Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Moab 100 pictures, courtesy of Glen Delman

Start of Moab 100
Pre-Race
After... 10.74 miles?
53.7 miles?




Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Post Race Blues

I have spent the last four months doing a rigorous training schedule, all in the name of COMPLETING a 100 mile race. Well. I finished the training, but did NOT finish the race.

NOW WHAT???

Yes, I have a lot of races scheduled, but mostly they are "just" half marathons. Now don't get me wrong. A half marathon is my favorite distance, I enjoy running them. But I know I can run one. I will likely not PR, or even come close, but I feel comfortable with the distance. I don't get pre-race jitters when I run them anymore. After 57 of them, the "thrill" is gone. (Although I am really looking forward to my travelling races - especially Seattle and... yep, WEST VIRGINIA!!) But maybe that is the problem. I am aching to be aiming for something more.

My schedule is pretty full through... well, the rest of the year. I probably can't add anything in. I already foresee my training going into a funk because I have nothing really to look forward to.

With that said, I think I am going to join the Tuesday night run club at the Boulder Lululemon store. It's only a 40-45 minute run every week, but maybe getting my butt off the treadmill will help.

I'll stop whining now.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Moab 100 (Race Recap)

Moab, UT
Saturday, March 24 to Sunday, March 25
Ultra Marathon #3
Weather - HOT during the day, breezy early afternoon, chilly and moon-less at night


Almost immediately after finishing the Bear Chase in September, I was on the mission for more. I couldn't talk anyone else into joining me for a distance past 50 miles, but November came and I located a 100 mile training plan and decided to go for it. I picked the Moab 100 (24 Hours of Utah) race, put on by Gemini Adventures for a few reasons. I liked it because it was close(ish), a loop (I could drop out if I needed to AND could access my stuff every 5.37 miles).

Up until the week of the race, I was pretty sure I was 100% alone. Luckily, my dad realized I was a). Crazy and b). Would not be able to drive back alone after running. So on Friday afternoon around 1:30, my dad picked me up and we headed west to Moab. The drive was pretty uneventful, and we stopped in Grand Junction for my favorite pre-race dinner, Applebee's. This time I got pretty much the same thing, but blackened chicken (and spinach) instead of just the three cheese/chicken. It was tasty.


I was super glad my dad was with me and that he is familiar with the Moab area. I am pretty sure I would NOT have seen the turnoff for the base camp. We arrived around 8:15, and while he was setting up the tent, I wandered over to the party I was invited to on Facebook. A guy running the 24 hour segment was throwing a party for his wife's birthday - and he had brought his whole family with him. What a friendly/supportive family he has! After harassing him for a few minutes for course details and devouring a piece of cake, I headed over to help my dad. He had forgotten tent spikes, so we had to wander around finding rocks to hold the tent in place. I decided to lie down around 9:15, hoping I would be able to sleep. Being in Moab and the nerves were setting in!

Race Day

I woke up about an hour before my alarm went off. I stayed in my sleeping bag for about a half hour, then decided I might as well get ready. Good thing I was up early, everything took longer than expected. It felt chilly early on, but I knew it was going to heat up later - forecasts for low 80s!


Even though I had pre-packed my drop bag, I found myself digging around making sure I had everything ready to go. At 6:30 I headed over to get my packet and use the bathroom.

Base camp/Aid station
Mandatory race meeting at 6:45, where we got detailed course instructions. The most complicated was going to be remembering to alternate loops. First loop (odd loops) were clockwise, even loops counterclockwise. This would be nice later because even though I was getting lapped, it took a while before people were ACTUALLY running right past me.

I lined up toward the back, and at 7:01, we were off. I took most of  my pictures in the first lap. With the sun coming up, the rocks were beautiful, and I knew I would not appreciate the scenery as much in the later laps, and I wanted some cool shots.

This is sand, not dirt
One of the only sections of just "trail"


East side of the slick rock
Fellow runner offered to take my picture!
Probably my favorite course picture

Oh look... more sand!

Multiple creek crossings. Not deep, but sometimes I misstepped and got my feet damp and socks muddy
Oh, look! I'm still smiling!
West side of slick rock - see that white line? That's how course was marked during the day on the rock
MORE slick rock
Balancing rock
Another sandy trail (cars could drive on this section)
I had every intention of "jogging" this race. Start out in the back, not overexert myself, saving energy for later when I was REALLY tired. So I ran the flats, downhills, and slight inclines. Walked the sections that seemed "hard." This worked really well for me the first three or so laps. Then the heat kicked in.

