Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Ft. Collins Trail Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Saturday, April 25
Livermore, CO
Half Marathon #130
Colorado Half #63
Weather - sunny and warm

I was really looking forward to yet another trail race. The Ft. Collins half marathon is put on by Endurance Races Series, and I have run a few of their races. According to the website, this was pretty much going to be the most difficult of all the trail races.  The race did not start until 9:00, but since we were about 1.5 hours south, we still had to be out the door by 6:30. Luckily, we had set up the mapping in advance since we lost all our cell phone service about 20 minutes before arriving at the start, a tiny little church across from Eagle's Nest.

We picked up our packets and used the bathrooms. The bathrooms were inside, but there were only two stalls and we knew there was close to 350 runners between the half marathon and 10k. We peeked at the start line across the street and did not see any port-o-potties there. Uh oh.

We figured allowing 20 minutes would be enough time to use the bathroom. We really should have left another half hour. We cycled through right when the race was supposed to start, but lucky for us, they started the race about five minutes late.

If you look in the picture above, you can see the road that we were going to be running up for the first mile. As I expected, I tired pretty early and a group of us walked a bulk of the second half of the hill. For the first time in a while, I got the fire calves and I was "glad" I had the hill excuse to walk and loosen it up. It was soooo pretty in this area, and I don't think people minded that I captured them walking :)

So I started out walking with maybe 10 people behind me. By the time we got close to the first aid station (at the top of the hill at mile 1), I was literally in LAST PLACE. I don't like being in last, but I have done enough races to know that I won't stay there for long.

After leaving the aid station we moved onto the single track. It was much more narrow than I anticipated. The 10k was supposed to start 15 minutes after the half and I was worried about the super fast people catching up to me. It did NOT take long for them to catch me. I don't think the 10k started late, so they were only about 10 minutes behind us. I was probably around mile 1.5 when I heard the leader coming up behind me. Womp.

We had some more "gradual" climbing and I was able to fast a few people on the incline and then we came to a glorious downhill. Good for me because I would actually be able to run that section and I am pretty decent at downhill. Bad, because at mile 2, that's when a lot of the front runners were catching up to me and that meant running to the right of the trail and jumping of the trail to let them them pass. I did NOT enjoy that part.

The downhill lasted until the next aid station at mile 3. Luckily with the turnaround I was no longer going to be bothered with the fasties :)  After the turnaround we finally were running near the creek/river, and then headed up another hill to the last aid station of the out and back, around mile 4.

I'm grabbing just a cup of water when I hear one of the gals in front of me talking to the volunteer. He says, "I think the trail is a bit muddy... oh, look, here is one of the front runners, look at his shoes when he runs by."

Oh. So... it was going to be muddy. Thanks for the notice! The trail became overgrown "dirt road" with tire tracks, tall grass and yes, mud. I think we had at least 7-8 sections of muddy water that we had to cross. 

And at mile 5, there was a wider crossing, and what looks like bones. From something.

I saw L when my watch said 5.4 - she was CRUISING. I was running with a guy and a gal and we kept running together until we hit about mile 6 - which was shortly before the turnaround. The guy was complaining of having a side ache, I ran past, and they never got back in front of me.

The mile 6-6.5 seemed REALLY STEEP. I almost had to stop walking because I was just dying and needed air. And then - the turnaround!!

I took this picture at the halfway point - which took me about an hour and a half:

I was hoping that since it had seemed really hard and steep on the way up that it would seem more downhill on the way back.

And for the most part, it did. I think miles 6.5-8 were pretty great. It seemed really hot to me and I was getting tired, but I honestly didn't walk that much.
Got to the aid station at mile 9 and passed a few people there. It was nice and downhill to the aid station at mile 10, and I passed another couple of people. There was a small section that was not "quite" the same was the way out and it was pretty steep and I walked a large section of it. There was maybe 1/3 of a mile of flat and downhill, and then we started a climb that was THE WORST EVER.

