In April I ran my first marathon since having Cannon. I worked hard and got on as many trails as possible during the winter months in Boulder. When searching for an early season trail race Desert Rats Trail Marathon seemed like a good fit. I came in feeling ready for the distance but I was a little fearful of the hills and the heat.
We packed up the car, with what seemed like everything we own (9 months old need a lot when traveling!) on Friday morning and started heading west to Fruita, Colorado.
Fruita is a really cute small town with a big focus on mountain biking, it reminded me a lot of Moab. We rolled into Fruita in the late afternoon and checked into our hotel. We stayed at the Fruita Comfort Inn which was everything we needed for a place to crash before a race and was really affordable. I particularly liked that the room had a microwave and a refrigerator, this was great for traveling with a baby. Cannon was stoked on the king sized bed.
After checking in we headed to packet pick-up at the Fruita Community Center. In true trail race form packet pick-up was low-key and easy to get in and out of. After we had my shirt and bib we went to The Hot Tomato for pre-race pizza. The Hot Tomato was really cute but it was standing room only on a Friday evening so we put in our order and took Cannon back to the hotel so we could relax and get his dinner. We ate in our hotel room, got Cannon ready for bed and all turned in early.
Race morning was really easy, the trail head was just 15 minutes outside of town with plenty of parking. We got to the start line before the sun was up.
The start was nice and low key with plenty of bathrooms which is key to a successful race start! The race director reminded us to carry water as the aid stations were 5-7 miles apart. The marathon and 50k started together, there was only about 70 runners in each race so the start was easy to navigate and find your pace group. You also run the first 2 miles on a jeep road before turning onto single track so there was no worry of getting caught in the wrong place in a conga line. The first climb was pretty long but afforded us a great view at the top.
The course was beautiful and kept us entertained with views and varying terrain.
Lots of smooth single track and rocky technical sections.There is over 3000 feet of climbing and basically no flat sections to this course so if you are looking for a fast time, this race is not for you.
My favorite part of the course was where you run along the edge of a cliff above the river.
Then you get to run along the ridge above and see where you just were.
I took my time on the course, for me this was not about setting a PR, the course was difficult and it was hot!!! I just wanted to have fun so I did just that and took lots of pictures along the way.
My least favorite part of the race came right at the end, there is a really steep long climb along the highway on a jeep road, it’s not as pretty as the rest of the course. I was also cooked and ready to be done. Running in 70-80 degree heat after training all winter is a shock to the system.
The finish was fun, with lots of good food, Gemini Events knows we want more than a stale bagel and half a banana. They had the grills going and everyone was having a party.
I was tired and SO SO SO happy to be reunited with my boys.
Finisher medals were dog tags, nice little reminder of the race. I would definitely recommend this race to anyone looking for an early season trail race. They have the marathon and 50k on Saturday and a 10k or half marathon on Sunday.