Monday, January 19, 2015

Arctic (Winter) Prairie Dog Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Sunday, January 18
Louisville, CO
Half Marathon #125
Colorado Half #58
Weather - Windy and Sunny

The "Arctic" (Winter) Prairie Dog half marathon is one of the "four seasons" half marathons in the series put on by 3W. As only one of two half marathons offered in Colorado in January, we signed up like 11 months in advance - I think for $35 or something??) L had run it last year and warned me that it was "a confusing and hilly course." Well, that sounds awesome.

We dropped off the kids with my parents at 6:30 and drove up to Louisville. We parked, as instructed, in the parking lot of the now closed Sam's Club. Only to later have to move the car because apparently the Sam's Club is now an unmarked church?

Anyway, we picked up our bags and used the bathroom in Albertson's before the start. Yes, I enjoy looking at kitten calendars when I am in line for the bathroom.

So it is in the mid to upper 40's ALREADY. We are, again, some of the only people in tanks and skirts. A woman behind us in the bathroom line commented that we were going to freeze. DID YOU KNOW THAT IT IS THE SUNNIEST EVER AND I AM GOING TO SLOWLY BOIL WHILE RUNNING?

We headed out to the corral(?) start area, a few minutes before 8. The race started just a minute or so late, and I started probably middle of the pack (honestly, I probably should have started a bit further back).

Immediately, I could see what L was talking about. We did a loop through a neighborhood, then it was one turn after another. Thankfully, the course was very well marked and there were lots of volunteers. The first 3 miles felt EASY. I was running pretty easy and I was wondering where the hills were.

I found out when we got to downtown Louisville (basically where the Turkey Trot A and I ran was). The hills started, fairly gradually. I finally caught up to Ross around mile 4. Then the first big climb of the course. I was super impressed with myself for running up the whole thing.

AND THEN MY LEGS DIED. I walked through the aid station at the top, but my legs were TRASHED. My legs below the knee (through my feet) had gone completely numb. (Does this ever happen to anyone else??) I ended up walking a lot longer than I wanted. We crossed a street, and then ANOTHER CLIMB:

We turned and then ran on dirt up yet another hill for I don't know, FOREVER.

Finally got some relief when we finally got done with the steep climbs around mile 6. I have been trying not to look at my watch, and when my legs were finally ready to go again, I was pleasantly surprised when the mile markers beeped and my pace was substantially faster than I expected.

We were rewarded with some nice downhills, and then we were finally back near the start. Around mile 10-11 we had a gradual downhill for a mile, then crossed under the street to run back miles 11-12 with the gradual uphill.

The last aid station at roughly mile 12 was when my iPod died. That was sad. The last mile was a little rough, but since it was a reverse loop through the first neighborhood we ran through, I knew what to expect. I actually had some kick for the finish. I was really surprised at my "fast" finish (although, my watch measured about .3 short - let's just assume the course was accurate and the GPS just got confused with all the turns).

Bib #1401
Official Time - 2:16:27
Official Pace - 10:25 (FOR THE HILLIEST COURSE EVER?!)
Overall Place - 270/423
Gender Place - 140/256
Division Place - 54/88
Garmin Time - 2:16:29
Garmin Distance - 12.82 miles
Garmin Pace - 10:39
Mile 1 - 10:30
Mile 2 - 10:18
Mile 3 - 10:10
Mile 4 - 10:57
Mile 5 - 12:44 (when I wanted TO DIE)
Mile 6 - 11:18
Mile 7 - 10:32
Mile 8 - 10:43
Mile 9 - 10:08
Mile 10 - 9:23
Mile 11 - 10:26
Mile 12 - 11:16
Mile 13 - 9:50


  • Early registration made this race very affordable. I don't even think late registration was horribly expensive. There is a 10K option in addition to the half marathon (which starts separately).
  • The bibs are cute and SMALL. I hate the trend of the big giant bibs. I do not, however, like shoe tags. For real, I can't believe races are still using these.
  • The shirt is gender specific, but sort of "cheap" - the shirt I got at the last race was better (I think).
  • The medals and ribbons are nice. However, Peedy (the prairie dog mascot) was given a makeover since last year and I don't like his new, slim appearance. Doesn't he look like a chipmunk?
  • Also, a customized pint glass for all finishers.
  • AWESOME post race food. They had Domino's pizza, Evol burritos, and then regular post race stuff. No beer though :(
  • Aid stations EVERY MILE. This is the best. I liked that they used small cups (like they 4 oz size). I think most of the aid stations also had electrolyte drink (can't remember what it was) and a few also had gels. There were also port-o-potties on course, which is always nice.
  • Overall a nice race. It sold out this year, so not sure you can wait until the last minute to see if the weather will cooperate. I probably would run this race again.

Unrelated to the race. HOLY CRAP WITH THE WEATHER. It had been so warm all week that most of the snow we have gotten had melted. There were a few shaded areas that were icy, but overall, the course was clear. It was sunny, it was warm - NO REALLY, it was near 60 when I finished?? Is this winter? Is this January?? I think "Arctic" was a poor descriptor this year (not that I am complaining).


  1. Congrats on the race finish. Nice medal too. My lower legs tend to go numb if I tie my shoes too tight.

    I do agree, this winter's weather has been freaky warm. I don't think we've had it as warm as you guys to the east, but this has been the best winter for running that I can remember.

    Keep up the good work.

  2. Love the thought of aid stations at every mile. I'm so panicky about having my water available at all times but every mile would be enough to calm my fears, I bet. Wasn't the polar vortex supposed to be more brutal than last year? Glad you're having great weather!!

    (I don't know what a prairie dog looks like. Or a chipmunk either except for Alvin.)

  3. That medal is so adorable!

    My cousin gets the foot numb thing too, after about 3 or 4 miles. She has no idea what causes it.

  4. i've been running in shorts and tank over the last week too- digging the weather (although if it was racing it might be a different story would roast)

    I was actually digging the medal until you said it was a badger lol yes I agree it does look like a chip munk, adorable nonetheless.

  5. ha- same as lisa, thought it was a chipmunk and so cute. i'm debating a 15k on valentines day but it's $65 and that seems insane for 9 dumb miles when a half marathon is often cheaper.


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