Thursday, February 23, 2017

Freeze Your Cookies Off #3 (Race Recap)

Monday, February 20
Denver, CO
Half Marathon #161
Weather - Sunny and warm

When we were trying to schedule the final installment of FYCO, we were having a tough time finding a third date that worked for the organizers AND fell within the cookie sale dates. We chose President's Day, thinking that we may have a fairly decent turnout with people who had the day off. It ended up being our smallest race of the series, with only 14 runners completing the full distance. We decided to start the race at 10, and when I saw the forecast I was pretty pleased with that decision. The weather cooperated for a third time and we had sun and warm weather. Daniel, the timer, and Bill were not able to attend the event at all, so Stacy offered to run early so that she could do timing and assist A while I ran.

I had mentioned to A a half dozen times, "how on earth am I even going to be able to run?" I was so sore from Moab that I was thinking I was going to be the last one across the line because I was going to need to walk so much. 

A and I arrived at the start around 9:15, with Stacy already set up. We unloaded the cookies and started checking in the runners. Used the bathroom once with about 10 minutes until the start. Heather decided that she would run with me, even though I warned her I was hurting and planned on LOTS of walking.

We started right at 10 and headed out on the Highline Canal. I gotta say, after running this section three times in as many weeks, I will likely NOT rush out to run there any time soon.Sure enough, I had to walk pretty early on. My legs were so tight and sore and fatigued. The first two miles were definitely the most horrible. 

Such a clear day and what blue skies we had!
We were the very last runners on the course until we passed Yuly about a half mile before the turnaround. One of the runners who had done the early start with Stacy had offered to volunteer at the turnaround, which was SO appreciated, especially since I had completely drained my handheld. 
Can you believe this picture has no filter??
THANKFULLY, although we were moving slow, I felt a lot better on the way back and did not have to take as many walk breaks. 

Our friend and teammate, Nikki, came out on the course and got a few pictures from us a few minutes from the finish line. I feel like we look happier than we feel?
 A got a good picture of us running into the finish.
Other than a woman who started late and one of our friends that was running 16, we were the last ones done. It was so much warmer than I had planned on and of course I was still really tired after Moab. Black was also not the best choice for a shirt color.

Garmin time - 2:48:42
Garmin distance - 13.35 miles
Mile 1- 11:57
Mile 2 - 12:47
Mile 3 - 14:13
Mile 4 - 12:36
Mile 5 - 11:50
Mile 6 - 12:12
Mile 7 - 15:33
Mile 8 - 13:29
Mile 9 - 12:13
Mile 10 - 13:01
Mile 11 - 11:50
Mile 12 - 11:37
Mile 13 - 11:44
Mile 13.35 - 10:31

We sat around waiting for everyone to come in - HAVE I MENTIONED HOW MUCH I LIKE TO SIT??? I didn't take my race medal or series award (a pink unicorn!) because they had to go to the other runners first
When you know the race director, you have to take a selfie together
  • It's not the best idea to "race" a half marathon so soon after a challenging trail race. This hurt. A lot.
  • Organizing a race, even a small "grassroots" race is a LOT of work. We still have to have a meeting to tie up all the loose ends and get our checks written for the various charities that we are donating to. 
  • The running community is really the greatest. There were so many people that ran, volunteered, shared our event... it really helped make everything a success. Maybe we will do this again next year - on a MUCH smaller scale.

Week in Review (February 14-February 20)

