race, from Trail Runner.
All of my hobbies are justified, according to this NY Daily News article. Moderate drinking and exercise both provide a large reduction to the risk of early death. (H/T to Matt Fletcher)
This race group, Revel, puts on fast marathons in beautiful and interesting locations. The downhill courses are set up and certified in order to provide a Boston qualifier. If I ever do another road marathon, that Mt. Hood race… (H/T to Matt Fletcher)
My son has been trying to convince me to travel to Japan. I told him that I’ll go if I can do this run.
Trail runners will be heading up to Colorado Bend State Park this weekend for the Tinajas event from Tejas Trails. I ran the 50K last year and it was a blast, super technical and beautiful.
Road runners should be doing hard workouts getting ready for Cap10K, the handful of competitive 5Ks on the Spring schedule, or a famous marathon like Boston or London.