Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Black Hawk Trail half marathon (Race Recap)

Sunday, July 21
Golden, CO
Half Marathon #187
Weather - Perfect!

I lucked out and got another comp entry from Runners Roost for the Black Hawk trail half marathon. I ran the 10k last year, and the two year before that I ran the half marathon. It is a beautiful and challenging course and I was really looking forward to running it for the fourth time.

Ben was able to score a comp from Honey Stinger, so last minute he was going to be joining me. I had signed A up to volunteer, so the three of us heading to Golden to meet Maureen at 5:45 in the morning.

We got to the start about a half hour early - and snagged the last spot in the lot. I couldn't believe how many cars were there, definitely the most people that have ever been at this race, I think. Good thing we carpooled.

By the time we got our bibs, used the bathroom and put on sunscreen, it was mere minutes until the start. (Just how Ben likes it - I swear he thrives on stress). I lined up in the back with Mo and Alison. It was going to be a LONG day after running 18 miles on Pikes Peak.
Within 30 seconds we were walking because it was a bottleneck to get onto the single track. By the time we got to the first jeep road I was already ready to walk. Already contemplating if I was even going to be able to finish this race. How could I? Everything was already hurting. I ran with Alison and Mo for the first few miles.
We were at the first river crossing when I saw Ben. He was already like two miles ahead of us?? I really struggled up first climb. It was hot and exposed and the grass/brush was really overgrown. Luckily, I felt a lot better after the turnaround.
I bombed the downhill and didn't struggle that much up the climbs - I even passed a few people.
A few minutes after leaving the aid station I really regretted that I had not topped off my bottle. We headed into the prettiest (but hardest section of the course). The forest-y section is definitely my favorite, and brought back memories of Cruel Jewel and Black Hills.



The bottom of my right foot was hurting a bit, so I walked a bit more than I would have liked. The switchbacks through the trees is the hardest section for me. I really struggled and had my slowest mile of the day.
I also had to pee on the side of the trail and I was so sweaty that I had a difficult time getting my skirt back up. (Definitely a perk to being in the back - don't have to worry about flashing anyone).
Once I got to the top, there is a fantastic downhill section. I passed another few people on this section and leapfrogged a bit with a gal I had been behind in forest. Really was marveling at how many wildflowers there were this year! It's always really pretty on these trails, but the flowers made some of the meadow areas so colorful.
Quick out and back around mile 8 (where I finally found a rabbit and a reason to "race" rather than just run it in for a finish).

More single track down towards the cabin and lake - another favorite part of the course.
Rocky and sunny jeep road that I was actually able to do a decent amount of running on before we turned to for another technical descent. While I like this down section, it sucks that you run all the way to the road and have to go right back up. Heading back up I was determined to run as much as possible. After getting to the top and seeing the sign for mile 12 I really kicked into high gear.
Thankfully, my legs (although completely tired) had something left in them. I finally passed my rabbit and it felt AMAZING. There was a section where a sign had been knocked over, and a few of us made the decision to go down the trail (like we had the first year that we ran) - it added about .35 round trip to my distance (and we were NOT supposed to go down). I still had something left and sprinted into the finish WELL under my goal of beating my time from two years ago.
I look a little goofy, but thanks for the pic Tom!
 
Garmin time - 2:57:29
Garmin distance - 12.13 miles (this course has always measured short, but trees mess up GPS...)
Garmin pace - 14:38
Elevation gain - 2,598'
Mile 1 - 16:15
Mile 2 - 10:50
Mile 3 - 15:48
Mile 4 - 13:49
Mile 5 - 13:07
Mile 6 - 22:11
Mile 7 - 21:12
Mile 8 - 11:42
Mile 9 - 11:37
Mile 10 - 11:20
Mile 11 - 17:05
Mile 12 - 11:16
Mile 12.13 - 9:41
Photo borrowed from Mo, thank you!
I didn't see Ben at the finish so I assumed he was at the red barn. Didn't see him there either, so I went back to the finish line to watch for Alison and Mo to come in. After they finished we all went back to the finish area for beer and food.
Ben got 3rd in his AG And 16th overall! Not bad for someone out with a foot injury for a week...
Basically the same height now... haha
We were the last people at the post-race party, like usual.

Thoughts:

  • Now that I barely race, I'm pretty selective with the ones that I show up for. This is one I have now run four times, and I will definitely run it again. I've improved every year, and maybe next year I can get rid of those 20 minute miles!
  • Another year with a really cool medal! The shirts looked "meh," but I don't take them anymore for most races, and I really like that ERS does a $5 add in so registration can be cheaper if you don't want one.
  • Post-race food was amazing like always.
  • Of note - carpooling for this one is a must. This year had the most participants I've ever seen and I'm not sure where people who got there later than us parked.
  • Also of note - once you get into the canyon, there is NO cell phone service.

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