Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Vail Valor Half Marathon (race recap)

Monday, May 25
Vail, CO
Half Marathon #132
Colorado Half #65
Weather - Cool, cloudy

Initially the Vail Valor half marathon was not on our race schedule. We were planning on running a half marathon in Colorado Springs on Saturday but it was canceled a few weeks prior to the event. We chose to run this event instead, hoping that we would not get stuck in holiday weekend traffic.

A spent the night with Jessa and Jackson since we had plans of leaving just after 5:00 am for the almost two hour drive so that we would arrive prior to the 8 am start. We made very good time (and saw a fox, elk AND big horn sheep on our drive up). Picked up packets and stayed in the car until about 10 minutes before the race started.

It was overcast and fairly cool - borderline long sleeve weather. I opted to risk it and just wore my singlet and arm sleeves. Turns out, it was fine.

The race started in Vail village, and the first few tenths of a mile were run on the cobblestones. I was trying to hang back as I had briefly looked at the elevation profile and noticed the first half was pretty much all uphill. Fire calves were back with a vengeance and I began taking walk breaks in after about 8 minutes. It was going to be a long day.

The course was on road and paved path, but I still really enjoyed it - because it was SO PRETTY!!
Just before the mile 1 marker

There were supposed to be 8 aid stations on the course so I didn't bring any water with me. The aid stations had Gatorade and water, as well as Honey Stinger products - gels AND waffles. The waffles are really the greatest, and I was really happy to see that had two of my favorite flavors - caramel and honey.

One of the cool things I had not seen before was the "snow line" on the trees. Looked even more amazing with the low clouds and fog.

And I loved this house with the grass roof!
So basically, I was walking a lot in the first 6.5 miles and cursing the uphills, all while loving the gorgeous views around me. 

Finally, FINALLY, we got to the turnaround - the aid station was a table at the end of someone's driveway. I thought that I for SURE could run the downhills - and I pretty much did. The second half was certainly better than the first half. I think I may even have passed (or at least staved off) at least 5-6 people. I can't seem to find the results anywhere, so let's just pretend I kicked ass at the end.

Garmin Time - 2:29:23
Mile 1 - 11:57
Mile 2 - 11:46
Mile 3 - 12:14
Mile 4 - 12:18
Mile 5 - 12:34
Mile 6 - 12:41 (this was the biggest hill I think)
Mile 7 - 11:25
Mile 8 - 10:13
Mile 9 - 10:27
Mile 10 - 11:12
Mile 11 - 10:58
Mile 12 - 11:30
Mile 13 - 9:53
Mile 13.1ish - 7:03 (LOLOLOL)

L got third in her AG, fifth female and I think 13th overall. She got a cool wood block for her efforts (and managed to run sub 2 on a course with a binbillion feet of gain).

  • Medal was unexpected, so it was nice to get it.
  • Holy cow, that was a tough course.
  • Not a lot of information regarding the course online, but it was very well organized. They lined the entire course with little American flags and every mile had a marker (except mile 10 - I didn't see that one).
  • Aid stations were very well stocked with a variety of items and volunteers.
  • Race was very affordable. Even with our late registration I think it was "only" $60. I believe early registration was closer to $40, but again, we weren't planning on running it this year.
  • They had great food at the end - soda (but no diet), Gatorade, salad, calzones and giant cookies.
  • I would maybe run this again - if I could ever figure out what was wrong with my legs and I had the weekend available. I would recommend this race.


  1. Love love love the house with the grass roof! All your CO races seem to have amazing scenery, but this one is especially breathtaking!

  2. Awesome photos and congrats on a strong finish. Would love to see an elevation profile of how much altitude you gained. So jealous of some of the very cool / scenic races you get to do.


  3. Wow, that is REALLY pretty. I want to live in a house with a grass roof!

    Look at you, ELITE.

  4. Great job on another one, and awesome photos!

  5. Thank you for posting a pic of the house with the grass roof! I just ran Ragnar Colorado, and I passed that house on my first leg, but didn't get a shot of it. So pretty! Congrats on your finish, and on all of your running accomplishments!


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