Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Week in Review (October 14 - October 20)

Tuesday - 2 miles during lunch, another 5.5 after dinner. Neither was terrible.
Wednesday - 2+ miles during lunch, then BodyPump after work. The last few times I have been I have NOT enjoyed the set. The instructor made a "Girl Power" mix that was almost entirely P!nk songs, which was actually pretty fun. Best class I have been to in ages.
Thursday - The day started off poorly great, with Lisa telling me she had made cookies. Then I saw the size of the tupperware containing said cookies. I tried to start with just one. That led to 2, then 10, then more than a dozen... I managed to run 4+ miles during lunch (how I didn't puke on the treadmill is a miracle). Dinner was the family birthday dinner for L. Ran another 6+ - again, no puking is a miracle.

Friday - NOTHING... During lunch, L and I went to the Cheesecake Factory for the dairy trifecta (we split a grilled cheese, macaroni and cheese and a slice of cheesecake), then we hit up the RnR expo. Dinner was pizza and a LOT of beer.
Saturday - Without planning it, I was still in bed at almost 10 am. We went to Dunkin' where we tried the Pumpkin Creme Brulee latte. WHICH WAS FANTASTIC. The donut selection was crap, so we had to go to the grocery store for donuts. Lunch was a Mexican Fiesta (hatch green chile enchiladas and beer). Some shopping after lunch, and then MORE PIZZA for dinner. Even with wandering the mall, I barely did 9,000 steps according to FitBit.

Sunday - Up early for RnR Denver - which turned out to be a great lunch. Dunkin' after with another latte and a toasted coconut donut. Lunch of a burger (which WEIRDLY, I was too full to finish). Quick run to Target - and with no line at the pharmacy, Ariel and I got our flu shots. This is only the second time I have gotten one, but since it was "free" and I was there, I figured I might as well.

I'm assuming more couch-sitting, and then dinner with me, L and my older sister for Indian food. The finale of the weekend was a half dozen mini cheesecakes (in fun "Halloween" themed flavors) - L and I *did* split, so it was really only THREE mini? It all sounds like so much when I type it out...
Monday - With Chaos over and no major running planned this week, Heather and I decided to do the new Fitness Blender 5 day challenged for "busy people." Day One was a "HIIT cardio + Butt & Thigh" workout. It was challenging, but not horrible. A reminder of how HARD jumping is :(

Weekly Miles Run - 33.24 miles
Minutes of Cross Training - 30
Minutes of Strength/Stretching- 60

Weekly Gain - 3.0 (118.4)

  • So.... for L's birthday, she wanted to eat all her "favorite things." We had a lot to squeeze into what we deemed "Lost Weekend" - burger, pizza, donuts, enchiladas, cheesecake(s), Indian food, beer...
  • Honestly, I'm actually surprised it wasn't worse. I have been very diligent about the whole "counting calories" business for the last few months, and I did not log ANYTHING starting with the dozen and half cream cheese frosted pumpkin cookies I had for breakfast on Tuesday.
  • After more than one meal I was sweaty, light-headed and pukey feeling. Can't IMAGINE eating like that on a regular basis. It was HARD WORK.
  • #EatAllTheThings - SERIOUSLY...
Everything Else
  • In 5 days, Ariel is doing her first 10K! The race starts late (9:30), and we have unseasonably warm temperatures forecasted - highs near 80! Seems better than the alternative (cold, windy, rainy and/or snowy). 
  • NEXT WEEK, we leave for NYC!!! So excited! I have been waiting for this race/trip for a LONG time. Ariel is excited, I'm excited, going to be SO FUN.
  • Work is horrid, the End.

Rock n' Roll Denver Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Sunday, October 19
Denver, CO
Half Marathon #118
Colorado Half #54
Weather - PERFECT


Expo

I happily work downtown very close to the expo. The Rock n' Roll Denver race has fallen on L's birthday weekend the last few years, so I took an extremely extended lunch so I could take L to lunch at the Cheesecake Factory (for the dairy trifecta) and then get to the expo when it opened at 1:00.

I think this was one of the smallest RnR expos I have attended. There were not that many vendors there, and it was really disappointing how bad the Brooks/RnR section was. I had been hoping to get L a new hoodie and the selection was crap. No bueno (although it did save me some money).

L was trying to figure out where to get her special "5 year runner" stuff (I missed the first year because the half sold out by the time I decided to run, so this was only my 4th year. Sad I'm not a legacy runner), so I headed to the INKnBURN booth, where I still managed to find two shirts I didn't already own, and picked up my custom, limited edition Denver drop bag. Really no other vendors of interest, but we did stop by and visit Cheryl from Razzy Roo. After buying from her since 2010, she finally told me that I was her VERY FIRST online customer :) We picked up a lot of cute hair ties and I got a new Denver Bronco colored Chevron print band.