Maybe about mile 10.7 the climbing started. That glorious downhill at the beginning. OH YEAH. That is what I had to get back up. It was so steep that I was taking breaks. And a selfie:

Just past mile 11 and I see a girl who stops and sits on a rock on the side of the trail. I mention that it seems hot and she just sort of nods. I ask her if she is ok and she says she is not feeling well. I ask if she needs anything and she says no. But she doesn't move so I asked if she wanted me to talk to the volunteer at the last aid station and she said yes. It took me 10-15 minutes to get there and... there is no there. Damn it!

I knew that the last mile was downhill and I just cruised it. I passed two more people in the last mile and came in at a very solid pace (for me).

Crossed the line and got my medal and immediately told Luke (who was timing the event) that there was a girl in trouble on the course. A park ranger ended up driving up to make sure she was ok. Scary!!
Official time - 2:49:08
Official pace - 12:55
Overall place - 132/154 (ok, so I passed like 20 people)
Gender place - 65/82
Division place - 18/22
Garmin time - 2:49:11
Garmin distance - 12.59 miles
Garmin pace - 13:26
Mile 1 - 14:12
Mile 2 - 12:40
Mile 3 - 12:42
Mile 4 - 14:12
Mile 5 - 14:23
Mile 6 - 16:00
Mile 7 - 12:49
Mile 8 - 11:15
Mile 9 - 11:59
Mile 10 - 12:44
Mile 11 - 18:15
Mile 12 - 12:39
Mile 12.6ish - 8:59 (!!!! - yay downhill)

  • I got done, grabbed my free beer ticket and headed over to the finish area. AND THERE WAS NO BEER. OMFG. Advertise free craft beer for a race and... it's gone??? So all the fast people get beer and the slow people don't??? This is not the first race where this has happened and even with bib tickets? SO BUMMED AND SAD.
  • Not cool to let the volunteers leave their aid stations, especially when there is NO cell phone service. Kinda scary if something were to happen.
  • The course was AMAZING. I love trail running so much. I got to run a lot of my favorite terrains and I didn't mind getting muddy.
  • The aid stations were plenty - they did warn people that there was going to be a 5 mile stretch with no aid. They had water, some sort of electrolytes, bananas, cookies and some type of gel that I didn't have.
  • The medal is pretty nice, and the shirt was ok too - gender specific tech tee. L didn't take hers, but I did.
  • Overall, I think this was a fun event, but not sure that I would run it again due to its location.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Week in Review (April 14 - April 20)

Tuesday (14,746 steps) - Now that A has ridden with me a few times while I run, I'm excited that I might be able to get out of the gym a bit more. The weather had been a little sketchy, but I didn't see any rain in the forecast so I opted to load A's bike in my car (no easy feat since I drive a Mini) and head to Sloan's lake.

A got super panicky with all of the dark clouds and thought there was going to be a tornado and asked if we could turn around about a half mile in. Well... it was a nice idea. Maybe next time. Did a total body video when I got home. 
Wednesday (21,540 steps) - A was begging to get a hair cut. There was no wait so I got her in before heading to the gym where I got in a bit over 4 miles.

Thursday (17,911 steps) - 55 minutes on the CrossRamp. Not super fun and/or interesting, but good to get some other types of cardio in? Then I tried the new Fitness Blender abs video - I have NO CORE STRENGTH. 33 minutes of realizing how ridiculously weak I am.
I'm trusting A to start picking out my workout clothes (because I'm lazy, and she has pretty good taste)
Friday (16,595 steps) - Pizza Friday!!!
Saturday (17,505 steps) - L convinced me to go to the gym with her. AND to do the elliptical. I kinda hate the elliptical but suffered through 65 minutes. And I GUESS it wasn't the worst ever. I GUESS.
Probably not my most brilliant idea to wear long sleeves to the gym. So hot!
Sunday (33,562 steps) - Desert RATS trail half marathon!

