Monday, August 15, 2016

Run the Rockies Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Saturday, August 13
Frisco, CO
Half Marathon #151
Weather - 39 degrees at the start, sunny and warm at the finish

Back when I was still running and planning on my "A" race happening, I signed up for the Run the Rockies trail race in Frisco as a last "long" trail run. Registering in April I only paid $50!! There was no Runners' Edge training run for the week because everyone was at GTIS, which I won't run again. Ever.

Anyway, since I have basically been retired from running for the last month outside of races, I was sure not in tip-top shape for this event. The hip is doing SO much better, however, and one morning I even got up and jogged 20 minutes before work. So with the hip on the mend and the registration already paid, off I went.

The race has a half marathon and a 10K. The half starts at 8:00, with the 10K starting 30 minutes later. Frisco is a bit less than an hour and a half away, so I headed out the door at 5:30 to get there with plenty of time to get my bib and use the bathroom, etc.

I was able to find parking about 12 spots away from the start/finish arch and got my bib in minutes. Now what? It was pretty chilly, mid to upper 30's. However, the sun was shining and I knew that it would be warm later in the day. I used the bathroom a few times, ate a granola bar for breakfast and watched Netflix on my phone until about 15 minutes before the start. Fellow ERS ambassador Tom and his friend Lynnette were running, but other than that, I didn't see any of my teammates up there (they must all have been at GTIS).

Like always, I lined up at the back and hoped for the best. The first half a mile or so led away from the Frisco Nordic Center on bike path. Then we entered single file onto the trails around the Dillon Reservoir. The trail was not very technical at this point, packed down dirt and some tree roots, but nothing intense. I had actually glanced at the course map this time, but it was a confusing topographic map I didn't really understand. The elevation chart didn't look that bad, I estimated only one area of steeper climbing, with maybe 600-700 feet of gain total. The race director had sent out an informational email the week of the race and stated the course was short at 12.76 miles. ALL OF THE ABOVE WAS A LIE!!!

Anyway, the first mile ticked by, I RAN THE WHOLE THING (this is monumentally huge for me right now) and I clocked just over 12 minutes. What the what? Practically a sprint pace. I had started in the back but had no idea if anyone was actually behind me. The goal, of course, was to NOT come in last like the last few events.


This section of the course was so pretty. It's not often, in Colorado, that we get to run in the mountains AND along a pretty lake! It was pretty flat and I was running most of it. Optimistic that he race was going to go well! We ran through a campground and then onto the road (briefly) for the first aid station. I grabbed a cup of water and then headed back onto the single track.

I caught up to someone and passed her in a really pretty section of the course. Lots of trees and views of the water. The trail did not become technical at this point, but there were more rocks on the trail than before and the course went from flat to some rollers. Still really pretty!

Really enjoyed running the perimeter of the reservoir, which lasted until maybe mile 4.5 when we moved into the hills. This was the most exposed section of the course, and where the bulk of the climbing would begin (and pretty much continue until mile 9). I passed a few ladies, ran what I could, walked the rest. Got to the next aid station at mile 5.3, where I refilled my bottle and applied more sunscreen. Managed to catch another runner (hurray!) and continued on. The climbing was a bit tougher than I expected (and I always forget that at 9000' elevation EVERYTHING is harder).
The views at the top were gorgeous. Snow-capped mountaintops, wild flowers and the reservoir. Somewhere around what I imagined must be the "turn around," I saw Tom and Lynette. Hooray!


Again, I had misread the profile, and thought that by the time we "turned around" that all the climbing was done. This was not the case. I was getting tired, but the good news is I knew I was nowhere near last place, since I had already passed a half dozen people. Also, while I was tired, I was not HURTING, which is a step in the right direction.


I had another good mile when we finally did get some downhill between miles 9 and 10. With the the thought that the course was short, I thought I could finally go under three hours! There was another half mile or so of climbing at mile 10, but then we had some switchbacks down to the campground, hit the last aid station, and then back onto the flat/tree root section of the trail to head back to the finish.

By about mile 12 I knew that there was no way that the course was going to only be 12.76 miles. I managed to pass another few runners in this section, and sure enough, we hit the 12.76 before we even got to the pavement.

