Ft Collins Colorado
13.1 – 1:36:30
This is going sound less like a race report and more like a training diary. With my ultra marathon looming in the future this half marathon that I signed up for months ago just felt unimportant. I haven’t done any speed work in weeks and I really needed to get in another ultra marathon training weekend, the solution… race sabotage.
Saturday – Long run
It was my son’s birthday and we were due at chucky cheese by 10am. I had to skip the group run from home to save time. I got up at 4:30 am with the goal of running as much as possible by 8:30am. I left the house around 5:30 so I basically had 3:00 or about 20 miles. Early on I was grumpy and nearly called off the run at 10 miles when I stopped back at the house to get a new bottle. On my second loop I bumped into my friends and then ran with them from about 17 to 19. They are training to run twin cities in 3:15 so we were running pretty quickly. I ended up running 21 miles in about 3:07 the entire run felt like a giant progression run. No food on this run only liquids.
0-7 miles @ 9:42 pace, Grouchy and thinking won’t have time to get 20 miles done
8-12 mi @ 9:03 pace, Feeling better and the sun came up
13-16 @ 8:35 pace, now I was attacking the course and making up time. 20 miles is looking possible
17-19 @ 8:09 pace, trying to keep up with my friends for 3 miles they were 8 miles into their run
20-21 @ 7:54 pace, burst through that pain barrier, my friends turned around and I somehow went faster back home.
Sunday - Race
It was about 30 minutes before the race when I bumped into an old friend that I hadn’t seen in years. She convinced me to run a short warm up with her up the canyon 1.7 total miles. My feet freaking ached during this short warm up but my muscles felt really good. The original plan was to take it easy and hope for a sub 2:00 but now I had this stupid idea that 1:40 would be pretty awesome.
Miles 0-4 Avg 7:28 min/mile
Not planning for the race at all I had no idea what pace I needed for 1:40 and I still had my Gatorade bottle which I wouldn’t have minded at 9:00 min pace. I calculated in my head that I needed about a 7:35 (actually I needed 7:3 and I knew that my watch would be off so the plan was to run in the 7:20’. My feet hurt so bad those first few miles but my breathing was easily in check. They didn’t have an aid station till mile 4 so it was handy having my own drink at mile 2. I ended up tossing that bottle at the mile 4 aid station.
Miles 5-8 Avg 7:21 min/mile
Now that my hands were free my shoulders relaxed and I felt much faster. This course is in a beautiful canyon that drops 800ft from start to finish. The clouds and the canyon walls blocked us from most of the sunlight. My feet stop complaining in this section and everything seemed perfect.
Miles 9-12 Avg 7:22 min/mile
At an aid station near mile 9 I ate my only gel of the race. The road started to flatten out and the clouds went away. The temp went up a little but it was still an awesome day. I began flying passed people and I looked and my watch and I was only running even splits but everyone else was falling off the pace. Around mile 10 was first time I felt out of breath. From then on I felt like I was working really hard and actually in a race.
Miles 13 and the last 0.1 Avg 7:04 pace
Suddenly I realized I had a little over a mile left and I dramatically picked up the pace. I was surprised to hear a friend of mine cheering me on, I didn’t know she was going to be there and she didn’t know I was running. I ended up clocking the last mile in 7:09 and then kicking it into the finish at 6:10 pace for the last bit. The 35th mile of the weekend was the fastest.
No pictures this time so I borrowed one from the main page of the race website. Most of the race looks like this but sometimes the canyon walls were vertical cliffs. This was by far the most scenic half marathon I have ever run and it’s very fast. I might have to come back next year and go for a sub 1:30.