This years Kahtoola 25k race was even better then last years race. I was going to do the 50k but due to sickness and scheduling I opted for the 25k. Having run this in 2009 and being in much better shape this year I new I would have a great race.
The 2010 Kahtoola Series fielded quite an increase in the 50k, marathon, and 25k yet fewer in the 5k and 10k. With the 50k and marathon starting an hour earlier, I started with the 5k and 10k runners. Within 200 yds it was clear that there weren't many elite runners. I settled into 2nd place at a comfortable clip. I stayed about 100 yds behind the leader until he took a wrong turn which I shouted out and got him going the right direction. This allowed me to catch him and we ran together for a while until I took advantage of my downhill skills. I felt like I was in cruise control on the first lap. Needless to say I won the 10k in 57.50!
I still had a ways to go so I grabbed a handheld and a couple of gels and I was off on the 5k mountain loop. It was incredible. I enjoyed bumping into the 50k runners coming down the mountain. If anything I was a little too lax on the uphill. I hydrated and gel'd in preparation for the second half of the race before the trail turned downwards. Flying down the mountain I new I could break last years time and I really began to push.
The last lap was a great confidence builder. Unlike last year I didn't swap to a traction devise but kept the snowshoes on the entire race. It wasn't bad at all especially since the course was softer than last year. However, I really wanted to break last years time so I kept pushing and pushing. With two miles to go, nearly all of which was downhill, I let it rip! My training hasn't been super high mileage but it has been consistent and quicker tempo'd this year. The training paid off as I cruised to the victory in 2:45.38. It was over 10 minutes faster than last year!
Why more people don't come out and do this is beyond me. It's a fantastic way to hit the mountains and spice up the winter. I had a great time. It helped that I ran well. The course was a bit shorter this year but with worse snow conditions and having to wear snowshoes the entire race my new course record is actually legit. When John posts the full results I'll link to it. He also took a bunch of pictures that I hope to add.
After not racing very well last year I'm hoping this was the start to my best year of running yet!