Sunday, February 12
Half Marathon #55
Colorado Half #8
Weather -OMG SO COLD. 10 degrees at start, 18 degrees at finish
Ralston Creek half marathon, I was pretty sure I wasn't going to run it. I mean, it is in FEBRUARY. The weather is SO iffy here, and I hate running when it is cold or snowy (or both). If I race in Colorado in the winter, I usually wait until the last possible minute to register so I don't have to run in yucko conditions. The lure of a medal suckered me in, and I registered before the last price increase on January 31.
Then came - Snowpocalypse, which dumped a couple FEET of snow. And then it snowed Friday night. Luckily, there was no snow OR wind on race day. But it WAS super cold. REALLY cold. Cold enough that I actually went out and bought some crazy awesome running tights. Well, technically they are crops, but since I am a midget, they are pants that are just a *tad* too short. Completing the outfit for the arctic temps? A YMX top covered with my Athleta 1/4 zip, a beanie and gloves. What's missing? A running skirt. Obviously, I adore running in a skirt, but in 10 degree weather? NO.FREAKING.THANK.YOU. I also wore three items I have never worn once, and the 1/4 zip I'd only done a short training run in. So this was brand new territory me. I know, I know, never try anything new on race day? Well, no wardrobe malfunctions and I didn't freeze to death, so I consider it all a success.
I arrived at the race start with no problems about an hour before it was supposed to start. Nearly froze to death walking across the parking lot to pick up my bag, bib, and timing chip. Immediately headed back to the car and cranked the heater. How on earth was I not going to freeze to death?? About 9:15 and I did a quick run to use the bathroom, and thankfully missed the lines. On my way back, I ran into a twitter friend - Luke (@runthetrailsCO). It was really nice to chat with him and his fiancee - Courtney (@cisforcourtney). They are both adorable and super nice! We chatted until about 10 minutes before the race was supposed to start.
|First long stretch of the course - those are people "warming up"|
Almost immediately after I took that photo, a woman approached me and asked if I was W's sister. I asked how she recognized me, since I wasn't wearing my typical gear. She said my phone :D Chatted a minute, then we were off. I started off with a pace I felt was pretty good, and immediately I was shocked with just how cold it was. I mean, the type of cold where you can really FEEL how thin the air is. The kind of cold where it hurts to inhale too deeply. The kind of cold where your face feels like it could crack and fall right off. BRRR. Luckily, most of my body warmed up pretty fast, although it took my toes about a mile or two before they didn't feel like they were suffering frostbite.
I was worried about how the course was going to be with all the snow we had been having and with the cold temperatures, we weren't having much melting. Most of it was just fine, although there were sections that were icy and snow packed, which meant I had to be a lot more cautious than usual.
|Between Miles 2 & 3|
The next aid station was just after mile 4, I grabbed a nearly frozen Hammer gel. I had to walk to take it because I couldn't get the package to open and it was NOT going down as easily as "unfrozen" gels. As an aside, I do NOT care for the Tropical flavor. Stopped about a tenth of a mile down the road to use the bathroom.
Since I didn't bother to look at the course or profile, and had never run in this part of town, I really didn't know what to expect. The whole first part of the course FELT uphill. (Luckily after I downloaded Garmin stats, it really WAS uphill and I was not imagining things). I felt like I was working pretty hard, and did take a few short walk breaks to give my legs a break. I really hate the snow and cold, but it was an eerily pretty day out:
|Between Miles 5 & 6|
Aid station right at the base of the switchbacks. Those poor ladies must have been FREEZING, but were wearing their ski pants to keep warm. Yes, it was THAT cold. I ran up about 3/4 of the switchbacks, but took a few short walk breaks. Still had a little more than half the course left, I didn't want to use up all my energy!
|At the top of the switchbacks... yes, we ran up ALL that|
I was super happy when we exited the trail section. I had really been crossing my fingers hoping for sub 2:15, and when I looked at my watch, I knew I would do even better than that. I cruised down the road, and Courtney got an awesome shot of me as I ran by at about the 13 mile marker. How awesome is it that they stuck around so long. Luke finished in 9TH place in 1:22ish. CRAZY!!
For the first time in AGES, I had a little left at the end and actually sorta sprinted at the end. Amazing. Crossed the line and... YAY, my dad had brought A to watch me finish!
Official Time - 2:11:35
Official Pace - 10:03
Overall Place - 268/421
Sex Place - 112/228
Division Place - 25/41
Garmin Time - 2:11:36
Garmin Distance - 13.16 miles
Garmin Pace - 10:00
Mile 1 - 9:11
Mile 2 - 10:02
Mile 3 - 10:46
Mile 4 - 10:06
Mile 5 - 11:31 (bathroom)
Mile 6 - 10:59
Mile 7 - 9:56
Mile 8 - 11:02 (this was up a mountain, so PLEASED)
Mie 9 - 8:53
Mile 10 - 8:59
Mile 11 - 9:10
Mile 12 - 9:48
Mile 13 - 9:44
Mile 13.1 - 8:11
Headed over to the finisher area and got some delicious chocolate banana bread, a diet coke (I don't care if it IS bad for you, I think it is tasty), some water AND a burrito. Another twitter friend, Daniel (@cybermallet) found me and introduced himself. I just LOVE the internet and all the running friends I have met through Twitter, etc.
Anyway, all things considered, I am super pleased with how this race went. One of my better times in the last year, and I didn't die of hypothermia, which is always a bonus.