Tuesday, September 2, 2014

American Discovery Trail Marathon (Race Recap)

Monday, September 1
Colorado Springs, CO
Marathon #25
Weather - about as perfect as you can get

I knew I was going to struggle with getting in long runs as training for both NYC and Big Cedar 100. L suggested I run the marathon for this course while she ran the half. So, not really thinking, I registered for the American Discovery Trail marathon, to be held on Labor Day. The price tag was very reasonable, only $81 ($20 more than the half marathon) after fees.

One of my good friends got married this weekend. Sunday night, to be exact. I knew we were going to be eating, drinking and participating in merriment until very late. In fact, we stayed until the very end, which (luckily?) was only about 11:15. Jessa agreed to watch A and I headed home to get some sleep. NOT VERY MUCH SLEEP... I crawled into bed just before midnight, with my alarm going off at 3:38. And that was only going to give me about 20 minutes to get ready and out of the house.

I had packed all my stuff the night before, so really all I had to do was get dressed and make coffee. We got out the door just before 4 am. The drive to Colorado Springs is about an hour and fifteen minutes, and of course, at that hour, there was no traffic. Thanks to L for driving. We arrived at the America the Beautiful park about 15 minutes before the last shuttle bus left for the marathon. I used the bathroom and got on the bus. My first concern was the the bone on the top inner part of my right foot was HURTING - I thought it might be the tongue of my shoe just hitting it weird, but no - it felt bruised or something. I wonder if this was from the 5" heels I spent Saturday and Sunday night in. Or maybe it was all the dancing at the wedding... Anyway, in an effort to prevent the inevitable hangover, I (shamefully?) had a beer on the bus on the way to the start. Shhhh. The start was all the way back up north off the Monument Hill exit - at Palmer Lake.

We arrived at the start area with only about 18 minutes until the marathon start. I picked up my bib and got in the bathroom line. I walked up to the start right as we were starting.

Walk to the start line at Palmer Lake
What. Was. I. Thinking?

I haven't run a marathon since New Years, and the only real distance I have done was the Fat Ass I ran in MARCH and Chase the Moon. I was just hoping that my foot was going to hold up. I did NOT want to be out there forever.

I had worn arm sleeves, as it was pretty chilly at the start - I'm guessing upper 40's. For some reason I had thought the course was going to be on pavement, but it was actually on hard-packed dirt. That was much better. I started near the back and ran on feel. I looked at my watch only when the mile markers clicked. The first mile clicked at a comfortable 10:30ish pace, and then as the miles went on, my pace got faster. I was already hot by the first aid station at mile 2 and the arm sleeves came off. The course is a net 1200' loss, although it felt mostly flat to me. There were only a few uphills, so the running felt easier. The cooler temps also helped.

Everything felt fine for the first 7 or 8 miles. I took my first non-aid station walk break around mile 8. The aid station around mile 9.5. I was starting to get a headache. I hadn't been able to eat breakfast, and I was feeling "off." I noticed two cans of Bud Light on the table - I said "you have beer???" The volunteer said, "yeah, do you want one?" YES. YES I DO. I took a big swig right at the table and then ran with it until I finished it, about 15 minutes later. FYI, beer is foamy and hard to run with. I felt MUCH better after beer #2.

Then, of course, I started to feel like I had to use the bathroom, and decided I would stop at the first one I saw. My legs felt ok, but my stomach really didn't. I finally found a port-o-potty around mile 16. For the first time in a race, two of my GU packets fell on the floor of the bathroom. EW. Luckily, the aid station had extras, and I grabbed one.

I don't know if it was the extended stop, but I lost whatever energy I had after that aid station. I certainly started walking more and babysitting my watch. Somewhere around maybe mile 18 or 19, the course briefly went on sidewalk, which actually seemed to make my feet happy. The course had really thinned out a lot, and I was either alone or I started passing people, and took note of how they looked more miserable than I did.