Wow, with the winter in the recent past, I had forgotten what it was like to run in the heat. I quickly had to fill the bladder in my hydration vest - probably before we were even 16 miles in. There was only one aid station ON the course, about halfway in, an unmanned water station. At the base camp, there was the bathrooms, sunscreen, medical, drinking water, and snacks. I had brought some of my own fuel, and never needed it. There was plenty of stuff provided.

I started to slow down by about the fourth loop. The hills were feeling steeper and steeper. The heat was making me tired. I lost the running buddies I was chasing. I started to get lapped. On this course, there were not just the 100 milers, there was a 24 hour division (both solo, team, and relay), and a 12 hour relay. The 12 hour runners SMOKED me. I must have gotten passed 3-4 times by the faster runners.

Sometime in the early afternoon, the breeze picked up and it wasn't nearly as hot. SO nice. And by mid afternoon, the clouds came out, which made the temperature a LOT more bearable. When I headed out for my last lap before dark, I put on my long sleeve shirt since I knew it would get cold real fast when the sun dropped.

Razzy Roo headband, YMX top - Somewhere around 45 miles in
The sand hill. Hard to tell, but this felt like a 15% grade. Ooof.
Sunset
Course marked with glow sticks for night (with reflective tape on rocks)
Sunset - heading North towards base camp
I was allowed to have a pacer after 8:00. My dad had said he would be back by then and would do a loop with me.  I had an AWESOME loop miles 42ish to 47ish. I told my dad to save the loop until morning because I felt like I would still be able to get some running in and wanted to bank as much time as possible. By the halfway point I was a). Doing a dance only Liz Lemon could rival and dance/running and b). Was feeling so good I wasn't even considering I would not finish, unless I broke a bone or a limb fell off.

How quick things change. The sun went down, and the headlamp went on. Did you know that in the middle of the dessert with no moon it is RIDICULOUSLY dark?? Especially since my light wasn't very bright, I was running by myself, and the 12 hour runners were done. Very few people were on the course, and the glowsticks marking the course were few and far between. This is seriously what my light put out.
What it looked like at night with my headlamp
When people DID come up on me, they zoomed past me. My light was dim and I kept having to stop and adjust my light to look for the reflective tape/course markers. At this point, I began to feel concerned. I was texting with Heather and telling her how dark it was and how much I was starting to struggle. I suffered through a partial loop, that took about a half hour longer than any other loop I had done. I kept going, and the next one wasn't much better. I just didn't feel like I could safely run with it being so dark. On the slick rock I was never quite sure that I was headed in the right direction, and the trail sections were hard to run with the sand, and the only dirt sections had lots of loose rocks and drop offs. I considered dropping at the end of loop 11, but Heather convinced me to change my socks/shoes, eat more, then head back out.

I had the most awesome grilled cheese sandwich in the world at base camp, put on my capris and a fleece jacket and headed out for loop 12. It was the most awful experience. Ever. By now it was after midnight, and there was pretty much NO ONE out there. I was starting to hallucinate (they really WERE just twigs, NOT snakes), and I was feeling sorta lightheaded and couldn't seem to walk straight. My socks were hurting and the bottom of my feet ached. My shoes were NOT comfortable. My legs, however, felt great. I kept plugging along, and my inevitable drop of the race occurred when I missed a turn because the glow sticks leading up to it had died. After wandering around in pitch black for a good 10 minutes while I looked for the course, I knew I needed to stop before I got hurt. Or lost. The last two or so miles literally went on FOREVER. I was moving SO slow and that made the cold night air even colder. If I hadn't put on the extra clothes, I'm pretty sure I would have gotten hypothermia (or just been REALLY REALLY cold).

I knew the course pretty well by now, but I didn't seem to be making any progress. I was on the verge of hysterics when I thankfully saw the gate entrance to the road. I made it back to base camp and officially called it when I checked in at the end of my loop. I was informed that all the other 100 mile women had already dropped, and there was only one female left out on the course.

