Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Garmin Forerunner 220 (Product Review)

(while also reviewing what did NOT work for me in the never-ending quest of finding a GPS watch I love...)

I have been using the same watch for the last four years, my "trusty" Garmin Forerunner 405. It's been "mostly fine" - except that the battery life is now about half of what it used to be (it's a miracle if it lasts 5 hours now). I have also noticed that the GPS seems more "off" than it used to be. I know some of that is just the nature of GPS, but I also think it has to do with not getting firmware updates, etc.

Anyway.

Possible replacements for the dying 405

BIA

As you all know, I had backed BIA two years ago. I had hoped to have the ridiculously long battery life for all the ultras that I planned on running (back in 2013). Once the watch finally rolled out, I have to admit that I was disappointed. The initial launch did not include the long battery life, the wristband is VERY uncomfortable (cheap Velcro - scratchy) and the "go stick" is GIGANTIC.


The Go Stick is like 6 times bigger than my iPod shuffle!
 Thoughts on the BIA:
  • Maybe if I was a triathlete, this would be a "cooler" watch. It is STUPID easy to set up. There are three options - swim, bike, run. I pretty much only tested the bike function as I could not imagine actually trying to run with all these pieces.
  • The Go Stick is GINORMOUS. And apparently, you have to wear on the same side of your body as the watch and it had to face a certain way... all of this spells disaster for me. It's bad enough to have a two-piece unit, but all the "restrictions" made it way more complicated than I wanted to mess with.
  • I did not find I got satellite ANY faster than my Garmin. In fact, I had to try a half dozen times to get a signal at my house, even after BIA assured me that the second time attempting to get satellite at a location you have previously used would be faster. I did not get that.
  • Not overall sure on accuracy as I used only for very short bike rides. I did not test in the mountains or on a long race. I also did not wear concurrently with my Garmin to see if they matched.
  • Also - NO BACK LIGHT?? This does NOT help for when I am running ultras at night... I need to see what is happening!
  • I did really like that it synced with MapMyRun and uploaded automatically. That is a neat feature
Anyway, I ended up selling my BIA through a Facebook group and she LOVES it. To each their own!

GARMIN FORERUNNER 210


I was REALLY excited when I found a deal that would get me the Forerunner 210 for about $150. What a DEAL.

Thoughts:
  • The price point was great. If only it had worked...
  • Right out of the box, I had issues with the watch. I already had my 405 set up to Garmin Connect. The program recognized my new watch, I got it all set up and I took it for a super quick test run. I had a lot of difficulty getting it to actually sync with my computer. I accidentally did a hard reset, but then it synced (finally) and I figured it was fine.
  • Related - the charger for this watch is ridiculous. The charger is not very user friendly.
  • The fit of the watch is FANTASTIC. Much slimmer fit than my bulky 405. I liked the simplicity of not having the bezel and just having the buttons.
  • I wore the watch for my race in Leadville. It took a bit longer than I expected to get signal, but then it seemed to work fine. I liked my initial set up of seeing overall distance pace, current pace and distance. It was much easier to read than my 4:05.
  • However... my computer syncing problems were NOT over. I saved my run, when I plugged it in, the computer recognized that there was a new activity. However, EVERY TIME I tried to sync with Garmin Connect, it told me there was an error - the super helpful "fix" - your device failed to sync. I must have spent a half hour trying to get it to work, but to no avail. I tried the reset again, but this time it erased my entire run. I don't have time to mess with something so complicated!
  • I'm pretty disappointed this one didn't work, would have been an inexpensive replacement for the 405. I'm guessing I just got a lemon, as obviously other people have this watch and I'm assuming it works fine. Just not for me.
  • I returned the watch and got a full refund.
GARMIN FORERUNNER 220


View the specs of the watch from the manufacturer's point of view HERE.

After all my issues with the last watch, I decided to just buy this one at REI since they have essentially a lifetime warranty on their products.

Right out of the box, I can say that I love the charger. They do not include the wall charger, but anything you have that has a USB connection will work if you can't plug into a port on your computer. The watch cradles in and is much more secure while charging than either the 405 or 210.