I really didn't start to feel terrible until maybe mile 22 or 23. I didn't even really feel AWFUL, I was just tired and getting hot and really wanting to be done. I sent L a message when I got to mile 23 so she could get an idea of when I would be finishing. The last mile felt like it lasted FOREVER. There was an old man I was trying desperately to chase. Finally, I saw a crowd at a bridge and I knew we were almost there, so I kicked it in. BAD IDEA. The final .2 went on forever and ever. But at least I beat the old guy.

Official Time - 4:38:26
Official 7.8 miles - 1:18:34
Official 17.1 miles - 2:58:42
Official 22 miles - 3:51:22
Garmin Time - 4:38:28
Garmin Distance - 26.33
Garmin Pace - 10:35
Mile 1-5 - 10:36, 10:01, 10:04, 9:53, 10:09
Mile 6-10 - 9:53, 10:06, 10:03, 10:56, 10:36
Mile 11-15 - 10:38, 10:04, 9:56, 10:57, 10:41
Mile 16-20 - 12:10 (bathroom), 10:36, 10:33, 10:33, 10:12
Mile 21-26.2 - 10:57, 10:50, 10:50, 11:25, 11:23, 11:09, 9:56

SOMEHOW, with no speed work (although, just ask L, the net downhill course makes it "easy) - I managed to pull off my fastest marathon time in 2.5 years, and I think the fastest I have ever run a marathon at altitude. I don't care if the course was "easy" or not. I worked hard and I'm pretty damn pleased with how this went. L found me at the finish, and my dad was there with Hannah. I was in no mood to eat, but I was happy they had soda at the finish. I briefly looked for beer but didn't see any. Grabbed my goodie bag with the awesome neon yellow shirt, and we headed back home.


  • Thankfully, whatever weird thing I had going on with my foot was not an issue. It still feels off today, but it apparently did not bother me that much when I was running.
  • I really enjoyed this course. The dirt was very runnable - and the views were spectacular. We really had some great weather. There was a lot of sunshine, but a slight breeze kept the temperatures down.
  • Well stocked aid stations - all had Gatorade and water, and about half of them also had Hammer gels in various flavors. And of course, the one had beer. I was worried 14 aid stations for the marathon would not be enough, but they were spaced well, I did not carry my own fluids, and I never felt like I wasn't going to make it.
  • Course was very well marked - there was really no chance of getting lost on this one...
  • Even though most of the trail is sort of out in the middle of nowhere, it wasn't closed to the public, so there were a decent number of cyclists and other people out there. At every opportunity, there were spectators. Decent crowd support.
  • LOVE the race shirt. Women's cut Brooks tee in a super fun neon yellow. The men's shirt was royal blue.
  • Fantastic views and vendors/food at the finish. There were sodas, watermelon, pizza, Chick-Fil-A and tons of other things that I didn't even wander around to look at.
  • Would I run this one again? ABSOLUTELY. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Bergen Peak Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Saturday, August 30
Evergreen, CO
Half Marathon #115
Colorado Half #51
Weather - sunny and warm

A very small and not very well-advertised race, as soon as I saw Bergen Peak was an official half marathon, I wanted to run it. I have run up to the peak a few times - most recently about a month ago. The race was only $30, so we added it to our schedule.

The race started at 8 am, so we didn't have to get up very early. We dropped off the kids at my parents around 6:30 and arrived with over 45 minutes to the start at the rec center in Evergreen.

I have run much of the area up near the Peak, but since there are so many trails at the base, I grabbed a map - just in case. The night before, the race director sent out an email saying the course would be cup-free. What that really meant was that there was no support at all for the race.

We lined up and started right at 8 - me closer to the back. My calves and legs were very tight and I was walking probably 3/4 of a mile in. The course narrowed early on, so at least the faster people were able to get in front of me. The problem was is that I never really saw anyone again... It is very discouraging for me when my body struggles so much on the "easy" sections of a course. I don't like getting so tired so early on. It is what it is.

We headed up the peak from a different trail than I had run before. I didn't find it nearly as steep as the route I normally run, but that also meant I didn't really know where I was. I didn't run that much on the way up, but I tried to alternate jogging and hiking.

