Boulder Beast 24M - Lock Haven, Pennsylvania
September 21, 2019 - Once upon a time this event was called the Bald Mountain Megatransect, and when I ran it at age 56 I finished 11th overall in a good time of 4:46. They have toughened up the course a bit, but after eleven years of fighting aging I had to adjust my ambitions a bit and was aiming for a 5:45 finish. I gave it a good run, never really putting out more than 80%, and finished in 6:06 for 62nd place of 288 finishers. I was more than satisfied, especially since I was not exhausted or sore and was able to enjoy a couple New Trail beers afterwards. I like not racing too hard and still finishing respectably without any new injuries or falls. That's all I ask for anymore.
The first three and last three miles of the course are on the roads, so only 18 of the 24 miles were rocky with a challenging tilt. The boulder field that we crossed on the first major climb is the event's signature challenge. After climbing high peaks across talus and scree fields in Colorado just weeks before, boulder hopping up this rock slide was pure pleasure for me. The morning was foggy before a wam sun opened up the views. I had a most enjoyable time chasing single track for a few hours, not giving up much to anyone, and pulling back a fair number of others over the distance. Boulder Beast is another one of Pennsylvania's classic climber's races. There is no better place to race than in good ole PA.
As usual I always hold my own on climbs, gaining position before surrendering the same to faster, younger runners on the downhills. It is all calculated to preserve what physical integrity I have left and not invite unnecessary falls from runnig too fast down hill. I rather like the more casual approach to racing that I have adopted to adapt to my unavoidable aging dilemma. The races are much more enjoyable when I hold back. With nothing to prove anymore, I have no regrets for not giving it my all. It was another great day to be a trail runner, and I hope I am blessed enough to enjoy many more just like it.