Final Remarks on This Weekend’s Cactus Classic slush-fest…

The results are up and I note the following:

Screen shot 2013-03-11 at 6.33.06 AM

At mile 11.4 I was right with the ladies who finished in 3:17-3:18. Yet over the course of 2 miles….I finished 27-28 minutes behind them??? Or, they took 27-28 minutes to finish the final 2 miles and it took me 55 minutes? I’d say that my little excursion added about 1.5 miles (as I walked slowly to where I had left the (well marked) trail.)

The second note: I was listed as “missed the cut-off”, which was 3:30 for the first loop. That doesn’t matter; there is no way in Hades I could have finished the second loop that day; had I not gone off course I would have been listed as DNF.

Note that 8 of 17 starters failed to finish the marathon. But look at the finish times: 3:25 for the winner! Then: 4:20, 5:03, 3 between 5:10 and 5:25, 5:44, 5:54, and 7:31. If these seem like slow times:

These are fast times, given the course conditions. Note: the half marathon had two 1:35 finishes, 1:47, 1:49, 1:54, and 8 between 2:00 and 2:20.

Bottom line: the good trail runners simply don’t let these conditions bother them. They just go. They continue to amaze me.


March 11, 2013 - Posted by | running, time trial/ race, Uncategorized | ,


  1. I am amazed that anyone was able to complete that marathon. The 10k was fun, but I doubt I could have run much farther. I was pretty tired that last mile. When I get fatigued, my foot placement gets really weak. I’m not even sure I’m saying that right, running-terminology-wise, but what i mean is that I feel like I start getting clumsy, more likely to slip or trip. Maybe I’m not picking my feet up as high then? I can’t really tell, other than something is different than when I’m starting out.

    Comment by jenjw4 | March 11, 2013 | Reply

    • I’ve run trails for a few years, and I’ve had the embarrassment of being lapped on multiple loop courses, literally scores of times. So, I’ve had plenty of chances to see the “front of the pack” trail runners in action. The generally take very quick, almost choppy steps, even when going downhill. They manage to put their weight on the forefoot, which gives you more traction. Putting weight on the heel (as many slower runners; myself included) actually increases your tendency to slip.

      The better athletes really shine during races on sloppy trails, and poor athletes (like me) pay a price. Even when I ran a sub 20 minute 5k (road), I ALWAYS was toward the back of the pack at trail races; now that I’ve slowed down even more, I bring up the rear.

      Comment by blueollie | March 11, 2013 | Reply

      • Short and choppy steps sounds exhausting! I’m sure I put my weight on my heels, too. I was slipping around so much the first couple of miles, that I looked less like a trail runner, and more like someone fleeing the authorities.
        Several people mentioned seeing deer. I’m jealous, but I have incredibly poor vision and was pretty focused on where to put my feet.

        Comment by jenjw4 | March 11, 2013

  2. I signed up for the half…only ran the 10k. Was mostly worried about rolling an ankle or pulling a groin muscle..due to slipping around in the slush. The snow was a pain to run in and didn’t allow me to see if I was putting my feet into a bad spot on the path. I saw two deer. One was about ten yards in front me, panicked by the other runners.

    Comment by Kevin | March 11, 2013 | Reply

    • Kevin, I definitely rolled my ankle once and it freaked me out. I hate that feeling. I finally decided that running in the tracks, despite the slush, was the best option.

      Comment by jenjw4 | March 11, 2013 | Reply

  3. […] I’ve only attempted this race once before. That time I signed up for the marathon and bailed/DNFed half way; I did take a 15 mile version for the first 13.4 mile loop. […]

    Pingback by Cactus Classic, 2017 version « blueollie | March 12, 2017 | Reply

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