FKT: Marcy Beard - National Trail (AZ) - 2023-02-15

Route variation
out & back
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
6h 58m 22s

I wasn't sure I could beat Krista's time from last month, but I surprised myself with a bit of speed.  It was definitely motivational and required a solid effort from the outset.

I drove to the west side and stashed a water bottle.  Parking there looks better than last year and I could have chosen to start from that trailhead.  The main reason I drove around to the east end instead was the need for a pre-run bathroom  :)  It actually worked out well in other respects, like having the sun behind me in both directions so I could see better.

What a beautiful day!  Sunshine, nice cool temps, a bit of wind but nothing like the gusts of the day before.  I wish I could conjure up this weather for all of my long runs.

I pushed the pace and got a lot of positive feedback as my west-to-east splits were faster than my one-way effort from last year.  I figured I needed all the padding I could get for the tougher return trip.  Saw a coyote on the ridge, super cool!  The steep descent was again a "pick my way down"; I was ready for it this time.

I did a quick turnaround, using the water to mix a Spiz serving and add to my Camelbak (carrying too much water the whole day, as it turned out).

The steep climb back up the ridge went slow/steady, mainly keeping my brain calm about how much time it was taking.  My legs could still manage a decent pace after that.  I knew I couldn't rely on the drop to Telegraph Pass to regain time - lots of rocks.  Then the climb up from the pass went on way longer than I expected.

Luckily I had plenty of leeway and didn't need to haul butt for the final few miles.  Despite being mostly downhill, it's not a fast trail, at least not for me with tired legs.  It is a fun trail though!

My mantra was "run the trail in front of you" -- don't try to figure out where you're going, don't zone out, keep paying attention and keep moving forward.  Also "make sure you know where you're going, and then run the trail in front of you"

When I reached the last road section, I knew I had it in the bag, and then decided "hey, I might could break 7 hours".  Dang it brain, now I have to actually run it in.

Fun day, wonderful route, thanks everyone who has been setting good times and posting reports!