There are five buttons on the watch, which I find to be a perfect amount and definitely better than the dumb bezel on the 405.

1. This is the light button, as evidenced by the bulb picture.
2. Up toggle button in menus.
3. Down toggle button in menus.
4. Pretty much the most important button on the watch. This is the "stop" "go" and "unlock" button on the watch.
5. The back button to exit menus or to exit run mode to just put you on "watch" mode.


1. Your GPS signal. If it is green, you have signal and you are good to go.
2. Bluetooth - again, if it is green, you are good to go.
3. Heart rate monitor (if applicable) - I no longer use this, but it of course is a function some people like.

I LOVE THIS WATCH. I wanted to wear it multiple times, in various situations, before I actually wrote anything about it. I have tested it on roads and in the mountains, I have worn it a half dozen times, already using a total of about 10 hours.

Thoughts:
  • The battery life is supposedly about 10 hours. I ran a 2:20ish half marathon over the weekend and when I put the watch on the charger it had used 23% of the battery, so this seems about right. The battery life overall is probably my only "complaint" about the watch. Any ultra I do longer than a 50k will required my nifty portable charger, but I'm a pro at using that, so it's not a huge deal.
  • I have gotten signal on this watch IMMEDIATELY every time I have used it. From my house (which is a dead zone) and in the mountains, at a place I don't even get cell service. MUCH faster than my old 405.
  • Like the 210, setting up the watch was SUPER easy, took just a couple of minutes.
  • The watch has BLUETOOTH. Now, if you are as technologically dumb as me, you're like, uh, what does that mean? Well, all this time, I never knew that there was a free app for Garmin connect. You can remain logged in and see all the runs/activities you have ever uploaded. Well, with BLUETOOTH, this watch syncs AUTOMATICALLY WITH YOUR IPHONE. I can't even get over how cool this is. As soon as I complete and save a run on my watch, I turn on my iPhone, open the app, it syncs with my app, and before I am even in my car, Garmin Connect has my run right there. I can even edit (add comments, name the run, etc), right from my phone. THIS IS BEYOND COOL. I can see my mile splits, max/min elevation, pace, MAP, etc. ALL FROM MY PHONE RIGHT AFTER I AM DONE.
My favorite thing to look at when I'm done is elevation - now I don't have to wait!
  • Related to the Bluetooth, you can apparently send invites to friends so they can "live track" you. I don't know exactly how this works since I haven't tried that option yet.
  • I have my watch set up for distance on the top, elapsed time in the middle, and "lap" time on the bottom. The lap time will reset, of course, every time I start a new mile. Not sure yet if I like that as my third "screen" yet or not.
  • The watch has a vibrate function. One of the most annoying parts of getting the GPS signal is heading to the start line, realizing your watch has gone into power save mode and you have to start all over. This watch gives you 30 seconds notice before going into power save mode, beeping AND vibrating every 10 seconds.
  • Related - on the lap splits, the watch also beeps and vibrates. Even if I am not listening to music, there are times when I don't hear the watch, so that is nice if you don't want to be a slave to your watch by seeing how/where you are on your run.
  • The watch actually fits FLUSH against my arm. I think that the face itself is larger than the 405, but it fits so much better and is way more comfortable in my opinion. 
  • I find the numbers very easy to read. I have not tried using it night yet, so not sure how great the light is, but I bet it's good.
  • My biggest concern was knowing if/when/how I was connected to GPS. The 405 you either left GPS on all the time (which is a big battery drainer) or you had to manually go in and see if it was connecting and you it TOLD you it was looking for signal. The 220 just "does it." So simple.
I could not be more pleased with this watch. The investment was a bit more than I wanted to spend - the version with no heart rate monitor is $250, but I only had to shell out a bit more money than what I was able to sell my BIA for and I'm totally pleased with my investment.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Week in Review (June 17 - June 23)