Long drive back to Denver and we stopped in Glenwood again - this time, for delicious pizza!

Monday (20,819 steps) - 45 minutes on the elliptical (yes, again). At home another total body video.

  • 142,678 steps
  • 18.4 miles run
  • 165 minutes of cross training (might be a record!)
  • 77 minutes of strength/stretching (also pretty good!)
Everything Else
  • Don't feel like it is anything serious, but my legs have been a little angry this week so I backed off the running for a bit but still made sure to get some cardio in. Will really have to monitor this and see how it goes.
  • Nothing else...

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Desert RATS Trailrunning Festival Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Sunday, April 19
Fruita, CO
Half Marathon #129
Colorado Half #62
Weather - Chilly at start, then perfect. Sunny.

The Trailrunning Festival is put on by Gemini Adventures, the same group that puts on the race that I do in Moab, as well as the Boulder 100 that I ran in 2013. I was pretty excited for this race since TRAIL RUNNING IS MY FAVORITE!!

Fruita, in good weather, is 3.5 hours from Denver, so we planned on spending the night there - especially with the race starting at 7 am. We had plans of leaving Denver around lunch due to the sketchy snow/rain that we had been having the last few days. We didn't end up actually leaving until 3:30 on Saturday. It did snow most of the way, but with warmer temperatures the roads were actually pretty decent.

We stopped for dinner in Glenwood Springs just after 6 and arrive at our hotel in Grand Junction just before 9 pm. I bet I was asleep by 9:30. Doing nothing but sitting in the car sure is exhausting.

Wake up was at 5:30 since we still had a 20 mile drive to the start and parking at the start would be limited. We ended up with one of the last "close" parking spaces. Plenty of time to pick up our bibs and packets and use the bathroom twice. About 3 minutes before the start I realized I hadn't put on sunscreen so I ran back to the car to do that. I had planned to use my Orange Mud vest, but it's kind of a pain to take long sleeves off and take the vest off so I just planned on carrying a water bottle. I was too wimpy to start the race without long sleeves.

I started in the back - and the first mile I was COLD. We started the course on a fairly wide dirt road. It was a bit rutted from tire tracks, but not too bad. The first gradual hill was maybe 3/4 of a mile in.

We turned off the road onto some lovely single track. I was already starting to get warm, only 15-20 minutes into the race, so I already took off my long sleeve shirt. The views out here are AMAZING - I love western Colorado SO MUCH. I was happy to have some downhill so I could cruise by some of the slower and more cautious runners, although I kept stopping to take pictures. We had the first aid station about 1.5 miles in, but I didn't stop since it was flat/downhill and I was feeling ok.

You can see runners behind me on the course along the ridge

And then the climbing began.... We had a decent hike around mile 3 or so up to the next aid station. I briefly stopped but still did not grab anything. It was decently flat until we hit maybe mile 6. A slight climb and then some AWESOME downhill again - I was able to pass a few more people. I could see the next aid station - around mile 7. I stopped and grabbed a cup of coke and filled up my water bottle about 2/3 of the way. (In retrospect, had I known this was the last aid station I would have filled it up all the way). It was starting to get warm and I knew from what L had told me that this would be the most challenging part of the course. Shortly after starting the major climbs of the course (which I believe were mostly between miles 7 and 10), I ate my Honey Stinger waffle (if you have not tried these yet, you should). I got passed by a few gals on the climbs. Whatever goes up, must come down...

The climbing was pretty steep and I had a rough few miles although it was not as bad as I think I anticipated.

The view at the top though?? SO WORTH IT. I could pretty much see forever.

Then - some more downhill, which I was cruising down. I passed the two gals that I had been back and forth with, and then two more on the steeper downhill. According to the course details, the course was actually 13.8 miles long, so when I got to the bottom around mile 10.8, I was thinking that there would be another aid station - and there wasn't. I was getting hot and my water was pretty much gone. We were back on the dirt road, and I was looking at my watch thinking we were going to have to veer off somewhere if we were going to be running as far as I thought. Around mile 11.5 I could actually see the finish/start area, so I pushed it in. The course actually measures 12.7 miles for me - although I'm sure it was the correct length - don't always get the best GPS reading out here in the desert.

