4:48:29 (8 minute course PR)
In Colorado this is the earliest marathon of the season, the next opportunity is late April. I have decided to make this my early season fitness test. I love this race, the views are amazing the people are laid back. This was my 16th marathon and my second on this course. I have become a much more laid back runner I don’t worry about my training, taper, dinner breakfast or anything. I just love to go out and run.
First climb 0 – 7 miles
The race started on the road and I stayed calm and tucked into the middle of the pack. It’s a long climb and I am not very fast on the uphill. It was about 30F and I was wearing a long sleeve shirt and shorts. I knew it would warm up once the sun came out. Running a trail race is weird in the beginning it’s like everyone is trying to hold out and not walk for as long as possible. Not me I know how I like to run trails and my strategy include lots of walking mixed with running.
Big Climb 8 – 13
At mile 8 we left the single track and started up the dirt road. Even with my short walk breaks I had passed a lot of people. I remember how bad I felt on this road last year, this year was different I felt relaxed and fine. I cruised up the 5 miles of dirt road (2,400ft vertical) with out to much trouble. At the top I was so happy that I was not only 5 minutes ahead of last year’s time but it felt so much easier this time.
At the Top 14-20
It was a nice relief to finally not be running uphill. Once at the top the course rolled up and down but the down side was now it was mostly over snow and ice. I almost fell a few times and I pasted a few people with some battle wounds. After passing the aid station at mile 13 the crowds thinned out and for a few miles I didn’t see another soul. It was amazing to be out away from people and civilization at the same time a little scary. I thought I lost the course but then rejoined a small group. Mile 19 and 20 were step down and in some places to steep to run. My legs got very tired and I actually looked forward to some climbing.
Downhill to the Finish 21 -26.2
Actually this section starts off with a huge hill of about 300’ over a half mile. After that the rest of the race was huge down hills with the occasional short ups. Once we dropped in elevation the snow disappeared and we were back on dirt. Everything hurt and eventually it was hard to keep pace even on the downhill. I stopped to catch my breath and take a few pictures and then I was off again. The finish is very low key you run across the bridge into the finish with 10’s of people cheering you on and there are no metals. I love everything about this race.
Last year I ran 4:56 which translated to a 3:31 road marathon 2 months later. So I am hoping that my 8 minutes faster will translated to 8 minutes faster in May and a new PR! At the same time this was a training weekend. Sunday I went out for a 12 mile trail run making the weekend 38 miles of trail running.
Not my worst race picture, I think this is mile 3
Nice view of the snow capped 14,000ft peak (Mt Shavano)
Here is the dirt road, doesn’t look like much but it never ends
Mile 15 – highest spot and lots of snow and ice
Mile 18 - This is looking away from town, the mountains seemed to stretch on forever without any signs of civilization
Also near mile 18 going down hill
This course had it all mud, dirt, pavement, snow, ice and even sand
This is about 100ft later and now its steep downhill on sand
Almost back to town (mile 23)
Mile 24. It was hard to watch the trail with the awesome views
We weren’t done yet and the town disappeared below the hill
This might be my new favorite trail picture. Mile 25 the finish is just over the hill