It starts at the park headquarters, you run down to the scenic loop, around the loop, and back up to finish at headquarters. It's 3.3 miles, the highest elevation is 2794 feet and the lowest is 2639. So it's no monster of a mountain, but with high winds and the temperature right at 32, the race was still full of challenges.
From the start we run into the wind but quickly make a hairpin right and head downhill. This is great for about three seconds, then I remember, I'll be making this climb at the tail end of the race. The herd spread out and I have some time to enjoy the scenery. There's the big hospital, a water tower, that old hotel, some windmills, looks like a shopping center, and of coarse bushes cacti and rocks. Not bad and not cold.
Mile two is just before the park entrance, the lowest point of the run, it's all uphill from here. By now the cold isn't a problem. I'm quite comfy and warn. When I make the full loop and turn onto the road to headquarters/finish/my car/a place to stop this nonsense, I am burning up. My hands are cooking inside my gloves. My music has stopped. I'm making some sort of animal sounds. And waiting patiently for my return, that last hill. I push my way up with every step fighting the urge to stop, die, or even worse walk. I make the hairpin turn and hear footsteps behind me. Oh no you don't! I have held the same place in this race, with plenty of space ahead of me and plenty behind me, and you're going to creep up on me here at the end and knock me down a position. No! The terror kicks in and I sprint the last 200 feet of the race.
Official result haven't been posted yet. I think I was in the top ten to finish. Nike+ GPS says my 5k time was 25:30 and my race time was 26:58 (that includes the time it takes to remember it's running and hit stop.)
Big Spring is planning five more runs in the park this year, four at night. Bring your own fruit and Gatorade, they only provided water today. But I did get a great long sleeve performance tee and of course, I got my numbers.