It's hard to explain how I was feeling. I probably could have suffered through more miles. However, with the last 16.11 miles taking me just over 6 hours, that meant I would have had to have resumed my earlier pace of roughly 1:15 per loop just to make the cutoff. With another 4 hours of darkness, I knew I didn't have it in me. I trained for this race for four months, and believe me, I really never considered "what if" I didn't make it. I sat down by the heater next to the snack table, almost in shock. There were some relay runners waiting to head out, and they all tried to convince me that I was amazing for doing what I had done. However, I felt like a failure and a quitter.

What did I actually complete? 12 loops, for a total of 64.44 miles. This course had approximately 110 feet of elevation gain PER MILE. The challenging terrain of sand dunes, slick rock, dirt trails, and creek crossing made for proably the hardest course I have ever encountered. I believe my time was about 19:45, but I didn't wear a watch and official results aren't up yet.

Edit: Results added


Loop 1 (5.37 miles) - 8:17 am
Loop 2 (10.74 miles) - 9:32 am
Loop 3 (16.11 miles) - 10:48 am
Loop 4 (21.48 miles) - 12:13 pm
Loop 5 (26.85 miles) - 1:38 pm
Loop 6 (32.22 miles) - 3:16 pm
Loop 7 (37.59 miles) - 4:50 pm
Loop 8 (42.96 miles) - 6:28 pm
Loop 9 (48.33 miles) - 8:12 pm
Loop 10 (53.70 miles) - 10:03 pm
Loop 11 (59.07 miles) - 12:06 pm
Loop 12 (64.44 miles) - 2:43 am
Total Time - 19 hours, 43 minutes

After eating a bit more and chatting with the other runners, it was all of a sudden almost 4:00 am. I decided to put more clothes on and sit in the car until the sun came up. I made it about 10 minutes, then decided a few hours of sleep was better than none at all. I was obviously exhausted and fell asleep in minutes.

In the morning, I headed over to base camp to see how the other runners had fared while I had been sleeping. The other woman runner had only done one more lap before also dropping - so no female finishers at all. She had been a loop ahead of me during the day, so she finished overall 10.78 miles more than me. She also had a boyfriend/friend that she was running with, which I'm sure helped. With 5 hours until the course was closed, I was informed that only one person had finished, and only a total of three runners were likely to finish the full distance.

The friend from Facebook had run 75ish miles and stopped at 1:00 am. His loops awarded him a second place finish in the 24 hour division. The winner of the 24 hours was a female, who finished 91ish miles (WOW!!).

After learning all this, I can feel a teeny tiny bit better about my failure, but not much. First time I have ever not finished something I started. I felt especially crappy because I wasn't injured, I just got tired and discouraged and gave up. I even kept all toenails and didn't get any blisters!


So. Overall? What worked and what didn't?

Worked:

  • YMX tops. Long enough that they didn't ride up. Comfortable, and they BREATHE.
  • Zensah sports bra - NO CHAFING. 'Nuff said.
  • Lululemon "shorty shorts" under my skirt. I had actually NEVER run in these before, but all compression shorts tend to ride up on me. These never BUDGED. I ran in them all laps until the last one. BEST PURCHASE OF MY LIFE.
  • Running Skirts triathlon skirt. Cute, and functional. Liked having the pockets for my trash until I got back to base camp.
  • Extra clothes for when it got cold. Instead of just a straight running skirt, going with the shorts & triathlon skirt made it easy to change into capris when it got cold without mooning the volunteers.
  • Nathan hydration vest. It was ridiculously hot out, and I am pretty sure that one 10 oz bottle off my belt would not have been enough fluid for me. I did, however, see lots of people with just a handheld, and some people (must have been relayers), didn't carry anything at all!
    • I am proud to say I remembered to drink early and often. Might not have done that if I was "rationing" water.
    • Related - I made sure to take one gel (Hammer gel on all loops after the first one) every single loop. Of note, this was one of the first times I haven't had a bathroom emergency/stomach ache during a race. Wonder if it is the switch from GU to Hammer gel?
    • Made sure to eat a handful of snacks after EVERY SINGLE LOOP. M&M's, chips, little PB&J on tortillas. I think I fueled well.
    • Coke or heed sports drink (or both) every loop.
    • Electrolyte capsules - took one every other loop
  • My hat. I typically don't wear one, but wow, I was glad to have it. Bright, and hot, it was nice to have the extra shade - plus now I don't have a sunburned scalp.
  • iPod shuffle - battery life is 17 hours. Awesome.
  • Chapstick. SO GLAD I REMEMBERED THIS. I must have used it a BILLION times.
Didn't work:
  • My deoderant. I smelled SO awful after about 4 hours I could hardly stand it. Next time, I'll put some in my drop bag, just for my own comfort. Blech.
  • Newton trail shoes. SO UNCOMFORTABLE after the first 16.11 miles. Felt like no cushioning whatsoever. Bottoms of my feet were angry. For last loop, changed into my other Newtons. Those were even worse because since they weren't trail shoes I must've gotten half the dunes in my shoes. Brought gaiters, but (I will admit this) couldn't figure out how to use them and was too embarrassed to ask. Note to self - FIGURE IT OUT NEXT TIME.
  • CEP compression socks. Fine for my calves, but since I have small feet, the padding around the toes kept bunching up around the ball of my foot. SO UNCOMFORTABLE.
  • Headlamp. I didn't really realize there were different levels of headlamps. Mine had two angles and two levels of brightness, and neither one seemed to work well. Next time around, a brighter headlamp, and also a handheld lamp.
  • Forgetting my gum on THREE loops made me crazy. It did, however, give me something to think about for 5.37 miles.
  • Forgetting to put Body Glide in my drop bag. About halfway through, I could have used some for around the straps of my vest. No major chafing, not a big deal.
  • Forgetting to take off my capris before bed. They bunched around the back of my knee - closest thing to chafing of the day. Ouch.
Thoughts on the race/distance:
  • Volunteers literally there before the race started, and still there until everyone is done. That was awesome.
    • However, there were some loops where I could have used some help, and they weren't all that eager to actually HELP (filling bladder, cup of coke, etc).
  • 8 potties at the start - plenty for a race this size (and their families).
  • AWESOME shirt (but I don't feel I can wear it, since I didn't earn it)
  • The course was not marked well enough for night. Bigger/more reflective tape markings for night.
  • A bit more information about the race/course on their website might have changed my mind about picking this one. I was NOT the only runner surprised with how tough the course was.
    • With that in mind. Before I even got back to Denver, I was already considering how "next time, I might just sign up for the 24 hour division"
  • This does NOT have a high completion rate.  What that means, is it is a significantly challenging course. It is well organized, and honestly, I will probably do it again.
  • 100 miles. I believe I had the mental capacity to do it. On an "easier" course. However, I don't think I'll attempt the distance again without someone to join me. It did get lonely out there in the middle of the night.
  • 100 miles is FREAKING FAR. I was surprised at how 50 miles didn't seem "that bad" - but pretty much as soon as I passed it, it was all downhill from there.
  • Ultra runners are the BEST. They are encouraging and friendly. I wish I knew more local runners, they made me feel right at home even though I was obviously WAY out of my league. They say hi, they wave, they tell you that you look great. Awesome. Just awesome.

It was a really good thing my dad was there. I would NOT have been able to drive back, I slept almost the entire way. I can barely walk, but I actually think I am in less pain than after my 50 mile race. Helping with that are my magic compression pants - Aspaeris Pivot shorts! And lookie what J got for me:


I would just like to thank all my virtual friends (Twitter, Facebook, Dailymile, Blogger) for all the support. It really meant/means a lot to me. Especially in those hard hours, the texts and encouragement (especially from Heather, Lesley, L and J), really made a BIG difference to me. Not to be sappy, but I love you guys :)

Until next time... what an adventure.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

(Mostly) Wordless Wednesday

And THIS is what a completed training plan looks like:

All I have to do now is rest. The next time I put on my running shoes, I'll be at the start line of the Moab 100. I'm as ready as I'll ever be.

THANK YOU to all those that have supported me and taken the time to send some encouragement my way.

See you on the other side!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Weather Woes

So did you hear? It's going to be a BILLION degrees in Moab this weekend???


I will bring more than one outfit, but the tank will DEFINITELY be getting used. Holy crow, that is insanely hot, and I'm going to be out there ALL DAY.

