Monday, February 11, 2013

Ralston Creek Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Sunday, February 10
Arvada, CO
Half Marathon #77
Colorado Half #17
Ralston Creek Half #2
Weather - COLD

When I ran the Ralston Creek half marathon last year, it was the coldest I have ever run in. I have always been saying it was 7 degrees, but looking at my recap from last year, it peaked at 18. It was not much warmer this year, I would guess upper 20's, low 30's? It was cold enough that I actually convinced L to wear long sleeves. FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER.

A's Girl Scout troop was planning on having a cookie booth at the race start/finish area, so she rode with us. We arrive about 45 minutes before the race started. We fueled with donut holes (for real, this is officially now a Thing) and walked to the start area to pick up our bibs and goodie bags. We immediately headed back to the car. BRRR.

We stayed in the car until about 20 minutes before the 9:45 start. I dropped A off (in full snowsuit) to the cookie booth, then got in line for the restroom. We were approached while in line to try this "new caffeine powder" inhalant. Sure. I'll try it. Mine was raspberry-ish flavored. I did not die and it did not give me energy. Wish I could remember the name of it.

Freezing cold before the start
We headed over to the start with one minute until the gun. Wheee! I started my mapmyrun before crossing the mat. With gloves and a zip pocket, I didn't want to be messing with it while running. L reminded me that the first half of the course was uphill. Yeah. I remember.

The first mile is on road through a residential neighborhood. My toes were FREEZING. I made it to the trail, about 2/3-3/4 mile in before my calves started aching and throbbing. I started running slower and L stuck with me until the first aid station, maybe a mile in. I stopped to stretch and she kept going. First race we haven't run together in ages :( I can't really blame her, I'd be super annoyed running with me too.

I had to stop and walk a BUNCH the first few miles. I kept stretching but my calves would NOT loosen up. It was also VERY icy on the course. Before I knew it, I was in LAST place. No, seriously. There was an early start for walkers and slower runners (you would be disqualified if you ran faster than 2:15, but it was suggested for those who expected to finish slower than 2:30), so I was in the group with everyone who hoped to finish sub 2:30. I have NEVER actually been last in a race. This SUCKED. There was a detour a few miles in to the race (I'm assuming because of snow on the course? Construction by the golf course? Who knows) and I finally got close to the last runner, but couldn't seem to pass her. I took a vanilla orange Roctane GU just before mile 3. It expired 2/12 and tasted a bit "off," but I am writing this a day later and I'm still alive, so obviously it is not fatal to do this.

Mile 4 and my dumb legs finally started to loosen. However, by now, my fatigue from the last two weeks of being sick had caught up. At least by now I was doing a bit more running than walking. I think I finally passed the slowest runners heading up one of the "steeper/gradual" hills. I took this just after mile 5. Gloomy skies but the mountains look cool:

We use an underpass to cross the street and then we are heading north toward the infamous switchbacks just past mile 7. I had an ok mile heading up to that part. Passed the aid station at the base and power walked up probably 75% of the hill. I knew I'd be even more exhausted if I slow-jogged up so I didn't even bother. I took this picture at the peak:

The next section of the course is BLISSFULLY downhill. I passed 2-3 runners in this section and posted my fastest mile (since probably this same mile last year) between mile 8 and 9 of 9:11. Wheeee! I slow jogged most of the remainder of the course. The sun sort of came out and started melting some of the snow/ice on the path. Aid station at mile 9.5ish I grabbed a much-needed Hammer gel. I kept in pace with another lady for a few miles, I finally passed her around mile 12. Thank GOODNESS I missed the mile marker for 11, I thought the race was never going to end.

We came off the trail at about mile 12.5 and then I knew "all" I had to run was up the street. Imagine the longest chute of your LIFE, and that is pretty much what this section is like, especially when you can barely move your legs :-/

I saw L, H and my Dad hanging out just by the chute, I think my Dad got a picture, but he never sent it. I crossed the line and was greeted with high 5's from A and the other Girl Scouts.

Bib #605
Official Time - 2:32:45 (21+ minutes slower than last year)
Official Pace - 11:40
Overall Place - 464/527
Gender Place - 259/308
Division Place - 62/69
MMR Time - 2:38:30 (forgot to stop it after)
MMR Distance - 13.71
MMR Pace - 11:33
Mile 1 - 10:12
Mile 2 - 13:08
Mile 3 - 12:04
Mile 4 - 11:46
Mile 5 - 11:43
Mile 6 - 12:38
Mile 7 - 10:33
Mile 8 - 12:39
Mile 9 - 9:11 (Whee!)
Mile 10 - 10:51
Mile 11 - 10:27
Mile 12 - 10:25
Mile 13 - 11:19
Mile 13.ish - 14:58 (includes a few minutes of standing since I forgot to stop)

Apparently, I was also a random finish line winner!:


How exciting, I never win anything!! We grabbed food (Mountain Dew, Chocolate chip banana bread and a chorizo burrito). I didn't drink the soda or eat the burrito but the bread was delicious. Then we did some finisher pictures:

First and only attempt at a "jump" - I think we did great!

I was approached in the finisher area - "I don't know you, but I read your blog. I was looking for a course description of this race!" Hilarious. Thanks for reading, random guy!

Ruth and I made some last minute travel plans (she is running with me next weekend in Arizona) and then we headed to the car. FREEZING. Lunch was Smashburger. I swear we felt like we had hypothermia. I sat under the heated blanket at home until I had my deep tissue massage at 3:00. It didn't really seem to help. Thankfully, I have an appointment with a "real" doctor on Thursday. I am going to LOSE MY MIND if I don't get this calf issue taken care of. For a while I thought it might be improving, but it's gotten REALLY bad. ANY SUGGESTIONS AT ALL???

Race Musings:
  • Two years I have run this. Both years it was VERY cold. I'll run it again.
  • Very well supported and well-marked course. I can say that for sure this year since I was dead last and did not get lost. I was alone a LOT and never had any issues.
  • There were a lot of aid stations, but I think the first one must have been out of gels. Glad I had my expired GU to tide me over.
  • I had Mike & Ike candy to fuel again. Delicious. Hard to get to when you have frostbite/hypothermia.
  • I love that there is soda and food other than bananas/bagels at the finish.


  1. Your jumping picture is really great, I always manage to look, well horrible in any and all attempts.

    I don't understand how you can survive winter, just reading your recap makes me cold!

  2. I just started dry needling for tight areas - it hurts and it's too soon to say anything about it yet, but you might try it!

  3. I love the jumping picture.

    The cold looks terrible. I don't know how you can run on ice!?

    If you were dead last, then came in 464/527, you must have passed a shitton of people!!

  4. i don't mind running in cold--- but as i sit here in my freezing office I was feeling for you for this race. I ADORE a nice cold coke after a long run- ya it may not be healthy, but after running 13.1 miles a little sugar goes a long way :)

    congrats on passing that lady toward end of race and for having successful first jumping attempt

  5. Wow, that looks cold! Vanilla Orange Roctane? Good choice.

    Good luck in AZ next weekend, I hope you get some answers from the doc.

  6. I saw you at the start of the race and remember being amazed that you were going to run in a skirt.

  7. You do look cold, but the outfits are so cute! Love the jumping photo. And yay for being a random finish line winner!

  8. finish line winner? how cool is that! it looks so cold yet so pretty! i can't believe you skipped the burrito-that would've been a must for me.

  9. Looks too cold for a tropics girl like me - I could never be as brave as you!

  10. great recap! I can't imagine running a half in the snow!! great medal too!


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