Monday, May 28, 2012

Wyoming Marathon (Race Recap)

Sunday, May 27
Marathon #9
State #4
Laramie, WY
Weather - Extremely windy, chilly, sunny

Normally I would input the race's logo here. This race does not have one. That should give you a bit of insight into the Wyoming Marathon. Anyway. Rewind.

Last year, I registered for the Edinburgh marathon in Scotland. About 4 months ago, I decided I would have to back out of the race because airfare NEVER got any cheaper. So, originally, I had been planning on running THAT race over Memorial Day weekend. As time went on, I was pretty hesitant to add another race to my schedule - what with the high miles I put in training for Moab, and then the blah and lack of training AFTER Moab. However. Grand Valley had gone pretty well, and I wanted some last minute training (altitude and hills) for the Incan Trail marathon... which is only a few weeks away! So I registered for this race only TEN days in advance. Madness.

When I first started talking about this race, L and Ruth were thinking of coming (to run the half). L ended up not being able to get a babysitter and Ruth forgot to register before online registration closed. So I was headed to Laramie to race alone. J offered to come up with A, so we headed out about 7:30 the night before. Even on the drive up it was impossible to miss how WINDY the drive was, especially along I80 - which is where a lot of the course would shadow. We checked into our hotel around 10:30 pm. I pretty much went to bed right away. With a 6 am start time and needing to get my packet still, 4:50 was the wake up time.

Race Day


Apparently I was the only one that slept well. The wind was very loud all night and J and Chopper were up most of the night. Sorry! I had to pack up all my stuff since I wouldn't have time to come back before check out. We headed out the door at 5:15 for the 15 minute drive to the rest area where the race was headquartered. Yes. You heard me right. Rest area. As in, right off the highway.

We pulled in by the rest area where I assumed packets would be. They weren't there and I was told they were at the start line - which was about a 1/4 mile up the hill. J drove me up there, and I waited in line. At the camper (you can see it in the far right of my start line picture). I got my bib and my t-shirt (apparently they use the exact same shirt and medal every year - for $40 I cannot complain).

I then had J drive me back to the bathroom so I could use the REAL bathrooms and fill the bladder of my hydration vest. By the time I was done with that and J took me back to the start line, it was literally less than 5 minutes to the start line. I got out of the car, headed to the back of the pack.

Start Line - This is a all the 1/2, full, and double full marathon runners
There was no gun, there was a flour line in the dirt where we started. I'll go ahead and post the elevation profile now so you can see what I'm talking about:


I was expecting a fairly "easy" first half and a horrible/awful/no good/very bad second half. I didn't want to tire myself out, and the wind was HORRIFYINGLY cold. 95% of the time I run in a tank and skirt. For this race I was wearing my Marathon Maniacs t-shirt, Asics arm sleeves AND an Under Armour jacket. Not to mention ear warmers and gloves. I was still just wearing a Lululemon skirt though. I did comment more than once that I almost wished I had worn pants. Just to give some perspective, it was really THAT cold. The aid stations were supposedly every four miles apart. I wanted to run the whole first half (minus aid stations). If it wouldn't have been so damn windy, I would have enjoyed the course more.



The first aid station was just over 4 miles in. There was no gatorade. There WAS gatorade powder. Having never made my own gatorade, I asked the volunteer how much I should use for my 8 oz handheld. I was told "not that much." I didn't want to spend a whole lot of time on it, so I think I ended up making it too weak. I grabbed a handful of M&Ms and headed out.

First aid station!

Aspen trees
I'll try to keep my complaining about the cold and the wind to a minimum. The first four miles had gone really well. About mile 5.5, there was a decent sized hill, and I walked for the first time. So did just about everyone else. We also had left the "protection" of the trees. We had entered an area that was WIDE open, and the wind was coming from pretty much every angle. Or so it felt. Except from the back. I have never experienced such crazy wind! Rumor has it that over the course of the morning, gusts were averaging mid 30s and peaked in the low 70s. I don't know that for sure, but I believe it. The half marathon turn around was not an aid station, just a small gallon of water and a trash bag. I dumped my GU trash and headed out.

The next three miles were on the paved frontage road of I80.


This was the second best feeling part of the race for me, and I ran the entire section from roughly mile 7-10. Aid stations were supposed to be 4 miles apart, so I kept waiting, and waiting, and waiting... Finally when we turned off the paved road at mile TEN, there was an aid station. I asked if there were any bathrooms on the course. Volunteer says no. Uh. That is really sucky. An entire marathon with NO bathrooms? Made my gatorade, took some M&Ms and headed out - just in time for the lead marathon runner to be heading past. 10K ahead of me. Ha.

This section was back on dirt roads. Another mile in and I can't hold it anymore. I find a rock... We are running through another tree/rocky area. There are a lot of people camping. The wind actually seems to be at my back, and with the slight downhill, I'm feeling pretty good at this point. I finally warm up a bit and take off my jacket around mile 12.4 and tie it around my waist. Leave on the sleeves and gloves though. Hurrah to be at the halfway point!

Marathon turn around
Same deal with gatorade and candy, then head back, after putting my jacket into my hydration vest. Already leaving the aid station, and I come across the first hill of the second half:


As you could see from the elevation profile, the entire second half is uphill (except about a 1-1.5 mile section between maybe mile 19.5 and 21). The course was REALLY pretty. But again, the WIND made it really hard to enjoy. I walked a TON the second half. In addition to the inclines, it is really difficult to run against the wind. It's also hard to breathe at 8000+ elevation in extreme wind. So I did some sort of run walk (with more jogging and walking than running) and took a lot of pictures.