For the first time in AGES, I had some energy left at the end. One of the ladies I had passed ran past me with a little over a tenth to go and then started to walk. I could see the finish area and decided to book it and see if I could hang on. I could hear her and her friend coming behind me, but I was NOT about to get passed right at the finish.
See, not letting the girl get by me!!
No medal at the finish, but we did get a pint glass. I headed over to the keg immediately to get that thing filled!

Official Time - 3:03:09 (gun time only, apparently)
Overall Place - 140/163 (NOT EVEN CLOSE TO LAST!!)
Gender Place - 69/87
Division Place - 27/31
Elevation Gain - 1,076'
Minimum Elevation - 9,086'
Garmin Time - 3:02:52
Garmin Distance - 13.15 miles (Everyone I spoke with had over 13.1 miles on their watch)
Mile 1 - 12:11
Mile 2 - 13:28
Mile 3 - 14:07
Mile 4 - 14:24
Mile 5 - 14:07
Mile 6 - 15:31
Mile 7 - 13:42
Mile 8 - 13:37
Mile 9 - 15:14
Mile 10 - 13:14
Mile 11 - 14:54
Mile 12 - 13:06
Mile 13 - 13:50
Mile 13.15 - 9:44 (#elite)

Spent post-race chatting with Tom and Lynnette and getting some finisher pictures. Ate one piece of pizza and then headed back home. (Saturday races in the mountains are SO MUCH BETTER than ones on Sundays...)
Me and Tom

Thoughts:
  • I loved, loved, LOVED this race. This was exactly what I want out of a trail race. Most of the race I was alone and it was so peaceful and beautiful (with the exception of my heavy breathing, of course).
  • The course was incredibly well marked. There was orange confidence flagging and signage for all major turns.
  • The aid stations had water and Scratch, as well as "food" - pretzels, gummies, etc. (although I didn't take any of that). I didn't eat much this race either, just one package of Honey Stinger chews.
  • Did I mention this was one of the most beautiful courses I have ever run?
  • The race registration was very reasonable, and I didn't even sign up at the cheapest price. Looking at the website, early registration is only $40!!
  • The race shirt is a cute black tech tee (that I will actually probably wear again), again, my apologies for no picture of it.
  • The finisher part was at the Nordic Center and was basically just music, pizza and craft beer. But what else do you need, really?
  • Kind of a bummer that there was no medal, but I love the low registration price, and who doesn't need another pint glass?
  • Would I run again? ABSOLUTELY. I already have plans of doing this one again next year. 

Monday, August 8, 2016

Beaver Creek Trail Half Marathon (race recap)

Sunday, August 7
Avon, CO
Half Marathon #150 (!!!!)
Weather - Sunny and warm

The Beaver Creek half marathon is one of the mountain races that I have run before. Two years ago, I ran and finished in 2:54, which at the time was CRAZY slow for me. Spoiler, I did NOT finish that fast this year.

A had gone with her Girl Scout troop camping for the weekend at Colorado National Monument. Then I got a call at 8 pm on Saturday night that they got rained out and were packing up and heading home. Thankfully, my friend Rose was going to let A spend the night, as there was NO WAY I could stay up that late the night before a race.

Race Day

Sadly, there was no early start option for this event. The race starts at a terrible 9:00 am. (First, because that is late and it gets hot. Second, the race is in the mountains, and having a race start/finish late means getting stuck in mountain "weekend" traffic). I got up at 5:40, and felt hungover (even though I wasn't) and exhausted. Yippee!! The drive was estimated at just under two hours and the goal was to be out at 6. I would have been out on time, except Batman and Robin got into some beef jerky and there was a disaster in my living room.

The drive was uneventful, except for having Ben and his family pass me on the highway. I saw a few deer and a sheep, but that was about it. I was watching the temperature and it looked COLD - 41 degrees when I crossed over Vail Pass!! By the time I arrived at the Beaver Creek resort it was just before 8 and felt warm. Good for standing around, not good for racing.
I spent the pre-race lull chatting with Luke and Ben/family. I was actually feeling a bit nervous and apprehensive about this race. The hip has been "better," but I still haven't been running. Outside of a short failed training run last week, I haven't run outside of a race in over a month. With all that in mind, I started at the very back of the pack. Which unfortunately, is where I would remain the ENTIRE RACE.

