Breckenridge trail race

Today I did the Breckenridge Independence Day 10 km trail race. It was only 4 degrees when I arrived in Breck at 6.30am but the day was clear and still. This was a big race with 400 people but was conducted in a very low key fashion. I parked right by the start line and it was so cold I stayed in my car until the start.

We began with a street out and back, obviously to make up the distance, and then started out on what was to become a huge climb. We went into the forest and ran on single track with many rough patches: tree roots and small rocks made for some treacherous footing. I couldn't take in the views because I was afraid of tripping and had to look down almost all the time. We were climbing in a long line and it was hard to pass other runners, but occasionally I just had to skip past someone, risking falling off the trail in the process. 

The climbing was on a twisting route with lots of switchbacks. The sound of all our combined loud breathing was something quite amazing that I had never heard before in a race. From time to time there would be a brief downhill interlude but it never lasted long. I tried to resist walking but towards the top I just had to. At one point I was really in trouble with my breathing, and I was relieved when I was over the unpleasant sensation of not being able to get enough air into my lungs.

Suddenly the forest spat us out onto a sealed road and a drinks table. I had forgotten about drinking and the water was welcome. I was also pleased to hear someone say it was all downhill from here. It had been impossible to judge the distance we had come. I think there were some nice views of mountain peaks but I was too tired to look around.

Within a few metres we were back on a trail in the forest and a long series of switchbacks. The ground was still rough and filled with obstacles and the field had thinned out so much that I only had glimpses of runners ahead of me. I loved the downhill even though I couldn't do it fast. At least the breathing problems were gone. 

We came to a trail junction and I thought the marshal there said we had two miles to go; this didn't seem right but I could not work out what else he could have said. Then almost immediately I caught sight of the finish area through the trees and it wasn't far below. Then the next marshal said all we had to do was run around the outside of the tennis courts. We came out into the open and a few runners who had been tailing me closely all the way down shot past. The finish line was most welcome and I saw that it had taken me 1:09. 

Afterwards I had a sinful cinnamon roll and a coffee. Which I had earned. I watched the Fourth of July parade in Breck and then went back to Frisco where I was staying to watch their parade too.


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