Basalt runner Lizotte takes third in trail race |

Basalt runner Lizotte takes third in trail race

Jon MaletzThe Aspen TimesAspen, CO Colorado
contributed photoBasalt's Megan (Lund) Lizotte races to a third-place finish in Sunday's USA Track & Field Trail Half Marathon Championships in Bend, Ore.

Never one to hold anything back, Basalt distance runner Megan (Lund) Lizotte was gunning for victory from the outset in Sunday’s USA Track & Field Trail Half Marathon Championships in Bend, Ore.In retrospect, the 27-year-old conceded Wednesday, her strategy might have been a little too bold.”I really, really wanted to win. I always want to win,” Lizotte said. “My strategy going in was to go out hard and kind of establish a big enough lead that would almost be a confidence killer for the rest of the field.”Lizotte vaulted to the front right away, but two competitors followed her. The 2009 and 2010 U.S. Mountain Running Team member was passed and ultimately had to settle for third place. Morgan Arritola, a championship nordic skier from Ketchum, Idaho, who took part in the 2010 Winter Games in British Columbia, clinched a surprise victory with a time of 1 hour, 24 minutes, 34 seconds. Fellow Idahoan Marci Klimek, the reigning U.S. 15K trail champion, was second, 42 seconds back.Lizotte crossed the finish line in 1:25:51.”I’m pleased, but there is always that little twinge of disappointment in the back of your mind,” she said. “I’m a little bummed, but top three is always nice at a U.S. championship.”The result capped a successful week for Lizotte; in consecutive days, she finished second in the Vail Pass Half Marathon and third in the Spring Runoff 10K at the Teva Mountain Games. Sunday, she took the lead early and set the pace for the first four miles. Arritola and Klimek settled in behind her.”Those two girls went with me, and I couldn’t drop them,” Lizotte opined. “I was leading through Mile 4, then [Klimek] took the lead and [Arritola] followed her. I was a couple seconds back, but I couldn’t hold their pace because I went out so hard. There were nine miles to go, and I felt like I was going to peter out pretty soon.”It was a well-manicured trail, not a whole lot of rocks and roots, but some sections were a little tricky. It was pretty rolly and there were a lot of turns. It was hard to keep your momentum as you were constantly going around corners and up and down hills pretty fast. … There were also tons of trees, which was kind of challenging because you never knew how far ahead or how far behind you were. That makes for an interesting race.”Lizotte was able to hold off a group in hot pursuit – the top five women in the final standings were separated by little more than 2 minutes – but never seriously threatened Arritola and Klimek.”When you’re running, you kind of surge and recover. I was always running pretty fast, but I threw in a couple surges to try and get back up [to the front],” Lizotte said. “We were spread out a little too much, so it was tough to make up that extra minute.”I was competitive and I gave it a good go.”The feat was even more impressive when considering Lizotte was nursing a right-foot injury for most of Sunday’s race. “The injury has no fancy name, but it hurts really bad,” joked Lizotte, who has not trained since Sunday. “After the race, I couldn’t walk and spent a little time in the medical tent.”When I ran and all my weight was on one foot, that foot couldn’t hold all my weight and my leg gave out a little bit. … I think what happened was I haven’t been training on trails as much as I have on the road. There’s a lot of lateral movement [on trails], and maybe it got aggravated from that.”The setback comes at an inopportune time; Lizotte is slated to compete in June 26’s Cranmore Hill Climb, which also serves as the 2011 USA Mountain Running Championships. With a top-four finish there, Lizotte would secure a spot on the U.S. Mountain Running Team for a third-consecutive year and earn a trip to September’s world championships in Albania. “I’m not [worried about the foot] right now,” she said, “but ask me again next week.”

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