Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Black Canyon 100k (Race Recap)

Black Canyon City, AZ
Saturday, February 18
Weather - Sunny and warm

Shortly after running Cowboy 200, I was with a group of friends celebrating our recent race finishes. A friend of mine ended up having to DNS at Javelina (literally the night before the race!), and was looking for something to spend his race credits on. I thought Black Canyon sounded like a fun race, so I offered to join him for the race. Long story short, he ended up not going, and after a bunch of back and forth about whether I was even going to go, I headed to Arizona for more Cocodona "training."

Race Day

Somehow, I actually slept well (and fell asleep quickly!), so that was a bit of a surprise. Luckily, I had gotten everything ready the night before and I was ready to go on time. We had about a half hour drive to the Anthem Outlets, where we needed to catch the shuttle to the race start. The drive was uneventful, and we were parked on time. Plenty of buses lined up (a big fear of mine is that the buses will be gone or full, so this was nice to see). We got on the first bus, and the driver told us we still had plenty of time to use the (indoor) bathrooms and that we were leaving at 6:30. In my head I thought we were supposed to be leaving by 6:20, but it wasn't a big deal. We ended up not leaving until 6:40, however. The drive was a bit longer than I expected. Shortly before arriving I realized I couldn't find the keys for the rental. THANKFULLY, I had realized this BEFORE getting off the bus AND that I found them on the floor under a seat a few rows up. WTF.

Additionally, the buses dropped us off late, we didn't get there until 7:27 for a 7:30 start! And all of us over course still needed to use the bathroom again.

Start to Bumble Bee (First 20ish)

None of us were especially worried about starting after the gun since supposedly we were going off chip timing (spoiler, my official time is gun time, not chip time). 

I used the bathroom, went with Caolan to drop off the finish line bag and jogged to the track for the (delayed) start. We had been hearing all weekend about how cold it gets waiting around at the start, and this turned out to be a non-issue for us. It was a beautiful morning - and I was surprised at the muddy track and hoped the rest of the course would not be like that.
We were all warned to not go out too fast in the beginning. The course is a net downhill, and not a "ton" of climbing on paper, so I had opted to travel without my poles, and hoped that if I saved my legs the climbing at the end wouldn't be that bad. I started the race in multiple layers on top (Rabbit EZ tee, Rabbit High Country short sleeve, and the Patagonia Airshed Pro).

Thank you, GU rep, for the hat. It helped immensely!

It was nice that the first few miles were on pavement. I ran everything in the early miles, but I definitely feel like I was taking it easy. I made it until maybe mile 5 or 6 before I got warm enough that I wanted to take off the Airshed (and put on sunscreen). Timed it nicely with a slight uphill.

The first 20 or so miles were definitely my favorite on the course. Not too rocky, very runnable. The only issue I had was with people wanting to pass and either not saying anything, or just kind of jumping around me. I do wonder what happened to some of those guys, if they ended up blowing up later or not. 

Photo Cred: Jesse Ellis

Photo Cred: Jesse Ellis
Things were going wonderful until Bumble Bee, when the wind picked up (and my cough got much worse). Plus, that's about where the beginning of the "real" climbing started, and honestly, where the course really got rocky. I don't think I really took any pictures that really capture just how rocky this course was, but I know I'm not alone in my opinion here!

I can't remember which aid station it was, maybe Soap Creek, but I actually ended up using my ice bandana. I got really hot, which I don't think I was quite expecting. Caolan was heading out as I was coming in, and it actually took me a really long time to catch (and pass) her.
Photo Cred: Scott Rokis

Also a bit of a surprise to me were the water crossings. They weren't horrible, and honestly, during the day, I welcomed being able to dip my hat and cool down a bit. 

