Monday, August 11, 2014

Beaver Creek Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Sunday, August 10
Avon, CO
Half Marathon #112
Colorado Half #48
Weather - Sunny, warm

The Beaver Creek half marathon, put on by Endurance Race Series was an early addition to our race schedule. I have run some of the the city "trail" races ERS puts on, but this would be my first mountain race, other than the Copper Mountain half that I ran in 2012. I spent the weeks leading up to the race thinking I was racing on Saturday (which would have been better). Turns out, it was on Sunday, and not starting until 9:00.

Alarm was set for 5:30. Batman "Sour" (the kitty) did NOT wake me up and I slept wonderful. My dad came over at 6 to watch the kids and we started the drive up. We did not hit any issues with the construction (hope not, at that hour), and saw a herd of mountain goats on the side of the highway. We made excellent time and found our way to the resort with no issues.

Parked the car with just over an hour to the start and walked to the expo/start area. On the way out of the garage, I was stopped by Dave, a reader of my blog. That was fun! Picked up our packets, met and chatted with Jeff, the race director. He told us a bit more about the course - that it would measure 13.2 miles - two 6.6 mile loops - (although my watch disagreed), and that there was 700' of climbing in the first 2 miles before it leveled out. We then headed back to the car to get all our gear ready. There were supposed to be 7 aid stations for the half, but after the last race where I felt there wasn't enough aid, I decided to wear my Orange Mud vest to ensure I had enough fluid. (Spoiler: I'm glad I brought it as it turns out there were only 5 aid stations).

We cycled through the bathroom line a few times before the start. We lined up and started just a minute or two late. There was a half marathon in addition to the half marathon and we all started together. I started in the back as I knew a bulk of the climbing was in the first few miles and since we would be on single track, I didn't want to hold anyone back. I think I managed about a half mile before I was walking. The trail was pretty crowded for the first few miles, so as a suggestion for next year, I would start the 10k and half at least 15 minutes apart to ease congestion. I took almost all my pictures in the first loop.

At the start
Even though I started in back, I was still getting passed a decent amount in the beginning. I know I am a poor uphill runner, and I didn't want to hold anyone back.

The section leading into a mile-ish of running among the aspen trees was a bit more forgiving and widened a bit for people to get into their groove.

Fellow runner got this pic of me - LOVE the Aspen trees! (NO FILTER)
Due to the late start, it was already HOT during the exposed sections of the course. Luckily, about half of the course was shaded, so that helped.
Beaver Creek / Avon - View from about mile 2.5

FREE RACE PICS!!! (Courtesy of Running Guru)
There was a really neat section of trails called "Allie's Way" that was nice single track in the trees. Switchbacks down the back of the hill and not too technical, although some areas were steep and there were a lot of tree roots. we actually had to climb over a few trees that were blocking the path. I LOVED THIS SECTION.
We were, in fact, running ON the ski slopes
There was a small section that ran along the road, which I was not crazy about. Miles 4-6 were not technical at all, and it was probably the most runnable section, with the last mile being SUPER FAST downhill.

Most of the people I had been pacing with were running the 10k, so they got to stop while I had to go out for another loop. At least I knew what to expect this time!

Within the first half mile, this is actually a grass section behind someone's house - before getting on the trail
I would be alone for most of my second loop. I was getting pretty hot and was just trying to get done. I don't remember much of the second loop, it went by a lot faster (every single mile of my second loop was faster than the first loop, which I consider a major success!). Basically, the best part of my day was that I still had something left in my legs and my last mile in to the finish was about a 9:00 pace, which is crazy fast for me. I passed a lot of people in the end, which was nice.

Crossed the line and chatted with Dave (the blog reader) for a few minutes and had just enough time to grab a beer before we had to head back into town.

Garmin Time - 2:54:25
Garmin Distance - 11.98 (although RD insists it was 13.2 and something about the elevation and trees jack up the distance...)

One of my Facebook friends alerted me to a video that was posted about the race. The guy actually started right behind me, and I did talk to him. If you want to see a bit of the course, it's not very long.

Hey look - I'm in part of the video!!

  • 9:00 is insane. What the what. It is too hot AND we got stuck in the weekend mountain traffic as a result. Thankfully, the rest of his mountain races are on Saturday, so at least we will miss the traffic issues. Nothing like spending double the amount of time in the car on the way back. Gross.
  • The race was VERY well marked. Things were blocked off with cones, there was a lot of signage, and he used chalk for turns. Impressed. There were also markers at every mile.
  • This was a great course. So pretty! I thought I would hate the double loop, but it really wasn't bad.
  • There were not as many aid stations as there was supposed to be. There was one just after mile 2, one after mile 4, and then just the one at the start/finish. I had my pack so it wasn't a huge deal, but I know it was for others. All I took at the aid stations was water, but they had some electrolyte drink I didn't recognize and cookies/gels at them. The volunteers were friendly.
  • Great finish line area. There were snack and burgers, and of course, BEER.
  • All in all, this was a great race. The trails were not that technical, but with the altitude and climbs, might be rough for flatlanders.
  • I probably won't run this one again, mainly because it falls on a Sunday. No thanks.


  1. Wow! I love all of these trail races you do. They look so pretty, but my ankles just don't like trails :/ So I'm glad I get to see things like this through another blog!

  2. I am so jealous of all the races you get to do :) Great job on another one!

  3. Cool race photos. I like your race write-ups and certainly enjoy hearing your commentary. Garmin's can get a little confused in the forest, and they don't always count switchbacks really well. Trail races are always iffy in regards to whether they are accurate or not... It looks like you were in some heavily treed areas so I imagine that can throw it off too. You gotta take a picture of the t-shirt as well.

    Nice work on another half and thanks for the write-up.

    1. I am really terrible about taking pictures of the shirts and swag. I'll try to remember to do that in the future. Thanks for reading!

  4. It's beautiful! Good job on this race!

  5. Congrats on the finish! Free race photos is a great perk and one that I hope spreads to other races, too.


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