Saturday, August 24, 2013

Ram Run Race Report

5K – 22:13 (7:07 pace) 

I started student teaching at a new school and on Monday this week I was beat and broken from the Pikes Peak marathon. During the week I was asked 100’s of times if I was going to do the ram run coming up in a few days (a school fundraiser). Each class I taught had a couple kids running and half the teachers were also running. I figured sore or not I better be a good sport and join in with this awesome active community. The race is put on by the cross country team but it seems like half the school shows up to run, football, soccer, swimming, wresting, tennis, cheerleading, and middle schools it was really amazing seeing the participation from all kinds of different groups. 

I said I was going to take it easy but I know myself better than that… 

Mile 1 – 6:42 
This was a very hill course and although the race stated with a half mile hill the second half was very downhill. For me still in recovery mode this downhill was the hardest part my lower back and calf’s begged for me to slow down. But my breathing was very comfortable and in control. 

Mile 2 – 6:56 
Most of the downhill was over and this mile had a lot of up and down. Each up I could feel myself going into the red zone and then recovering on the downhill. For my slightly sore body this section was much easier than that huge downhill but I could feel myself slowing down. Looking around I was the only adult in sight, these kids were awesome. I probably did awesome in my age group. 

Mile 3 – 7:31 
The start and finish were close so we had to make up all that downhill. This mile was up flat up flat over and over. I passed some kids and one of them chased me down and said “Hi Mr. Peoples” very excited I said “How are you doing” back and then dropped him
. After the race he came and found me and told me how awesome I ran up those hills and I of course congratulated him on his awesome run as well. 

Last 0.1 – 1:02 (8:24 pace) 
They saved the biggest hill for the end. No one around me was able to hold pace going up this last hill. I was just happy I didn’t half to walk, I heard from many of the other teachers that they had to walk that last stretch. My lungs burned and my muscles cried in pain, it felt like I was on top of Pikes Peak again. I hit the finish line and felt like I could hold myself up. 

Altogether it was a great experience. I think I made a lot of great connections with a lot of students. I made sure to talk with to principal so she could see that I am here even when it was optional (please hire me next year). I was pretty happy with my time its slower than I have been 5K’s running but after talking with students and teachers they all agree that this course is slower by 0:30 a mile than a flat fast course. I took my watch but I didn’t look at it once during the race, it was nice running to run without any time pressure. Still I gave this race all I could for the condition I was in (I can’t take it easy) maybe next year I will run it on fresh legs. 

Looking at the Garmin data the race climbed 228ft and dropped 300ft in the 3.1 miles. 
Sorry no pictures this time. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

2013 Pikes Peak Marathon Race Report

 26.2 – 7:03:52
7,815 ft of elevation gain

Before I ever ran a marathon I dreamed about running the Pikes Peak marathon. I thought that running my first marathon would get me closer to this goal but really is just showed me that I wasn’t even close. For years it’s intimidated me from signing up. I knew that this year had to be the year that I finally Challenged Pikes Peak. Earlier this year I ran 2 road marathons in 3:31 and 3:37. This race took me nearly twice as long to finish. Get ready for some really slow running stats and some pretty race pictures.

Start - elevation 6,300ft
The race started in town on paved roads just after sunrise. It was about 60F and the sky was very clear if the weather stayed nice it would be about 45F at the summit. One thing I knew about Pikes Peak is that the weather can change on the summit very quickly. I was prepared for anything my backpack contained a jacket, winter hat, gloves and food. In addition to this extra weight I also carried a 20oz hand held bottle. I wasn’t planning on setting any records my goal was to survive and maybe run under 7hrs.

Here is the start, the turnaround is on the summit of the peak in the distance

No Name Creek – 4.3 miles – 1:06 – elev 8,800ft
The race started on an incline and quickly climbed out of town. It only took about a mile until I had to walk the first time. Once we hit the single track there were so many people that you just went at the pace of the pack walking or running. Earlier this week heavy rains caused flash floods and the trails were in a v shape from all the water that drained over them.