I'm not grimacing, I'm happy :D
I was making pretty decent time (relatively speaking), and when I headed up the one mile switchbacks to the peak I actually saw other runners heading down - including L, who only seemed to be about 15 minutes ahead of me. I managed to pass one older guy near the top. FINALLY, I wasn't going to be LAST.

At the summit
I briefly looked at the view from the top and then began the run down. I am substantially better/faster at the downs than the ups, and somewhere around mile 10 I managed to catch one more runner. She seemed really surprised that I cruised by her.

It was much hotter than I expected and I was ROASTING by the time I got off the mountain, and yet there were multiple people wearing long sleeves and capris. It's like I'm not even in the same climate as everyone else.

Not much to say about this as a "race." We got a nice tech tee, a generic top for their entire trail race series. There was water and bagels at the finish, although I didn't take anything.

I would probably run this again, although L was unimpressed. She does NOT enjoy trail running.

Garmin Time - 3:14:36 (the last time I did 9.5 it took 2:42, so not disappointed)
Elevation Gain - 2,403'
Mile 1 - 11:54
Mile 2 - 11:06
Mile 3 - 14:17
Mile 4 - 16:07
Mile 5 - 21:27
Mile 6 - 26:01
Mile 7 - 21:06
Mile 8 - 14:55
Mile 9 - 12:43
Mile 10 - 12:14
Mile 11 - 10:54
Mile 12 - 13:34
Mile 13 - 11:10

  • This race might have had the least information EVER about the course - since I had at least summited the peak before, I at least knew what to expect.
  • The trail is beautiful. I spent a lot of time between miles 5 and 7 taking pictures - I might have been able to catch a few more people if I wouldn't have done that. (Moving time was 9 minutes faster - so I clearly wasted a lot of time, lol)
  • I really enjoy trail running and this race. It was a lot of fun for me.
  • If they put on this race again I will likely run it.
  • If you run this race - BRING YOUR OWN FUEL AND WATER.  I was really surprised to see the number of people that had no water at ALL. Crazy.
  • I consider myself to be a decent trail runner and I was OUT OF MY ELEMENT on this course. I was the third to last finisher - with for ME a fairly decent time. The people in this race were crazy fast.
  • No crowd support of course, but the trail wasn't closed so the people hiking and biking seemed relatively impressed :D

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Week in Review (August 19 - August 25)

Tuesday - slow and easy 6ish miles on the treadmill, which I didn't hate (according to dailymile).
Wednesday - A few minutes on the elliptical while waiting for the treadmill during lunch, where I did a few miles. BodyPump at night.
Thursday - 5 horrid treadmill miles.
Friday - Pizza! Beer!
Saturday - Runapalooza half marathon. L, A and I went to coffee with our runner friend Ross - always fun to talk about running with other crazy people, although A said "ALL YOU GUYS ARE TALKING ABOUT IS RUNNING." Um. Yes. Took the kids to see "How to Train your Dragon 2" - and it was cute.

Sunday - Up early for A's second trail race! Did a quick arms video while A was getting ready. On our way out the door, we had neighbors warn us that we had a giant raccoon in our tree...

Called animal control (nothing they could do) and headed to Bear Creek Park. A decided to run without me, with the big kids. And then after she was done, she let me "re-run" the course with her. She ended up doing something like 5 miles. Crazy. If you are in the Denver area - I encourage you to check out "Mountain Goat Kids" - they are awesome! For $15 you get a trail run for kids ONLY, complete with an aid station, food at the end, shirt AND medal.

Pre-race - because she is weird.

She wore her medal ALL DAY LONG so she could show everyone how "awesome" she is (her words).
Monday - CHAOS. Not the most interesting class.

