Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Colorado Cold Rush Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Colorado Springs, CO
Saturday, December 2
Half Marathon #194
Weather - Chilly, but sunny

If you have been reading a while, you know this blog started because I was racing half marathons in every state. It has/had always been my "favorite" race distance. No matter the level of training I am at, it's always "doable." With that said, I have hardly done ANY in the last 4-5 years as I've graduated into the 200 mile distance (which typically requires my long runs to be even longer than 13 miles). I've only done NINE since the start of 2019. So while I run 13.1+ regular, this would be my 10th "official" half in 5 years! While I have no real goals, I do eventually want to hit 200 lifetime half marathons.

Race Morning

I planned to wake up at 6:15. Christina and Lisa both woke up well before then, and with paper thin walls, I woke up as well, but I was able to go back to sleep. I had re-packed my bag the night before, so really all I had to do was get dressed and braid my hair. It looked like it was going to be a nice day from our hotel room:
We stopped in the lobby to get breakfast on our way out. I grabbed a small, crustless spinach and cheese quiche and a sausage/cheese breakfast sandwich, as well as a few slices of bacon and more coffee. I didn't eat all the food, but I figured I needed decent calories before running. It was about a 15 minute drive to the start. We arrived at the park but didn't really see the race start until we got out and walked over. We hit the bathrooms first and then huddled around the one heater under the pavilion until it was time to start. It was pretty darn cold. I had opted to wear my Rabbit holiday shirt under my Roost team tee, with CVG 5" shorts. I wore my Patagonia R1 over my back so it would be easier to take off when/if I got warm.

We started right at 8, and I was in the back with everyone else. I took the early lead, as it was a fairly runnable start at the beginning. Paved to get out of the park area, and then a wide, non-technical trail. Lisa and Janet passed me somewhere in the first mile. 
I had hoped to run more of the climbs but I knew that it was going to tire my legs out, so I just worked on power hiking. I was leap frogging with a couple of guys and ended up passing them for good when we got to the first area of more single track. Of course in that same section, we all got passed by a half dozen girls that were clearly just out for a leisurely Saturday long run. I finally passed Lisa when we were on the technical single track section, and passed Janet not too long after.
The first aid station was around 3 miles up - I did not stop. We started the big climb up High Drive. I was a bit surprised about the amount of snow on the trail, but it made sense with all the trees that lined the road/trail. While it is called a road, there was a gate that kept it closed for cars.
Somewhere around mile 4 was when I saw Ross - he must have started early. Getting close to the "top" and I was finally starting to get a bit warm, and decided I would probably take my jacket off by the time I got there on the way back. The next mile was a  nice downhill going to the aid station (although of course we would have to go back up on the way back). THANKFULLY, at the turn around aid station there were some bathrooms, but I had to go all the way across the lot to get to them. WORTH IT. 

I got back to the aid station just in time for Janet to head out. I grabbed a small piece of chocolate chip pumpkin bread and a swig of coke (plus an applesauce for later) and headed out. 

The climb back didn't seem as long, and I warmed up quickly in the sun. I passed Janet towards the top and took my jacket off as planned right before hitting the summit. I absolutely BOMBED the downhills. There weren't a ton of people in this pace group, but I passed probably a half dozen people. I was REALLY shocked to see some miles starting with an 8. Yes, it was icy and some technical spots, but I felt good and I pushed. It was relatively shocking how fast I got back to the other aid station (which again, I did not stop at).

Then I arrived at the single track section - my legs were a bit toast from bombing the downhills. I still did a pretty steady run/walk on the climbs.
Not shown - my amazing shorts :( 
The last few miles were definitely warm and I ran everything I could. I was grouped with a few other people and am happy to say that I managed to stay ahead of all of them!

I crossed the line and got my medal (no pic, but if I remember, I'll add later).

Official time - 2:58:07
Overall Place - 64/106 (plus, "beat" everyone in our group!)
Division Place - 27/51
Elevation Gain - 2,582'
Garmin Time - 2:57:56
Garmin Distance - 13.31 miles
Garmin Pace - 13:22
Mile 1 - 14:27
Mile 2 - 15:21
Mile 3 - 13:56
Mile 4 - 17:18
Mile 5 - 18:22
Mile 6 - 15:12 (bathroom)
Mile 7 - 14:06
Mile 8 - 14:14
Mile 9 - 8:39 (wooo)
Mile 10 - 8:42 (wooo)
Mile 11 - 13:21
Mile 12 - 10:49
Mile 13 - 11:26
Mile 13.31 9:05 pace
This was exciting to see! (Probably just the PR for this watch, which I haven't had all that long)

This 2 mile, PR, however, is probably legit since I started Strava, which I *think* was 2014??
I haven't been running fast since probably 2010-2012, so this was fun to see
As soon as I crossed the line I sat down at one of the picnic tables and immediately started to get cold. I saw Janet coming up a few minutes later. We had a decently long time of waiting for Lisa and were sitting in the grass in the sun. It was NOT warm, and the wind had definitely picked up. I put my jacket back on, as well as my "emergency" North Face pants I had been carrying in my pack and I was still freezing. 

Christina crossed a few minutes after Lisa, and we had a good amount of time to wait for Susan and Alison. While we were waiting for them, Christina had to head out to relieve her husband of childcare duties.

We got a group picture after they crossed and basically disbanded right after. Coldest I have been in a long time!
Thoughts:
  • Semi-expensive event. I paid $100 back in September.
  • Swag is good - poly/cotton blend shirt, boco fleece-lined hat (I will actually wear again), wooden medal and a HUGE bag of protein powder.
  • Course was very well marked. The lower trails had quite a bit of flagging at turns, and "wrong way" signs. 
  • Aid stations seemed fine, although I only stopped at the one at the turnaround. I used my Salomon vest, and with it being colder, my two flasks were plenty to hydrate.
Probably would not run this again due to the cost and distance from home, but in my quest to get to 200 half marathons, it was fun to run something different and challenging. 

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