This hill was actually huge, believe it or not
The "best" parts of the back half of the course were the water crossings, and when we actually had fire road. We did, however, run into some guys on ATVs that kicked up a lot of dirt (and really made my cough bad), but otherwise, at least that was somewhat runnable. 
Photo Cred: Jesse Ellis
Came into the aid station at Black Canyon city and put some stuff I didn't think I would need into my one drop bag and grabbed by Kogalla, shoving it in my pack because it wasn't going to be dark for a few hours. Caolan came into the aid station shortly after I did, but I didn't see her again after leaving here.
I managed to latch onto a gal and her pacer leaving Black Canyon City into the Cottonwood Gulch aid station. It really made the time pass a bit. 
I didn't end up needing my head lamp until maybe a mile outside of the Cottownwood Gulch aid station. The section there was SO long (almost 9 miles) and I had run out of water and I was really hungry. Plus, I wanted to dump some silt out of my shoe. I asked for some potato soup and it was so hot it scalded my mouth, so that didn't make me happy. It was unfortunately also a long section to Table Mesa. I had honestly barely looked at the profile, and it seemed like we were going to have "Batman ears" of a climb, small descent, mini climb, and then (in my head) a downhill finish. I actually spent a bulk of this section on the phone with Ben. I don't necessarily remember why, but I was just in a segment where I wasn't with a lot of people and I was moving really slow and I was getting super annoyed at being passed by so many people. 
My headlamp was hurting m y head, and I actually ended up putting it away and just using my Kogalla. My quads were pretty thrashed, but Ben said it would be ok to take a few Aleve, so I did, and when they actually kicked in, I felt pretty good and finally did some "running." He said through the phone that it sounded like I was running pretty fast, but in reality I was doing like 13-15 minute pace. And this section was SO rocky. Initially I didn't think I was going to stop at the last aid station since it was only a few miles from the finish, but I did end up stopping to top off a bottle and I grabbed some coke. Out of the aid station was at least a dirt road, so I ran quite a bit there. Then it got all rocky and fucked up again. And there were these weird light up Hoka signs that made it seem like we were a lot closer to the finish than we really were. I did manage to pass a few people in the last few miles though, which was nice.

I was really REALLY happy to cross the finish line with a new 100K PR (I've run faster within longer distances, but for a technical trail 100K - this was the fastest!)
As soon as I crossed, I grabbed a half a grilled cheese and some tomato soup, then I sat by a heater while I waited for Caolan to finish.

Official Time- 16:36:11 (not chip timed)
Antelope Mesa (7.71) - 1:39:02
Hidden Treasure Mine (12.92) - 2:45:45
Bumble Bee (19.39) - 4:15:36
Black Canyon City (37.49) - 9:03:54
Table Mesa (51.03) - 13:10:24
Doe Spring (58.68) - 15:41:12
Garmin Time - 16:34:14
Garmin Distance - 62.39
Elevation Gain - 5,875'
Miles 1-5 - 11:41, 13:10, 13:05, 12:36, 13:50
Miles 6-10 - 12:31, 13:10, 14:14, 12:28, 12:28
Miles 11-15 - 12:24, 12:06, 15:05, 13:08, 14:07
Miles 16-20 - 13:34, 12:51, 13:25, 14:00, 19:16
Miles 21-25 - 14:42, 14:19, 14:19, 18:24, 14:23
Miles 26-30 - 15:02, 14:23, 15:03, 15:14, 15:52
Miles 31-35 - 16:19, 21:27, 14:51, 15:07, 15:30
Miles 36-40 - 16:57, 13:52, 22:27, 14:56, 17:19
Miles 41-45 - 17:30, 15:43, 14:45, 16:43, 17:12
Miles 46-50 - 17:07, 27:09, 18:04, 17:25, 20:03
Miles 51-55 - 24:01, 19:36, 20:51, 20:59, 17:19
Miles 56-60 - 15:40, 17:58, 16:55, 16:44, 15:22
Miles 61-62.39 - 15:18, 14:50, 15:56

Of Note:
  • The whole shuttle bus thing was a cluster fuck. I'm still not sure why we were all on the bus and ready to go and then sat there and ended up being dropped off late. Pretty unacceptable. ESPECIALLY since we had to pay EXTRA for the shuttle, on top of a $300 race entry. I didn't need a WSER and wasn't that close to missing it, but for people that were on the cusp of getting a qualifying time, I really hope they are able to get their times adjusted. 
  • Unlike Cocodona, I got zero blisters here. I don't know what was different about these trails, but zero problems.
  • The aid stations were "fine." My bottles suck, because they are so narrow that it is hard to fill up, and I'm not used to running trail races that are so big that I have to do it myself (first world problems). The food options were the same as Cocodona. Trail mix, fruit snacks, blah. One aid station had chicken salad on a pita, and that was the best. Everything else was uninspiring. And again, the scalding hot soup at one.
  • Course was very well marked. I didn't encounter anything that was confusing.
  • Historically, I can be co-dependent on poles, but I was actually fine without them. Not sure they even would have helped with how rocky the course was.
  • Unrelated to anything, I was REALLY surprised about the number of people that had full crew and pacers. Just weird for this distance. 
  • I LOVE the buckle. The shirt is nice. Plus, we got a cute "dry bag" with our gear in it. Sorry no pics of any of either of those. 
  • I don't need to come back again, although it was really nice running in bare arms/legs.

