Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Palmer Lake Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Sunday, August 20
Palmer Lake/Larkspur, CO
Half Marathon #171
Weather - sunny and hot

The Palmer Lake half marathon was supposed to happen in April (which was a blessing, because last May it was a zillion degrees and pretty miserable). Then, we had a TON of snow and it had to be postponed. UNTIL AUGUST. I will admit that this was the race that I was most dreading of the entire season. The course is very exposed, the race starts late, not to mention that I was supposed to be tapering.

We didn't get up until 5:15, with plans of being out the door by 5:35 - which we managed to do. The drive was uneventful and we arrived shortly before 7, with the half marathon scheduled to start at 7:30. It was already sunny and a billion degrees.

Put on sunscreen and walked the 5 minutes or so to the start area. Picked up all my gear and basically only had time to wait in the bathroom line until it was time to start.

The first section of the course is a partial loop (counter clockwise) around the lake and then an out and back on the Santa Fe trail. This wasn't as bad as I had remembered from last year. In fact, the first 41 minutes of the race might have been the best 41 minutes I've run in ages. I was able to run allll the way to the first aid station without taking a single walk break! The whole goal of the race for me was to take it easy, you know, since I wasn't supposed to be running anyway.


By the way back I was taking a lot more breaks. The shade and slight downhill we had on the way out was of course gone. However, I did manage to pass a few people on this section and that is always nice.

Hit mile 7 at the lake just in time to hear Tom's name being announce. As I headed into the second out and back of the course Lynette was running into the finish. Lucky people only running the 10K!
There was a small section of single track until we hit the aid station at the road where Annette was working (thank you) and filled up my bottle. We had been told to pay attention at the forks in the road because cows had been knocking over signs.
The section in the Greenland Open Space is pretty much the worst. Hot and hilly on the way up. Turn around was just past the old cemetery and then I ran down the switchbacks, heading into the last mile. That's also when I pulled out my phone and looked up my time from last year. I thought maybe I could come close to beating it. And then I remembered how much uphill there was in the last mile and I thought "forget it."
I do remember that I had nothing left last year, and this year I was able to run pretty well into the finish, about 2 minutes slower than last year, which I was fine with.

Met up with Stella and Francesca to get a team picture, chatted with Kristen and grabbed some food before heading out.


Happy to have this one done!

Official time - 2:46:06
Overall place - 87/107
Gender place - 51/67
Division place - 15/19
Garmin time - 2:46:07
Garmin distance - 13.13 miles
Mile 1 - 11:50
Mile 2 - 11:31
Mile 3 - 11:14
Mile 4 - 12:13
Mile 5 - 13:01
Mile 6 - 13:01
Mile 7 - 12:20
Mile 8 - 13:45
Mile 9 - 11:57
Mile 10 - 15:06
Mile 11 - 12:02
Mile 12 - 12:50
Mile 13 - 14:01
Mile 13.13 - 9:48

Thoughts:
  • As I said, not really my favorite course. It's not incredibly challenging or technical, just not the most interesting. Even though it was certainly hotter this year, it also seemed more colorful. 
  • Gender specific shirt and large medal.
  • Post-race party was fantastic like usual. 
  • As an aside - apparently a LOT of people missed the turn in the open space because of the signage that was knocked over by the open range cows. I'd be frustrated for sure - too bad they didn't have an extra volunteer at that intersection!

Week in Review (August 15 - August 21)

Tuesday (15,165 steps) - Barre with Sasha. Lunch with Janna. Uneventful day, gymnastics.
Wednesday (32,782 steps) - Last day of summer break. A and I had talked about going to Water World, but with lunch/afternoon thunderstorms in the forecast, we decided to go hiking instead. We got up at 4:30 and drove up Guanella Pass to Mt. Bierstadt. There is something to be said for hiking during the week, as when we arrived around 6:15, there were only maybe 10 cars in the parking lot.

We put on all our warm gear, as it was only in the 30's when we parked. According to my weather app, the pass had even gotten a dusting of snow overnight! It was barely sunrise when we started and a bit cold when we first started out. The lower mile or so is really easy, so we were moving quickly. 






For some reason I was thinking that the route was only about 6 miles round trip, but it quickly became obvious that I was wrong. Also, even though I have tried to troubleshoot it, my Garmin isn't reading the altitude correctly, which is frustrating.