In and out in less than 40 minutes. The race shirt this year is pretty adorable, although white tech shirts are no good because they are SO SHEER.


Race Day

Thanks to my blog, I knew we needed to leave the house by 5:30 to get parked and walk the 1.5 or so miles to the start. My dad was doing the 10K and the kids had spent the night at their house, so we picked up my dad and drove down to the lot on Auraria campus, where we have parked in previous years. The start for the 10K was in the opposite direction of our start, so we parted ways with my dad so he could walk up to his starting area.

I was hoping to have a nice, fast race. The course was different this year, and MUCH hillier. In lieu of breakfast, I drank a beer on the walk over to Civic Center park. Don't judge. We cycled through the bathroom lines a few times and headed over to the corrals at 7:18 (the race was supposed to have started at 7:15, but it started late).


L was technically in corral 7, I was in 8. Not sure where we fed in, but I lost her immediately. Only the first mile or so was the same as previous years. We ran towards the Pepsi Center, then up Speer, which I (stupidly) thought was really the only hill:


I was feeling pretty good, but wondering where the aid stations were as I really wanted a water/walk break. We ran over by Sports Authority Field (another hill), and I managed to catch my favorite Team Beef guys:


We then headed down 17th around Sloan Lake. The road was TORN up from construction. Thanks Rock n' Roll for routing us down there. Awesome. The Roost aid station was around mile 4.5 on the south side of the lake, and I saw Carol, Dan, and some other friends from run club. The walk break there helped, and I felt REALLY good running around the lake.

View of downtown from the west side of Sloan Lake
I managed to finally pass Ruth (she had been in my line of sight for about 2 miles) when we got to the aid station at the 10K marker. MORE HILLS.

I think mile 7 was pretty good, and sort of downhill. Still feeling pretty good. Somewhere around mile 8 is when we finally crossed back over into the Denver downtown area. Mile 9 I was cruising, and then hit the (horrible and understaffed) aid station at mile 10, just before a big overpass. I had not taken any unplanned walk breaks and managed to run up the hill, but my legs went numb, and around mile 10.5 I had to walk for about a tenth of a mile to loosen everything up. I felt much better after that and was pretty psyched we had less than 3 miles to go.


Ran through the same ugly warehouse area that we had run during Hot Chocolate, and then we turned down Lincoln (instead of Broadway) for essentially the same chute finish. The split for the marathon was literally at the intersection where my building for work stands, and I was HAPPY to be finishing.


Official Time - 2:12:54 (fastest half in 11 months!)
Official Pace - 10:08
Official 5K - 31:31
Official 10K - 1:03:54
Official 10M - 1:41:17
Overall Place - 3879/8113
Gender Place - 2018/5260
Division Place - 395/950
Garmin Time - 2:12:56
Garmin Distance - 13.19 miles
Garmin Pace - 10:05
Mile 1 - 9:55
Mile 2 - 9:59
Mile 3 - 10:27
Mile 4 - 10:33
Mile 5 - 10:48
Mile 6 - 9:51
Mile 7 - 10:17
Mile 8 - 9:29
Mile 9 - 9:16
Mile 10 - 10:10
Mile 11 - 10:50
Mile 12 - 10:12
Mile 13 - 9:24
Mile 13.1ish - 9:00

Thanks to runner tracking, L knew when I finished and I met her and my dad without any trouble. We got our finisher pictures in front of the Civic Center building. COOL clouds in the picture with the three of us - this is NOT photo shopped!



Thoughts:
  • This was probably the best weather we have ever had for this race. I think it was the only time I wasn't concerned about getting hypothermia walking to the car afterwards.
  • L is a legacy runner, so I of course will run this race again. Not super crazy about the course change, but it wasn't nearly as bad as I had imagined it would be. I think I could run it a bit smarter next year.
  • There was NO GU on the course. I made sure to check every aid station because they were supposed to have Salted Watermelon. NONE. Glad I brought my own.
  • The one aid station around mile 10 was horrible. There were only 3 or 4 volunteers, they didn't have most of the cups filled. L said she was handed an empty cup. Wheee!!
  • There were MAYBE 5 bands on the course. Maybe. And at least 2 of them were actually just speakers playing music, not anything original. Maybe RnR needs to consider changing its name...
  • Really like the shirt, really REALLY like the medal (which doubles as a bottle opener).
  • Other than that, unless you register early, this race probably isn't worth the hassle. There are a TON of people, you have to pay to park on race day, most of the parking is well over a mile away.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Week in Review (October 7 - October 13)

Tuesday - 3ish miles during lunch, 5ish miles at night. Trying to do double runs twice a week until I am done with my next ultra. It's really hard to get double digit runs in during the week.
Wednesday - During lunch I actually did a Fitness Blender video! 2 easy miles at run club with Heather.