My the time I got to mile 15, the two miles of hills had already taken a toll on me. I was exhausted. Middle aid station and I filled up and headed back to the three miles of paved roads. This section the wind was coming from the north (and we were running west?). To describe how windy it was - while I was running, my leg that was off the ground would get pushed by the wind into my leg that was on the ground, nearly knocking me down. Just messing with my form so I didn't trip myself took a TON of energy. I ran probably 1/2 of this section overall. I passed a few people, but I wasn't really feeling good. Had there been no wind, this section would have been cake. Cross back under I80 and head into last 6.55 of the course. Half marathon turnaround is gone, and I get to enjoy the ONLY downhill section of the second half.




My best guess was that the last four miles would be the worst. Around mile 21.5 I finally warmed up a bit and took off my sleeves, gloves and ear warmers and put them in my bag. Almost everyone was walking these sections of the course. I had a mini goal of going sub 5:30 on this course, so I still tried to run sections when possible. Even "speed walking" against the wind and I was getting close to 18 minute miles (normally should be 14-15 minute miles). Chatted with some Marathon Maniacs about this years New Years Double and then I took off. Just over 3 miles to go in 45 minutes... I'd have to run some of it. Took more pictures too.




Hills at the end of the course are the worst.
Giant hill - 1 mile to go

Giant hill - 1/2 mile to go
With a half mile to go, I have 10 minutes to meet my time goal. I am still walking and I don't care. I have had enough of the wind. My shoes are full of gravel/dirt and the hills are SO HARD to walk. In addition to the wind, the road is very graded, so it is not even flat to run on. I should have taken a picture of the last hill leading up to the finish line... but I was over it. I jogged the last... 50 feet maybe and ran through the "chute." First race ever where there were no bananas. There were packaged muffins, danish and cinnamon rolls. Even better. I grabbed a cinnamon roll and a gatorade and headed immediately to the car.

Crossing the line - A is right behind me (notice the volunteer in ski hat & jacket)
Holy. Crap.

Bib #158
Official Time - 5:27:53
Overall Place - 43/76
Gender Place - 15/29
Garmin Time - 5:27:39
Garmin Distance - 26.14 miles
Garmin Pace - 12:32
Mile 1 - 10:43
Mile 2 - 10:38
Mile 3 - 10:53
Mile 4 - 10:57
Mile 5 - 12:39
Mile 6 - 14:05
Mile 7 - 14:12
Mile 8 - 10:46
Mile 9 - 10:31
Mile 10 - 11:32
Mile 11 - 12:22 ("bathroom")
Mile 12 - 10:39
Mile 13 - 10:17
Mile 14 - 15:26
Mile 15 - 13:48
Mile 16 - 14:37
Mile 17 - 14:20
Mile 18 - 11:42
Mile 19 - 12:38
Mile 20 - 12:04
Mile 21 - 10:51
Mile 22 - 13:41
Mile 23 - 13:54
Mile 24 - 13:43
Mile 25 - 14:00
Mile 26 - 14:34
Mile 25.14 - 16:10 (haaaaaaa)



Post race pictures by the super awesome Lincoln Memorial. (This is a REST AREA...)

Lincoln Monument 

Then I immediately went to the bathroom and changed into my Aspaeris magic pants and street clothes. No time to shower. Again. Then we headed back down to Denver, stopping at Wendy's for lunch. I had a baconator. A double baconator. The "double" was not intentional, I think the guy was new and just screwed up. Anyway. Thoughts on this race.

Bad:

  • Their website is hosted by Angelfire. Lots of pop up ads and some browsers will not even open the site.
  • Very little information on their page.
  • Misleading that aid stations are 4 miles apart. 4 to 10 is NOT 4 miles, no matter what type of math you are doing.
  • THE DAMN WIND. Apparently it is ALWAYS windy for this, so keep that in mind. Also, wear more than you think you should. This wind is "take your breath away, chill you to the bone" cold at times.
Good:
  • One of the least expensive races I've ever run. Everything I needed at an aid station, plus extras (like chips and candy and granola bars that you normally wouldn't see unless you were running an ultra).
  • "Green" - no cups, no litter
  • Ok shirt, unique medal
  • Beautiful GORGEOUS scenery.
  • Challenging terrain. Yes, I list this as a "good" part of the course.
By no stretch of the imagination was this an easy course. Since I had no real goals going into it, I was not disappointed. Just wish it wouldn't have been so windy! (How many times did I mention wind even though I said I wouldn't??)

10 comments:

  1. HOME!!!!!! I LOVE your pictures!!! You did so great, Laramie wind is killer. And in a Lulu skirt? You're badass.

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  2. will definitely NOT be doing this for my Wyomming race. Wind bothers me like no other, so congrats for hitting your goal despite all the challenges going on!

    sidenote- i more marathon till u hit double digits!

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  3. Way to go! I'm with LJ, I don't want to do this one either.

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  4. Wow way to be tough! That wind sounds horrible.

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  5. The scenery was gorgeous. Thanks for sharing the experience!!!

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  6. Well, this sounds like it was great prep for Incan Trail but, pretty as it is, I can't say it sounds fun. Yikes. Nice job powering through the terrain, altitude, and temps!

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  7. Wind is the WORST.

    Are those trees PURPLE!?

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  8. um, impressive but no thank you for me :) you didn’t mention your hotel?!?! i saw the tweet and want to know! congrats on another great race!

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  9. That shiz looks ridiculous. When I saw your tweet before you started I went and looked up the race and was like "noooo, really? 8000+ feet? no."

    Good work coming in under 5.5 with that insanity.

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  10. Awesome pictures and a great write-up. It does indeed look like a challenging course, but also very rewarding. I can't imagine really running at that altitude though.

    Either way I'll have to put this one on my list to do.

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