Up-N-Over Race Report

This is my own race report of the Up-N-Over, a Halloween 5k/10k trail run.  I have volunteered at this race for the past 3 years and this year was the first time I had the opportunity to run it.  The race starts in North Ogden, Utah and ends at Wolf Mountain Ski resort in Liberty, Utah.  I was pretty excited to run it, until it snowed 18 inches on the trail a few days before the race.  At first I thought I would just bag it.  I’ve been training for the Snow Canyon Half Marathon and didn’t want to risk getting hurt.  However, the more it snowed, the crazier it sounded to run it, and when it came down to it, the trail was going to be snowy for everybody, so why not?

I had no idea what to expect.  I have never ran a 10k, nor done a trail race.  I  did know it was going to be uphill and then downhill.  Ha.  That’s an understatement.  You climb almost 2000 ft in the first 5k.  The uphill is relentless.  No flats, no breaks, no downhills AT ALL.  Up, up, and up.  I started out in front, knowing that once it turned to snowy single track it would be harder to pass people.  I quickly realized that I wasn’t in St. George anymore.  The elevation in SG is about 2800 ft.  Elevation at the start line was about 4400 ft, the top of the climb was 6200 ft, the finish line was 5500 ft.  When I see those numbers, it is NO WONDER I was sucking air!  Anyway, a girl passed me on the climb, right about when it turned icy and snowy.  We chatted for a minute and I tried keeping her in my sights until the switchbacks.  Once we got to the singletrack, the footing got really tricky.  The race director had snowshoed along the trail the night before so we knew where to go, but it made for a narrow path.  Between the brutal uphill and the snowy footing, I was going super slow.  I tried not to get too frustrated at my seemingly snail pace.  But I just had to remember that everybody was suffering, not just me.  Even though it was probably about 17 degrees at the summit, I had taken off my jacket, ear warmers, and gloves by that point.  Now it was time for the downhill!

This section was probably the coolest run I’ve ever been on.  I grabbed a quick drink of water at the halfway mark and put my gloves back on.  This downhill was incredible.  The snow was so deep (luckily I had gaitors on), it didn’t matter where you landed or if you fell.  I have never opened up like that on a downhill.  That pounding that you usually feel on a descent?  Nope.  The fluffy, powder was perfect for landing on.  A couple guys passed me on the downhill, and a few times I thought for sure I was going to fall on my face.  It was just such an awesome experience to go that fast and have it feel so effortless.  Scratch that, I was still pegged and actually had a double side stitch.  Other than that though, I had a smile on my face!  I kept checking behind me to see if there were any girls chasing me down.  You come out on the road with about a mile to go.  It felt so weird for my feet and my eyes to be running on the road after being on the snow for so long.  I picked up the pace in hopes of catching the first girl.  No dice.  The last quarter mile or so is another uphill which makes for a tough finish.  I didn’t catch her but I was happy with my effort and with such a fun, challenging race!

The post-race party was great.  Sonora Grill (a fabulous Mexican restaurant) was there serving chili.  There was also hot chocolate and a fire pit.  There were awesome raffle prizes, music, people in costumes, and just a fun atmosphere.  Because it was such a short race (my time was 1:00 flat, slow I know for the distance, but TOUGH conditions and course so gimme a break 🙂  I didn’t have any nutrition except for a small drink of water halfway.  I made sure to drink my recovery drink (Endurox r4) immediately after.

I would definitely recommend this race, snow or no snow.  It is such a fun race, beautiful scenery and course, great finish line, and I hope I get to do it again!