Official Time - 2:55:42 (no chip timing)
Overall Place - 145/167
Gender Place - 85/100
Division Place - 31/31
Garmin Time - 2:55:18
Mile 1 - 11:47
Mile 2 - 12:25
Mile 3 - 12:34
Mile 4 - 15:24
Mile 5 - 11:57
Mile 6 - 13:55
Mile 7 - 11:27
Mile 8 - 18:23
Mile 9 - 17:09
Mile 10 - 16:30
Mile 11 - 13:44
Mile 12 - 12:26
Mile 12.7ish - 10:24

  • I love trail running so so so so much. I really liked this race.
  • The course was very well marked, I was alone quite a bit and never felt like I might get lost. However, there were a few areas, especially on the climbs, where I had to stop for a minute and look around to be sure I was going the right way.
  • The aid stations were well stocked with food and snacks, water and Heed. And soda at the last one. One suggestion would be a clearer description of where the aid stations were located on the half marathon course - again, I almost ran out of water because there were three aid stations in the first 7 miles and then nothing until the finish - a bit rough since the toughest part of the course was miles 7-10.
  • I didn't expect a medal at the finish, so it was nice to get the dog tag finisher award.
  • BEST FOOD AT THE FINISH EVER. I always love the grilled cheese in Moab and I was ecstatic to see them being made at the finish line. YUM.
  • Love the race shirt!

  • Definitely recommend this race - already thinking about coming back for the marathon next year!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Week in Review (April 7 - April 13)

Tuesday (18,562 steps) - Not in the mood for running. Skipped the gym and did an abs/upper body video at home.
Wednesday (14,360 steps) - Run club!! I haven't been getting pictures lately - because I'm a slacker. I can tell you 1). I forgot a shirt. 2). Thankfully, run club is at a STORE and Phil gave me a sample shirt so I didn't have to run in my bra 3). I tried out some Nike shoes that were very pink, and not too awful. I ran in Nike when I first started running a million years ago. They've come a long way.

Thursday (22,808 steps) - My description of this run was apparently "not great, not terrible." I guess that means it could have been worse. Also did some yoga/stretching. Calves have been out of control still/again.

Friday (13,103 steps) - Pizza Friday!!!
Saturday (20,068 steps) - I gave the option of a few different places to ride her bike while I got a run in. She chose the Highline Canal. The canal is a 60+ mile stretch of dirt. I ran a Fat Ass (36ish miles) on it last year. It is not TOO far away. Threw her bike in the back (a bit later than I would have liked) and we headed out. I was slow, she was patient.

I cannot recall what we did the rest of the day. I imagine it involved sitting - my favorite activity after running.
Sunday (22,978 steps) - A few weeks ago, A and I were given free entries to a 5k in Broomfield. (I actually ran the inaugural race 5 years ago). However, I was already committed to volunteering for the Platte River half marathon with my Roost teammates. I gave my free entry to my dad (totally legit, he registered for it) so that A could still run. I had to get up to be in downtown Littleton by 7:00. We had the first aid station on the course - 2 miles in:

When you have an aid station on a point to point course that early in the race, you are done VERY early. I think we were torn down and cleaned up by 8:30. A group of us went to brunch at a Cajun restaurant down the street. The food was and company was great.

While all THAT was happening, A was killing it up north at her 5k. She had a very solid run! My dad took 3rd in his age group and was psyched to get a medal and a $15 gift card!

After A's race she was heading to a Girl Scout event, so I made the SUPER INTELLIGENT DECISION to go running. I picked the Highline Canal again because it's fairly flat and it was close. Did you know that Cajun food is NOT the best fuel choice for an 8 mile run??

