Monday, November 28, 2016

Dead Horse 50K (Race Recap)

Moab, UT
Saturday, November 19
Ultra Marathon #20
Weather - Sunny and chilly


I signed up for Mad Moose's Dead Horse 50K sort of spur of the moment. Everyone knows how much I love Moab, and when I saw the trucker hat I could be getting I was sold. I know, a HAT convinced me to race... I was still unsure which distance I wanted to run, but once the race director said it was "easier" than Behind the Rocks, I decided to sign up for the 50K instead of the 30K.

Our hotel was only about 10 minutes from the start line, so I didn't need to get up until 5:30 to be out the door and at the start at 6 for a 7 a.m. start. It was PITCH BLACK when I first pulled up. I used the bathroom and then went over to the start tent, grabbed a Noosa and then went back to sit in the car. I always forget just how cold it can be in the desert. Sat in the warmth until about 10 minutes before the start. Used the bathroom one more time, said a quick hello to Milan, and then off we went.

The course started on a wide dirt road that ran parallel to 191 for about 3/4 of a mile before we turned west and headed UP... a lot of walking in this section. About mile two we got a nice downhill for awhile, arriving at the first aid station around mile 4.5. I stopped long enough for a small cup of coke, headed up the hill for more climbing.

The glorious downhill running!

The climb leaving the aid station
I spent a few minutes chatting with a guy named John, who spent a while trying to convince me to register for Squaw Peak 50. We managed to miss a turn because we weren't paying attention, but luckily realized it after a minute and didn't get too off track. We arrived at the next aid station at mile 7.5, where the 50K runners would do a big 13.5 mile loop.


I guess I really like pictures of dead trees?

I had worn my team jacket because it was REALLY chilly at the start, and I actually kept it on for probably the first ten miles, then I shoved it in the back of my pack. I remember none of this. There was some single track, there was some climbing. There was a LOT of slick rock. Hit the "halfway" aid station at Gemini Bridges, stopping for nothing, and then down the Magnificent 7 trail. Took lots of pictures. Lots of run/walk intervals. Shortly before arriving back at the aid station at Arth's Corner, I rolled my ankle a bit on a downhill - which hurt A LOT. Sadly more walking than I would have liked.




The raven
The  course then merged with the 30K course. Loop around until we got back to the "first" aid station. And then I remembered that there was going to be a LOT of climbing for the next couple miles. It was also a lot colder on the way back. This section was now in the shade and I had to put my gloves back on. On the descent I ran (a bit slower than I would have liked, but it was pretty rocky). Run/walk on the flat road part to the finish.
Free race pic - as I'm leaving the last aid station
Very pleased with my time, third fastest 50K, and had I been paying more attention (and not rolled my ankle), probably could have taken ten or so minutes off my time. Looked around for teammates, but didn't see anyone. Got a random person to take a finisher pic with my cowbell (sadly, the same one as I got at Behind the Rocks).


Official Time - 7:12:54 (must just be gun time)
Overall Place - 140/162
Garmin Time - 7:12:31
Garmin Distance - 29.44 miles
Elevation Gain - 2,818 feet
Miles 1-5 - 12:36, 16:14, 10:38, 11:09, 13:37
Miles 6-10 - 14:26, 14:51, 15:36, 14:34, 12:34
Miles 11-15 - 13:2, 16:13, 14:05, 16:18, 16:05
Miles 16-20 - 14:30, 13:45, 15:17, 14:52, 15:56
Miles 21-25 - 14:31, 15:30, 116:12, 15:41, 17:16
Miles 26-finish - 15:25, 16:32, 15:34, 13:18, 13:25

Thoughts:

