Monday, April 14, 2014

Race for Open Space (Race Recap)

Sunday, April 13
Denver, CO
Half Marathon #102
Colorado #38
Weather - low 30's, WINDY, rain/snow pellets

There were multiple races this weekend, but with it's incredibly inexpensive $43.40 price tag, the 2nd annual Race for Open Space was the winner.

The forecast was not looking spectacular for Sunday. Which was unfortunate, since we had just experienced a handful of beautiful spring days in the 70's. The night before, the weather was supposed to be rain turning to snow, with a chance of up to 8" of snow accumulation. SPECTACULAR.

I got up at 6:15, allowing extra time to get ready and be out the door by 6:45. I was ready in plenty of time, and stuck with my outfit choice, as it just looked wet outside, although I grabbed my INKnBURN ambassador windbreaker on my way out the door.

L and I had raced on the Sand Creek trail a few times, so we knew the general vicinity of the start, and found it with little trouble. We were parked by about 10 after 7, walked up the hill to get our packets, noting that the wind had really picked up, and the "rain" was starting to turn into icy pellets. FUN!!!!

Packet pick up was easy and we hit the port-o-potties with no line on the way back to the car. We cranked the heat and sat in the car until about 12 minutes before the 8:00 start and then used the bathroom one last time.

I was not looking forward to this. It was cold and windy. I started out towards the back and hoped for the best. The first part of the course was a bit downhill and I was trying to get my groove without starting out too fast, which happens almost every race. And it happened this time too, even though my first mile didn't click by at a super fast pace. I stopped and took this picture about a mile in:

The course was actually really pretty, and a lot of it was on crushed dirt and NOT pavement. However, with all the moisture, it was a bit slick and muddy in places. I was really pretty cold the first few miles, and then I started to warm up. The rain/ice/snow pellets were actually not that bad, but I could have done without the wind.

The course was a series of out and backs and random loops, and most of it was on a section I had not run before, so that was nice. I ended up finding a comfortable pace, which meant I was shadowing a poor woman for 9-10 miles. I took this picture around mile 3 or 4:

Not much to say about the race itself. Once I got past the early miles, it seemed a bit easier to run and I was able to maintain a bit faster pace. The course was pretty, the weather was not.

I saw L a few times on the out-and-back sections, she even kept her throwaway sweatshirt on the entire race, which as you know, means it was cold.

However, I did warm up a bit and spent a few miles mid race with my jacket tied around my waist. I was still wearing a long sleeve shirt with an INKnBURN tech tee over it. I was comfortable until about mile 12 when the wind REALLY picked back up again.

My legs felt pretty good until I was 11-12 miles and then every little hill felt like a lot of work. I briefly passed the woman I had been shadowing, and then my legs reminded me that I'm not really in shape to be running "that fast."

I did more walking at the end than I would have liked, but considering all that, I was pleased when I glanced at my watch heading into the finish and saw that I would be well under 2:20. Thanks again to L for waiting around in the freezing cold to get this picture of me crossing the line:

Bib #650
Official Time - 2:17:28
Official Pace - 10:30
Overall Place - 80/113
Gender Place - 44/72
Division Place - 14/23
Garmin Time - 2:17:26
Garmin Distance - 12.97 (I lost satellite around mile 2)
Garmin Pace - 10:36
Mile 1 - 10:20
Mile 2 - 11:39
Mile 3 - 11:00
Mile 4 - 10:59
Mile 5 - 10:23
Mile 6 - 10:28
Mile 7 - 10:14
Mile 8 - 9:48
Mile 9 - 10:39
Mile 10 - 10:05
Mile 11 - 10:28
Mile 12 - 10:59
Mile 13 - 10:42

  • Inexpensive. I only registered 2 months in advance, so I don't even think this was "early bird" pricing.
  • Very well organized. There were three distances and the course was clearly marked for all. Bibs and signage were color coordinated, which made things very easy to understand.
  • Related: LOVED the course. I have run parts of this in July, when everything is brown and dead (as the course is fairly exposed). Even though it was cold and rainy/icy/snowy, I could see some signs of spring and it was fairly colorful and pretty.
  • Aid stations were about every two miles. With the weather being cold, that was fine. I did not carry my own water. There were plenty of volunteers. Complaints about the aid stations - Styrofoam cups (??) and no electrolyte drinks that I saw at any aid station. Also, they did not give out gels on the course, so I was glad I had brought two of my own (that I took around miles 4 and 9).
  • Related: Plenty of port-o-potties along the course, although I surprisingly did not have to use one, it was nice to know that they were there.
  • Related: SUPER awesome volunteers. I was really surprised that SO MANY were out there during the horrible weather. I bet there were at least 4-5 at every aid station, and they were peppy and cheerful. LOVED THAT!!
  • Race shirt is unisex cotton. Will never wear. Would love option to save a few bucks and skip if it is not a gender specific tech tee.
  • Cute medal.
  • They aren't up yet (and I will edit when they are), but Running Guru always provides free race pictures, so that is a nice perk as well. I saw photographers at a few points along the course, will be interesting to see if I managed to keep my eyes open. (Did you notice that I wasn't wearing sunglasses for the first time, pretty much EVER? Too wet, I felt like they would really annoy me).
  • I would recommend this race for sure! If you aren't ready for a half, there were also options for a 10k and 5k.


  1. Great job with another half! I love that feeling on a cold day when you finally get warmed up on your run and realize you aren't going to freeze to death :)

  2. aside from the dismal conditions, the course does look pretty. everytime I look at your medal i sing to myself 'what does the fox say'

  3. sounds like a great race minus the weather!! I can't get over how many races yall have in CO. It's insane.


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