Thursday - 3 miles during lunch, 5 miles at night.
Friday - Almost 4 during lunch.
Saturday - Up early to go with A's Girl Scout troop to Dinosaur Ridge. After lunch, I took A to see Into the Storm at the cheap theater. It was a pretty cheesy movie, but it was nice to not be watching a cartoon for once.
Sunday - Xterra trail marathon. By the time we got home it was dinner time.
Monday - Nothing.

Weekly Miles Run - 48.52
Minutes of Cross Training - 0
Minutes of Strength/Stretching - 23

Weekly Loss - 0.6 pounds (115.4)

  • Finally, a weekend of #EatAllTheThings
Everything Else 
  • Got the official rejection email from the job I really wanted. Womp.
  • I may be planning a visit to SoCal over Christmas, including running the Holiday Half in San Diego!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Xterra Trail Marathon (Race Recap)

Colorado Springs, CO
Sunday, October 12
Marathon #26
Weather - Perfect at the start. FREEZING, windy and rainy at the finish


Always making good choices, I added the Xterra Trail Marathon at Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado Springs as my last "long run" before the NYC marathon.

We mapped directions to the start and it showed it would take about an hour and 40 minutes to get there. The race didn't start until 8:00, so my dad came over at 5:30 (thanks Dad!) so that we didn't have to wake up the kids to take them over.

There was no traffic and we got to the start area without any problems just after 7:00. It was chilly and I was glad that I had chosen to wear arm sleeves and a tee instead of my usual tank. There was next to no information on the website, but I imagined that a trail race was going to take substantially longer to run than a road race, and with a sketchy forecast, I tried to plan appropriately.

We were able to walk right up to get our bibs. The race is a 2 course loop and I asked if I could decide at the halfway point if I wanted to drop or not. The volunteer stated I had to decide at pick up, so I stuck with my original distance and hoped the weather would hold out.

At the start line

The race actually started a little before 8, and I was one of the last people to cross the start. I knew nothing about the trail itself or the terrain, and I don't enjoy jumping off the trail to let people pass. Due to the large number of people on a fairly narrow trail, there was some bottle-necking in the beginning, which was fine by me. I need to start out slow anyway.

The beautiful blue skies were already starting to disappear with cloud cover. I took all my pictures on the first loop. I only vaguely remember glancing at the elevation profile and thought I remembered there was a decent climb in the first two miles. The trail changed from non-technical and a bit wider to a steeper and more of a single track.




Right off the bat it seemed that the mile markers were off from my watch. When I passed the mile 1 marker, my watch already said 1.16 miles. Not knowing the trail and worrying about the impending bad weather made for a stressful first loop.


The first aid station was about 2 miles up, water only. Then the climb started, with the reward being an aid station at the top of the hill. We then headed onto a loop (about 3 miles), where I finally passed a handful of people. I was able to run most of this section as it wasn't all uphill.



We looped back around to the aid station, down the hill (where I was REALLY able to run), and then veered off to the left for the second half of the first loop.


Even though I ran the course twice, I am already having a hard time remembering what it was LIKE. I recall another fairly runnable section for a mile or so, before we headed up into a fairly rocky and muddy section. This was made more difficult my a HUGE number of pine needles that made for slick conditions. There was an aid station nestled in the woods, but there were a ton of people crowded around the table, complaining that there were no food options, so I kept going without stopping.



My stomach had been feeling off all morning, and I was hoping to be able to make it back to the start to use the bathroom, but about 11 miles in (according to the watch), I had to crouch behind a rock. I felt better immediately and about 10 minutes later arrived at the aid station (which seemed to be FOREVER since the last one). The volunteer said we were at mile 11 (while my watch said 11.8??) There was a weird out and back section, and then back onto the regular trail. Got back to the base of the hill about 3 hours in and saw L. It was cold, but the wind hadn't really picked up yet and it wasn't raining yet. I told L I hoped to see her again in 3 hours.

Interestingly, I was at 13 miles back at the start, so all the markers were just off, and it made me feel better that I wouldn't be running a really long course. The second loop honestly wasn't that bad, although there were very long sections where I saw no one. I was clearly not having as hard a time as some of the other marathoners, as I passed quite a few people on the second loop (according to final results, I'm guessing I passed all but one runner on that second loop, and I passed him at the last aid station of the first loop).

Trail selfie before the weather hit!
The goal was to just keep moving so that I didn't get caught in horrible weather out in the middle of nowhere. I really cruised down the hill around before the turn to the second half of the course. AND THAT is when the wind really picked up. Seriously out of the blue, the wind started to gust and the temperatures dropped probably 15 degrees. The wind was so strong it was almost blowing my hat off. GREAT. JUST WHAT I WANT TO BE RUNNING IN. I was 5 hours in and hoping that I would be done in the next hour or so. I was definitely getting tired and every hill felt overwhelming.