So the race starts with a short run up the road, up a dirt road, then levels out on the grassy area behind some condos. Even WITH jogging that whole section, I was still in last place. And, I discovered, the course medic was also the bike sweep. I know this because she was just few dozen yards behind me almost the entire race. Urg.
There is a section of switchbacks on single track, then we are on a wider dirt road. I'm able to run a section of this as it feels sort of "flat." Then, we move into the Aspen Glade, which is one of my favorite sections of the course. Since I'm so incredibly slow, I take pictures (the climbing here is pretty steep). At the start of the race we are told "most of the climbing is in the first two miles, sort of lies, there is a decent amount of climbing in the back half.
Anyway, by about a mile and a half in, the fast 10k'ers are passing. WHICH IS SO ANNOYING. I probably jump off the single track 800 times during this loop (or however many 10k people ran the race, because I think 90% of them passed me). There is a section of not so steep single track and then arrive at the aid station. HURRAY!!
Next part is my favorite, the downhill on Allie's Way. Downhill in trail races always "saves" me because I am a lot better at the downs than the ups. Trail was a tad steeper than I remembered, a bit slick from the rain and #ALLOFTHETREEROOTS - but I still had a good time on it. When we exit the trail we have a more gradual downhill on the ski slope, then a short jaunt up the road, where we enter the 5 Senses trail.
This part isn't super runnable for me, mainly because of all the moving over for faster people and all the families that are taking their families out for a hike. Exit the trail for the next aid station. Fill up with another bottle of nuun. I have not eaten anything at this point. The heat is already getting to me. Jeep road, with a decent amount of climbing, and pretty overgrown wildflowers on the sides. A weird section of gravel, then more single track.

We exit onto the dirt road where the half marathon and 10k split. Half'ers have to run up the hill for the extra mileage (URG!!!), where I actually saw a couple runners, which means I wasn't SUPER far behind the very pack of the pack, and then it's a nice downhill on the dirt until it levels out near town. A short run on the sidewalk to run by the finish area and go out for loop two.

I had NO intentions of just stopping there, but I won't lie that the thought crossed my mind. While I was able to run a decent amount of the course, it felt SO HARD. And I was literally in last place. I could smell the burgers and see people drinking mimosas and beer. I really did not want to go back out. Then I realized that at least I hadn't been lapped by the winners, so I GUESS, I'll go back out.

Runnesia has always prevented me from making super smart decisions when registering for races. As I turned the corner, I saw a gal only about a tenth of a mile ahead of me. I COULD TOTALLY PASS HER!!! By now I'm on FIRE. It is so hot. I am feeling a little iffy and I really have never wanted to be done with a race more than this.
Pretty flowers behind the condos
When I get to the base of the Aspen Glade, I pass her! We power hike through the trees and chat a bit. She is having a much worse day than I am and I try to encourage her that she can finish. She mentions that this is her FIRST HALF MARATHON. Oh my god, poor thing! I get to the summit of the trees and I drop both her and the bike sweep. Aid station, and... I see another runner! Maybe I can catch her too!

I eat a handful of peanut butter pretzels before jumping on Allie's Way. The other runner, Sara, let me pass, although by the time we get through this section my legs are TOAST. We actually hiked/jogged with each other for a few miles, before she took off. My legs just didn't have anything left. Thankfully, it seemed to just be because I'm incredibly under-trained for a hilly half marathon at 8000', and NOT my hip.
The best picture I took during the race in the Aspen Grove
Selfie in the Aspen Glade - half marathon #150!!!
I caught up to Sara just before the tiny out and back section, and met up with another runner!! I did, however, find out on the way down when I saw the bike sweep, that I was back to being last because the other gal had DNF'd. Dang it!! I couldn't keep up with Sara, but the guy (Gabriel) and I ran together the last mile and a half or so. After chatting with him, he also said this was his first half marathon! I figured we tied for last place when we FINALLY crossed the finish line, but turns out I actually was 10 seconds or so faster thanks to chip timing.

