Sunday, October 17, 2010

Fall Series #2 - Race Report

I can't believe I haven't posted since the Mt. Evans epic ride! But I haven't been sitting on my rear (unless you count cycling!) Before I go into my race report, here's what I've been up to:
1) I went to Nation's Tri as a TNT coach and had a blast supporting the gang.
2) I went to Moab, UT with TNT as a participant and rode the Moab Century Tour.
3) I rode another almost century to test a product called Generation UCAN
4) I ran the Fall Series #1 race at Monument Valley Park....beat my time from 2007 by over 5 min!!
5) My husband and I came in 2nd at a gimmick rally with his car club.

Phew! Today I ran the Fall Series #2 at Bear Creek Park.
Link to Garmin data

And here's the report....
A gorgeous fall day and a little warm, actually! I didn't pre-register so I got to the park about 45min before the race start. Ample time to get my race bib and warm up a little. Then I saw them setting up the massage tables! I made a mental note to head there as soon as I finished in order to get my name on the list and avoid too long of a wait. I ran into some friends and some of my husbands colleagues who do this sort of crazy stuff and chatted with them. I also met John and Shannon who were in town from Ohio and thought to give this race a try. You got to love trails and climbing for this one! The voice on the loudspeaker finally comes on and we all position ourselves at the start line, which is on a big grassy field.
Grassy field (behind porto-potties) ...those are for you Ron aka @PunkRockRunner)
Go! The first part of the race is a loop of the field, a smart way to start so that the group has some time to spread out a little before we hit the trails. Once we are on the trail we climb. Up. Oh yeah - now I remember...the last time I did this race series was in 2007 and it was then I professed my utmost respect to those who did Colorado trail running and the Pikes Peak Ascent. Here is where your heart wants to pop out of your chest as you just plod along, debating whether a fast walk would actually be faster than trying to "run." Ever grateful for the downhill around 1.5 miles and the water station. We've been having warm and very dry weather so even though I didn't need much to drink, being able to wet my whistle was welcome. Here I caught up to Kelly, who is just a little bit (maybe more than a little) faster than I am. She passed me again shortly after the aid station, but I kept her in my sights. About half way through I caught up to her again and hoping my heart stays in my chest and that my gasping for air is really bringing oxygen into my system. I stayed in front of her for a while...

We descend down into the shaded trees and come to a creek.  The course then crosses the creek only because we'd have to cross it again in 30 seconds to get back on the main trail. Of course. But that's what this series is all about - a little fun in the run! I managed to only get one shoe soaked in the crossings. Not too bad since it was warm and dry I wasn't soggy for too long. After the creek we had a really steeeeeeeeep climb. Complete with stairs - the wood 4x4 kind. I walked this. Back up to the top of the hills. Then at 2.75miles into the run we reached the peak at 6500+ feet. Ahhhhh! Now I had three quarters of a mile to fly as fast as my legs would let me and hope that they would stay rubber side down. I did not forget to take in the FANTASTIC views of the whole city and all the fall colors that spread for miles. We're probably at the peak of color right now and it was stunning! If I find a picture that someone took I'll post it.

One must remember, that even though we must descend back to where we started, the race director will always find the one hill to climb back up. At least this one was a little shorter. After the last peak at about 3.75 miles, it was just under a mile to the finish line. All downhill, a lot of single track. Then as it flattened out as we had to cross the creek (again!) and this time right next to a convenient bridge. *Whatever* I soaked my other shoe in this crossing, and then there it was. Right in front of me. Kelly. Oh yeah, she caught up to me about here. Then I saw the real deal. The small ravine we descend down into and then cross one more small creek (of course!) and then use one of three ropes if we so desire to scramble up the embankment.
Ropes were pretty slick by the time I got here.

Once up we're probably 100 yards or so from the finish line. But at this point my heart rate was pushing the upper 180s (I'm either racing hard or about to die) so it was a painful journey and definitely not what I would call a sprint finish. But I finished reasonably well...44:28...22nd female overall and 1st in my age group. So after 2 races I actually lead the W30-34 group in the series. Two more races to go, and they get longer and more challenging. 

I cleaned some of the muck off of me, got my recovery drink from the car, relaxed during the massage and congratulated everyone for a fun race. For a mid-October day, it really was a great day to be outside! I'm glad my heart stayed inside my chest, my oxygen delivery system seemed to work and that I bought myself some compression socks! Ahhhhh!

Next up: Bourbon Chase Relay, 10/22-23


weather said...
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Christi said...

Great job Nicole!

Nicole said...

Thanks Christi!