Weekly Miles Run - 26.83
Minutes of Cross Training - 67
Minutes of Strength/Stretching - 69

Weekly Loss - 1.4 pounds (120.6)
  • So I must have forgotten to mention that I got a FitBit. This has not really changed my eating habits, but I am in friendly competition with some folks and if nothing else, it motivates me to walk a bit more.
  • Food was pretty Great this week. Pizza is always delicious, and my mom made her famous chocolate chip zucchini cookies - and I had lots of those.
  • Beer not out of control and I tried THREE new ones this week. Mmmmm. Beer.
Everything Else
  • I am on the fence about the Bear Chase. I am currently registered for the 50k. Now that I have registered for that 100M, should I move up to the 50M? In the past, I would have said no because of the 12 hour time limit (which I BARELY met when I ran it before). Now the time limit is 15 hours, with the only cutoff being at 37.5 miles (11.5 hours). I think I should bump up...
  • Did I mention that I am running two races this weekend? A mountain half on Saturday and a road marathon on Monday.
  • Did I also mention that I have a bachelorette party on Friday night, a rehearsal dinner on Saturday night and a wedding on Sunday night?
  • Related: this weekend might kill me.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Runapalooza Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Saturday, August 23
Arvada, CO
Half Marathon #114
Colorado Half #50
Weather - SUNNY, warm

One of the last races put on by All-Out-Multisport that I haven't run yet was the Runapalooza. Located about ten minutes from my house, it was a no brainer. Even though the race started at 7, we didn't need to drop off the kids until about 6:15. We arrived with more than a half hour to spare, but the parking lots were already pretty full. I think this was one of the first races this series has sold out, so it was more crowded than usual.

We were able to use the bathrooms inside the rec center, so that was nice. We headed outside with about 8 minutes to spare, knowing that the race director is so chatty that we would likely start late anyway. PS - it was SUNNY AND BRIGHT at the start.

I lined up mid to back of the back. I had a really rough week of running and I knew my legs were going to feel tired and heavy. I made it through the first mile without too much trouble, and then it was pretty much all over from there.

The entire race is run on the Ralston Creek trail - where I ran Spring Fever and the Ralston Creek half. It is not really a terrible path, it is just fairly exposed in most areas. I was pretty surprised that the shaded areas (first couple miles) didn't feel too horrible. I just was not in the mood to run. I took multiple walk breaks every mile.

This might be the best race sign I have ever seen:

There is a long mile and a half incline up around the reservoir. I had a man come up to me when the switchbacks started and tell me that he was so glad he caught me because every time he came close I would start running again. I took off and didn't see him again the rest of the race.

For me, there isn't much point in running up this hill. I am just not in the shape I used to be and it trashes my legs. So I did a lot of walking on the inclines. I had one mile that was almost 13 minutes. Womp womp. It was nice that I actually passed some people on the climb. The views were nice, if only it wouldn't have been so sunny.

Around mile 5.5 or 6 is when the course finally goes downhill before leveling out toward the end. I really do a great job of running downhill, and I passed probably 25-30 people on the backside of the hill. I still did a decent amount of run/walk intervals when it flattened out. I just did not have anything in me during this one.

Bib #677
Official Time - 2:23:22
Official Pace - 10:57
Overall Place - 146/208
Gender Place - 83/131
Division Place - 30/38
Garmin Time - 2:23:23
Garmin Distance 13.13 miles
Garmin Pace - 10:55
Mile 1 - 10:34
Mile 2 - 11:49
Mile 3 - 11:38
Mile 4 - 11:51
Mile 5 - 12:53
Mile 6 - 10:26
Mile 7 - 10:39
Mile 8 - 9:58
Mile 9 - 10:43
Mile 10 - 10:16
Mile 11 - 10:28
Mile 12 - 10:31
Mile 13 - 10:15
Mile 13.1 - 10:34

I saw Heather at the finish - she rocked the 10k and won 3rd in her AG.

We stuck around for the awards since All-Out gives out a TON of raffle prices. L and I both won free custom cones from Cold Stone.