We were about 3 miles in when it went from "not too bad" to fairly windy. We stopped to have a snack and put all our cold gear back on for the final push to the top.


The last mile or so we actually could see remnants of the "snow" the peak had received over night. Nothing to write home about, but it made the rockier sections a little slick.

The summit to Bierstadt is not my favorite. The trail is pretty hard to find because it is all giant boulders. You can see some cairns, but it isn't always obvious how to get to them. The last half mile or so took forever, but we finally made it.


We did NOT stay long at the top, as it was crazy windy. My hands were freezing just from the few minutes I spent taking pictures. We had been eyeballing the weather as we weren't sure when the mountain storms were going to roll in. We lucked out and stayed dry. We had already discussed getting down into the sun and out of the wind before eating lunch. I think we picked an ok spot.
For whatever reason, I seemed super clumsy on the way down. I kept catching my toe on things and I banged my knee pretty good on a rock. We made pretty good time on the way down, and finished the 7.6 miles (!) in just over 5 hours.

On our way down we FINALLY saw some wildlife:
There were actually probably 30 of them on the side of the road, but we were in "traffic" and A was having a hard time getting pictures of all of them. I have never seen so many goats in one place!

On our drive down I spotted a new brewery - so we stopped in for a quick taster. Well, I had a beer and A got a hot chocolate from next door.
The storms started before we got to Denver, so we just stopped by the DMV to get Lucy's  plates and then went home for a super late second lunch and some rest. Drove down to Denver for run club.
Fun to talk with people that we haven't seen that much lately!
Thursday (15,534 steps) - First day of sixth grade!
Since I went into work later, I got off later. Left right at 5 and hit the normal nightmare downtown traffic. Barely got A in time and then we were late getting to Belmar. We planned on only running until we found Ang, and then walking with her. We saw Chris on the way and she got this cute picture of us (no, I don't normally wear my hair down, but we were late and I was in a rush).
There was a special event with BOA and there was beer and pizza at the store.
Super fun night, and awesome that we didn't have to cook dinner. Stopped at Jan's on the way home to drop off A's stuff for yet ANOTHER weekend of camping.
Friday (15,896 steps) - Barre with Kelly. I don't normally go on a Friday, but it's been really tough getting in 2-3 days, so I figured I should just suck it up and go. It was really great, I like Kelly. I got my job offer late in the afternoon and it was kind of a bummer that A was gone and we couldn't celebrate. Womp, womp.
Saturday (24,502 steps) - Runners Edge, waaaaay down in Centennial. I had planned on only running 6, but the route was an 8 mile loop so I just did that.

Tore down my aid station at 9:45, stopped at the Roost to pick up some new sports bras. After lunch I met up with Lisa for some celebratory beers! It was nice to catch up, we haven't gotten to spend that much time together this summer!
A was dropped off around 6. A was exhausted from camp and I was exhausted from my morning run and beer so we were in bed by 9.
Sunday (43,045 steps) - Palmer Lake half marathon (recap to follow).
Water World! I love that we are residents and save so much money - we stayed until about 15 minutes before they closed. Stopped at the grocery store and it was after 7 before we had dinner.
Monday (18,629 steps) - There was apparently a solar eclipse (just kidding, I totally new about it beforehand). We had a party at work, complete with solar eclipse cookies. The firm provided safety glasses, although I gotta say, the picture I took at "totality" just looks like a really sunny day.
New Terrain run club! We were supposed to do a new route, but I think the guy that got designated to run with the slowpokes decided we should just run the regular route. I have to give myself a pat on the back for jogging up most of the hills! Didn't stick around for a beer, home for dinner.



Stats:
  • 165,553 steps
  • 30.1 miles run
  • 2 barre classes, and hiked a 14er (7.6 miles)

Friday, August 18, 2017

Beaver Creek Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Sunday, August 13
Avon, Colorado
Half Marathon #170
Weather - #allthesun

Even though the Beaver Creek half marathon is a beautiful course, I was dreading it. I'm slow right from the start because the first few miles have allll the climbing.

This year, there was an early start option for walkers. After having the course bike medic/sweep on my tail all race LAST year, this seemed like a great option. I met up with Stacy, Annette, Daniel and Michelle to start about 20 minutes early.