I can answer a few questions in regards the course. As far as I know, there are no water crossings. Here is what it says on the website:

This year’s race will be run on the beautiful Monitor and Merrimac trail 16 miles north of Moab. Racers will run 5.37 mile laps and approximately 11,000′ of climbing for the entire 100 miles. A rolling course, each lap starts at 4524’, reaches a high point of 4982’ and a low point of 4490’.


What does that mean exactly? Dunno, but the pictures I have seen of the course looks like it's on a dirt trail/road. The views? Ridiculous:


Source
I think I'll wear the compression socks, but maybe in black because a light color will probably get pretty dirty with all that dirt/trail.


Anyway, I pretty much cannot stop thinking about this race. I am excited. I am nervous. I am scared. But. I am also confident that I can do this. I might just need a few reminders.


As an aside, this is a cute picture that was taken during Saturday's race:



Sunday, March 18, 2012

Decision Time!

I am so ridiculously unprepared for this weekend. I have not planned ANYTHING. I mean, I bought some snacks I thought I might want to eat during the race. Then I ate about 80% of them. Oops. I have not even picked my outfit. Part of the problem with picking my clothes is that I'm essentially going to be in them for 30+ hours. And the weather in Moab is SUPER unpredictable. I've sort of narrowed it down, but I would love some input.

I will definitely be wearing a YMX top. Choices:


This would be my "night" shirt. Could toss on over whatever else I'm wearing, or could simply switch tops. No biggie.

Other choices:

Normally I'm all about the tank tops. However, I really only got the chance to try out the hydration vest on one long run, and am a bit iffy about the straps, and if they might bother me without fabric being inbetween it and my skin. This shirt is breathable and would be awesome.

Next choice:


I absolutely LOVE this one. I'm actually leaning toward this one because I saw THIS for the forecast:


That's pretty hot temps to be running in.

And I'm also struggling with what to wear on the lower half. I'm comfortable running in capris, but the 70s is pretty warm for me to be wearing something long, plus I'm debating about wearing compression socks, which essentially is  like wearing long pants. I could die. I'm leaning towards wearing this:


I almost always race in a skirt, but I have never run in a Lulu skirt for longer than 6-7 miles. I normally wear runningskirts, but with a distance like this, I think I'd like the built in shorts.

Anyway.

I'M FREAKING OUT.

I leave on Friday for Moab. I plan on camping at the start, and then the race starts bright and early, 7:00 am. I have done the training pretty much to the letter. I did not miss one single run, but I did cut a few of the long runs a few miles short due to time restraints. I have (much to my dismay) tapered for the first time EVER. I am as ready as I will ever be, yet I feel like I am walking blind into my first race ever.

I would appreciate any last minute advice, comments, bits of encouragement, etc. (Wardrobe related or otherwise).

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Lucky Laces 10K (Race Recap)

Saturday, March 17
Denver, CO
Weather - Sunny and roasting hot

I had 6 miles on schedule. When I got free entry to Lucky Laces 10K, I figured, why not. Even though, I absolutely LOATHE the distance for racing. I finally was going to wear my white Lululemon pace setter skirt. I am in love. I want to live in this skirt. It is cute and comfortable. LOVE IT.

I met my friend Ruth at the gym and we carpooled down to Denver together. She is an expert in navigating the city, and we were there early enough that we found a close spot and walked to the starting area. We picked up bibs, timing chips, shirts, and did a bag drop, and still had about a half hour to kill. There were bagpipes playing and a band playing Irish songs:


I skipped my Luna bar and powered up on a small cheese danish and a peanut butter cup. Breakfast of champions. Cycled through the bathroom line twice, then we headed to the start area:


Smallish races so obviously no corrals. We started somewhat near the front and still slogged behind a bunch of walkers, strollers, dogs, etc. Sigh. Which leads me to how I end up pacing stupidly in a race. I get so tired of being "trapped" that I run too fast trying to get around people. I rocked the first mile, held a pretty awesome (for me) pace for about a mile and a half and then CRASHED. Not literally, but my legs were exhausted. WTF. I have not done speedwork in MONTHS. I know this. But I can't even race a 10K? I mean, it's been a while since I ran one, but it's not that far. Why can't I do this?? Dejectedly, I take about four walk breaks between mile 1.5 and maybe mile 2.25. I am thinking to myself... in one week I am going to try to run 100 miles, and I can't even get through a stupid 6 mile race???

