Monday, August 12, 2013

Mt. Sneffels Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Ouray, CO
Saturday, August 10
Half Marathon #90
Colorado Half #30
Weather - Perfect

The second weekend in August is apparently one of the most popular race weekends in the state of Colorado. The last three years we have run the Georgetown to Idaho Springs half marathon (that race last year was when my IT band finally gave out), but with our goal of "run all the Colorado races" we had to pick a different race. The name alone sold us, so Mt. Sneffels half marathon it was.

Somehow in the midst of all the planning, I didn't realize that the race was on a Saturday. And that it was a six hour drive from Denver. Obviously I ended up having to take Friday off.

We dropped the kids off with our parents at 9 and then met up with Hope who was joining us for the race. We decided to take the "shorter" scenic route. Bad idea. Apparently there is ALL THE TRAFFIC on these two lane state highways. It took forever to get there. We stopped along the way in places like South Park:

We stopped for lunch at a pizza place in Gunnison. I swear it was the best pizza I have ever had.

We arrived in Ouray just before 5:00, which is when packet pick up supposedly started at the hot springs. It looked like they had been set up for a while and we got our stuff in just a few minutes. L managed to book as at a hotel only about a half mile from the start. We had a pretty decent view:

We spent about an hour trying to decide what we were going to do for dinner. We had asked the volunteers at pick up what they recommended and one of them snidely said "no where." Um ok. Ouray is a super small, quaint mountain town with no chain restaurants. We were going to be at the mercy of what didn't have a wait and what might be affordable. We finally decided on a place O'Brien's Pub. The food was ok, the service was not. 
We walked back to the room and L went to bed since she had worked the night before. Hope and I watched tv until about 9 and then headed to bed. I felt tired but I did not sleep. AT ALL. I spent the entire night tossing and turning and don't think I got more than an hour of rest in the whole 9+ hours I was in bed.

Race Day

Obviously I was awake before the alarm went off at 6:15. The race started at 7:30, but the plan was to get a cup of coffee and small breakfast from the lobby and then walk over around 7. I had the most delicious cheese coffee cake. We walked over at 7, and it seemed like it was going to be a cold day and I was a bit sad I had not packed arm sleeves.

We arrived at the start at 7:15 and decided to use the bathroom even though we had all just gone before leaving the hotel. We timed it perfectly, the National Anthem was playing right as we walked up to the start line.

Start line
We had been given a hand drawn map of the course in our race packet, but none of us had really bothered to look at it. I did know that there was an out and back in the beginning, but what I didn't really think about is WHERE the out and back was. Turns out we had to run up Main Street, which was a big hill. We saw L running towards us (can you spot the neon??):

She yells "Ross is here!" Ross is the old guy that lives near us that is also at all the races. I was surprised to hear that he was at this race since he had run it before and there were other races happening this weekend.

We got to the turnaround and then got to run DOWN the hill, which was nice. But then... we looped back UP on the parallel dirt road that our hotel was on. We didn't head out of town until after the second mile and we were pleasantly surprised to realize that we were not going to be running on asphalt! As you can see, there was a decent ascent in the beginning - I took this around mile 2.5 and we had started on the roads below:

Neither Hope nor I was wearing headphones so we just chatted the entire time, enjoying the views.

The marathon course was an out and back, starting in Ridgway. Their entire first half was a gradual uphill. Didn't look fun. I did, however, recognize two people on the course. The assistant to the race director of the Grand Mesa ultra I just ran a few weeks ago, and Lisa, the woman I ran most of the first 12 miles with on that same course. Such a small world in the running community!

The gradual downhill REALLY helped our pace and Hope kept commenting that we were pretty regularly running sub 11 minute  miles, which for US is pretty speedy!! We were both feeling good for once! We even stopped to take pictures - how could you not with these amazing views!?

Somewhere around mile 10 I suggested that we have a goal to pass at least 10 people before the race was over. We managed to do that within probably the next five minutes. We must have been pacing pretty well because the only time anyone passed us on the back part of the course were the really fast marathoners.

I took this picture at the base of the only major hill at the end of the course at mile 11:

Around mile 12.5 we walked a bit as it seems our faster pace caught up with Hope. We crested the top of a small hill and we booked it, finally passed the women with the stroller (small victories, people).

MMR Time - 2:30:40
MMR Distance - 13.39
MMR Pace - 11:15
Official Time - 2:30:41
Official Pace - 11:31
Overall Place - 384/505
Gender Place - 225/324
Division Place - 34/41
Mile 1 - 12:22
Mile 2 - 12:11
Mile 3 - 12:04
Mile 4 - 10:28
Mile 5 - 11:36
Mile 6 - 10:31
Mile 7 - 11:29
Mile 8- 11:38
Mile 9 - 9:53 (WHAT)
Mile 10 - 10:43
Mile 11 - 10:14
Mile 12 - 12:37
Mile 13 - 10:49
Mile 13.39 - 8:36 (Double WHAT)

We had to take a shuttle back from Ridgway to Ouray. There was apparently only one so we had to wait about 10 minutes, which gave me time to slam half a beer. We had time to all shower and we were out the door by 11:30. We chose NOT to take the scenic route on the way back. Hope's husband and daughter had been watching the kids and we picked them up around 6:15.

  • I loved our super bright "be seen from space" outfits.
  • I would highly recommend this race. Everything was very well organized - there was a bonus 6th aid station and I never felt like they were spaced too far apart. All but one had m&m's, gummy bears and pretzels. 
  • The race was not very expensive and came with a tech tee (unfortunately the smallest size still too big for me) and a medal.
  • The course was on dirt and had beautiful views.
  • I never had any issues with my calves!! I really think it helps when we have a few super slow "warm up"miles in the beginning to loosen up the legs.


  1. I love your super bright seen from space outfits too. It looks like a beautiful place to run. Great job on another half marathon!

  2. Half #90 - Wow! Congrats on another great finish!


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