Tuesday (10,441 steps) - Early to school for student council. Barre class with Laura during lunch. It was a strange vibe, she was being evaluated and had to keep the volume down really low with the music. NOT a fun way to go through class, plus, wasn't crazy about the music to begin with. Gymnastics, picked up more cookies/dropped off money and then on to Torchy's for dinner. We got it to go (green chili queso and tacos) and ate at home while watching "Up," because I've never seen it. What a depressing movie. Oh, and I still hate Valentine's Day.
Wednesday (17,501 steps) - Run club after work. Weather was pretty nice and we decided to actually run what everyone else was (normally we do our own 3ish mile loops). This was a 5K loop that had been set up for the Colfax pancake run over the weekend. Colfax stopped to use the bathroom a HUNDRED MILLION TIMES on this run. A managed to sell a few more boxes of cookies at the store. Hooray!
Thursday (23,365 steps) - Barre with a new instructor in the morning. I didn't love a lot of what she did. There was some weird stuff we had to do with our backs to the barre that I wasn't crazy about. A and I had decided that we were going to meet up with Runners Edge for a special night trail run instead of going to Belmar. We found the lot without much trouble. Used the bathroom and waited for people to show up - turns out there were only like 7 of us.
I of course was the slowest and we got behind pretty early. I even tripped over a root and fell. We completely lost them all with about a half mile to go. We ended up going the wrong direction, got turned around, ended up on trails that weren't really trails. A freaked out a bit because there were some weird people out that were making scary noises, plus she thought we were lost. We were supposed to run about 3 and ended up doing over 4. Went to Rocko's and met up with everyone. Had to make more medals for the last FYCO race, and then pack.
Friday (17,046 steps) - Headed out to Moab and hiked. Recapped here.
Saturday (47,384 steps) - Moab Red Hot 33K
Sunday (20,749 steps) - Hiking at Fisher Towers and driving back, recapped here.

When we got back into town we had to stop at the grocery store. Once we got home I made dinner, actually, dinner times two. Spaghetti and then chimichangas for another night. Also had to do laundry and get everything ready for the last FYCO race. Need a vacation from my vacation!
Monday (35,821 steps) - Alarm was set for 7:30 for FYCO. I woke up a few minutes before the alarm went off. Got everything loaded up and headed down around 8:15. With it being Presidents Day I was pretty sure traffic would be light, and it was.
After the race was over, we went to lunch at Chili's with Heather. Home for showers and cookie inventory. I convinced A to go selling door to door for an hour or so because the weather was so nice, but she only managed to offload a half dozen boxes. We had a cookie booth with Rose and Madi until 8, and then dinner and TV. In bed early.

  • 172,307 steps
  • 40 miles run
  • 2 barre classes, 9.3 miles of hiking
  • Current weight - 126.8 - don't even want to talk about it.
Everything Else:
  • This long weekend was my last one until MEMORIAL DAY. How will I make it 3.5 months???
  • So relieved to be done with the FYCO series. That was a LOT of work.
  • Oh, and cookies.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Moab Red Hot 33K (Race Recap)

Saturday, February 18
Moab, UT
Weather - Overcast, rainy, windy
Everyone knows that Moab is pretty much my favorite place outside of Colorado. The Moab Red Hot is one of the few races that I hadn't run before - mainly because I've always been worried about driving in the mountains this time of year. I bit the bullet and signed up last fall when a friend signed up. I was on the fence about which distance to sign up for, and chose the 33K because I wasn't sure if I would be ready for a challenging ultra so soon after Across the Years.


A had an early release from school. Initially, I figured that she would want to take the entire day off, but for some reason she wanted to go for a few hours. While she was in class I went to Target to buy last minute supplies, went home to finish packing, and then picked A up at school shortly after 10.

We made a quick stop at the liquor store on the way out of town so that I could have "real" beer (all beer in Utah is like 4%). Other than a few bathroom breaks, we drove straight through to Moab. We had decided to be super frugal this trip and brought groceries and a cooler with us so that we could brown bag our lunch and have food in the hotel so we would not need to go out to eat as much.
We stopped to pick up my packet and ran into Jared and his family on our way out. Then we decided that we had time to get a quick hike in - before the forecasted rain hit and before it got dark. I had done some research to find a new hike for us and we chose Hunter's Canyon. It was only about 7 miles outside of town, but we did have to drive on a hilly dirt road (maybe wide enough for 1.5 cars) down a canyon. Not my favorite drive, a little scary! We parked the car around 4:30 and headed out. It was a fun hike - lots of water crossings. We jogged some and hiked some, and completed the 4.5 miles in just over an hour, finishing before it got dark.

Stopped in town at the grocery store to buy a jug of water and a quick stop at Gearheads to buy adhesive spray for my rock tape. Checked into our hotel - the Moab Valley Inn (an upgrade from where we typically would stay, but I had a free night from and it had an indoor pool) and then walked across the street to the Brewery for dinner. We were told the wait would be 45 minutes, but we were seated at a booth in about 15. After dinner I got all my gear ready , watched Finding Dory with A, and in bed fairly early.

