Jim Skaggs puts on a great group of races out on Antelope Island. I have volunteered at the Mountain View Half in October for several years in one way or another. It is a nice half marathon without a lot of elevation and the weather is usually good for this race.
This year I volunteered to be the sweeper again. I had done that in 2012 too. Unfortunately, the Thursday before the race I was feeling horrible with a sore throat, pounding head, aching ears, etc. Instead of starting 30 minutes after the race, I decided to start right after the race so I wouldn’t have to push hard at all. By mile 2, I was breathing hard up the only real uphill (I could tell my system was not happy with me) and catching up to Marsha Mason and her dog Tinkerbell (a sheltie). We ended up running the rest of the race together. Tinkerbell didn’t quite trust me at first, but by the end of the race I was part of her pack.
The course was in good condition. I think a lot of that was due to little rain this year. Last year I ran through tunnels of grass higher than my head and sunflowers attacking me. This year the grass was low. I thought this was due to them mowing the trail – but looking around I realized it was because the grass had not grown nearly as high this year.
We meandered on together running and walking past the lower Frary Peak aid station. Shortly after that we quit enjoying the race as much. From about mile 7-11 we encountered goats head stickers on the trail. Not just a few. They were everywhere. Poor Tinkerbell was constantly pulling up with a paw in the air and I started on paw duty to warn Marsha which paw was stuck. She went off trail for a lot of the time so that she was able to avoid them some, but that was harder on her because of the brush. I took a few turns carrying the dog so that we could speed up running. We kept hoping they would end and once we crossed over to the other side of the road we finally got a break and could enjoy the run again. There were about 8 dogs at the start – I felt really bad for them. I don’t ever remember dogs having this much trouble on the trails before.
Finished the race and ate my hamburger and then Matt Van Horn gave me a ride back to the start line.
After the first couple of miles, I totally forgot I was sick. Things cleared up and it was great. I got sick again later that day – but it was a nice reprieve.