  • Aid stations seemed well-stocked, but to be honest, all I took was coke or mountain dew. For the first time, I took ZERO food from an aid station. I had brought my own food (peanut butter filled pretzels, beef jerky, Lara Bar bites and Honey Stinger chews), and had no desire for anything else. I used Nuun in my new Orange Mud endurance pack. The 2L bladder held plenty of fluids, and I could carry all my junk in the front pockets. There were plenty of volunteers, and they all seemed to know where we were on the course, which was helpful to me since I had looked at NOTHING course related prior to running.
  • The shirt is a cotton tee, but it is pretty nifty and I'll wear it again. We also got the super cool trucker hat - which I've probably already worn a half-dozen times.
  • I kinda wish there was a medal, but I suppose I "win" having a gorgeous course to run on for that long.
  • As for the course - DEFINITELY easier and less technical than Behind the Rocks. Maybe 500 feet less of climbing, but nothing as sketch as Jacob's Ladder. I personally would all this almost 100% runnable. (If I were the type of person to actually RUN an entire ultra).
  • Finish line had enchiladas and rice, and was delicious. Other than that - pretty low key for a finish area.
  • Free race pics that were posted within a few days on Facebook.
  • I know this is a painfully sparse recap, but it was over a week ago - I shouldn't wait so long! Really what I remember the most is that behind my ears really hurt. I was wearing an ear warmer AND a trucker hat, and I think the combination with sunglasses was squishing something. But I can't live without sunglasses!
  • Would I run this again? Heck yeah.

Friday, November 11, 2016

ERS Ambassador

Months ago I stopped blogging unless it was to recap a race. I'm making an exception to briefly write about my ambassadorship with Endurance Race Series. I was selected for 2016 in January and was able to run the half marathon distance at all races throughout the year. I am overjoyed to have been asked to return as an ambassador for another year. What does this mean for you, my readers? More race recaps and... DISCOUNTS.

The discount I have is posted on my sidebar, but here it is too: WALKER15

What can you use the discount on? Anything:



Whether you want to register for just one race or go for the big one - the season pass, my discount will give you 15% off any listed price.

Let me give you a brief recap of what Endurance Race Series offers:
  • Ten races throughout the year. I have run all except one, the newest addition, Silverthorne (which I'm sure will be gorgeous). 
  • Urban trails and mountain trails. Everything from very beginner friendly to a course that will have you hunched over and humbled.
  • You can register for each race independently.
  • You can register for a front range pass, which will get you into all the urban/local races.
  • Mountain pass, which registers you for some of the most breathtaking courses Colorado can offer.
  • The season pass (in both 10K and half marathon distances) signs you up for ALL TEN. Season pass holders get a ton of EXTRA goodies.
  • Right now, the BEST deal is the pick 6. Just like it sounds, you pick either 6 half marathons or 6 10K's. Any 6. (But it has to be 6). The package is marked down 25% of single race entry prices, and then my discount stacks ON TOP OF THAT. So yeah, you can run 6 10K races $141.69 or 6 half marathons for $256.71 (all fees included). WHAT. That's quite the deal! (Disclaimer: After all races are selected you proceed to a checkout screen where you select your shirt size and you'll need to enter my code for each of the 6 races, but that's worth it to save another 15%, right?)
As far as swag goes, the ERS cannot be beat.
  • Gender specific tech tees.
  • HUGE medals. And speaking of medals, medals for ALL distances - even the 5K!
  • Post-race after party, open until the last finisher crosses. Burgers, snacks and beer (well, at most of the races).
  • Chip timed.
  • Walker friendly (usually with early start options).
I'd love to get the word about - feel free to use my discount code all year long, and share the race schedule. 

Hope to see you there - and feel free to comment or get in touch with me if you have any questions or concerns. Happy trails!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Backcountry Wilderness Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Saturday, November 5
Highlands Ranch, CO
Half marathon #157
Weather - overcast and warm
This was my 4th time running the Backcountry Wilderness half marathon down in Highlands Ranch. I had registered back in April for a mere $50. Having run this race before, I knew it was risky to register for a November trail race, but I went for it anyway. Heather decided to join in this year, since she had missed last year.