The aid station in the woods was deserted, so I skipped it again. Somewhere after that aid station, with somewhere between 3.5 and 4 miles to finish is when the rain started. Luckily, it never actually dumped rain, but the drizzle just added to the chill and I put my gloves back on. I was really cautious on the back part of the course with all the rocks and pine needles and mud as I didn't want to slip and injure myself.

Risked pulling out my phone to show the sheet of rain heading towards me
I was SO happy to be at the last aid station! I knew I only had a little over a mile to go, so I really pushed it so I could just get out of the cold. I get back to the bottom and the volunteer tells me to turn right over the bridge and I have just a mile loop to do until I am done.

WHAT
WHAT
WHAT
WHAT????

Why on earth do I have a mile loop to go????? Isn't this supposed to be 13.1 loop TIMES TWO???? Another volunteer says, well it's only about .7 more.

WHAT
THE....

Now I am just ANNOYED. I was not having a spectacular race to begin with, it is cold, it is UNBELIEVABLY windy, it is drizzling, and now, for NO REASON, we have to run another loop? I ended up walking about half of it because I was so agitated.

I headed into the finish, NOTHING was left except for the timing mats and L. I grabbed my medal, said, "LET'S GET OUT OF HERE" and went directly to the car.


Official Time - 6:13:24
Overall Place - 29/41
Gender Place - 5/7
Division Place - 2/3
Garmin Time - 6:13:26
Garmin Distance - 26.67
Miles 1-5 - 12:57, 14:17, 16:37, 15:29, 12:15
Miles 6-10 - 12:12, 11:52, 11:10, 15:31, 15:51
Miles 11-15 - 17:22, 13:18, 13:12, 13:44, 14:41
Miles 16-20 - 17:02, 16:38, 12:13, 11:54, 11:54
Miles 21-26.67 - 12:02, 15:22, 15:19, 16:53, 12:17, 12:27, 13:23

Thoughts:
  • I am SO irritated with this stupid random extra loop at the end of this course. There is NO mention of it anywhere. It is NOT on the weird topographical course map. IT MAKES NO SENSE THE MARATHON WOULD HAVE TO RUN EXTRA, BUT NOT THE HALF MARATHON. DUMB DUMB DUMB.
  • I brought my own gels, and good thing because there was not anything on the course. One aid station may have had bananas, but there were no gels or food.
  • There was also no sports drink or electrolytes on the course. Also glad I had my Nuun.
  • Very friendly volunteers, and so thankful that they braved the elements to be out there. It was NOT a great day for it.
  • The course was very well marked, although L told me that some people got lost and ran LOTS of extra miles. Don't see how.
  • Unisex shirt that is HUGE that I will never wear. I already gave it away so no picture.
  • Unexpected medal as there was no advertisement that we would be getting one.
  • NOTHING AT THE FINISH. Thanks.
  • L got second in her age group and got a separate medal. I also got second in my age group and no special medal. Guess that was just for the half?
  • Maybe my experience would have been better if I would have just stuck with the half. I just get SO AGGRAVATED when a crap is taken down before everyone is finished. One third of the marathon runners were slower than me, and yet it was all gone before I got there.
  • Only two port-o-potties at the start, so lines were pretty long. There were about 200 runners between the half and the full, and there was also a 5K that started 10 minutes after us.
I really hate writing that a race wasn't good, but... this one FOR ME was just NOT. I mean, there is nothing a race director can do to control the weather. I understand that. But I think the weird course should have been clarified. I think that if you advertise an aid station will have Gatorade and GU, then it should have that. And I also think that a finish line should remain up for as long as the course is open.... With that said. Beautiful course, and if you know what you are in for, maybe it would be fine.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Week in Review (September 30 - October 6)

Tuesday - After two days off after Bear Chase and not being sore, I decided to run after work. I forced myself to stop after 3 (speedy) miles. Weird, fantastic run.
Wednesday - 3.5 mile run during lunch. After work went to BodyPump - still hate this release.
Thursday - 4.25 miles. Still speedy, pretty good. Stopped because I started feeling a nagging ache in behind my left knee.
Friday - Easy 3 miles during lunch, stretching after work.
Saturday - 6ish miles on the treadmill. Went to the Hot Chocolate expo, then a BBQ with friends at the park. Ate way too much and in bed EARLY.
Sunday - Hot Chocolate 15K. I have ZERO recollection of what I did the remainder of the day.
Monday - CHAOS. Due to low numbers, this was the last week :(

Weekly Miles Run - 29.19
Minutes of Cross Training - 60
Minutes of Strength/Stretching - 73

Weekly Loss - 3.6 pounds (116.0)
  • Lost the weird 3ish pounds I gained after Bear Chase and about another half pound. Seems about right with the food/beer consumption this week.
Everything Else 
  • Quite possibly the most uninteresting week ever. So, here is a picture of A with the ice cream cone she made earning her pottery badge with the Girl Scouts.