Went to collect my free Darn Tough socks, only to find out they were out (again). Wah!!! They weren't, however, out of beer. I sat and had a beer and hot dog and chatted with the handful of runners that were still at the finish line.

Official time - 3:22:24 (28 minutes slower than 2 years ago)
Overall place - 77/78
Gender place - 39/39
Division place - 7/7
Mile 1 - 16:23
Mile 2 - 18:19
Mile 3 - 15:23
Mile 4 - 16:36
Mile 5 - 16:04
Mile 6 - 12:02 (look at me, I'm a RUNNER!)
Mile 7 - 16:35
Mile 8 - 20:24
Mile 9 - 16:05
Mile 10 - 16:50
Mile 11 - 19:42
Mile 12 - 13:06
Mile 12.4ish (11:40 - FOR REAL, I AM RUNNING!)

Fellow ERS ambassador Tom and I at the finish.
So by my Garmin, the course measured short. I'm sure it was accurate though, the aspen trees is where I stopped matching up with the course markings.

I left the finish area by 1:00, and sure enough, got stuck in horrific traffic on the way down. I actually came to a complete stop on Vail Pass, they were doing "safety metering" at the tunnel (which had traffic backed up all the way to Silverthorne, and then of course, the usual 10 mph from just before Georgetown all the way to Idaho Springs. HATE MOUNTAIN WEEKEND TRAFFIC. This is why I try to never be up there on a Sunday!!

Thoughts:
  • Dang, I had not even remembered how hard this race is. I wish it started earlier and that the race distances were more staggered so I didn't waste so much time letting the faster people pass. It is what it is though.
  • It is an incredible course. So pretty!!!
  • Had I actually raced Black Hawk, this probably would have killed me. Two back to back half marathons with 2500+ feet of climbing AND at 8000'??? That's a LOT.
  • Course was very well marked, markers at every mile (except 8, that sign has been missing since the beginning of the season). 
  • 2 aid stations on course, with water and Gatorade. Second also had sport beans. I brought my own nuun tablets and food and the spacing was fine.
  • Medal is the "least" interesting of the season, but it's big, and that's what is important, right?
  • Shirt is white, gender specific. Probably won't wear again.
Thoughts not specific to the race:
  • Damn. I am in rough shape. While I got through this event, it was insanely hard. I have been on the steady decline in terms of speed and endurance for a few years now, but this is getting ridiculous and borderline irresponsible. I know I'm "injured," but that is only one piece of the puzzle. As much as I enjoy racing, is it time to stop? I'm not sure if this is my MS slowly sneaking up on me, but I have lost so much energy and drive, and after years, it doesn't seem like it is ever going to come back. So depressing.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Black Hawk Trail "half marathon" (Race Recap)

Sunday, July 31
Golden, CO
Half Marathon #notreally
Weather - Warm, lucked out with cloud cover


When I was selected as an ERS ambassador, I mentioned to my bestie Heather that she should see if she could come out and run any of the races. She happened to pick the Black Hawk half marathon, described as the most technical and challenging of the whole series. Never mind that it was also starting at about 8,000 feet, which is about 8,000 feet higher than where she lives.

Race Day

Up early for the drive out. I had mapped it from my phone and estimated that it would take about 45 minutes to get to the start. We stopped at Dunkin for coffee, and were on our way by 5:10. I knew that I would lose cell phone service so I had also printed out directions to the start since I'd never been to Golden Gate park.

TURNS OUT, my directions would NOT have gotten me there. HUGE props to Jeff (race director) for putting out signs MILES out to ensure I was going the right way. I somehow had also lost my parking pass and the directions for the VIP lot were a little confusing. I was able to park right by the "Red Barn" and we picked up our bibs, got everything ready to go. I wanted to know how far apart the aid stations were going to be to decide if I needed to carry  more than my handheld. While we were talking with Jeff he admitted that he had inadvertently marked the course about a mile short, so we would be running 12 miles instead of a half marathon. I was a little bummed because I hate short courses, but Heather seemed relieved.

