Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Westminster Trail half marathon (race recap)

Sunday, March 27 (Easter)
Westminster, CO
Half Marathon #145
Weather - chilly at the start, sunny, windy for the second half

I ran the Westminster trail half marathon two years ago and didn't love it. To me, a trail is dirt. The course I ran two years ago was about half on bike path, some dirt and a very teeny tiny section of single track. I volunteered at the event last year, choosing to skip the run.

One of the HUGE perks of being an ambassador is being able to run every event. The Westminster trail series was the kickoff of the season. After the blizzard we had on Wednesday the week before and more snowfall the day before, trail conditions were not ideal.

Thankfully, the event takes place only a few miles from my house on the Big Dry Creek trail, which meant we did NOT need to get up super early. We were out the door just before 7, stopping to get A a donut at Dunkin' before heading over to the Westminster Rec Center.

Being a season pass holder meant skipping the registration lines and getting a bag full of swag (see what I did there - a rhyme!). No pictures of the contents 1). because I am lazy 2). all items, with the exception of one shirt, are all still in the bag on the floor in my living room. Anyway, after getting my gear we sat in the car with the heater running until about 15 minutes before the start. Bathroom line only took a few minutes, and then we chatted with Maureen (who was running the 10K) and other Roost teammates.

The half marathon started at 8 (maybe a minute or two late), and right away, the course was different. We started in the parking lot of the rec center and then ran around the grass to get onto the trail. It was a bit of a conga line traffic jam for those of us at the back, but nothing that was concerning. I don't run for time. Anyway, it was nice running on the softer surfaces before jumping onto the pavement. It was a bit icy/snow-packed in sections, but nothing too bad. We arrived at what I thought was the first aid station around mile 1.5, but there weren't any fluids out yet. I was in the back and getting passed and assumed I was going super slow. Surprised that my splits were sub 11 - not THAT slow.
Teammate Jeff on his way to 3rd overall in the 10K - headed towards the lake
Beautiful day for a long run!
The course stayed on the path until maybe 2 miles in when we ran around the lake behind the college and then headed up some trail to the first aid station at mile 3, near the 10K turnaround. Started to get hot, so I took off my jacket and tied it around my waist. Back onto pavement until we ran under the bridge at 120th. This is where the course got more dicey. There was some really icy sections in the shade. Jeff, the race director, had warned us that the course was the iciest between miles 4 and 8 (which was right after we got back on the dirt). Sure enough, I bit it, pretty hard, right after mile 4.
Somewhere here was ice that caused me to fall
And that's pretty much when I lost my mojo. I had really been enjoying myself, but the fall caught me off guard and I slowed the pace a bit and just couldn't seem to get back into a good groove. Things went pretty well on the way out and I briefly contemplated taking off my long sleeve shirt and just running my singlet.
Running in "spring" in Colorado...
The second I turned around and started running southwest, the wind picked up. I had to put my gloves back on and was glad that I had left my shirt on. I ran pretty well on the way back, used caution on the icy sections. I was pretty surprised at how MUDDY the course had gotten just in an hour or so. The last mile was a little rough. I was pretty tired after having run the 19 miles the day before. And THEN I remembered that I would have to run UP a decent hill for the finish. Not my favorite way to end a race!

So happy the weather cooperated. Even though I was tired and I fell, I really enjoyed this event! The course change was great, I really appreciated the extra sections on dirt - some of which I actually hadn't even run before, which is CRAZY, since this is literally in my backyard.

Got my medal, talked to fellow ambassadors, Jeff, Ruth (who was assisting with timing), Maureen and the few remaining people that were still there. A didn't want to eat, but there was still a ton of food left.
I had my Roost singlet on underneath, but it never got warm enough for that
Blurry picture courtesy of A (although there might have been fogging from the cold)
Garmin time - 2:29:39
Garmin distance - 13.23 miles
Garmin pace - 11:19
Official time - 2:29:33
Overall place - 89/108
Gender place - 52/64
Division place - 22/29
Mile 1 - 10:50
Mile 2 - 10:47
Mile 3 - 10:41
Mile 4 - 11:25
Mile 5 - 11:28
Mile 6 - 11:58
Mile 7 - 10:57
Mile 8 - 12:01
Mile 9 - 11:10
Mile 10 - 11:31
Mile 11 - 11:25
Mile 12 - 11:28
Mile 13 - 11:16
Mile 13.23 - 11:56

Thoughts:
  • This is the smallest race of the series, because it is on Easter. This is the fourth year for the event, so I don't see the date changing any time soon.
  • REALLY loved the course change. Pretty much any other weekend this would have been perfect weather. March in Colorado is so weird. You never know what it's going to be like.
  • Course incredibly well marked. Markers at every mile, in different colors for the different distances.
  • There were plenty of aid stations, although I would have liked to have stopped at the first one (which WAS manned on the way back). Electrolytes and water, plus other stuff (that I didn't take). Volunteers were out in some cold and windy weather, very appreciated!
  • Cute race shirt with a bunny on it (long sleeve, yay!) - I will wear this one again.
  • Like the medal - it's nice and big (size does matter, ha ha).
  • Even though I'm a slow poke, there were still some vendors and plenty of food left at the finish. I like that.
  • The season pass business is SO WORTH IT. I will try to remember to post a picture of some of the swag we got, but it was a few shirts, an Ultimate Direction drop bag, socks, other things I can't even thing of.
  • This race series has come a LONG way in the last few years, and I can say that I would definitely recommend this race (and I'm not just saying that because I'm an ambassador).
  • Pricing is very competitive, especially for the perks. If you are on the fence about signing up for any of the races, you are welcome to use my 15% off code ERSRACE3 - next race is May 21 at Palmer Lake!

1 comment:

  1. Why were fluids not out yet? That seems strange to me. Was it THAT cold out that they wanted to delay it? I've only run in the South, so I might just be ignorant to it haha

    ReplyDelete

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