Week in Review (February 21 - February 27)

Tuesday (19,456 steps) - Work in the office. 
I love my Crues!
It was actually warm enough for a walk outside at lunch. I had moved my run because the weather was SO nice. I headed to Candelas to run the southern Rocky Flats trails. I had 45 minutes on schedule, and the first 10-15 were fairly horrific and painful, but then things loosened up and it was good!
Took Olive for a quick walk when I got home.
Wednesday (10,488 steps) - We got MORE SNOW. SOOOO SICK OF WINTER. We had a mandatory in-person staff meeting though, so off to work I went. And boy, I looked adorable.
Thankfully, nothing alarming happened at the meeting. Plus, we got free lunch, so that was nice. After work, I took Olive for a walk, even though it was like -2 (with an even colder "feels like") temperature. Olive didn't care. She loves snow. 
Can you see her ice beard? So cute
Meanwhile, I almost froze, and that's WITH remembering to wear the balaclava. Short yoga video before dinner.
Thursday (15,439 steps) - Work from home, thankfully. Took Olive for a long walk at lunch and I really thought I was going to die. Even with the sun out, it was NOT warm, and I was miserable. With that said, we still went to run club! Maya was a no-show, but Maureen and Colfax actually came. I haven't seen them in a long time. Mo isn't really running, but we did jog the first mile or so and did some shorter running segments. Olive had a blast, like usual.

Hi, I look crazy.
Friday (16,612 steps) - I was the only one stupid brave enough to meet up with Pete at Wash Park. Holy crap, this was sooooo cold. My hair froze within the first 10 minutes.
Work in the office. Walked on the treadmill at lunch. Took Olive for a mid-length walk after work. It was actually a lot warmer, about freezing! Woo!
Saturday (11,679 steps) - Headed up to Boulder. I had only 45 minutes on schedule and originally thought I might join Rev Run, but then thought I should take Olive and do some trails. She did REALLY good. 

Spent a bit of time at Runner's Roost waiting for Tyler to finish, then we went to Resolute for a beer. Yum!
Ariel and I went to Amy's house to celebrate her son's birthday. Then headed home. A had to work, so that meant a LOT of tv for me. (Grease and like 3 episodes of Lost). Leftovers for dinner.
Sunday (12,622 steps) - Didn't have a run on schedule, but did have a 45 minute walk. Figured I could do a run/walk, something easy with Olive. Hoped that it wouldn't be too muddy yet at the lake. Olive was doing a LOT better with not pulling!
Unfortunately, after about 2 miles, we hit a LOT of really bad, slick mud. It was NOT fun. And that's also when I discovered that dogs can get "mudballs" too :( Olive was not super thrilled. We got off the trails as soon as we could. Unfortunately, she was VERY muddy.
That meant... bath time.
She actually did really well, and didn't seem too upset about it. Ben picked me up and we went to the tap room for a beer, then up to Salsa's for a late lunch. Nothing else.
Monday (25,291 steps) - Work from home. Went for my run at lunch (and it was ok, but really windy) and took Olive for a walk. Went with Ben to Cherry Creek to check out the Freebird store. I found tons of stuff I liked, but he didn't love anything he tried. A quick beer at Woods Boss before going home.
Took Olive for a walk and then another night at dog training. Didn't go as well as last week, she was having a much harder time with follow-through. 

  • 111,587 steps
  • 21.18 miles run
  • 0 minutes of cardio
  • 10 minutes of strength

Week in Review (February 14 - February 20)

Tuesday (11,671 steps) - Work in the office. Did yoga, stretching and some walking on the treadmill on my lunch hour. Somehow I got talked into being "festive" for holidays. Wheee, look at my snazzy headband.