We had hoped to start at 6 since we knew we were going to be the very last people, but by the time we filled our bottles and spoke with the timing lady it was closer to 6:45. Other than the initial start where there wasn't a clear arrow of where we were to go, I found the course VERY well marked.

Anyway, once we decided to "go straight" and assume we were going the right way, all was well. To be honest, we ran very little. Between my gimpy hip and Heather struggling with altitude, we had both planned for this to be a long day, mostly hiking. We did jog some of the downhills and flats. We also stopped and took a billion pictures. I had never been out to these trails and it was GORGEOUS.

Our fastest mile of the day was mile 2, because it was downhill. It was also getting incredibly warm and I was really glad we had taken the early start. The first part of the course was an out and back(ish) that was about 4 miles.
Before we even got to the turnaround the "official" early starters (who started at 7) were already catching up to us. By the time we were hiking up the hill we had run down at mile 2 the faster runners were already headed down (they had started at 7:30). I assumed that the next big section of climbing was going to continue pretty much until we got to about mile 7, when we would finally get some downhills and flats.
Around mile 4, we entered my favorite part of the course. It reminded me a lot of the Colorado Trail - lots of trees, ferny plants, and we were in the shade "running" along a creek. It was really pretty. This section took forever, between jumping off the trail for all the people behind us, as well as #allthepictures that we were taking. 

Mile 6 we started what felt like the longest climb of the course. Switchbacks in the trees. Really grateful that it didn't feel that hot. I was hoping it would make Heather feel better that EVERYONE seemed to be struggling on this section, especially since most people live in Colorado. Not sure it helped her that much.
ALL OF THE TREE ROOTS
We hit the plateau at mile 7 and were treated with a spectacular view with some truly lovely single track.
Me: "I love trails!!!" Heather: "Are we done YET?"

Some downhill, running through a meadow with wildflowers and a nice lake were miles 7-8.



I seem to have blacked out and can not really remember the last few miles of the course. Around mile 9 we were directed down a hill by the on-course medic, where we would get an aid station at the bottom. Which of course meant that we would have to come back up. Lots of resting and break-taking here. At the aid station we were warned that many people found the course markings confusing and numerous people had gotten lost. HOW. 

Headed back up and by now - YAY, less than two miles to go. When we got to about mile 11, we were directed down the hill for a short out and back. I thought Heather was going to lose her mind at this point. When we got back up the course marshal told us that we were for REAL almost done now. Sure enough, we could hear the finish line music. When we got down to the dirt road, we ran it in. Confirmed our finish with timing and then headed to the finish line "party."
See? The Red Barn.
Pretty much everyone was gone by this time. There was still beer and food left, which is the most important thing. A got a finisher picture of us before Phil tore down the Roost tent.
Bib #2524
Official Time - 4:24:26
Overall Place - 105/106
Gender Place - 43/44
Division Place - 14/15
Elevation Gain - 2,579 feet
Overall Distance - 12.03 miles
Mile 1 - 20:28 (we lost probably 2 minutes trying to ensure we were going the right way)
Mile 2 - 13:38
Mile 3 - 19:40
Mile 4 - 18:22
Mile 5 - 19:17
Mile 6 - 30:50
Mile 7 - 31:40
Mile 8 - 18:26
Mile 9 - 19:05
Mile 10 - 24:23
Mile 11 - 26:51
Mile 12 - 23:24
"Sprint" - 11:56 pace

Thoughts:

  • I love that Jeff allows the early start for walkers/slow people. In my opinion, many of the folks that did the early start just wanted to beat the heat, which isn't really cool. Heather and I did it just because we didn't want to hold people up at the finish line forever.
  • The course was VERY well marked, with mile markers at every mile, and they were within a hundredth or so of a mile accurate for me. He said the course was 12 miles, and it measured 12.03 for me, so close enough.
  • There were only 2 aid stations on the half course, but it was actually fine for me, even though we WERE out for a hundred years. I don't think they had food of any kind, but they did have water and Gatorade. I had brought peanut butter pretzels and Sour Patch Kids. Still boycotting the GU after how sick I felt at Angel Fire. KNOW that the time between the first and second aid stations is LONG.
  • Fun medal - a poker chip. (Black Hawk is a "gambling" town about 20 minutes away from where the course was).
  • Shirt design is nice, but white. May or may not wear again.
  • This did NOT disappoint. I was hoping for a legit trail run with stunning views, and I got both.
  • Finish line party, great as always. Thanks for sticking around for all the slow pokes!
  • Will I run again? HECK YEAH!! And I hope next time it is a full 13.1 miles.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Chase the Moon 12 Hour Endurance Run (Race Recap)