  • All-Out puts on a great race. The course is always well-marked and the aid stations are always well-stocked with friendly volunteers. The trash is always a reasonable distance from the table so you don't have to stand there to drink (or litter).
  • All her races allow for a "drop station" at the first aid station if you decide to drop gear. It all gets taken back to the start by the time people are finishing.
  • The race shirts are always really nice and gender specific. This one I won't wear though because it is white and it is too see through for me. (Sorry, no pic - just imagine the poster above as the logo on the front on a thin white shirt).
  • The medals have gotten much better. She gives medals for all distances, and each one is distance specific.
  • Finish line has great food - breakfast burritos. My only complaint is no beer. Why not? Beer is the best :D
  • The raffles are fantastic - she gives out a TON of prizes, from gift certificates to local restaurants, gift cards to massage envy and random things like water bottles. I think we have won something every race.
  • Her races are very competitively prices - I think you can get in during "regular" registration for under $60.
  • With all that said... I really hate the course that this was on. It's a gradual to steepish uphill for the first 5.5 to 6 miles and pretty exposed. It is not AS bad during the cooler months, but this was not a lot of fun in the hot sun.
  • 7 is still pretty late to start. I will keep petitioning for a 6:30 start! It's light by then!
  • I probably won't run this again, mainly because there are so many other races to do. Maybe if I have nothing on my calendar next year...

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Week in Review (August 12 - August 18)

Tuesday - Back on the treadmill. Maybe because I thought it would be the WORST RUN EVER, it turned out to be just that. My "easy" pace felt impossible, and I walked more than I have ever walked (sans injury) on a treadmill run. I think I gutted out 5ish miles, but I didn't log it and I have no idea on pace. I hated every second of this run. So when I got home I decided I should try a video, so I did one of the arms videos I used to do with some regularity. OMG IT WAS THE HARDEST EVER. I am SO WEAK. What.
Wednesday - Played hooky from work! Ariel and I went hiking in Boulder. The hike was a bit more technical than I expected, but she did a great job.

We hiked to the summit in between the two jaggedy rocks on the right!

We met up with my sister at the Southern Sun in Boulder and I splurged on grilled cheese and beer. Yum. Then, we went to run club. Such a fun day!

A is smoking us in her new Pure Flow 2's
Thursday - Oh wait. Just when I thought running couldn't get any worse, it did. This was also The Worst Run Ever. I barely made it over 4 miles. Same issue, "easy" pace felt impossible. Lots of walking (again) and had to settle for super slow jog at incline. Treadmill, I hate you.
Friday - Up early. Went to A's school to find out who her teacher was going to be and then a long drive to Glenwood Springs. After lunch (which was actually breakfast), we went to the hot springs with the kids.
A refused to strike a pose
Early to bed.
Saturday - Glenwood Springs half  marathon and the longest drive ever home.
Sunday - Nothing in the morning and then roller skating in the afternoon.
Monday - CHAOS. Dead. Half the class was outside and we had to do tire flips and sledgehammer swings. I'm STILL THE WEAKEST PERSON EVER.

Weekly Miles Run - 23.50 (13.1 trail race, 8.95 treadmill, 1.45 road)
Minutes of Cross Training - 60 + hiking and a lot of walking this week
Minutes of Strength/Stretching - 20

Weekly Gain - 1.4 (122.0)
  • Considering all the crap I ate, I'm actually surprised this isn't worse. I had soooo many things this week that I would not normally have. And it was all worth it and delicious. 

Everything Else
  • I have a third grader!!!!!!
  • So our AC was leaking and it flooded the spare bedroom closet. It is moldy and musty and we have a super disgusting fungus of some kind along the walls that needs to be cleaned up. So that was fun.
  • Ariel is registered for her FIRST 10K!!! Her and I are going to run the Kooky Spooky 10k in Golden on October 26. She earned a free entry from volunteering. It will be my last "race" before NYC marathon. I'm pretty psyched about it, but I'm a bit concerned that she doesn't really realize how much further this is.
  • I spent a bulk of the weekend tracking friends running Leadville and Pikes Peak. I know I said I would never even CONSIDER Leadville. But... I'm considering. I mean, it would be a fight to the finish at my pace, but WOW. I gotta say, I'm tempted.
  • Nothing else.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Glenwood Springs Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Saturday, August 16
Glenwood Springs, CO
Half Marathon #113
Colorado Half #49
Weather - Sunny and warm

The Glenwood Springs half marathon was put on by the same group that put on the Beaver Creek half marathon I ran last week. Luckily, this race was not on Sunday and it started an hour earlier. Packet pick-up the night before was quick and easy at Sports Authority (and the race director recognized both of us...)