Monday (24,489) - A not so terrible run on the treadmill. Which is funny, since for the second time in a week I forgot an integral item of clothing for running - a sports bra.

  • 136,368 steps
  • 25.7 miles run
  • No cross training
  • 52 minutes of strength/stretching
Everything Else
  • I posted a semi-annual "set me up with a semi-normal single guy" post on FB. I may or may not be communicating with a few and possibly setting up a handful of "dates" over the next few weeks. We shall see. I'm pretty terrible with making plans. But it's been almost 2 years now (?!?!) so I think I've been single long enough...
  • Work is still going great. Last week I finally talking to the Office Manager about relocating my desk so I'm not sitting next to cat lady. She is SUPER nice, but she is extremely messy and it was totally messing with my work mojo. I was able to move without hurting her feelings as the open space is closer to two of the three attorneys I work for.
  • Work has a "step contest" happening right now. We are unfortunately not allowed to use a Fitbit or Garmin Vivo for tracking and the cheapo pedometers we were given didn't work for me. After swapping out two (they were not tracking steps AT ALL), I have given up. :(
  • Uh. That's it.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Week in Review (March 31 - April 6)

Tuesday (18,829 steps) - Leisurely stroll on the treadmill and a total body workout video.
Wednesday (13,953 steps) - Run Club! Ran with Heather again for a super awesome (2?) miles.
Thursday (21,321 steps) - 4+ miles on the treadmill. I have no recollection of this run, but based on pace, I either did hills or it just didn't go that well. I did another total body video.
Friday (13,088 steps) - Literally did NOTHING.
Saturday (38,881 steps) - Three Creeks half marathon. You can read the recap here.

I have NO recollection of the rest of the day. We went grocery shopping, and at some point, the kids and Batman Sour dyed Easter eggs.

Sunday (14,760 steps) - Up before dawn to volunteer at the Westminster trail races! We had to be there by 6 am. It was pretty darn chilly when we first arrive, hence the winter wear. We assisted in handing out packets (there were three distances - 5k, 10k and half marathon) and then we manned the first/last aid station for a few hours. Once they were actually BUSY, the kids did a great job.

Surprisingly, WORKING a race isn't that much exercise. A and I took a walk around the lake in the afternoon.

I did some yoga later that night - hoping to loosen up my legs and tight muscles. Batman Sour was NOT amused.

Monday (19,564 steps) - Stroll on the treadmill to show off the INKnBURN shirt I finally got (after almost a YEAR of hoping someone would resell or trade me for it...

I had hoped to do more yoga when I got home but I was having some screwy internet issues and I couldn't even get my phone to load a video. I managed to get maybe 10 minutes in, but nothing to write home about. Trying to take it easy this week because my legs are worse than ever.

  • 140,396 steps
  • 19.7 miles run
  • Some walking, no real cross training
  • 69 minutes of strength/stretching
Everything Else
  • Hit my 90 days this week and I'm still employed :D - I guess they like me just as much as I like them?
  • This was a super boring week. There is nothing else.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Three Creeks Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Saturday, April 4
Denver, CO
Half Marathon #128
Colorado Half #128
Weather - Sunny, nice

The Three Creeks half marathon was an inaugural race this year, put on by Racing Underground (they are the ones that put on the Ralston Creek half marathon I have run the last four years). The race was announced last fall and we registered on Black Friday (opening registration day). With a price tag of $60, it was a pretty reasonable race for Denver.

My dad came over at 6:30 race morning so that we could head out and get to Cherry Creek High School by 7. We assumed an hour would be plenty of time to use the bathroom and pick up our bibs. What we didn't really remember was the walk took about 10 minutes each way. So by the time we used the bathroom, got our bibs, and got back to the car it was already 7:40. I felt panicky and rushed and felt like I had to pee again. We got near the start about five minutes before 8 and the bathroom line was LONG. Luckily, it moved quickly and the race started right as we headed to the start.