Race Day

Our hotel was only about 10 minutes from the start, which wasn't until 8:30, so I didn't have to get up super early. I woke up before my alarm at 6:40 or so, and had slept VERY well, which is actually pretty rare when I travel. Got dressed and all my gear ready before heading down to get breakfast. I settled for an English muffin with peanut butter and jelly and a hard-boiled egg. Back at the room I filled my hydration pack, grabbed my gear, and headed out (a bit late) at 7:25. As I was driving to the start, I noticed that people were walking and jogging to the start of the jeep trail - which meant we were NOT starting at the Gemini Bridge lot. I had hoped to watch the 55K runners start since I knew a lot of friends that were running. I decided to skip sitting in the warm car to head over to the start area, although the race literally started right when I walked up. Of course that meant I was now stuck standing around for a half hour. Used the bathroom and then wandered around looking for people I might know until the pre-race meeting at 8:15. All I took away from that was that we were following pink/black flagging.

The wind picked up and I put on my Ultimate Direction rain/wind jacket, even though I was already wearing long sleeves. I even put my hood up! Right as we were starting, so did the rain. It was coming down hard enough that I had water pooling in the creases of my jacket. So that was fun. For a very brief moment I contemplated just going back to the car/hotel. I saw Francesca and we talked a bit until the start.

Ugh. I was just NOT feeling this at all. Knowing where we starting, I knew that the first mile would be uphill, and since I'm the worst at climbing, I started in the back. The very back. Seriously, I turned around a few minutes in and I was dead last. I would remain in last place until we reached the top of the first climb.

Then it was downhill for a bit, and I managed to pass a few people. The first 4 miles or so were the same as the Dead Horse I ran in November (with the exception of not starting at the Gemini Arch parking lot).

The Egyptian bird rock
Where there had been an aid station at Dead Horse, there was simply a sign directing 55K runners to the right (which is where Dead Horse went) and the 33K to the left. I was getting warm so I took my jacket off and shoved it back into my pack. There was a water only aid station that I skipped completely.

This section of the course was flat for a bit, but it was SANDY. Not "loose" sand, but kind of sticky sand that was sort of hard to run through. I hate sand. Eventually, we headed onto the "Goldbar Spike Spider" - which is where it seems we climbed endlessly.
I finally saw Francesca ahead of me, but couldn't seem to catch her. The next aid station was at mile 8 and I arrived at 1:54 (according to the timing mat). I didn't take anything except for a cup of coke. I did, however, put on my jacket. It was super windy and I was getting cold again.


I think this one looks like a cartoon character 
This may have been where the first 55K runner passed me

At the top of the mesa, looking down on the visitor center for Arches National Park (A said I was too close to the edge)

Climbing, climbing, climbing. Caught up with Francesca and we took a selfie.
There was a long section of slick rock (think, 5 miles?) that was tough. Some of the markings were tough to see and I wasted a small amount of time looking for markings as there were times that there wasn't anyone visible.
Puddles on the trail - and OH MORE CLIMBING
THIS was super steep
My teammate, run club friend, Michael, passed me at 3.5 hours in. He was running the 55K. Arg.
Finally, arrived at the last aid station at mile 15. Don't really remember much after this. Took a cup of coke and one Reese's peanut butter cup. The course was super wet and muddy at this point, especially on the slick rock. We had a section that was on a jeep trail, and I really hoped I would be able to run most of that, but I was just so tired that I walked more than I would have liked.
There was some technical descent, and then finally just some dirt/rocky section. I knew I was getting close-ish, but how close? Nothing I run in Moab ever measures right.

Some slick and steep descending - passed some people on this
There was a group of ATV'ers with their kids that were on the course when my watch read about 18 miles and they said I was "close" - but they couldn't really say HOW close. I estimated a mile or mile and a half or so. Another downhill section where I jogged, but not my typical "bombing" I'm usually able to muster. I did get passed by a few women I had been ahead of most of the race, so that was disheartening.
The gal on the left in purple I had passed at mile 8 :(
Turned a corner and finally saw a some descending switchbacks and I could see and hear people with cowbells. I could not, however, see the finish line, so I didn't really know how far I had to go. When I got to the last switchback, I saw Michael and he said the finish was right around the corner. It was HARD to run it in, but I managed it.

A "tad" bummed that I came in just over 5 hours - I think I would have pushed a tad harder if I would have known the course better, but ah well. My initial goal was 5:30, so obviously I did better than I hoped anyway.