Tuesday - Speed work! My favorite distance, the 400. I'm not fast by any stretch of the imagination, but with 400's, they are over just fast enough that I can eek out a fairly decent pace without dying. The goal was a mile warm up, 10 x 8:55 (2:14), a mile cool down. Actual (1.15 in 12:16, 2:15, 2:12, 2:11, 2:10, 2:07, 2:06, 2:04, 2:02, 2:00, 1:57 and 1:50, cool down 1.30 in 14:02). I threw in an extra 400 since I missed my goal pace on the first one. While it says 1:50 for that one, most was done at just under 7:00 pace, the treadmill just takes FOREVER to get up to speed. Anyway, really pleased with this session.
Wednesday - L offered to watch A so I could go to run club. Newton was going to host and I've missed them the last bajillion times they have been there. Really wanted to try the new Fates! Suffered through a couple slow miles and BARELY missed yet another hail storm:




Thursday - Hoped to get a longish and mostly easy run on the treadmill. I haven't been doing anything but speed work on the treadmill lately and this was horrible. Tired, tight legs. Could not seem to get into a good groove. Hated every second of this. I finally (for the first time in over three weeks) did an upper back/arms/chest video and some stretching.
Friday - Waffle truck, pizza and beer.


Saturday - Summer Breeze half marathon. In the afternoon/evening, A and I went to our friend's house in the mountains for some water fights, horseshoes, beer and BBQ. Fun night.
Wonder where A gets her goofiness
Sunday - Got up early to run Lair o' the Bear trails. Took the kids to the trampoline center and then afternoon on the couch. Perfect way to wind down.
My best trail selfie ever!


Monday - CHAOS. Not as "arm heavy" as last week, and didn't feel as sore. Really enjoy the "all over the place" workouts. Gets my heart rate up and it is not boring.

Weekly Miles Run - 30.88 (8.75 treadmill, 2 road, 7.1 trail, 13.03 racing)
Minutes of Cross Training - 60
Minutes of Strength Training - 29 (oh)

Weekly Loss - 0.8 pounds (120.6)

  • Weekend was less out of control than usual, which probably contributed to a loss rather than a gain.
  • I still had donuts and froyo and pizza and beer. Just not AS much as usual?
Everything Else 
  • STILL have heard nothing from the person who's car I hit over three weeks ago. I still see it there almost every day. NOTHING. So weird.
  • I signed up for a random marathon in September. Figure it can be my last long run before Bear Chase?
  • Tried the only "popular" dating site I haven't used yet. Most of my Facebook friends apparently found this hilarious. I do not. Sigh. Been single over a year now, and haven't been on a date in over 9 months. What's a few more years?

Summer Breeze Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Saturday, June 21
Arvada, CO
Half Marathon #109
Colorado Half #45
Weather - Humid and overcast


The Summer Breeze half marathon happened to be held on the first day of summer this year. The forecast all week long was that the high was going to be 90 degrees. Of course it wouldn't be quite that warm at 7:00 in the morning, but by the time we would be finishing, I was anticipating temperatures to be in the upper 70's. L had run the course before, in January, and warned that it was hilly, AND a double out and back. With no shade. Let's just say that I was NOT looking forward to this race and that I was running it just to check it off my list of half marathons.

The race is extremely local, less than a ten minute drive from our house. With a 7 am start (NOT EARLY ENOUGH), we didn't drop off the kids at my parents house until about 6:25. That still gave us enough time to cycle through the bathroom lines twice before the start. (L had picked up our packets in advance, but I still think we would have had enough time to do that in less than 30 minutes).


Like all other half marathon races put on by All-Out Multisport, there was also a 5k and a 10k, but they started after we did. The race started just a few minutes late (the RD is a chatty lady), and I started in back. It was overcast and I was hoping that it would stay that way. The first mile was "hard" but not the worst. I started to feel like my legs were cramping up and welcomed the first aid station about 1.25 miles. I thought walking through the aid station would loosen up my legs a bit, but if anything, it made it worse. My legs felt like they were on FIRE and I walked a good 3-4 minutes of the second mile and even had to stop to stretch. That's no fun. I finally started jogging and it still hurt, but not as bad.




