Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Mountain Madness Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Saturday, July 5
Steamboat Springs, CO
Half Marathon #110
Colorado Half #46
Weather - SUNNY

The Mountain Madness half marathon was a fairly late addition to our schedule. With my Dad willing to drive us there (it's about 200 miles away), a long holiday weekend and a $35 price tag, we were in.

We decided to leave early so that we could get to packet pickup in Steamboat by 4:00. We thought that leaving around 10 would give us plenty of time to deal with holiday traffic, get lunch, etc. We got a bit of a late start and traffic was way worse than we would have anticipated. We had to take the "long way" through the canyon. Stopped in Silverthorne for a delicious lunch of Qdoba before finishing the last two hours of the drive.

Steamboat Springs is one of "those mountain towns" where everything is on the one main road. We found "Ski Haus" with no trouble and picked up our packet. And by packet, I mean my race bib and my shirt. (Which, by the way, was a women's cut). No frills, no junk. Checked into the hotel and my dad took Hannah swimming while L and I watched Seinfeld reruns. Dinner was Beau Jo's pizza, beer, and an ice cream / giant cookie / peanut butter mousse "thing."

I had no desire to watch fireworks so I stayed at the hotel and tried to go to bed early. WHICH DID NOT WORK. I tossed and turned all night, barely getting any sleep at all. Woke up before my alarm and did NOT feel rested. Oh wells.

The race started at 7:30, but we knew it would be small and the start was only a few miles away. My dad dropped us off around 6:45 so we would have time to cycle through the bathroom lines. We had to walk about a quarter mile to the ice rink where the race would start. My guess is there were about 60 people running the half (there was also a 10k option, but that didn't start until 8).

It was already HOT AND SUNNY. The only thing we knew about the race was that it was called MOUNTAIN MADNESS, it was a half marathon, and it was EXPOSED. So, I decided to bring my Orange Mud vest... just in case.

The race discouraged walkers in the half marathon, so when I started in the back, I was... in the back. During the first half mile, there was NO ONE behind me. About 3/4 of a mile in and the fire calves kicked back in. I felt like I was not starting out too fast, which is usually the cause of this, but maybe the slight gradual uphill caused this? I spent MUCH of miles 1 and 2 walking (even the walking didn't really make it feel better, but running hurt a lot more) and wondering how I was going to get through this race.

I hit the first aid station and turned around and only saw one woman behind me, and she wasn't too far back. I really did NOT want to be last. I did some run/walk intervals up a giant winding series of switchbacks.

Finally, somewhere just before mile 4, we hit DOWNHILL!! I finally passed two more people and was just getting into a good groove when I saw this "unofficial" aid station:

Well, of course I had to stop and take some of each. Those people were THE BEST. More gradual downhill for about another mile before hitting the next official aid station around mile 5.7.

I saw this fox run across the road
I thought he course was an out and back, so heading back out I was thinking that I would hit the aid station in about 10 minutes. But, I kept going. And going. And going. And I had NOT seen L yet. What is happening?? I finally see her and she tells me the turnaround isn't for a mile? WHAT. Am I running a 15 mile half? I finally see it, and it's about 7.5 miles in... the guy tells me it isn't a true out and back. PHEW.

By now I'm just dying of the heat. I'm hot. I'm tired. I just want to be done. I am ALONE on the road, with the exception of the bikes and occasional car. I had aspirations of passing a few people, that didn't work. There was a tiny bit of shade when we got closer to the river, with about a mile to the finish.

However, I was literally walking at mile 13. I only ran for the finish when I saw L and Hannah. She got a perfectly accurate picture of my misery (LOL):

Crossed the line, no frills, no medal. Although, a woman threw a pair of socks at me and told me I missed the raffle and prizes and I could just have them. Ok thanks. There were some deli sandwiches, oranges and bananas at the finish.

Garmin Time - 2:33:26
Garmin Distance - 13.11 miles
Garmin Pace - 11:42 (considering ALL THE WALKING, it really could have been worse)
Mile 1 - 11:41
Mile 2 - 12:17
Mile 3 - 14:08
Mile 4 - 12:59
Mile 5 - 9:42
Mile 6 - 10:43
Mile 7 - 11:50
Mile 8 - 12:35
Mile 9 - 10:42
Mile 10 - 11:50
Mile 11 - 11:52
Mile 12 - 10:52
Mile 13 - 11:00
Mile 13.11 - 10:35

  • I don't know WHY I race in the summer. It is so so so so so hot. (It was supposedly only 64 degrees when we finished, but Steamboat is practically ON the sun and it felt so much warmer.
  • A very small, no frills race - but worth the $35. I probably would not have looked at an elevation profile even if one had been up, but it would have been nice to know the "out" was so far "out"
  • I was SHOCKED at how little of a gain was really on this course. It felt much harder. Maybe because of the fire calves, maybe because of the boiling hot sun, not sure.
  • Aid stations were well stocked, with some sort of electrolyte drink that wasn't terrible and water. The turnaround had Tailwind (which Fast Cory swears by). They had Honey Stinger gels and waffles as well. Plus, the unsanctioned aid station was really the best ever. I can't say that enough.
  • Even a race this small did gender specific shirts (not a tech shirt, but still, a shirt I "could" wear again).
  • I probably would not run this again, but mainly because it takes forever and a day to get to/from Steamboat.


  1. i'm always so intrigued by what is provided by some of the aid stations in some of your races.. bacon donuts... man! I think you bring some type of good luck. My best aid station was all those jello shots at Tulsa and you were there, so again I stick by the good luck comment :)

    I can attest to the calf issues even making the slightest inclines feel like mountains... its the worst

  2. it sounds like an aided training run. I would've been bored out of my mind :) BUT, awesome aid stations and I wish more races would give soft cotton tees instead of crappy tech shirts. I would wear them more! congrats on another CO race!


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