Sharing this because I'm wearing my adorable Randi shoes

Yep, wore on my walk at lunch too. No shame here.
After work I headed up to Broomfield to meet Ben at 4 Noses. We agreed to meet up for Valentine's Day since that's the anniversary of when we were engaged (and also where our first date was).
 Also went to Emilio's for dinner. Took Olive for a walk when I got home (and it was starting to snow) and saw a fox! Olive ALSO saw the fox and kind tried to chase it.
Wednesday (14,299 steps) - Woke up to more snow than I was expecting (since it really wasn't supposed to snow until after lunch), so I had to shovel. Olive loves the snow, so I thought it would be "fun" if she came out with me. She can't be trusted off leash though, so I had her tied around my waist which wasn't great. Then of course when I was done, she thought it was time for a walk. I took her for a quick trip around the block.
Have no idea how I wasn't late to work... Walked on the treadmill at lunch while reading my Kindle. Took Olive for a short walk when I got home. Have I mentioned I am REALLY sick of the cold??!
Thursday (19,482 steps) - Since I get unlimited PTO, I decided to work from home so that I could really concentrate on laundry and packing for Arizona. Every time I travel it just is such a production.

At least with the snow/cold, we could do the big loop at the lake - no mud to be seen!

Took Olive down to Belmar for run club. She had a fun time running with Maya again!
A had dinner plans, so I stopped and picked up some sushi for dinner. Yum.
Friday (14,824 steps) - Took Olive for a walk while Ariel was at practice. Then, Ariel drove me to the airport. (I fully recognize this is crazy, and there is no way Ariel is old enough to be driving me to the airport, and yet...) Arrived pretty early, with no line at security.
Met up with Caolan at the gate. Pretty crazy we ended up having seats next to each other - especially since neither of us selected one. 
Sadly, when we were getting ready to get off the plane, I realized I didn't have my hat. I must've left it at security at DIA - maybe it came out of the bin? I know I grabbed everything that was visible, so not sure what happened, but it was really sad. I've had that hat for like 6-7 years :( 

Also, apparently there is now a train to get to the car rental area, which is a TON faster. (Caolan was trying to tell me it's always been there, but that seems incorrect). Thankfully, I had a car reserved, there was basically NOTHING there. We immediately headed to packet pick up. Nothing too exciting, there were a few vendors, and I contemplated buying a new hat, but I knew I would just be mad about it, so I skipped doing that. I did, however, get a free one from GU.
That's a big boot
I wanted to go back to Front Pourch, and we got a beer before going to the grocery store to pick up food for the night and morning.
We didn't have any issues finding the bnb that I had booked, which was great. Everything we needed and a few hundred cheaper than the hotels. Flat me - ready to go!
Saturday (134,903 steps) - Black Canyon 100K - recap coming, eventually.
Sunday (10,121 steps) - Even going to bed basically at sunrise, I still woke up after a few hours (and well before my alarm). We still had to pack up everything and go back to the finish to get Caolan's missing drop bag. We got out the door and time and headed to get the drop bag, only realizing after we got there that we had gone to the wrong finish line... we had overshot where we needed to go. So then we had to go BACK, somehow also missed the exit, and then found it. Got the bag, but now we aren't going to have any time to get any food before the airport. I'm getting hangry. Also still needed to get gas, and the only gas station by the airport was $5.99 a gallon. WTF. We drop of the car with no incident. I'm hopeful that we can get food at the airport. Security wasn't bad, and it seemed like we might have 10-15 minutes. It didn't look like Panera was busy, so we ordered from the kiosk, which had no line. A few minutes later, the cashier shouts out that they are running 25+ minutes behind. I immediately go to the counter and say I'll need a refund because I'll miss my flight. She is a mega-bitch and says it'll "take 5 minutes and I have to go in the back to do it." She comes back, hands us each a paper and we go to the gate. We do end up being a little delayed and probably could've gotten the food, but we didn't know. Sad.

We ended up sitting next to each other again! Fairly turbulent flight into Denver. Parted ways with Caolan and then I beelined to the lost and found in hopes of finding my hat. Sad story, they throw away all hats, pillows and stuffed animals :(

Ben picked me up and we went to Marlow's for a very late lunch (early dinner?) We both got burgers, and I also took some cheesecake to go. 
Took Olive for a short walk. Went to bed early? Nothing else I can remember.
Monday (13,860 steps) - Work from home. Took Olive for an almost 3 mile walk at lunch. Took Olive for another short walk before going to dog training. Since Ariel had practice in the morning, she was able to come with me. I think it made a big difference! Olive is getting a lot better, although she still isn't a great listener. 

  • 219,160 steps
  • 62.38 miles run
  • 0 minutes of cardio
  • 21 minutes of strength

Week in Review (April 2 - April 8)

Tuesday  (17,510) - Peloton before work in the office. Did my short cross training and left at lunch since Joyce is on vacation. Finally sto...