Monday, October 6, 2014

Hot Chocolate 15K (Race Recap)

Denver, CO
Sunday, October 5
First 15K, instant PR!
Weather - chilly before the start, then pretty perfect


Saturday

Supposedly NO race day pick-up for the Hot Chocolate Race (which is a lie), so we headed over to the National Western Complex to pay $5 to pick up our gear. We were received a 3/4 zip jacket instead of the usual race shirt, and a neat feature was being able to try on the jacket while you were there so you could exchange if it didn't fit. They were a bit more fitted than expected, but I still kept my original size. I didn't buy anything, but there was a lot of merchandise and a few additional vendors (the norm - Sweaty Bands, Skirt Sports and Gypsy Runner).

Sunday

The 15k started at 7:50 and they suggested being in your corral by 6:30 (Can you hear me laughing from way over here?) We dropped off the kids and picked up my dad around 6:15. About a 20-25 minute drive to my work parking garage, where we would only be about 5 blocks to the start area. We arrived just as the 5k was starting (7:00), and in the amount of time it took us to use the bathrooms (no line) and watch my dad try to pin his bib on, the fastest runners had already completed the race. We dawdled around until about 5 minutes before the race started, quick bag drop, and got into our corrals.

Capital building on one side of the street
Civic Center Building on the other
L was in the fastest corral, I was in the one behind her, and my dad was two behind me. I started around 7:53. I have had a bizarre string of "fast" and short runs the last few days and was interested to see how the day would go.

First off, there were only 4 aid stations, and I had decided to use my new Orange Mud handheld (use code BECKASPEEPS to save 10% if you are dying to have one as well!) in lieu of a belt. It turned out to be AWESOME, and all my fluid was grape Nuun. I started in the very back of my corral and tried to take it easy the first mile. When the mile beeped, I was surprised to see it just over 10 minute pace, I had thought it felt slower.

My heart rate never felt elevated and I never had the fire calves, but my lower legs and feet did go numb for about half the race. I walked a bit longer through the first aid station hoping to loosen it up. And THEN, for the first time in probably four years, I had to stop and tie my shoe?!?  I kept my arm sleeves on for the first few miles, gloves stayed on until mile 3 or 4.

Between those two bouts of walking, I felt great until about mile 4, which is when I started to get kind of hot and tired. I was wearing the Newton Fate, which I wore during my last marathon, and they just did NOT seem as comfortable as they did on the dirt. So that was a bummer.

I had thought the course would be similar to that of Denver RnR, but it wasn't. I didn't take any pictures of the course because nothing was interesting. Except my favorite Team Beef guys:



On an out and back section (I was just under 6 miles), I saw both L and Heather. They looked like they were cruising! I saw Ross ahead of me and it took until the last aid station around mile 7.5 for me to catch him.

I don't even remember the last part of the course. Since the race finishes less than a half mile from my office, everything was familiar and I started pushing for the finish with about a half mile to go. I ended feeling pretty good.

There was live tracking, so L knew exactly when I was finished and texted me where they were so I could find them.

No idea what is in my pocket. Gloves?
Pretty sure I have food chocolate in my mouth 
We chatted for a bit with Heather and Dan before heading to the finish area to wait for my Dad, who ended up finishing right as we walked over.

My Dad looks stunned :D
Cool medal, delicious chocolate. A bit pricey, but I would probably do again.

Official Time - 1:37:34
Overall Place - 1653/3110
Gender Place - 11628/2407
Division Place - 229/483
Official 5K - 32:54
Official 10K - 1:05:55
Garmin Time - 1:37:36
Garmin Distance - 9.39 miles
Garmin Pace - 10:24
Mile 1 - 10:04
Mile 2 - 10:42
Mile 3 - 10:29
Mile 4 - 10:14
Mile 5 - 10:56
Mile 6 - 10:26
Mile 7 - 10:32
Mile 8 - 10:28
Mile 9 - 10:12
Mile 9.39 - 9:06 (!)

Thoughts:
  • I really don't like to pay to go to an expo. $5 isn't that bad I GUESS, but I hate not having any other option.
  • This was CRAZY organized. Really, very easy to navigate, everything clearly marked. Zero complaints about organization.
  • PLENTY of bathrooms at the start and on the course.
  • "Treats" at every aid station, although I actually did not partake in that.
  • Cool finisher mug with hot chocolate, chocolate fondue.
  • Nice jacket, I may actually wear in the winter for running, if I venture outside.
  • Not a super great course, but mostly flat and pretty fast (if you happen to be a fast runner).
  • Overall, I would recommend this race.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Week in Review (September 23 - September 29)