For some reason, I ended up being the rabbit - at least for the first mile. Just as much climbing as I remembered. I was hot, out of breath, and tired after running the day before. What I *did* have this year, that I didn't have last year, was people to run with! It made SUCH a big difference.
Thanks for the picture, Daniel!
The aspen grove did not disappoint (it never does) - and for once, it was nice to not have to keep moving off the trail. Since we had done the early start, we were way ahead of everyone. That didn't make it any easier, just less annoying.
The next section is my FAVORITE. Nice downhill on the road - which makes me feel like I'm a real runner (after the huffing and puffing I do through the aspen grove).
Allie's way is a beautiful wooded section where we can really FLY... well, kinda. Some sections are fairly steep, and there area  lot of tree roots. But at least I can actually breath here.

We then come out onto the slope, up the road, and arrive at the second aid station (which has moved to where we first enter the 5 Senses trail. This is when we get passed by the first half marathoner, who just happened to be Sean, my teammate!

The 5 Senses trail isn't too bad, some rocks and roots. Then we move onto what I would argue is the "worst" part of the course.  We move onto the road briefly before getting onto an ATV trail. More single track after we cross another slope, then an out and back up the road, and then down a wide dirt road into the finish.

Oh.

Did I mention that the half marathon is a double loop and we get to do it all over again?

At least this year, there weren't already people in the finish line enjoying their mimosas. It made it a teeny tiny bit easier to go back out the second time. By now it was really heating up and I was super tired.

For some reason, the second loop seemed to go by a bit faster (although I was definitely slower). I took more pictures the second loop. About a half mile into the second loop - who do I see? Ross! Our nearly 80 year old friend from Arvada! He had taken an even earlier start (7:00 am), but he had also run the Rocky Mountain half the day before. When I grow up, I want to be like Ross.


The next two pictures are from Allie's Way. I've never stopped long enough to take pictures in this section (this was the 3rd time I've run this event) because I've been RUUUUUUNNNING the downhills). However, it's so pretty, I figured I should take a sec and share it.

I managed to get ahead of Michelle and Annette at some point after the 5 Senses trail. The ATV trail that seems so long and hard is actually really pretty!
I was EXHAUSTED by the time I had to do the out and back on the road again. By now, I was getting caught by the mid-packers that had started with the gun. My legs were so shot that the glorious downhill I normally enjoy was actually pretty painful. Impressed that I was actually able to run it in.

Stacy was at the finish line cutting off shoe tags, which meant that she had dropped to the 10k. Jeff had another shipping error and there weren't enough medals for everyone, so we agreed to wait to collect ours so that others could get them instead.

Picture with the team at the finish.
Lesley, Stacy, Me, A, Dan, Susan
 A had been volunteering at the finish line and the food tent (which is her favorite). I actually grabbed some food and sat down to eat. Not normally something I've been able to do at this race. I had saved one medal from the finish line to give to Ross - which he seemed to appreciate.

Official time - 3:13:55
Overall place - 54/65
Division place - 5/8
Elevation gain - 2,539'
Mile 1 - 17:12
Mile 2 - 18:48
Mile 3 - 14:04
Mile 4 - 15:38
Mile 5 - 16:06
Mile 6 - 10:34 (wheeee!)
Mile 7 - 15:57
Mile 8 - 19:58
Mile 9 - 14:52
Mile 10 - 15:14
Mile 11 - 18:04
Mile 12 - 12:03
Mile 12.5 - 10:39 (I actually can't believe it was this "fast")

Last year, the course measured 12.4 and my time was almost 10 minutes slower. There are a ton of trees, so the "short" course measurements are not a surprise. Happy I wasn't slower than last year, but again, I was injured last year, so this wasn't anything spectacular.

Thoughts:

  • This course is gorgeous. Just maybe not my favorite since I have to run it twice. Maybe if I only did the 10k... but then again, Beaver Creek is about 2.5 hours from Denver, that is a long way to go for only 6 miles.
  • This is probably the best finish line party of them all - there is beer AND wine (and a wine glass) since the event coincides with the town's wine festival.

Week in Review (October 3 - October 9)

Tuesday  (9.971 steps) - Barre with Sasha. Wednesday  (13,684 steps) - Runners Roost run club! The run started late so we opted to only d...