This was going to be a long day. There was another aid station at the base of "the big hill" (up Indiana), where we would go for the turnaround. By the time we headed back down, I was feeling a bit better. It was still cloudy, but extremely humid. I was HOT. I had to stop and use the bathroom at the aid station at mile 5, and I was really dreading heading back out for the second loop.

Free race pic! Finishing up first loop
It was much more deserted as almost all the participants of the shorter distances were already done. I did not feel nearly as good the second loop and my legs/feet were numb for probably 8 miles - which is always uncomfortable and a bit annoying. I somehow managed to pass a few people on the second loop and was of course, REALLY happy to be finished.



Official Time - 2:22:57
Overall Place - 60/88
Gender Place - 30/50
Division Place - 7/15
Mile 1 - 10:15
Mile 2 - 12:56 (sooo much walking)
Mile 3 - 11:21
Mile 4 - 10:35
Mile 5 - 9:51
Mile 6 - 11:22 (bathroom)
Mile 7 -11:06
Mile 8 - 11:24
Mile 9 - 11:33
Mile 10 - 10:54
Mile 11 - 10:32
Mile 12 - 10:08
Mile 13 - 10:46
Mile 13.1ish - 8:16 pace *LOL



L won her age group, so we actually stuck around for awards. And, since you have to be present to win for the raffle, we stayed for that as well. We both managed to win an hour of "jump time" for a trampoline center - perfect prize for the kids.

Thoughts:
  • I say this for every single summer race in the city. WHY WHY WHY does it not start until 7:00? I mean, is there a reason they can't start at 6:00 for the longer distances? It gets so dang hot, it would be nice to be done earlier.
  • Plenty of aid stations on the course, water and electrolytes, with one aid station also giving out Clif gels (two flavors). L said they didn't offer her any, so not sure if they were out on the table or if they were being handed out.
  • Very well marked course, no way you could get lost on this one.
  • TERRIBLE TERRIBLE TERRIBLE course. The only thing I like about multiple out and back races is getting to see other people the whole time. This course was just bad, with a random run up a decently busy road. On the first loop especially, we had to run in the road as the shoulder sloped from road to dirt and wasn't especially safe to run on.
  • I like the gender specific shirts that All-Out gives out. I actually wear these for cross-training. All races should have these.
  • Medal for all distances (same medal, regardless of distance).
  • Pretty good post-race food. They always have burritos (I get bacon and egg of course), Powerade and plenty of water. They also have some fruit and bagels, although I never get any of that.
  • For this race, FREE RACE PICTURES! Boy, I can't wait to see what these look like, as the photographer was right by the aid station, lol.
  • Overall, the race is fine. I will not run again because I hate the course and because this time of year is too hot to be running. But, not a bad price point at $55. I would recommend All-Out races... just maybe not THIS race.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Week in Review (June 10 - June 16)

Tuesday - Run club was hosting a special "Leadville" night and I convinced my dad to bring A to my work so she could go with me. We ran a bit, missing most of the rain. There was pizza, beer, and a panel of past LT100 winners - including Anton Krupicka (swoon). Sadly, we had to leave before it was over, but it was a fun night.
With Laurie, another INB ambassador and her fiancee. She is running going for her TENTH LT100 finish this year.


Anton
Wednesday - I got up early and did a 3 mile run around my neighborhood. Which, apparently, is pretty hilly. It already felt VERY hot and humid, even being out at 5:30 in the morning. At night, I went to BodyPump, which was HARD after two weeks of NO strength training. (Let this be a lesson...)
Thursday - Got up VERY early and did a 7 mile run on Clear Creek trail before work. I probably should NOT run alone that early, but it was one of my last chances to get a weekday run in before work, so I did anyway. It was humid and a bit rainy at times. Not the worst ever.
With all the rain we have been having it was a bit muddy
After work I went to REI for yet another attempt at a new watch. I took it out for a quick run in the neighborhood and I think I love it.