Race shirt
We had mapped directions to the start the night before, thinking it would take about 10 minutes to get to the start. For whatever reason, the app didn't recognize the address and had us driving up and down I-70. We luckily found it. And it was like a mile from our hotel and we didn't even NEED to get on I-70 at all.

Arrived with about 45 minutes to the start. L saw that the beer was already out and suggested I drink one. OK.

L, Gregg, Me
The Courtyard Marriott (host hotel) allowed all the runners to use their bathrooms (thanks!) and we cycled through a few times before heading over to the start. This is apparently the smallest race of the series - with only 100 runners across both the half marathon and the 10k. I started in the back.

We knew pretty much nothing about the course, other than the first 4.5 MILES were going to be uphill. Wonderful. I was in the mood for a nice, long, hike.

The only picture of me during the race - I guess only fast people got on course pictures?
Turns out there was a quick switchback, then we were on some relatively flat single track to take us to the dirt/gravel road we would be running up. IT WAS ALREADY THE HOTTEST EVER.

I had managed to place myself with people that were actually my pace, if not a bit slower than me. Once we got to the road, the walking began. I know you can't really tell in these pictures, but I promise it is steep and hilly. At least some of the road was shaded because it was SO HOT AND SUNNY.

No goals for this race, other than try to run a reasonable amount of it. I probably walked up at least 70% of the hills, but I tried to do a bit of jogging on every switchback. It helped a bit, as I passed a few people on the uphills (which I know are my weakest). Since we were running on dirt road, it wasn't super scenic, although the views FROM the road weren't half bad:

Miles. And. Miles. Of. Dirt. Road.

Finally, I was almost at the top. For real, those were the longest miles EVER...

I grabbed some water at the aid station and FLEW DOWN THE MOUNTAIN. No really. I might not be great on uphills, but you know what I'm pretty good at? NON-TECHNICAL DOWNHILLS.

I passed a LOT of people (and by a lot, I mean, like 4) on the downhills. I cruised down those miles in half the time (or less) that it took me to get up. And then I re-entered the reality of flat. I struggled a bit on the singletrack for the 2/3 of a mile or so until we ran by the start/finish area. To make up the half marathon distance, we would be running two 2-mile loops on the Wulfsohn trail. It was pretty wide dirt rail, lined with some cool wildflowers.

There finally was some more "technical" trail. Some tree roots and rocks, and some sharp turns. It didn't last nearly long enough.

I got passed by the guy we had seen at the race the week before, and headed out for my second loop. I found that all the people I had passed on the downhill were just starting their FIRST loop. So I really made up a lot of time on those. I think I ran a bit more, and then when I headed towards the finish, I SMOKED a guy with about a quarter mile to go. He even came up to me at the end, kind of annoyed "where did you COME FROM? I never saw you the entire race." lol.

Official Time - 2:39:17
Garmin Time - 2:39:10
Mile 1 - 14:09
Mile 2 - 18:02
Mile 3 - 17:45
Mile 4 - 16:54
Mile 5 - 9:35
Mile 6 - 7:38 (interestingly, my fastest mile EVER)
Mile 7 - 9:08
Mile 8 - 9:37
Mile 9 - 14:34
Mile 10 - 13:37
Mile 11 - 12:47
Mile 12 - 13:06
Finish sprint - 7:43

Somehow, I came in 3rd in my AG (L got 1st). For a prize I got a pair of socks, but I gave them to L because they looked huge.

  • This was an ok course. Not as fun and pretty as Beaver Creek, but wow, I enjoyed the downhill a LOT.
  • Great aid stations - all manned by US Army personnel. They were very friendly - never out of anything.
  • OK shirt, OK medal.
  • I don't think I would travel again for this race (about 3.5 hours each way), but I would recommend it. The price is good, and other than the giant uphill at the beginning, it would actually be a good starter for trail running.
  • Did you notice my watch? Turns out, I FORGOT TO BRING MINE. Lucky for ME, my dad was with us and he let me borrow his (since I am OCD). And I'm glad I had it because it was confirmation that when I felt like I was flying, I was...