A had spent the night with a friend, so it was easy to be out the door by 7:15 and parked around 8:00. The line for packet pick-up was a little long, so I got in line for that first. I saw Lisa while in line and we chatted for a bit. On the way to the Runners Roost tent I saw an Orange Mud tent??? I have been an ambassador for Orange Mud for a few years now and have never had the opportunity to meet Josh (owner and innovator, recently moved to the Denver suburbs).
Me and Josh (this was actually taken post-race)
We talked for a few minutes, then I of course had to get through the bathroom line. I dropped my stuff off at the car and found Heather at the Roost tent.
Decided to start in the back of wave 3 and hope for the best. After completing the October barre challenge I had taken some days off and my legs had felt really good on my last few training runs. SADLY THAT DID NOT TRANSFER OVER INTO MY RACE. (This was probably foreshadowing of the plague that I would later be sick with on Monday).

Anyway, the first mile is on pavement and has a relatively steep hill. I was telling Heather that walking up the hill was allll part of the plan. What was NOT part of the plan was all the walking we would end up doing throughout the race. Dang.
Somewhere around mile 2.5 or 3
The course is not technical, and it's actually pretty fun to run, when your legs are up to it. There are only three aid stations on the course, but I carried my Orange Mud handheld and had plenty of fluids. It was surprisingly warm on the course, especially through the first couple aid stations. When we got on the single track section around mile 8, I unfortunately got stuck in front of two women that talked NON-STOP about baby showers and being pregnant and planning for their baby. It was pretty much torture. I finally slowed down and jumped off the trail just so I wouldn't have to hear it anymore.
Single track leading up to the last aid station
The last aid station is at mile 11 and I remembered that it was a nice downhill until the finish (except for that horrible hill at the very end). Unfortunately, neither one of us really had anything in the tank. We were running (slowly), but neither of us felt great.
Photo taken by a teammate
I did run up the whole hill to the finish, although Heather smoked me to the actual finish line. A very disappointing finish time for me, 25 minutes slower than last year, womp womp womp.

Official Time - 2:43:18
Overall Place - 668/820
Gender Place - 319/435
Division Place - 123/158
Garmin Time - 2:43:21
Garmin Distance - 12:96 miles
Mile 1 - 11:53
Mile 2 - 13:27
Mile 3 - 11:38
Mile 4 - 13:53
Mile 5 - 13:13
Mile 6 - 13:03
Mile 7 - 11:35
Mile 8 - 12:29
Mile 9 - 11:11
Mile 10 - 16:08
Mile 11 - 13:18
Mile 12 - 11:27
Mile 13 - 10:33

Thoughts:

  • This is a great event. I've been lucky to have had great weather three out of four years. If I am in town, I will run this one again for sure (and register early for a fantastic price).
  • Course is very well marked, no issues getting lost on this one.
  • Three aid stations, all had plenty of volunteers, water and Nuun. I don't recall if there was food or not. I used only one package of Honey Stinger chews all day.
  • The race shirt is super cute - long sleeve with the logo on the front, sponsors and course map on the back. 
  • Last year we got a coffee mug in our swag bag (and I use it every morning for my cup of coffee). This year we got a glass - not a pint glass, almost looks like a mason jar. Super cute.
  • The medal is awesome, and doubles as a bottle opener!
  • They had Flippin' Flapjacks (which is always great), and beer from Living the Dream brewery (also good).
  • The only "bad" part of this race is that there is no assigned parking lot for use. In the first year I ran we were able to park at the neighboring rec center, but that has not been allowed the last few years. Parking is in residential neighborhoods and can be frustrating, so allow extra time so you don't have to park really far away.
  • There were more port-o-potties this year, which has been an issue in the past.
  • Definitely would recommend, I'll likely return next year!

East-West Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Saturday, June 10 Highlands Ranch, CO Half Marathon #164 Weather - SUNNIEST AND HOTTEST EVER I started watching the forecast about a...