Tuesday - I headed out of work about 15 minutes early so I could get a loop on North Table Mesa done before dark. 7.15 miles at the fastest pace I've ever done on the loop. Weather was perfect and I finished just as the sun was setting. Felt great the whole run! Also did some stretching at home.
Wednesday - BodyPump! Hadn't been in a while. I really don't like the new release of this. It seems BodyPump is headed more towards a "Cross Fit" type of program and I don't like it. The moves are so fast and there are a binbillion reps and it seems like a recipe for disaster/injury. Hope the instructor doesn't have to teach this one for too long :(
Thursday - Finally got to try out the new treadmills at the gym. YES, THERE ARE NEW TREADMILLS AT THE GYM. I have been going to my gym for 5 years and these are the first NEW treadmills they gym has had in that amount of time. I had eaten too much at dinner so my run wasn't the greatest (stomach-wise), but leg wise... these treadmills were pretty great.


Friday - Pizza and my friend's 40th birthday BBQ and beer.


Saturday - Bear Chase 50.
Sunday - Me and A were up even EARLIER than I had been up on Saturday to volunteer for the shorter distances at the Bear Chase. We were assigned to the Cattail Creek aid station, so we would only be seeing the half marathon runners. The race didn't start until 7 (and our aid station was only 2.4 miles to the finish), but they had us arriving at 5 am. That was ROUGH. The first hour or so we were standing around (freezing) and talking, waiting for our supplies to arrive.

A enjoyed running sections of the course - including up "mini Mt. Everest"
The set up did not take long. A and I took the first shift of being a course marshal at the turn for "mini Mt. Everest." We had lots of volunteers, so mostly we were cheering on the runners and getting water bottles filled. I'd guess at least half the runners didn't even stop at our aid stations though. We went to Sweet Tomatoes for brunch and then took a MUCH needed two hour nap. Don't really remember the rest of the day.
Monday - Skipped CHAOS, watched tv.

Weekly Miles Run - 62.46
Minutes of Cross Training - 0
Minutes of Strength/Stretching - 73

Weekly Gain - 3.2 pounds (119.6)
  • I started getting REALLY hungry Thursday. I ate a decent amount Friday. Saturday, during the race, I really didn't eat that much and didn't have a huge dinner after. Sunday, I also ate a lot. I didn't really track food because, wow, during a race like that it just doesn't even make sense. I don't think this is all "true" weight gain. We'll see what the scale says next week.
Everything Else
  • This about sums it up...
  • I have not heard back from my interview. I followed up last week. I didn't have a good feeling about it, so I am not surprised, although I suppose they could still be slammed with other interviews, as I know they were looking to fill various positions across the board.
  • In only TWO weeks, I will be celebrating an ENTIRE YEAR without a single date. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Bear Chase Trail Run 50 Miler (Race Recap)

Lakewood, CO
Saturday, September 27
Ultra Marathon #11
Weather - HOT HOT HOT HOT


After I ran the 50 mile at Bear Chase in 2011 I swore I would never do it again, mainly because of the 12 hour time limit. For most of the year, NYC was the goal race, so when registration opened, I initially registered for the 50K. But then, I signed up for a 100 mile race in November and thought I might as well bump up to the 50 mile and see where I was at. Thanks to the addition of the 100K distance in 2013, the time limit was now a luxurious 15 hours.

And then I starting watching the extended forecast. With every passing day the forecast was for warmer and warmer temperatures. I was cursing myself for upgrading. I have run this race three times already and I know how hot it gets. A brief conversation with my dad:

Me: "Will I see you on the course again?" (he has been known to ride his bike over to the park to spot me on the course).
Dad: "Yeah, I'll come see you. IN THE EMERGENCY ROOM. You should be running something shorter."

Uh. Ok. And with that in mind...

I woke up at 4:40, hoping to get out the door in about a half hour. I had packed 99% of my things on Thursday, to allow for things I would inevitably forget to load up on Friday night or Saturday morning. I had a piece of pepperoni pretzel pizza for breakfast and a cup of coffee. Headed to the race around 5:15. I arrived at the lot at Bandimere around 5:40, briefly talked with Dan about possibly pacing, then got on the shuttle to head to the start.

I had picked up a bib for a friend, and was worried about having the time to find him before the race, stash my things and use the bathroom. Luckily, I found fellow INKnBURN ambassador Jeff with no problems, and we did the quick bag hand off. I ran into Courtney and Luke, who offered to let me use their tent to store my bag so my stuff would be easier to find. It was GREATLY appreciated as by the time I had arrived the drop bag area was pretty much full.

Quick trip through the bathroom line, and one picture before the start.

Jeff and Me
I had no idea how the day would go. Other than the marathon I ran on Labor Day I hadn't logged anything longer than a half marathon since the beginning of August.

Loop 1 (2:36:48)

I was literally the last runner across the timing mat as I knew I would be going slow and steady all day. My calves are unpredictable and can seize up with virtually no notice. I didn't want to end up causing a traffic jam if I needed to walk on a single track section.

