5 Sep 2011

Breckenridge Half Marathon

Some views from our deck last week

This was a big week for The Hud

Boulder County has 100s - maybe 1,000s - of miles of trails. 95% allow dogs on-leash or off-leash if they have a green tag. The green tag means the dog is a good and well-behaved dog who 100% obeys voice commands

At least you have to sign a paper with Boulder County that says so

Here is Hudson's first legal off-leash walk

Work was shit this week. Need to make a living some other way

Kicked the holiday weekend off Saturday by getting ready for the big race in Breckeridge Sunday - packed the car, bought food for the pre-race drive, loaded the iPod with customized playlists and so on. I even looked at maps for two hours to ensure I would not get lost - I wander off-trail at times, although usually it's only a minor deviation

The half-marathon started at 7:30am and Breckenridge is about 100 minutes away so we would leave at 5:15am. Alarms were set at 4:15am (wife) and 4:50am (me)

I was unable to fall asleep until after 2am - and was awake at 4:15am. The Breckenridge half-marathon was my "big" 2011 goal set last fall. I had some insomnia earlier in the week because of AT&T, but Saturday night was pre-race excitement and the narrow window of time to sleep. The same thing happened last year before the Estes Park Half Marathon - an early start with over an hour drive

I thought about not going but Maureen was excited to do the 5.7-miler (with 933' of gain) and I totally would regret not doing this. For safety she drove. It was a cold morning - 30 minutes before the start it was 36 degrees

There are 3 "sections" on the half. When I ran this course (more or less) in late July each section took 65 minutes. My goal was to beat 3 hours - so needed to "find" 15 minutes

The 1st section was the section where I should find the most time. After 0.5-miles in town it was about 3.8-miles and 1,000' up the Burro Trail. The gain is relatively consistent and the trail pretty good (below taken in July)

I was able to run 95% of the trail and did it in 48-minutes. Woo-hoo!

The 2nd section is about 2.7-miles and 2,000' up Wheeler Trail. After a Gatorade at the aid station I began running. After a few minutes I was "power hiking"

Then it got nasty. No one was running. It was mildly depressing looking up the mountian seeing how far and how high I had to go. The below are from July

My power hike turned to a walk and then a stumbling stagger. I was worried I had hit a wall from the lack of sleep. Then I had a sharp pain in my side

Frustrating thing is the reason for these sharp pains are "either too much or too little water or food" - not necessarily helpful. In hindsight probably needed more water - which I was carrying - given the elevation (now at 12,000'). I sat down for maybe a minute and then got back to it

Eventually reached the high point of the course at 12,475' and the next mile was fairly flat with icy streams. Finally - the aid station

Despite suffering I had done this section in 50-minutes and was at 1:40 after a short rest. I sat down and adjusted shoes and socks for the final section - preparing for a "fast" descent with an outside shot at winning my age group. This required that Michael Hagen skipped the race this year. I don't know Michael Hagen but he won my age group last year at 1:57:57 - second place came in at 2:29:26 and that was possible

The final 6+ miles is downhill (much of it on Peak 9 road) but the first few miles is very rocky and hard to run too fast. On my practice run in July I went way off trail, so needed not to space out and pay attention to the infrequent pink streamers and orange signs with black arrows

The final aid station was 1.8-miles from the finish and the course zig-zags on narrow single-tracks behind residential areas. I tripped over a rock or root and barely caught myself before a disaster (landing on my face) - earning a "nice save" from the woman running behind me

Did the final section in 53-minutes for a finish of 2:33:56. Good for 16th out of 122 but 6th in my age group (40-49). My age group here in Colorado is awesome which means a future with few-to-no trophies / prize money

Found the wife who was with our friends Melissa and Leadville Chuck and a new friend Maureen met on her successful race. We then immediatelty went to the ice cold river and spent time cooling off

This race gives no finisher medal, has low-key t-shirts (this year they switched to low-key hats) and has no sponsor booths - but it rocks with awesome people (everyone is super friendly on the trails) and remains the toughest race I've done

After an awesome 8+ hour sleep I felt great and decided to do a nice flat 10K race here in Boulder on Labor Day with our friend Melissa. Once October rolls around the races dwindle and mostly disappear until the spring - and races are really fun and festive social events

Here are pics from before my race - the second pic is the marathoners

This race - official title is "Rudi's Organic Bakery Marathon" - is a party with gifts and booths galore. They give great looking long-sleeve technical running shirts (technical = wicking), technical running hats, posters and a finisher's medal. After the race there is plenty of free food and booths selling running-related gear

As for the race itself, for some reason I felt very fast. Perhaps it was the Vancouver Canucks t-shirt I was wearing? Whatever the reason I ran my fastest race ever at a 6.9-minute per mile pace (if the race was a true 10K - it may have been a tad short) and came in 19th out of 321 and 3rd in my age group with a 42:37. Bwa-hahaha! A trophy!

A very good Labor Day weekend - much better than 2010...

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