UNFORTUNATELY, that meant that Heather didn't wait for me (we had made plans to run together). I didn't have my iPod and L and I were the last to cross the line. L took off immediately and I was alone, with no music.

Coming off all sorts of aches and pains and little running, I had low expectations for the race. I tried to take it easy the first mile, but I could feel that my legs were already tight and tired. I had a feeling I was in for a long day.

I managed to make it through the first mile without walking...

Dan got an awesome shot of me - not even sure where this was on the course, but it was early
And then it was pretty much all downhill from there. (Not literally, this course did not feel especially "flat and fast" to me. I started taking walk breaks. A lot of walk breaks. It got to the point where I don't even know that I was really feeling THAT bad, I was just... tired and achy and not really into it? The course was a little barren, I was in the very back of the pack and I was... mentally bored and agitated?

Some of the course was hard packed dirt, some of it was bike path. Finally there was a turn around section and I saw Heather and Lisa. Mile 5-6 was pretty much the only mile where I ran and actually felt good. There was another out and back section at mile 6. At the loop turnaround I saw a coyote. That was probably the best part of my race. He was pretty cute. He was a bit too far away to get a good picture.

Mile 8 or 9 is pretty much where I gave up. Lots and lots and LOTS of walking.

This was mentally one of the "longest" half marathons I have ever run. I kept telling myself that this was no big deal, I have done this distance literally hundreds of times... why why why was this time so unfun? I could see the finish line from mile 12. That last mile lasted an eternity.

Garmin Time - 2:32:55
Official Time - 2:32:54
Overall Place - 503
Gender Place - 296
Division Place - 57
Official 5k - 37:23 (this is almost TEN MINUTES slower than my PR)
Official 10k - 1:12:29
Official 10 mile - 1:57:37
Mile 1 - 10:26
Mile 2 - 11:58
Mile 3 - 11:34
Mile 4 - 11:46
Mile 5 - 11:22
Mile 6 - 10:47
Mile 7 - 11:23
Mile 8 - 11:35
Mile 9 - 12:19
Mile 10 - 11:39
Mile 11 - 11:27
Mile 12 - 12:41
Mile 13 - 11:51
Mile 13.2 - 10:32

We hung around a bit at the finish talking to Jim and Cheryll and the Runners Roost people. Like usual, we couldn't hang around too long because we needed to go pick up the kids.


  • Outfit turned out to be ok. I was concerned the skirt wasn't going to work out well. I've put on about 10 pounds since last summer (yeah yeah yeah, maybe that is why I am not tracking weight). I was glad to have arm sleeves, I left them on the entire race. I kept gloves for about 4-5 miles.
  • Course measured long for everyone. Won't get into the argument over GPS, but I measured the "shortest" at 13.2.
  • Course was well-marked. Plenty of aid stations. I didn't bring my own water and I was fine. They had Hammer gels at 2 or 3 aid stations. Maybe other things? I already don't remember. I should not have waited so long to recap this.
  • Didn't really care for the course. The terrain was "varied" but it was just not "scenic" for me. Early April is a tough time in Colorado... everything was pretty brown :(
  • Packet pick up was easy enough, I guess I didn't realize it would take SO LONG to get our stuff. They did have bag drop, but I needed stuff out of the car anyway so that would not have helped.
  • Cool race shirt in gender specific sizes (black 1/4 zip with the race logo as a crest) - no picture AGAIN because I'm lazy.
  • Nice medal and ribbon
  • GREAT post race! They had soda (LOVE), water, Propel AND it was catered by Noodles & Company.
  • Prizes, if I were fast enough, were AWESOME. AG winners got growlers with the race logo on them!
  • Overall a great event. I just wish "I" had been great....

Week in Review (June 11 - June 17)

Tuesday  (13,780 steps) - Work in the office. Took Olive for a walk after work. Nothing else? Went to 4 Noses. Wednesday  (15,137 steps) - W...