I just did the 2015 Moab Red Hot 55k race. It was awesome. No significant problems of any kind. So much excellent execution on the part of the race organizers, the volunteers as well as my performance.
We rolled in to Moab on Friday evening and going to the packet pick up was one of the first stops. Eddie McStiff's is a cool place, but we had problems parking. The packet pick up process was pretty good and quick. It was pleasantly void of any 'vendors' or anyone trying to sell me stuff, something that I very much enjoyed. Actually getting the bib was probably the longest part. I hope no one had to wait much longer than I did. I ended up waiting about 3 minutes and I was gone. The packet had 3 pointless brochures from Hammer Nutrition and a card for a chiropractic place, a sample gel, the shirt and a trucker style hat. Perfect. I enjoyed the simple bag and glad it wasn't just full of ads for stuff or events I have no interest in.
I got back to the hotel room and pinned my bib to my shirt and got all of my other gear ready. Luckily, I didn't forget anything that I needed. I put my stuff in neat piles near the bathroom and went to bed.
The race started at 8am. This is kind of a late start time compared to some other races, but I had no problem with it at all. This gave me a chance to get to bed at a decent hour and still get plenty of sleep. I got up about 6 and had some pleasant time to kill before proceeding to the start - which would take about 15 mins to get to. So, I did what I think everyone should do (if they don't or haven't) is shower right before the race. For me this just makes it better to be at the start and have everything clean and ready to go. I also shaved. I put on sunscreen, at a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a banana, had some water, and brushed my teeth. For me, that's a great way to start a race.
I also had time to make sure that I had my pre-race bag and post-race bags ready to go. These were packed with things that I think that I would need at the time. For the start, I had some hand warmers, and some chap stick, gloves, a throwaway jacket and windbreaker (from a thrift store). It's very nice not to be rushed.
I have been nervous before and gotten anxious before a race, but I wasn't either of these things before this race. I was pretty happy with how I was feeling and not worried about anything specific. I knew that if my stomach had problems I would just have to deal with it at that time. If I bonked or worse, then I was prepared to just deal with that when the time came.
Once I had walked to the beginning of the race I was ready to go. I tossed my throwaway jackets and gloves in a pile with the drop bags and after a few announcements I was off.
Without going in to a turn by turn narrative, suffice it to say that the trail was a mix of dirt roads, sand and stand stone. By the end my watch said 4k feet of elevation gain. My fastest mile was close to 7 mins and my slowest mile was around 17. There was much more elevation than I was anticipating but when your 28 miles in, there's not much to do about it. I was surprised how drained my legs felt at about mile 15 or so. I wasn't sure if my pace was too high or if the climbing had taken its toll. I mostly ignored them and just kept pushing. While the feeling never went away completely, as I got food and water in me and as its effects wore of, I could feel the discomfort subside or become less pronounced at times.
The aid stations were very uniform in their offerings of coke, PB&J, chips, mini candy bars, head and coke. I was able to get in and out of every aid station in pretty good time.
I'm not sure I noticed a cloud in the sky the entire time and while the air temperature was relatively cool, I could still feel the sun sucking it out of me a little.
What a great race.