I managed to catch Sean (who ran the 55K) and Francesca as they crossed the finish line.

We went to the beer garden, but it was COLD, and I was barely able to get through one beer before we decided to just take the shuttle back to the car. Brrr.
Bib #371
Official Time - 5:01:28 (14:43 pace)
Official 8 mile - 1:54:00
Overall Place - 237/262
Gender Place - 112/132
Division Place - 69/77
Garmin Time - 5:01:30
Garmin Distance - 19.38 miles (15:33 pace)
Elevation Gain - 2,802'
Mile 1 - 16:12
Mile 2 - 11:38
Mile 3 - 11:18
Mile 4 - 12:03
Mile 5 - 14:35
Mile 6 - 15:56
Mile 7 - 18:38
Mile 8 - 22:45
Mile 9 - 18:05
Mile 10 - 16:48
Mile 11 - 16:57
Mile 12 - 14:39
Mile 13 - 15:46
Mile 14 - 16:24
Mile 15 - 17:06
Mile 16 - 13:59
Mile 17 - 15:27
Mile 18 - 14:04
Mile 19 - 14:20
Mile 19.38 - 12:47

Drove back to the hotel, took a quick shower and ate some leftovers. Took A to the pool, although all I did was sit in the hot tub for a bit. Maybe it was because of the cold temps and rain, but the pool was CROWDED. We stayed about an hour. Went back to the room and tried to nap.

We later went to Eddie McStiff's for the post-race party. We were all crammed into a private room, but it was totally worth it for free food and beer! We were also treated to a cool presentation put on by Ian Torrence. Also in attendance was Scott Jurek, so of course A had to get her picture with him too.

Interesting the beer was provided by a brewery outside of Salt Lake, not out of Moab
On our way back to the hotel we stopped at the Moab Diner and got some ice cream.


Got up around 7:30, packed, got breakfast, and then headed out of town. We had enjoyed our hike at Fisher Towers, so we planned on hiking there again before leaving. We arrived at the trail head at 9:45 to find it super foggy. There was a good chance of rain, but it was dry when we headed out, with only a few other cars in the lot.

It would just figure that when we got about a tenth of a mile from the trail end, the rain started. It rained pretty hard on the way down, which made the trails super slick and muddy. Could not even believe the number of people that were heading UP in those conditions.

We finished in just under two hours, did our best to clean the mud off our hands and clothes, and then started the drive back. It RAINED AND RAINED AND RAINED.

The coolest thing happened on our drive through the canyon - we saw a bald eagle sitting on a rock about 5 feet off the side of the road. I pulled over about 50 yards up and hoped to get a close up, but as I approached, it flew away. So cool though! Never seen one so close outside a zoo.
We were both hungry for a second lunch when we got to Glenwood, so we stopped at Vic's for burgers. The rain finally stopped - for the freak snow storm to start just outside Vail. I drive a tiny Mini Cooper that is NOT 4-wheel drive, and this type of mountain storm is exactly what we had hoped to avoid. It was a white-knuckle drive until we got through the tunnel. Even though it was supposed to be dry in Denver, it was overcast, windy and rainy when we got back into town.

  • This was probably my least favorite race out of all the events I have run out in Moab. I can't even really explain why, although the crappy weather we had may have helped in that decision. It is a challenging course for sure, and there were sections that were just NOT the most fun for me.
  • The course for the most part was very well marked, although there were a few spots where it wouldn't have hurt to have had a few more flags.
  • The volunteers were fantastic. So helpful and friendly - and really good sports standing around in the cold/wind/rain.
  • The race shirt is cute! A royal blue single (that of course I do not have a picture of).
  • No medal/award for this race, just a pint glass. Never can have too many of those?
  • Will I run this race again? Probably not - my fears about driving in the mountains this time of year were confirmed. Even though there was no bad weather predicted, I guess you never know!
  • I love Moab. Even when it is rainy and overcast, it is still just so pretty and I love going running/hiking out there.
  • We had a great "long" weekend and will of course be back to Moab - just not for this race!

Week in Review (May 14 - May 20)

Tuesday  (12,837 steps) - Peloton ride before work. I was about 40 minutes into a 45 minute ride when our internet went out. Totally forgot ...