3 Sep 2012

Breckenridge Half Marathon

I was uncertain about doing this year's Breckenridge Half Marathon. It's the toughest race I've done and wasn't sure I was in good enough condition to do "as well" as last year's 2:33:56

"As well" being completely relative

Saturday was a good carb-loading day The final tally:

  • 80g carb vegan cookie
  • Glazed donut (my first donut in maybe two years)
  • Protein berry smoothie
  • Breakfast burrito
  • 1 lb of food (mac & cheese / mashed potatoes / pinto beans / tofu) from Whole Foods' hot bar
  • Amy's pesto tortellini
  • Slice vegan carrot cake

Surprisingly had a good sleep - between 5.5 and 6 hours. Last year I barely got over 2 hours. Had a muffin and a coffee and was good to go - especially since Maureen was driving in the dark at 5:10am as we headed out. It was over 60F when we left Boulder and 45F when we arrived in Breck. Registered nice and easy, got a great technical shirt and chatted with Leadville Chuck who was doing the 10K - and needs to do a blog on his 100-mile race(s)

I decided on a relaxed pace and felt good as we moved 0.5 miles through town and onto the Burro Trail - 3.8 miles and 1,000' - in a pack of nice folks. This race is mellow and low-key - people who run it love to run. I ran 95% of this section and was thinking I may be on a pace as good as last year, but at the aid station I was 3 minutes behind. Oops. Still, no worry as the effort was easy

The next section is 2.7 miles and 2,000' and it went as well as possible - ran what was possible (maybe 50% of the first half mile and all of the last mile up top but none of the middle 1.2 miles). For the first time in four tries I didn't need to stop on the steep climb and actually thought that I could go a little faster. However, I didn't have the energy or power needed to make a pass on the narrow single-track and decided it was not worth the extra 6-7 seconds I could have gained. I kept moving at the pack pace and saved energy for the flatt'ish mile on top and the descent. Leaving the second aid station I was now 3 minutes ahead of last year. Woo-hoo!

Now I was going for a better time than last year so began "sprinting" down and felt great. Half-way down my quads began hurting - maybe not hurting as much as limiting my "speed". And worse - no one was around me and I hadn't seen any course markings in awhile. Oh-oh. I have lost this trail in both training runs (most recently last week). Fortunately someone finally came up behind me (and immediately went off trail only to be called back by a volunteer - and half a mile later in the woods either took off at an amazing pace out of sight or took another wrong turn never to be seen again). The last 1.5 miles I saw no other runner

Running into town was cool although I stumbled crossing the street which caused the policeman to stop traffic. I sprinted in slow motion to the finish and as I crossed the finish line and heard the announcer "Chris Harvey: 2:29:42" Hahaha! I beat last year's time and broke 2:30 so dove onto the grass in celebration and relief (everyone behind me seems to be watching - possibly wondering if I needed a medic)

Eventually got up and wandered over to see Leadville Chuck with a nice medal around his neck - he won his age group and came in 7th overall in the 10K

I came in 19th out of 101 in the half-marathon (last year was 16th out of 122). No medal but a great day in one of the happiest places on earth