Half Marathon #101
Colorado Half #37
Weather - CHILLY, windy, flurries, overcast
I should have been racing in Moab this weekend, like have the last two years. However, the price got too high since I waited, AND my travel buddy bailed. Instead, I half-heartedly signed up for the Spring Fever half marathon (that Ariel and I volunteered at last year). L hated the course and didn't want to join me, so I was in it alone.
I got there with about 30 minutes until the start. Packet pick-up was easy, but people clearly don't read the emails that say "ID required." I agree, it's pretty dumb, but the volunteers are instructed to not hand out if you don't have it. I was FREEZING just in the few minutes I was outside and debating on wearing a jacket in addition to my long pants and long sleeves. I sat in the car until about 15 minutes before the start and then headed to the indoor bathrooms (where there was no line AND a volunteer with TP just in case a stall was out).
Headed out just as the National Anthem was playing and then walked up to the start, lining up in the back. I had no real goals, just hoping to come in under 2:30 and to not freeze (I had opted for no jacket, thinking I would get too hot).
The course is basically the Ralston Creek half marathon course, just in reverse, which meant all the hills would be at the end when I was already tired.
I felt ok the first mile (gradual downhill), but noticed that my legs felt very fatigued. Not necessarily the calf tightness that I normally have, just "tired." The first 5.5 or so miles were a slight downhill, and I held back a bit, trying not to overdo anything. The miles from about 1.5 to 5.5 were an out and back section, but it never got crowded. There were plenty of aid stations, and they all had Powerade and water. At least one of the stations (maybe two) had Clif gels in various flavors. At the second aid station, I grabbed one, but didn't take it until closer to mile 4.
I have run this section a few times, so there wasn't much to look at, just concentrating on running and trying to stay warm. I was really happy I had grabbed hand warmers, as I kept them the entire race. But, a few pictures I took anyway:
At the turnaround is where I really started to get tired. I made it until just before mile 7 when the walk breaks started. I was feeling very fatigued and the breaks helped. The gradual uphill continued until about mile 9 when the real steep uphills began. Remember in my Ralston Creek recap where I have all the super speedy downhill miles toward the end? That's what I was running up. And by "running," I mean I walked up most of that. A few people in front of me were jogging, and in all honesty, with the exception of one or two, I caught them all at the summit doing a run/walk. Mile 10.5 or so and the course finally flattens out.
That SUPER STEEP hill that lasts a 1/2 mile in the Ralston Creek half? FINALLY DOWNHILL... I was clocking 8:00-8:30 pace and blasting by people. Of course, it was short lived, and I run/walked a lot of the end of the course too.
The flurries started to pick up a bit more when I got to mile 12.5. Turned the corner and I could see the finish banner, AND, what looked to be A!!! I was running right by a lady but didn't have any kick to pass her. I was pleased when I saw the clock time, as I had expected to run much slower.
Official Time - 2:21:25
Overall Place - 174/234
Gender Place - 97/138
Division Place - 37/54
Garmin Time - 2:21:25
Garmin Distance - 13.09 miles
Garmin Pace - 10:48
Mile 1 - 9:28
Mile 2 - 10:02
Mile 3 - 10:42
Mile 4 - 10:29
Mile 5 - 10:08
Mile 6 - 11:03
Mile 7 - 11:27
Mile 8 - 10:58
Mile 9 - 11:15
Mile 10 - 13:00
Mile 11 - 11:22
Mile 12 - 9:47
Mile 13 - 10:55
Mile 13.09 - 9:47
I received a fancy water bottle at the end filled with water. I was too cold to drink anything, and just wanted to get out of there. A wanted my free burrito, so I grabbed that, said a quick hello to friend, and got out of there. It was probably in the low 30's when I got done, but I was shivering for at least an hour after I got done. Luckily, the really heavy snow held off until about an hour after I finished. THAT would have been miserable.
- This is a very challenging course. Know that going into it. I knew it was going to be no fun, and I'm not sure if that affected my performance, but those miles of hill toward the end were BRUTAL.
- Related: This was only about a minute slower than I did RnR Denver this year, where I really did NOT walk, so maybe SOMEHOW I am regaining some of my former speed?? MAYBE?
- The weather on this particular weekend, in general, seems to be not great. Last year, there was so much snow that the race had to be postponed a week. Prepare for WIND.
- The race is pretty inexpensive, I think I paid about $50. The shirt is a nice, woman's cut tech tee in a fun bright yellow color. I'll likely wear it again.
- There were plenty of bathrooms at the start, inside. Enough to handle three distances (the 1/2, 10k and a 5k).
- Not crowded, the race director does a staggered start for the distances.
- The course was very well marked with neon green electrical tape on the sidewalks and orange domes to mark where to NOT go. Last year there was a volunteer shortage because of the rescheduling, but there were plenty this year, and one was posted at any area that might be "confusing."
- There were port-o-potties in multiple places along the course.
- PLENTY of aid stations, all well-stocked, with the trash bags located far enough away to actually get used.
- Overall, very impressed with the organization of this. Other than the terrible and difficult course, I would give this an A+.