Monday, May 9, 2016

Rabbit Valley "half" marathon (race recap)

Saturday, May 7
Fruita(ish), CO
Half Marathon #fail
Weather - overcast, perfect

The Rabbit Valley half marathon was an inaugural race, put on by Gemini Adventures, the same group that organized my stage race last summer. As soon as I heard it announced, I signed up. I was pretty excited to run the same section of course - NOT in 100 degree weather.

Left Kate's house around 5:45. Drove into Grand Junction to get coffee and a diet Pepsi, then headed west on I-70 to the race start. The Rabbit Valley exit is only two miles from the Utah border. There was no traffic and I arrived with an hour to spare.

I picked up my bib and chatted with Kyla. There was also a mountain bike event that started at 7, so while that was happening I cycled through the bathroom line and got my stuff ready. My teammate and friend, Laura, was also running the half, so we talked and took a pre-race picture.
Me and Laura at the start
We were not starting initially on the Kokopelli trail, we would instead be on "trail 2" for the beginning part of the race. I was feeling pretty good, but I couldn't remember how hilly the course was. I made sure to take some pictures on the uphills since I was walking anyway. I hadn't even looked at the course, so I didn't know where the aid stations were going to be. The first one was right after we moved onto the Kokopelli, around mile 2.5. I grabbed only a small cup of coke. I had heard in the pre-race meeting that there would be a total of 4 aid stations, hitting each one twice. I assumed it would be another 2-3 miles before we saw it. I was surprised when it was only 1.5 miles out. And I wasn't even sure that it was the right aid station as there was flagging for some other organization.

Around mile 4 was when we first started seeing the leaders heading back. Sure seemed early. Then started seeing the bulk of the people another half mile or so later. What the heck? Did I miss something? Maybe there was another out and back at the end? Or a loop? Did we miss a turn? Keep running until we got to  the cone with the deck of playing cards. I had been chasing a couple and asked them if we had missed a turn and they said no. Huh. Views at the turnaround were amazing!

I was feeling really good at this point. There was a slight breeze and the temperature was perfect. There were some nasty clouds looming over the horizon so I was in the mood to move quickly. Hit the aid station and noticed the sign said "7.5 miles" - only I was only at like mile 5. Ok.

I completely skipped the last aid station because I didn't feel that I needed it. When we were only a mile or so out from the finish, I noticed some people coming towards us. Uh, were we doing a section twice? I asked one of the guys "is the finish not where I think it is?" He said it was "right over there." I looked at my watch, about 9 miles. WTF. So when I crossed the finish, my watch said 9.79 miles.

Got my dog tag, and grabbed some watermelon and a grilled cheese. Once I had stopped running it was a lot cooler, and I put on my sweatshirt. Chatted with Laura for a few minutes, and stuck around for awards. The race director admitted the course was short - they aren't really sure what happened, although whoever they had marking the course clearly didn't mark it correctly, and they said they didn't double check after it was marked. Kind of a bummer!

Garmin time - 2:05:16
Garmin distance - 9.79 miles
Garmin pace - 12:48 (totally pleased with this for trails)
Mile 1 - 12:08
Mile 2 - 13:04
Mile 3 - 12:59
Mile 4 - 14:09
Mile 5 - 14:01
Mile 6 - 11:55
Mile 7 - 10:59
Mile 8 - 12:18
Mile 9 - 14:12
Mile 9.79 - 12:05

  • Bummer about the short course. It WAS well-marked, just not correctly. It was marked very well, and there was no way to get lost, that I can think of.
  • Well stocked, cup-free aid stations (although I did get a cup for my one partial cup of coke). I actually didn't take food of any kind from the aid stations. The had gels and some snacks, I just didn't want any.
  • The cards at the turn around served two purposed - to make sure that you hit the full course, AND there were a few winners - $20 for certain cards. That was fun!
  • Like the shirt, it's a soft cotton shirt.
  • Dog tag in lieu of a medal, but better than nothing.
  • I will run this event again, and have already been promised the course would measure correctly next time. Everyone makes mistakes. 


  1. My friend Rochelle said she met you! And crazy about the short course - I mean that's WAY short. Sounds like they'll fix it for next year though, so I'll probably have to do it if it works schedule wise.


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