Friday - Nada. Pizza.
Saturday - Up early to run on the Apex trail before it got too hot. I was running by just after 6 and it was quiet and peaceful for the first hour or so of my run, as I didn't see anyone else out. By the time I was finishing up, there was a decent number of cyclists, runners and hikers. It felt sweltering hot by the time I got done. Turns out, it was only in the mid 60's. Did a bit of summer clothes shopping for A and then took the kids roller skating.
It's a tad hilly at Apex
Sunday - Up early AGAIN, this time, for volunteering at the Boulder Ironman 70.3. My sister's training group FastForward was manning the first bike aid station. We had to be there by 6:30, and it was about a 45 minute drive from my house. Quick stop at Dunkin for coffee before the drive, which was uneventful. The theme of the aid station was the FUNK Station - and A was thrilled to be able to wear a wig:


This was my first attempt at volunteering on the bike portion. It is INTENSE. The pros don't slow down at all, and if they miss a grab they scream at you. The mid-back of the pack cyclists are super polite and at least slow down for the water and GU/bananas. Pretty stressful.
Team FUNK (from FastForward FB page)
We helped with the clean up and then drove into town for a quick lunch before heading to spectate the run course. We had just missed my sister on the run portion, so we drove around to the finish area to wait for her to finish. She finished in 5:53 (a time she was "meh" about, but under her goal of 6 hours) and then hung out in the finisher area waiting for her friend. I was able to get a free beer (yay!!). We headed to her house so she could shower, and then we went out for dinner and drinks. LONG day.
Monday - CHAOS is back at the gym... I think it had been about a year since they got rid of it, and I was excited to go back. EXCEPT, I seem to be coming down with a cold, so all day long I was debating if I wanted to go or not. I ended up going, and it was INTENSE and fun. Basically, CHAOS is a combination of HIIT, circuit training and weights. An overall great total body workout.

Weekly Miles Run - 21.45 (No treadmill, no races)
Minutes of Cross Training - 60
Minutes of Strength - 60

Weekly Loss - Back where I was 2 weeks ago (121.4)

  • I might as well just put my weight in there. For reference, as long as I have been "tracking," my peak weight was 129.8 last April and my low weight was 111.0 (as recently as October).
  • Again, I'm clearly not TRYING all that hard, but I think my ideal weight is around 115, so we will see if I get there or not.
  • Mostly on track this week. Pizza overdose on Friday night and burger/beers on Sunday were really the only splurges of the week.
  • I'm still tracking during the week, but again, everything falls apart by the weekend. Oh wells.
Everything Else 
  • Still trying the "online dating" thing, although, I guess it's not really dating if no one is interesting and you don't actually go on a date. So, there's that.
  • Work is busy of course. My raise FINALLY went into effect on my last paycheck.
  • I still have heard NOTHING from the person whose car I hit over two weeks ago. No call, no text, nothing from my insurance company. I looked this morning and it has not been fixed (or washed for that matter). I wonder how long I am going to have to wait/wonder if they are going to come after me for money... Stressful.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Week in Review (June 3 - June 9)

Tuesday - A got to go on vacation (AGAIN) with my parents, so after work I grabbed a quick drink with co-workers. I had plans to cross-train at home, but then I didn't. I watched Criminal Minds and had a beer.
Wednesday - Headed to a fun night at run club for "National Running Day." Really didn't feel like running, but I ran a couple with Heather anyway.


Thursday - Last night off before A got back from vacation so I headed to a (new to me) trail out near Golden. OMG I AM IN LOVE. I wasn't sure on distances and didn't bring water (dumb) so I didn't want to go too far, but ended up running an AMAZING 5 miles. I just love love love trails soooo much.
Friday - Nothing. Ate pizza. Visited a waffle truck.


Saturday - A and I volunteered at the Crescent Moon triathlon at the Aurora Reservoir. We had to be there at 6, which meant we were up before 5 am for the HOUR LONG DRIVE to get out there. The only volunteering we have done at a multi-sport event still had us on the run portion. This time, we also got to do body marking. A thought that was the MOST FUN EVER.