Sucktastic. Then I remembered... I don't really CARE that I am not that fast. I jog and take a walk break around mile 3 to drink some Gatorade (or some SUPER STRONG sports drink - so nasty). Did I mention it was a BILLION degrees? So unseasonably warm for March here in the mile high city. I was dying.

At the start of loop 2 (each loop exactly a 5K), I decided to go back to the marathon strategy that has proved to work for me - running but not racing. I ran the second half of the race with no walk breaks at all. Much to my dismay, the aid station that had been around mile 1.6 on the first loop was TOTALLY GONE on the second loop. I was so thirsty. This was not good. I held my pace, and the "hills" that had killed me the first loop didn't seem that bad, and suddenly I was passing people. I upped my speed, and finished strong. The best part of the race was chicking a guy in the chute. Bahahaha!

Bib #2891
Official Time - 1:03:06
Overall Place - 215/364
Gender Place - 109/226
Division Place - 30/76
Garmin Time - 1:03:07
Garmin Distance - 6.20 miles
Pace - 10:11
Mile 1 - 9:08 (cruisin')
Mile 2 - 11:16 (snoozin')
Mile 3 - 10:52 (WTFing)
Mile 4 - 10:16 (Oh yeah, I can JOG)
Mile 5 - 10:04 (This isn't so bad)
Mile 6 - 9:40 (Wheee!)
Mile 6.2 - 8:38 (I can SPRINT!)


Overall, a nice, fun, smallish race. There were some vendors at the start/finish line with freebies and race discounts. Plus, they had some decent pre-race food. And REAL bathrooms at the start. Probably wouldn't pay $40 to do it, but you can't beat free. Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Three Things Thursday

1. NINE DAYS. NINE.

2. It's now soon enough to start looking at a forecast.


3. I am going to start packing. Soon. I need to get my food in order. I need to have LOTS of outfits packed. I don't want to forget anything by waiting until the last minute.

Did I mention I have no one coming with me? No pacers? No friends? No family? Yep. That's how I roll.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Run Through Time Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Salida, CO
Saturday, March 10
Half Marathon #57
Colorado Half # 9
Weather - Pretty chilly, but SUNNY and virtually no wind. PERFECT.


I picked Run Through Time half marathon because I noticed that the last double digit run I was supposed to do was 12 miles, and about two weeks before the 100. I did a quick internet search and found this one, saw it wasn't that far or expensive, and as soon as I locked in babysitting, I registered. I figure 13.1 is close enough to 12, and running a real race with a few "challenges" is probably better than another two hours on the treadmill.

I got up at 4:30 so I had time to get ready and be out the door by 5:00 am. Mapquest had the drive taking just under three hours. However, plugging the address into the Garmin, I was looking at closer to 2.5 hours. Fine with me, that way I didn't feel rushed. The first part of the drive was hard because I don't see that well at night and it was a dark, two lane highway. After the sun came up, I nearly hit a wolf (coyote?) and saw about a dozen deer inches off the road. Arrived at the start line with a little over an hour to the start and go in to get my stuff. (Oh, YOU'RE the one who has their name in all capital letters). This is what picking up your number and shirt looks like at a teeny tiny (I think 250 total runners), no frills race:


Bathroom stop number one, then I sat in my car and listened to my iPod and ate my Luna bar. At about 8:15, I headed back in to give me time to use the bathroom one more time and to listen to the announcements about the course. I ran into Jennifer, a girl I ran part of the Fatass with back in January, and was recognized by a few guys who had also run it. I also got probably ten compliments on Razzy Roo's newest headband, the I heart Bacon one.


We had to cross a bridge and some railroad tracks to get to the start line. I was a bit worried I would be cold while running, but opted to not bring my jacket. I didn't want to have to tie it around my race or try to shove it in my hydration vest. Looking around, most people were wearing short sleeves with arm sleeves and shorts with compression socks. (Spoiler: I would have been FINE wearing less). It just SEEMED cold:


I'm going to do this recap a bit different. Most of what needs to be said can be said with pictures. So... here you go:




























Hot, Hard,  HILLS HILLS HILLS HILLS and (H)amazing.


I knew I was not racing this race. There were really only two goals. Finish without getting pulled for being too slow, and to NOT hurt myself. Both, accomplished.