Highlands Ranch, CO
Friday, July 22 - Saturday July 23
Ultra Marathon #18
Weather - Humid, overcast, warm
I decided not to take the day off from work since I can never sleep past 7 anyway. I did, however, work a short day, leaving around 3:45 to pick up A and head down to the Chase the Moon. Traffic wasn't great, but I expected it from the last time I ran, in 2014. We arrived around 5:30 pm, with plenty of time to get the tent set up and for me to pick up my bib.

The weather looked really iffy. Dark clouds and thunder and lightning. We had a few raindrops, but nothing too terrible, we really lucked out. I spent the next hour getting everything ready to go, chatting with Heather and other teammates, using the bathroom, etc. Maureen and Colfax were volunteering, and she was nice enough to bring a pizza! About 15 minutes before the start I decided that a slice of pizza would be the perfect way to fuel. It was so tasty.

Heather and I planned to stick together, with me warning her that I had not been running at all, and that I would be going really slow. And by not running, I mean, seriously, I hadn't run since the super slow half marathon the Sunday before. We started in the back, and that's pretty much where we stayed the entire race.

It was warm and humid, but thankfully, overcast. Neither one of us had really paid too much attention to the race instructions, nor looked at a map. All I remember hearing was "if you are a solo or 5-person relay team, follow the blue markings." Since we were in the far back, it was a little disconcerting that we only saw ORANGE markings. We could see people in front of us that we knew were solo runners, so we figured we had to be going the right way. Heather and I had sort of an unspoken agreement that if one of us took a walk break, the other one would as well. We jogged most of the early miles, walking a bit only on the climbs. I was relieved to find that this year we were starting the course counter-clockwise, as I believed that to be the more difficult direction. We saw a snake that was slinking across the trail early on, rattling at us. SO TERRIFYING. I HATE SNAKES.
Couldn't get my camera out fast enough to see him slithering across the trail (shudder)
Isn't it so pretty??
We arrived at the Outlaw aid station, about 4.5 miles in (?) and I only grabbed a little cup of Mountain Dew. We asked the volunteer if we were on the right course for solo runners and only got an answer that we were at the Outlaw aid station. Yeah, we know. So we kept going, still only seeing orange flags/marking. Shortly after leaving, the sun started to set. We spent the next 10 minutes or so taking pictures. Worth it.



Out came the headlamps, with discussion of how far it was until the next aid station. We arrive at the wider dirt section of the trail. In the past, we went to the right for an out and back for the aid station. Not this year. Turns out that was a detail I should have paid attention to! I hadn't filled up my bottles at Outlaw and I ran out of water with about 2 miles until the start/finish. Womp. The last two miles I was surprised at how good I felt. I did notice, however, that I kept having to stop and wait for Heather. She hadn't been running much either, and had recently lost her big toenail. She insisted she was feeling ok, so I kept waiting.

Once at the start/finish, used the bathroom and then refilled bottles. I wasn't really hungry, and I was feeling very agitated with the amount of time we were at the aid station. I kinda rushed Heather out, and we headed out for loop 2.
Overlooking the city from the top of the course
I was still feeling good and had convinced myself that this was an "easy" loop. I was still spending a lot of time waiting on Heather, but for now, it was ok since we were doing a small amount of climbing. The moon was starting to come out, but I couldn't seem to get a good picture of it.
Headed to the west side of the course and I was actually having a pretty good time. Thankfully the newer headlamp I bought is WAY brighter than my other one. Maybe a mile outside of Outlaw I realized that Heather wasn't behind me, and I couldn't see her headlamp. At this point I made the decision not to wait. I was feeling way better than I expected and wanted to see how many miles I could put in. When I arrived at Outlaw I asked the volunteers to let her know why I couldn't wait. I spent the rest of the loop feeling a little badly for leaving her, especially after we had agreed to stick together. Sometimes, I guess you have to run your own race?