After the race started, A and I were both put on the run course to make sure the runners didn't go the wrong way. No one did (and only one person asked to be sure they were going the right way). We left at 11:30 and headed to a birthday party at the pool by our house. Spent the rest of the day exhausted, went to bed early.
Sunday - Up early AGAIN for the Carnivore Classic. By the time we toured the Sanctuary, we didn't get on the road until about 1:30. After stopping for lunch and errands, the day was pretty much over. Where did the weekend go???


Monday - Negative zero motivation. I mowed the lawn and did nothing else. A and I went out to dinner instead.

Weekly Miles Run - 20.88 (NO treadmill)
Weekly Cross Training - Uh. None.
Minutes of Strength - ZERO. oops :(

Weekly Gain - Horrible.

  • I thought I was pretty careful this week, but now that I think about it, I had pizza three nights, and more beer than usual. Le sigh. Sometimes, I really hate "eating right."

Everything Else

  • Uh. Nothing.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Carnivore Classic Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Sunday, June 8
Keenesburg, CO
Half Marathon #108
Colorado Half - #44
Weather - Overcast and chilly at the start, warm and sunny at the finish


I can't even recall where or how we heard of this race since it wasn't really advertised. The price tag seemed a bit steep, but who can resist a race called the "Carnivore Classic." Our entry fee also included entry into the Wild Animal Sanctuary. The race was about 40 minutes east of Denver and my dad agreed to bring the kids out for the finish so we could check out the Sanctuary.

We left the house just after 5:30, arriving with no problem around 6:15 and there were already a lot of people there. The event was inaugural, with the exception of the 5k, which was running for the second year. I am always leery about new events. There wasn't too much information regarding the course or aid stations, so I planned on wearing my belt and had brought enough gels for the day.

I will say that I was impressed with the grandiose of the start/finish area. The race was not going to be huge by any means, but they really went all out.



We checked in and got our bibs and shirts, and noticed our medal was already in the bag. We also got our wristbands to gain access into the park after the race. With nothing to do we cycled through the bathroom lines a few times. We were surprised when we headed to the start line for our 7 am start to find out the half actually was starting 10 minutes later, after the 10k. So, of course, we went to the bathroom. Again.

We had lucked out with some cooler weather and overcast skies. I just hoped it would last as we were seriously in the middle of nowhere and there was NO shade.

The gun went off at 7:10 and we headed out, immediately with a gradual uphill. I kept thinking to myself, if it is uphill NOW, that means that it will be downhill later. My legs were tight and I wanted to walk but I pushed through that until I warmed up and things got better. The first aid station was at mile 1.5. We headed up a hill for the half course and the 10k turned left. We ran the entire course on dirt country roads and I think I only saw one car the entire time. It was never crowded, and since we were in the middle of nowhere, I could always see people in front of me.

This is what the course looked like. For 13.1 miles.
I was really happy to find out that there were aid stations every mile. They had small cups of water and Gatorade at every stop, and at least 3-4 of the aid stations also had gels, both Powerade and GU, depending on the stop. The course was very clearly marked, although again, we were in the middle of nowhere, so it would have been tough to get lost.

After my legs loosened up, I was feeling pretty good. By the time I hit mile 3, I actually was pacing a bit faster and I started passing people. The weather was still holding up, and now it was just a matter of time before I crashed.


The miles ticked by and I was still feel really good when we hit mile 8. Then... the clouds broke and the sun came out. I got real hot, real quick. And even though we were on our way back, IT WAS NOT DOWNHILL. There was a shocking number of hills in between miles 9 and 10. I ran up most of them, but by the time I got to about mile 9.7, I CRASHED. I was sad to have made it that far without my brain breaking, but I was struggling with the heat and the hills. I took quite a few walk breaks over the next mile or so. Once I saw the mile 11 marker, I reset my brain. I had a goal to beat this woman that had been run/walking for most of the race. I did really well until I hit this hill at mile 12:


No, really, the mile marker was in the middle of the hill, by the time I took this, I was probably 2/3 of the way up. Gross. I finally saw the fenced area and knew I was close and gave it everything I got. I had less than a tenth of a mile to go, and I saw a woman coming up on the side of me. I gave it everything I had and sprinted in to the finish. According to the results, we have the same gun time, but she beat me by a few second on chip time. Oh wells.

