Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Backcountry Wilderness Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Saturday, November 4
Highlands Ranch, CO
Half Marathon #176
Weather - WIIIIIINDY

In it for the fifth year to run the Backcountry Wilderness half marathon. Heather signed up at the last minute and we had plans on running together. The course was different this year, with the start/finish at a different location as well. I knew it was about 45 minutes to get there and planned on arriving with an hour until the start. The closer lot was already full by the time I arrived, so I had to go back out and park at the high school. By the time I got all my crap ready it was 8:15. I saw Lisa on my walk to the start (which took a long time). The line was already insane. It probably took 20 minutes to get my bib, and by the time I got THAT, the line for the bathroom was already insane.

Due to the wind, they actually delayed our 9 am start fifteen minutes because course markings had blown over. So luckily, I was able to get through all the lines. I did not, however, have time to run back to the car to drop off my bag. Luckily, Anne was working with her Nuun van and let us put our bags in there.

We lined up in the middle of the last wave. I had not looked at the map at all to know where we would be running, so I walked when I felt like it - which in the beginning was a decent amount. The wind was pretty bad, but I at least warmed up a bit. I was familiar with the entire trail section in the first 6 miles, so it was pretty easy to know where I could push the pace a bit.

I had only brought my handheld, and we didn't hit the first aid station until mile 4. We both filled up and then headed out to the section of trails where the Chase the Moon course went. I know Heather was behind me for a bit, but I pushed it a bit on the downhill and when I looked behind me I didn't see her. I ended up in a conga line, but the pace was pretty good so I didn't worry about it. I was really looking forward to the Roost aid station at mile 8.5.
I caught up to Michelle around mile 8 and she said she was struggling a bit. I stopped at the aid station only long enough to fill my bottle and headed out. Looked like we had some climbing to go, but I thought I knew where the course was going and that we would get another aid station around mile 11. Unfortunately I had not read that info either, and would only have the two. Womp.
I manged to catch/pass a LOT of people on this section. The last two miles were mostly downhill and I was able to push that section a decent amount. This course had always measured a tad short for me, this time it was just over 13.1. I saw Lisa and Eric at the finish and after grabbing a bottle of water I met up with them to wait for Heather, who was more than 15 minutes behind me.

Official Time - 2:45:07
Overall Place - 570/762
Gender Place - 246/395
Division Place - 90/141
Garmin Time - 2:45:10
Garmin Distance - 13.15 miles
Elevation Gain - 1,348'
Mile 1 - 13:18
Mile 2 - 13:10
Mile 3 - 13:21
Mile 4 - 10:56
Mile 5 - 12:25
Mile 6 - 11:15
Mile 7 - 12:42
Mile 8 - 12:46
Mile 9 - 13:43
Mile 10 - 14:21
Mile 11 - 12:18
Miler 12 - 11:45
Mile 13 - 11:35
Mile 13.15 - 10:15

Stayed at the finish long enough for Flippin' Flapjacks and a beer, even though the wind was extremely unbearable.
Thoughts:

  • This was the fifth time that I have run the race. The weather has actually always been pretty decent, considering it is in November.
  • The race is very well organized, for the most part. The packet pick-up is always a giant cluster, especially with 1,000 people running. Checking for ID also slows everything down, as well as the lack of parking near to the start.
  • The swag is always really good. This year the shirt was a hooded long sleeve shirt and the medal is nice too.
  • Good post-race party with beer and pancakes - what more could you want?
  • In the past there have always been three aid stations. It would have helped out a lot to have a third one around mile 11. The course is exposed, and if the sun is out it heats everything up A LOT. If they keep the new course, I really hope they make this change!
  • Will I run this again? Oh, probably. 

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