This is called “rock arch” it’s a really cool formation that you run through during the race

Barr Camp – 7.6 miles – 1:56 –elev 10,200ft
After no name creek there were actually some sections of flats and even a few downhills. This was because we were transferring mountains. I knew about this before the race and ran this section pretty good. Also during this section I ate my first and last granola bar of the race.

The peak was haunting us from the distance

A Frame – 10.2 miles – 2:51 –elev 11,950ft
Leaving Barr camp I felt the first signs of trouble. I hadn’t been drinking or eating very well and when I tried I felt very nauseous. The next stop was called A Frame because it was at shelter that looked kinda like an A. More importantly it was at tree line, trees don’t live above 12,000ft. Approaching tree line I really started having trouble breathing. My walk breaks became long and longer but looking at my watch it looked like I was way ahead of pace for 7hrs this was about to change.

Note from the trees – “you guys are crazy we wouldn’t go up there”

Summit – 13.3 miles – 4:19 –elev 14,115ft
The last push to the summit above tree line was the hardest. A few miles ago I was needed walk breaks to recover and now I was walking full time and still not recovering. Other than to let runners coming down pass me (very narrow) I didn’t stop moving. I was breathing so hard just walking I was worried that I would have to be carried off the mountain. Luckily I wasn’t the only one feeling this way and it looked like a line of zombies walking and crawling up the mountain. I hit the summit 19 mins behind my goal pace. Coming off the summit I had given up on the 7hr goal.

Here is a cool picture of the summit and the sign that says “1 mile to summit – 13,700ft”. This last mile took me nearly 30 minutes to complete.

So close…

A very happy (or delirious) me ready to descend

I didn’t stick around on the summit very long I knew that as soon I got down a little I would feel better. I was really happy to have made it to the top because I knew I could run down without too much difficulty. 4.5 hrs into the race and I had only consumed 1 granola bar, a few hand fulls of grapes and about 40oz of Gatorade because my stomach hurt so much. I made a conscious goal of drinking my entire bottle before the A frame stop (20 oz. in 3 miles). At A frame I filled up my bottle and again promised myself that I would drink it all before Barr Camp, I continued this at every aid station and I started to feel really good. The uphill challenges your cardiovascular system and the downhill tests your body. The pounding hurt and after a few miles my feet, knees and quads felt fried. I ran pretty conservative because of how much my feet hurt. In the last few training long runs I have been getting some weird pains in my mid foot which might be the start of an injury. Anyways as I ran down I started picking up runners who would then run with me. With about 3 miles to go we had about small pack of 6 runners when a lady went blasting by us. I don’t know why that flipped a switch in my head but I followed her craziness down the mountain. We left the group in the dust it was the fastest I had run all day (around 9:00 min pace).

We hit the pavement with about a mile to go still very much downhill but now without any obstacles I really took off. Suddenly my quads quit hurting, my knees were fine, my blisters vanished and I felt like I was floating on air. This was one of those rare occasions were I hit my runners high during the race. I kicked in the last half mile about as hard as I have in a flat marathon my Garmin recorded 6:45 pace for the last 0.75 miles. Perhaps I am better suited for road running. Coming down the mountain I figured my finish time would be 7:30 but the fast last few miles landed me near my 7hr goal at 7:03.

Here are the stats, they aren’t pretty. Maybe we should call it run hiking?

That was by far the hardest race that I have completed. I came very close to hitting my goal time of 7:00. 7hrs isn’t a great time it’s probably a middle of the pack time. I set that as my goal because it’s the qualifying time for wave 1 in the marathon. They have different standards for veterans than they do for first timers.

So that’s ends that chapter and I can check Pikes Peak off my bucket list. I know I am only in my 30’s my I have a long list of adventures to complete. I am sure that I will run this marathon again someday but not for a while because this race is always same week as Leadville which I plan on pacing next year and eventually running someday.