Arrived at the start/finish to see Maureen and Colfax still hanging out. I was very quick at the aid station as I had decided I really wanted to go for 4 loops. I didn't see Heather on my way out and hoped that she wouldn't be mad for me leaving her. The counter-clockwise loop did not feel as hard in the dark as I had remembered from 2 years ago (thankfully). Almost stepped on a toad around mile 23, which was pretty terrifying. At Outlaw the volunteer told me they had ice. ICE. All the water at the aid stations was lukewarm and the the thought of ice cold fluids made me SO HAPPY. It took her a few minutes to get the cubes into my bottle, but it was totally worth it. Surprised/pleased at how much running I was able to do this loop. Finally getting hungry, I eat some peanut butter pretzels and beef jerky. In and out of the start/finish (which by now was VERY quiet) in a minute or two, only briefly chatting with David (the race director).

Out for my final loops, with about 3.5 hours to complete. Pretty sure I can get this done with no problem as long as I keep moving. I risked not bringing a long sleeve with me as I was STILL hot, even knowing I got cold around dawn the last time I ran. I saw Heather about a mile in and she seemed happy to see me, concerned only that she was going the right way. Still some running this loop, but not as much as in previous loops. Sun started to come up shortly before I arrived at Outlaw, where I ditched my headlamp. The last 4+ miles to the finish were a death march for me, walking pretty much the entire time. I don't know why the sun coming up during a race tires me, but it always does.

I arrived at the finish in just under 11.5 hours, getting passed by two relay runners right as I crossed (who were trying to goad me into running faster - c'mon ladies, I've been out all night, you haven't). Considering my injury, I'm pleased with how I felt and how many miles I was able to complete. Met up with Heather, grabbed a cold burrito and then went to help A pack up all the gear.
Somehow neglected to get a single picture of myself before/during/after the race - this was what I wore, along with my medal
Official  Time - 11:24:03
Official Miles - 41.2
Overall Place - 30/78
Gender Place - 11/35
Division Place - 5/12
Miles 1-5 - 13:06, 13:47, 14:00, 14:39, 16:55
Miles 6-10 - 15:26, 16:30, 15:46, 15:10, 15:27
Miles 11-15 - 22:16, 16:00, 15:38, 16:21, 15:13
Miles 16-20 - 13:49, 15:48, 15:51, 15:14, 17:34
Miles 21-25 - 15:32, 14:29, 17:19, 16:24, 20:58
Miles 26-30 - 16:39, 16:38, 16:50, 16:10, 16:42
Miles 31-35 - 17:44, 18:26, 17:56, 17:04, 16:19
Miles 36-41.25 - 18:19, 16:58, 19:35, 20:11, 17:59, 17:43, 13:25 for the last 1/4 mile!

Thoughts:
  • Once I realized that the blue/orange markings only affected the east side of the course along a small section the course was super easy to navigate. I think the course was marked very well, with confidence flagging and glow sticks at night.
  • There was only the one aid station on the course, which was fine once I *knew* there was only one. Sodas and tons of ultra snacks. No "warm" food that I saw, although after dark there supposedly was at the start/finish.
  • Cool race shirt this year (no pic of course).
  • Medal is the same as two years ago, but with a (cheap) year specific ribbon. Still don't like that the only increments are 50k or 50 mile for designations on the middle. Wish they would just leave that off and say 12 hours.
  • The "party" atmosphere was definitely gone this year. Flippin' Flapjacks was a no show (so sad), and they opted not to do beers and awards at the park this year so everyone just kinda left when they were done. Kind of a downer way to end a 12 hour race! A and I ended up going to Snooze for breakfast, where I had some truly delicious blueberry/lemon danish pancakes.
  • Would I recommend? Absolutely. If you are looking for a sort of hilly, not very technical run in the dark, do it! It's a great way to go for your first ultra as you have 12 hours to get it done. Depending how the next year goes I'll either run again, or volunteer like I did last year.