Is that a photo finish or what??
Bib #163
Official Time - 2:17:42
6.55 mile Split - 1:07:37
Official Pace - 10:30
Overall Place - 40/72
Gender Place - 24/48
Division Place - 1/5 (WHAT)
Garmin Time - 2:17:48
Garmin Distance - 13.13 miles
Garmin Pace - 10:30
Mile 1 - 10:24
Mile 2 - 10:39
Mile 3 - 10:32
Mile 4 - 9:59
Mile 5 - 10:20
Mile 6 - 10:26
Mile 7 - 10:10
Mile 8 - 10:03
Mile 9 - 10:15
Mile 10 - 11:55 (yep, died here)
Mile 11 - 11:18
Mile 12 - 10:09
Mile 13 - 10:32
Mile 13.13 - 8:27

I saw A and my dad right away, and we got our picture taken by another one of the inflatable animals before heading over to the food spread.

The kids wanted their picture there too, of course:


The finish line spread was impressive. They had beer:


They had Dickey's BBQ (chicken, pork, sausage) with cole slaw, potato salad and corn bread. A giant spread of fruit (pineapple, grapes, melons, etc) and TONS to drink. Sodas, milk, juice. They also had a band playing. So while we were eating and hanging out with my dad, they were doing the awards for the 10k. They said they weren't doing the awards for the half marathon until 1:30. Not that we cared, no way we were getting anything. My dad headed out and we went to the results tent for our official finishing times. I glanced at mine, then headed to the car to put on sunscreen, grab jackets and head to the "tram" to take us to the Wild Animal Sanctuary.

We are almost to the tram at the very far end of the parking lot, and we hear that they are doing awards for the half marathon earlier than planned. Then we hear L's name for 2nd place in her AG. So we run back to the podium area and then I hear MY name called for 1st place in the old lady AG. WHAT WHAT WHAT. Turns out, that it WAS printed on my results sheet and I glazed over it.


In absolute shock!
With all the running stuff out of the way, we headed over to the Wild Animal Sanctuary. The entry for the kids was only $7.50 and we headed in for the one mile walk on a bridge over the Sanctuary. A enjoyed being our tour guide and telling us all about the animals.




It's really too much to type here, but what a cool place this was. We ended up spending about two hours there, and left only when the weather turned poor (high winds and rain) and, by now, we were REALLY hungry after our race.

Thoughts:
  • WOW. I've run well over 100 distance races, and I rarely am left with a race where I have nothing bad to say.
  • TONS of volunteers - both from the Sanctuary and from local race organization 3W that assisted with the timing, set up and tear down, and aid stations. They were friendly and helpful.
  • Well stocked and frequent aid stations. Even though the weather was unseasonably cool in the early portion of the race, it heated up quickly and it was great to have so many stops.
  • Chip timing and official timing on the course for additional splits.
  • Markers at every mile, and they were dead on.
  • Awesome finisher spread of food and drinks. There were also local vendors and a live band.
  • Results and photographs up same day. I had something like 25-30 pictures on my "page" - which is weird since I don't recall seeing photographers. The price tag is reasonable, only $5.95 a picture.
  • The $79 price tag was a bit steep, but after visiting the Sanctuary and knowing our entry would have been $15, the race is very reasonable and again, the Sanctuary is amazing and worth a trip/donation. If interested in making a donation, you can do so here.
  • If you have a chance to run this one, do. Take a few hours after the race to visit the animals afterwards. 
  • I have NOTHING bad to say about this event. If TWAS can put on this fantastic of an inaugural event, I can't wait to see how they can grow this event in the future. Awesome.

East-West Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Saturday, June 10 Highlands Ranch, CO Half Marathon #164 Weather - SUNNIEST AND HOTTEST EVER I started watching the forecast about a...