Monday, July 1, 2013

Castle Rock Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Castle Rock, CO
Saturday, June 29
Half Marathon #87
Colorado Half #27
Weather - Sunny and warm

The inaugural Castle Rock half marathon was going to be the closest race to our house for the weekend, and it also worked out nicely since my sister-in-law was driving up to pick up A and wanted to do a race. L was going to have to head to the race straight from work, so Lisa and I got up at 5:10, leaving around 5:30 for the 45 minute drive to Castle Rock.

There was not a lot of information on the website and I was having some trouble mapping where the race started. Luckily, they had a map of the starting area so I was able to get to the intersection. We parked only a few blocks from the start area. Around 6:15 we walked over to pick up our stuff and I immediately got in the bathroom line. There were only 5 port-o-potties at the start, so it took us a good 15 minutes to get through the line. I saw L in line after I finished and Lisa and I headed back to the car to drop off our stuff and grab what we needed to run.

We ended up walking right up to the start as the gun went off. Of course we were not ready, I had L's headphones and she was still in the bathroom. We started a few minutes late, which was of course no big deal. Lisa ran with me for about 5 minutes until we got to the first hill and then she told me to go on without her.

I really didn't know anything about the course, but everyone I had talked with had said that Castle Rock was pretty hilly. I learned that just about the time I passed the mile 1 marker when we had this ridiculously long uphill climb up past the high school. That's when the walking started.

This is the rock that gives Castle Rock its name
I finally got to the top of the gigantic hill and I was just following the people in front of me. Turns out one of the directional signs had fallen over and there was no volunteer to tells us that only the 5 mile people were supposed to turn... I ended up going a few minutes out of  my way (total) and then had to assume I was going the right way since by this time there was no one in front of me. There was another long gradual uphill until we turned into a neighborhood for the first downhill of the course.

The course was pretty confusing between the aid station at mile 4 and when we finally got on the path. For the most part the signs were pretty good, but they should have used darker colors for the markings. With how bright it was, it was hard to see where you were supposed to go.

I stopped to use the bathroom around mile 4 and finally "got my running mojo." I had a lot more energy and ran a lot more. Next aid station was at mile 5, and finally got some Gatorade. It was already feeling REALLY hot out.

Once we were on the bike path it was really pretty. Not especially shaded, which was unfortunate, but at least I was no longer worried about getting lost. Since I hadn't really looked at the course, I didn't know that we were doing a 6.5ish mile loop before heading back. I think I got to mile 6 before the fasties were headed back towards me.

It was definitely a hilly and challenging course. I walked a lot more than I wanted to, but the uphills were pretty steep and they were just trashing my legs.

The views weren't half bad:

L was running with Hope's husband Terry, and I kept wondering when I would see them heading back. I finally saw them when I got to about mile 7.5 and I was pretty surprised I hadn't seen them earlier.

I knew we would be getting to the turnaround soon... and of COURSE there would be another nice uphill before we got there.

Mile 8 was the turnaround and I grabbed a Razz gel and some Gatorade before heading back. I had remembered how uphill the last 2 miles had felt and thought maybe it would be a bit better on the way back.

Well... some sections felt easier, but there was a surprising number of uphills on the way back as well. Hit the aid station at 11.5 (the one that had been the start of the loop at mile 5) and they had run out of Gatorade. Dang. The course finally was getting some shade, but by this point I was really hot, running low on electrolytes and I just wanted to be done.

When I finally saw the rock again, I knew I had to be close:

I was so happy when I saw the marker at mile 12, thinking SURELY I can run the last mile. NO. I could not. My legs were tired and I was hot. That last mile was the longest mile EVER. The finish was a nice .1 UPHILL (of course) and probably my biggest achievement is that I didn't walk across the finish line.

Heading in to the finish
Thanks to the matchy matchy outfits, I spotted Lisa and L right away. Lisa had dropped at the mile 5 aid station and walked the last 1.5 miles back to the start/finish area. She is from Texas and said she was really struggling with not being able to breathe.

We grabbed a bunch of water and had a delicious sausage burrito and chatted with Ross at the finish area before heading out.

Official Time - 2:34:38
Overall Place - 248/299
Division Place - 62/79
MMR - 13.73 miles
MMR Pace - 11:15
Mile 1 - 10:15
Mile 2 - 12:38
Mile 3 - 11:55
Mile 4 - 10:21
Mile 5 - 10:43
Mile 6 - 10:48
Mile 7 - 10:45
Mile 8 - 11:34
Mile 9 - 10:48
Mile 10 - 11:05
Mile 11 - 11:22
Mile 12 - 11:33
Mile 13 - 11:40
Mile 13.73 - 8:48

  • For an inaugural it really wasn't that bad, although:
    • 5 bathrooms at the start was not enough. They should have had at least 8-10
    • Two aid stations ran out of water (but offered us ice), and at least one ran out of Gatorade - they needed to stock better.
    • The shirt is a nice tech tee, but again, with it being unisex sizes, I will never wear it again. Same complaint with other race - please have gender specific shirts so we can wear these again!
    • Nice finish line area with plenty of water, fruit and of course, the tasty burritos.
    • Very friendly volunteers
    • Course could have been marked a bit better - again, darker colors on the signs would have been helpful.
  • I walked a LOT during this course, so I was pretty please that I only finished a minute slower than I ran at Slacker (and hypothetically, had I not gone the wrong way or needed the bathroom I would have been faster).
  • I really am not a big fan of running in the summer. It is just too hot.
  • This wasn't TERRIBLE, so I maybe would run it again, just knowing in advance what a tough course it is I might be better prepared the next time around.
  • I ran in my Pure Flows again, and they seemed fine.
  • As "slow" as I ran, as much as I walked, as HOT as it was, I did NOT hate running when I got done with this. Progress?


  1. I cannot agree with you enough about how much I dislike running in the hot summer temps. Those hills look like they are no joke, I would have turned around and quite because hills and my hamstring don't play nicely together! I love your matchy matchy tops!

  2. I for SURE declare this progress.

    So much matchy matchy, I can't stand it!!!!


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