The course was by FAR the most challenging I have ever run. I went back and looked at all my other elevation profiles, and the only two that showed similar gain were the Great Wall Marathon (only a few hundred feet more, but twice as long a race) and Greenland Trail 50K - again - LOTS longer, similar gain. (I didn't wear my Garmin for the 50 miler since the battery would not have lasted long enough, but I think that might have been about a 1000 feet more. But again, over FIFTY miles, not THIRTEEN). So I will just say, whenever I have complained about hills, I didn't even know what hills were. THESE were hills. So yeah, it was HARD. In addition to the steep uphills, there were steep downhills. It's arguably even HARDER to run steep downs. Couple that with SUPER muddy conditions in parts (literally, there was a section I slid down a good ten feet) and ice, a section of sand dunes, this course pretty much had it ALL. It was overall pretty well marked, but there was about a 20 minute gap when I didn't see anyone in front or behind me and I was 100% certain I had gone off course. I spent that time wondering who do I call. 911? A park ranger? It was scary. Luckily a woman finally came up behind me and we ran together for a bit - NOT lost. (In the picture of me after the race is over, she is lying on the ground half in the picture). Overall, the easiest way to describe this race? Think of the hardest hike you have ever done, then try to run it.

Course was ALL OVER THE PLACE - can you see how I could have been LOST??


BIB #190
Garmin Time - 2:59:50
Garmin Distance - 13.28 miles
Garmin Pace - 13:32
Mile 1 - 11:53
Mile 2 - 10:31
Mile 3 - 12:40
Mile 4 - 14:33
Mile 5 - 13:35
Mile 6 - 11:37
Mile 7 - 19:03
Mile 8 - 17:43
Mile 9 - 14:22
Mile 10 - 13:40
Mile 11 - 15:32
Mile 12 - 11:25
Mile 13 - 10:28
Mile 13.1ish - 9:52

The Good:
  • AWESOME aid stations. The aid stations were what you would expect at an ultra marathon. Sports drink, water, pretzels, chips, cookies, gels... more than just people throwing cups at you. They were friendly and helped you out any way they could. Including cleaning off all the blood off my hand after I bit it around mile 10 and bandaging me up. Thanks!
  • The most awesome of the awesome in the running community were here. I have NEVER run with such an amazing group of people. Everyone was so nice and friendly. I LOVED IT.
  • The course, and the views I was able to see from the course. Honestly, I have lived in Colorado about 95% of my life, and I usually find it pretty UNimpressive. I must have thought to myself - "wow, this is amazing," at least a dozen times.
  • This race brought out the "runner" in me. I truly enjoyed myself. Even when I thought I was lost, even when I almost broke my neck sliding down a hill, even after I did fall and bloody myself up, I had a great time. I wish I wasn't such a weenie and felt comfortable enough in my abilities to run alone on the trails. This was so fun.
  • CHEAP (for a Colorado race). No expo, no swag bag, no bling, and registering only about a month in advance and I paid about $35. COMPLETELY WORTH EVERY PENNY. I even got a pretty nice shirt. Since there were no sponsors, it just has a tiny race logo on the front.
  • I wore the hydration vest that I got for the 100. It did not annoy me even a teeny tiny bit. I think it will be fantastic for the 100. Thanks, Fast Cory!!!
  • My YMX shirt was freakin' spectacular. Any other long sleeve shirt and I would have been BAKING in the heat (so what it was only 43 degrees when I was done, it felt like 80). I loved having the pockets in the back to stash my gloves when I got too hot to wear them - at mile TWO.
  • FREE race pictures!!! FREE!! These were taken at mile 4.25:


The Bad:
  • If I had to be picky, I'd say no medal. But that's just because I really like them :D I knew I wasn't going to be getting one when I registered, so obviously, NOT a "bad"
  • Honestly, NOTHING. This race was amazing. I will run it again, although I am not sure I am badass enough to run the full. You all can see how long "just" the half took me! Of course I was taking it easy, but in all honesty, I don't think I could have run much faster!

Week in Review (November 7 - November 13)

Tuesday  (9,392 steps) - Nothing... walked on the treadmill and watched an episode of Game of Thrones. Wednesday  (19,114 steps) - Runners ...