The first few miles were fairly quiet and uneventful. Briefly, I felt a bit chilled in the shaded area, but knew it would heat up fast, so I was grateful for the cooler temps.



The race started about 20 minutes before sunrise, so we were able to have a nice view of a beautiful sunrise (before the giant ball of fire tried to kill us all):


The only near fall I had was very early in the race. I tripped over a root or a rock. Regardless, I managed to catch myself without actually hitting the ground. Hurray!!


My legs had finally started to warm up, and after only a few short walk breaks, I felt good enough to actually run. I didn't have to grab anything at the first aid station and headed out toward Mt. Carbon.
Heading to Mt. Carbon - Loop 1 (This whole section of the course was under FEET of water last year)
My strategy for Mt. Carbon is always the same. WALK. I am a terrible uphill runner and I know it just tires me out.

I swear, it's taller than it looks
I started chatting with a guy who remembered me from Chase the Moon (turns out it was Dustin Lee). It still felt cool running along the backside of Mt. Carbon, by the golf course until we entered the "woods" with the river crossings. The water was DEFINITELY deeper than I remembered.
River Crossing - Loop 1
It wasn't super hot yet, but the river crossing still felt nice. I remember commenting to Dustin on the short sidewalk portion of the course that it usually felt uphill here, but at this point in time it seemed flat. We parted ways at the aid station so he could change socks. I can't remember if I grabbed any food at this stop - might have taken coffee cake. I had some coke and headed out of Fox Hollow to the Cattail Creek aid station.

It is somewhat flat (maybe a gradual uphill) until you hit this monstrosity of a hill about a half mile in. I have never taken a picture of that particular hill, but it is SOUL CRUSHING. I power walked up the hill and then ran almost the whole section in the "marsh" until I had to stop and use the bathroom at the aid station.

Overlooking the golf course
I was feeling great at this point, and even the last 2.4 miles from Cattail back to the start seemed to go by decently fast. I really only recall walking "Mini Mt. Everest."
View from top of "Mini Mt. Everest"
I was really surprised when I saw how fast I run the first loop. Back at the start I grabbed a 1/4 PB&J, filled my water bottles with more Nuun and ice, reapplied sunscreen, briefly talked to Luke and headed out.

Loop 2 (2:39:59)

It was starting to get really hot. I had seen my friend Kate changing clothes at the start line and within a few minutes she cruised by me. She made the run look so easy!

I had to change my strategy early on. I was feeling mostly ok, but just sort of... "off" in the head. Not really dizzy, not really light-headed, just "off." I walked a bit more than I should have, but tried to run all the flats and downhills and anywhere there was shade.


Looks like the middle of nowhere (really, on the way to Mt. Carbon)
Have I mentioned the sun was TRYING TO KILL ME DEAD???
Halfway up Mt. Carbon
Everything seemed just a "tad" harder than the first loop. Mt. Carbon seemed to take longer and seemed steeper. I got a second wind at the top of the hill and felt like I flew down the backside and over the rivers and through the wood (see what I did there?)


The water crossings felt EXTRA great his loop:


I took off my shoes halfway up the sidewalk. Just as I remembered from years past, it felt GLORIOUS. I knocked all the sand out of my shoes and everything dried up almost instantaneously. More coke and coffee cake at Fox Hollow. Thankfully, they are giving out ice water now. The sun is practically boiling the water in my jet pack. So hot.

I run about half the section to the horrible hill. Already struggling. Run most of the section in the marsh to Cattail. See friend from run club a the aid station. Hot. Grab pickles and more PB&J.

Valley near Cattail
Everything is a blur until I get back to the aid station. I am REALLY surprised that my pace seems to have not changed substantially from the first loop.

Reapply sunscreen. More Nuun. More Mountain Dew. Talk briefly with Courtney (who had to drop due to illness) and Luke. Head back out. Halfway done.

Loop 3 (2:57:23)

And then the wheels start turning. I mean, nothing HURTS yet. I am tired, but not in pain. I had no real goal going into the race other than to hopefully be done before it got dark enough to require a headlamp (maybe around 12.5 hours). If I could maintain a reasonable pace... what if I could beat my other 50 mile time?

The giant ball of fire in the sky is trying to kill me. No doubt about it. There are still ZERO clouds. It is hot. I am not feeling well. I have taken a handful of gels by now (maybe 4), but just tiny bits of food. I feel light-headed and... well, HOT.



I'm pretty much only running downhills and half the flats. I am finding it increasingly difficult to keep moving. My IT band is holding up but putting up a bit of a fight running down the back of Mt. Carbon. Salvation:


The crossings are AMAZING. Maybe I will  survive after all. Shoes off again, walk up the sidewalk, more ice water, more coffee cake (getting stale), run/walk until I get passed the hill. Half run, half walk until Cattail.

