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My third time running this race wasn’t exactly a charm, but I still had a great experience and look forward to the next time I participate.

The Weather.

This was probably the biggest story of the day. My wife said she heard someone affiliated with the race say it was the most challenging the weather conditions had been since 2005. (I tried to find some online accounts of that 2005 race to learn more, but couldn’t come up with anything. If any readers happened to run the race in 2005, please share!)

There was precipitation all day, with that precip sometimes being heavy snow up high. And the winds were sometimes gusting strong along the ridge. At a couple points I got to experience blizzard conditions, with horizontal snow blowing right at my face. The trails were wet, and occasionally slick, but never particularly.

This is the first time I can remember thinking that a particular gear choice was a “make or break” for the race. In getting dressed to run, I struggled between wearing a long sleeve shirt coupled with a wind vest, or a short sleeve  shirt plus homemade arm warmers (ski sock liners cut for finger holes) plus a full-on rain jacket with a hood.

Thankfully, I choose the rain jacket combination. There were a few unpleasant moments above treeline, and I remember thinking that if I had chosen the vest I probably would have had to switch down to the half-marathon at the second aid station in order to come out of the storm. Given the chatter of other middle- and back-of-the-packers around me, I think a lot of people weren’t able to stay warm enough (or simply disliked the weather enough) to make that switch.

The Pace.

I signed up for the Breck Crest at the last minute, with an eye toward using it as my last long run before the Bear Chase 50 Mile at the end of September. My effort level was fairly even throughout, and I was able to make up for the colder temps by taking in more calories than I normally would. Probably all of which is good prep for the 50.

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I’ll admit that I’m kind of curious what it’s like to run the other Breck Crest races (10k and half marathon), but I figure that if I’m making the drive up to the high country I want to get the biggest bang for my buck.