Monday, September 26, 2016

Snow Mountain Ranch Trail Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Saturday, September 24
Granby, CO
Half marathon #153
Weather - Overcast, lightly snowing, cold

The night before the race, the race director posted some pictures from the course - and there was snow!! It's been so long since I've run in cold weather, I couldn't figure out what I should wear. As I get older, I no longer appreciate being freezing while I'm running. I opted last minute to skip the skirt and wear tights. I also decided to wear a long sleeve tee over my singlet instead of just using arm sleeves. Turns out, the outfit was perfect.

Race Day

There was an option for an 8:30 early start, which I wanted to take advantage of since A and I still had a full night of volunteering ahead of us. We got up at 5:40 and we were out the door shortly after 6. There was no traffic at that hour, and other than the windy, curvy road through Berthoud Pass, we made really good time. We arrived at the start at 7:50. Saw Stacy right away, and she said that she was going to actually start at 8. Well that sounded even better! I grabbed my bib, used the bathroom, and we were ready to go a few minutes after 8.
Can you see the snow falling??
 There were four of us doing the 8 am start, and it was BRISK. Stacy, her friends Annette and Matt, and I head up to the trails. It was very lightly snowing and the trail was covered in a light layer of snow and frost. Matt and I ran together for the first few miles, and we lost Stacy and Annette pretty early on. 

There was one course marking where the 5k, 10k and half split. Some of the signs had blown over and I almost went the wrong way. Luckily, I was with someone else and we guessed correctly at which way we should go.


I spent most of the first loop taking TONS of pictures. Which, when it is super cold, is not as easy as it sounds because it involves a lot of taking gloves off and putting them back on. The course was super muddy between miles 1 and 2. The thick and clumpy mud that made my shoes feel ridiculously heavy. Matt finally realized that I was going to be super slow and he took off, which just left me running alone.




The aid stations were set up, but no one was out the first loop (which was fine, I had my Orange Mud handheld with Nuun). When I headed up the hill just around mile 3 I saw some deer run across the road, but I wasn't able to get a clear picture of them before they bounded off. At this point, I finally realized the first part of the course was being run in reverse from  last year, and cruised down the road section around the lake.


Headed up the hill at the aid station at mile 4. This section was snowy and muddy and wet. My shoes/feet got soaked and were pretty cold in this section. The downhill section was a bit hard to run fast because of the snowfall it was hard to tell where to step and not be in a rut.




Finally heading back to the start/finish, running down the hill only to turn around and head back out for another loop. The volunteer at the table seemed surprised that I was "so fast" and already headed back out. Haha.

Running up the hill for my second loop and the faster runners were already coming back down. I wasn't really that far ahead, even with my 55 minute head start, lol. It was interesting how much the course had dried out by the second loop. The sun peeked out for a minute here and there, it was still snowing, but it  must have warmed up a bit to pack down the dirt, either that or the other runners that had passed through had helped trample it down.


I took less pictures the second loop and was running a bit faster. Somewhere around mile 11.5 or 12 was when the wind picked up - the last 15 minutes or so were pretty dang chilly. I managed to run up the last hill to the finish (so brutal coming up at the end like that), and was pleased to see I had run under a 13 minute pace. Woo hoo!
I found A and then immediately went to get my jacket out of the car. Brrrr!!! I saw Stacy handing out beers - that meant she must have dropped to the 10k. Spent some time hanging out with other ERS ambassadors, got some food and more pictures, so A could volunteer for a bit longer.
Erica, Tom, me, Stacy, race director Jeff
Official Time - 2:42:58
Overall Place - 77/91
Gender Place - 52/63
Division Place - 18/23
Garmin Time - 2:43:49
Garmin Distance - 12.65 miles
Mile 1 - 14:06
Mile 2 - 14:26
Mile 3 - 13:41
Mile 4 - 11:25
Mile 5 - 14:21
Mile 6 - 12:38
Mile 7 - 13:07
Mile 8 - 13:03
Mile 9 - 13:02
Mile 10 - 10:52
Mile 11 - 13:33
Mile 12 - 11:52
Mile 12.65 - 11:51

Thoughts:

  • Very well organized race, very well marked. Yes, there was a section that wasn't quite so clear in the beginning, but I know that these markings were all fixed by the time I started my second loop, so I'm assuming volunteers/organizers stood the signs back up.
  • Mile markers at every mile, different color markers for different distances.
  • Plenty of aid stations - there were three on the loop, more than I am used to in a trail race.
  • Start/finish line party is AWESOME!! Beer, food (burgers/hot dogs), music, etc. A good time for sure!
  • Gender specific shirts - black (again), which is nice.
  • Medal is super cute - shaped like a moose. Interestingly, there was a moose on the course this year. I didn't see it, but Stacy saw it and snapped a picture (around mile 5) before it ran into the woods. Not sure I would want to see one that close though.
  • HOLY COW THIS IS THE PRETTIEST COURSE EVER EVER EVER EVER. I remembered from last year that this was gorgeous with all the fall colors, and this year did not disappoint. If nothing else, it was even MORE beautiful with the overcast skies and snow.
  • COME RUN THIS RACE. I'll be back next year for sure.

5 comments:

  1. THat is the prettiest course ever! THe colors are gorgeous, I bet it was amazing to run through. Great job with your pace too! and I wouldn't want to see a moose up that close either.

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  2. Snow!! I am so excited for snow this year :) What a beautiful course!

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  3. Awesome pictures. Days like the one you experienced make you appreciate being a runner.

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  4. Incredibly beautiful. I kept making my husband look at the screen while I was reading!

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  5. Beautiful pics! And great race. I want to be there next year too!

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