Ft. Collins, CO
Half Marathon #116
Colorado Half #52
Weather - Cool and foggy
Black Squirrel half marathon was on my list right after it was announced. Unfortunately, last year we were already signed up for something so we missed the inaugural. This is ranked as a pretty tough trail race. I knew it was going to be a relatively long day going into it, but I love trails.
I assumed the race was about an hour away, but after mapping it, turns out it was 90 minutes away. With a 7 am start, we were VERY lucky that my dad was willing to come over to watch the kids at 4:50 in the morning. The drive up was uneventful until we got up near the Horsetooth Reservoir, where we had two different herds of deer crossing and/or standing in the road. Oh, deer!
We were technically carpooling so we should have been permitted to park in the special lot right at the start, but we were routed along with everyone else to park on the road.
We arrived at about 6:30, and used the bathroom before walking over to pick up our packets. Saw a pretty nice sunrise while we were standing in line.
|Foggy morning out on the Horsetooth Reservoir|
|At the start - you can see how bright our socks were (L is in the neon pink socks)|
|Running into the fog|
|Hundreds of tiny runners up on the switchbacks|
|View looking back down towards the start|
I didn't start passing people until maybe 3 or so miles in. I managed to pass a few ladies on the last set of switchbacks on the way up. An older lady out walking her dogs was right on my heels for about a half mile. HOW AM I SO OUT OF SHAPE??
|Dying on the uphills|
|Fog FOREVER - I bet the view was amazing....|
We finally get to the aid station - I think about 4.5-5 miles in. Most of the hard part is out of the way. We have moved from single track to a road. It is not technical, and I finally get to run a bit. I start chatting with two ladies and we power hiked up the last of the big climbs, I think just before mile 6. As is my style, I bombed the downhill. I passed probably 15-20 people on the descent. It was still really foggy so I had taken off my sunglasses so I could see where I was going.
|The road after the first aid station|
|My view from the top - last picture until I got down with the descent|
I had been hoping to finish under 3 hours, but missed it by a few minutes. This course was really no joke.
Official Time - 3:01:59
Overall Place - 243/279
Garmin Time - 3:01:50 (no timing chips)
Garmin Distance - 13.26 miles
Garmin Pace - 13:43
Elevation Gain - 2,129'
Mile 1- 12:02
Mile 2 - 16:40
Mile 3 - 14:41
Mile 4 - 20:26
Mile 5 - 16:41
Mile 6 - 16:00
Mile 7 - 12:05
Mile 8 - 11:02
Mile 9 - 12:05
Mile 10 - 12:00
Mile 11 - 13:27
Mile 12 - 10:24
Mile 13 - 11:30
Mile 13.26ish - 13:43
I immediately grabbed my finisher pint glass (no medal) and got into (what I thought was) the beer line. Turns out it was the food line (I realized over a half hour later). I had a great veggie burger, and then had to get in a different line for beer. 45 minutes later I had my pint of Buffalo Gold. Not sure it was worth the wait, but I had already invested some time.
- Honestly, as a back of the pack runner, I loved this race. The course was very well-marked and in my pace group it was not crowded. For L, she said the first 6 miles were terrible. She said it was very crowded, hard to pas, and people were pretty much on top of each other.
- The course was a bit more technical than I expected, it was pretty rocky. After all the rain that we have had, it was a little slick and muddy in some spots, but it was overall a very good trail.
- All the aid stations were apparently well stocked, but didn't have cups (that I saw) - so I was glad I had my Orange Mud vest on me. They supposedly had Tailwind and some snacks, although I actually didn't stop at any of them.
- Cool to get a pint glass at the end.
- If I were fast enough, the age group awards were super cute. A wooden plaque with a stuffed black squirrel on them. Cute and creative!
- Shirts were black, with the weird bunny in sunglasses logo on the front. Men's and women's cuts, so mine actually fit (I know, I am so terrible about pictures of the shirts).
- I would probably run this one again.
- Just as an aside - none of these pictures have been altered in any way. The iPhone really does take some fantastic shots.