Still monitoring my time, I am definitely on track for a possible PR as long as I don't totally fall apart.

Loop 4 (3:16:08)

I cross the line for the last time until I will finish. More Nuun, pickles, and Coke. More sunscreen. I see Ben and he asks how I am doing. I say, "great, I think, on track for a PR!" Dan chases me asking if he can pace me now. Ben tells him no pacers allowed until 3. I arrive about 15 minutes too early for one. So I headed out. Much more walking than running. Right as I'm heading into Pelican Point Dan shows up with a pacer bib. Looks like I will have company for the last 10 miles.

I tell him the ULTIMATE goal would be to finish by 6:00, secondary goal would be to PR. I hate to feel tired. I hate for things to hurt. But I REALLY wanted a PR, and a BIG one. I turned off the headphones and tried not to hate Dan too much for his harassment encouraging words. On fresh legs, he was anxious to run and was scurrying up hills like it was nothing.

Somewhere around the river crossings (about 45 miles in), was when my body finally started to hurt. My right hip was bothering me, and on the climbs my ass was aching with every step. I did NOT want to stop. I wanted to keep moving, I wanted to run. I WANTED THAT PR.

I ran tiny bits here and there. I tried to open up my stride (sometimes it is really a bummer being so short). I barely stopped at Cattail. It was going to be VERY close for me to hit that OMG goal of 6:00, which would put me at finishing in 11.5 hours.

My Garmin 220 (with an 8-10 hour battery life) had lasted 10:44:xx until mile 46.75, when I put it in watch mode so I could monitor the time.

I hurt so bad. Dan ran the last section until the road. ran down the big hill, on the first section of road. I walked to the corner and then ran it in until the finish. I COULD NOT BELIEVE MY EYES WHEN I SAW THE FINISHER CLOCK STILL READ 11:30:XX.

I had done it. I hate making goals with myself during a race because INEVITABLY, something will go wrong. Yet somehow, the impossible had happened. I had run a 22 minute PR on the day that Colorado decided to mirror the surface of the sun.


Not sure I could smile bigger if I tried.



From the Garmin:
Miles 1-5 (12:26, 12:37, 12:33, 12:23, 11:56)
Miles 6-10 (13:55, 12:13, 13:14, 13:49, 12:40)
Miles 11-15 (13:18, 11:06, 12:44, 12:52, 11:23)
Miles 16-20 (12:38, 12:51, 13:47, 10:29, 12:49)
Miles 21-25 (15:56, 12:43, 14:21, 12:29, 12:59)
Miles 26-30 (13:56, 12:33, 12:47, 14:57, 13:01)
Miles 31-35 (16:15, 12:58, 17:16, 14:43, 14:10)
Miles 36-40 (14:49, 13:19, 15:12, 14:48, 14:02)
Miles 41-46.75 (16:20, 14:50, 17:37, 14:09, 16:26, 19:01, 15:21)

Dan headed off to change clothes and I immediately found beer and a seat in the grass.

Beer never tasted so good
After sitting and absorbing everything that happened I realized I should eat something. I was hoping for grilled cheese, but there wasn't any. Instead, I had delicious pancakes and sausage. Dan offered to pay for me to sit in Elevated Legs for 20 minutes. I swear I felt like a new person after:



Thoughts:
  • 50 miles is hard. It's especially hard on a super hot day. However, I think it helped me this time to know EXACTLY what I was in for. The only other 50 miler I have run was this same course, in very similar weather. I made sure to hydrate as best as I could, and I tried to stave off cramps as best as I could. I think I ran about as smart as I could, considering the conditions.
  • I did NOT hate the experience as much as last time. The last time I was racing the clock to finish in the course cutoff of 12 hours. Arguably, I am not as fast as I was in 2011, yet I managed to finish substantially faster.
  • This is one of the best trail races I have run, which is why I have now run four years in a row. From start to finish, everything is planned very well. The course is very well marked. Never have I felt like I would get lost or miss a turn. Course markings - A+
  • The aid stations are wonderful. The volunteers are top notch. I would have preferred something other than Honey Stinger gels (I just don't like how they taste), but I always bring my own so that was a non-issue. They always have a ton of different "ultra" foods out. Fig newtons, sandwiches, chips, pretzels, salted watermelon, M&M's, pickles, Coke/Mountain Dew/Ginger Ale. AND ICE. THANK GOD THEY HAD ICE.
  • The finish line party is the best. They leave EVERYTHING up for the very last finishers. As a back of the pack runner, I cannot even express how much this means to me. I love arriving and still having the announcer there. Still having PLENTY of beer and soda and food. It's so nice to not be alone at the finish.
  • FREE RACE PICTURES. FREE. FREE. FREE.
  • I will obviously run this again next year, although maybe not the 50 mile. Gotta let the PR stand for a while.