Monday, June 3, 2013

Steamboat Half Marathon - Sunday

This post is continued - start here on Thursday/Friday.

I did not sleep well on Saturday night, but didn't seem to be too tired to get up and at 'em at 5:15AM. It seems like I need so much less sleep on vacation and this was no exception. After a quick bagel with peanut butter, two cups of coffee, and warming my shoes by the fire, we were ready to go! (I left the window open and my shoes were freezing!!!!) The temperature was bit chilly to say the least and we were heading up the mountain to the start line.

We left the condo around 5:50 or so and went into town. We didn't have to wait long to get on the bus that would take us to the top. If I had it to do again, I probably would wait for a later bus, closer to 6:30 so that we could have stayed a bit warmer. The bus ride was probably 20 minutes and good to see what we would be running. 

Up we go!

It was very (very) cold at the top. We hit the port-a-jons and tried to find the sun and get warmed up a bit. I only had one or two complaints about this race and the gear check was one. It seemed we had to check our gear a bit sooner than we needed. We had to stand around in our race gear for about 10 minutes and it was COLD!!!! 

The sun started peaking through the mountains. I've never run a race with only 1,000 people. It was fun being in such a small group for the start. 

There was the cutest little cabin at the start. Apparently, it was a lamb farm. 

Finally, the sun came out and it was close to get the party started! I think it was only an "on your mark, get set, go" type of a start. 

Tom kept telling me not to worry. It's all down hill he said. It is not. See all of those little blips? Those are all hills. And, they were hard. I'll revisit that hill leading into mile 23 (or 10 for us half runners).

I didn't have any grand expectations for this race. Initially, I had hoped to come in under 2 hours but I wasn't sure how I would be affected by the altitude and the hills. Once in Steamboat, I revised my expectations to a 2:10 finish. I figured I could do 10 minute miles give or take and not kill myself. Plus, I just didn't have the pre-race jitters, or confidence, like I usually do. So, I figured I didn't have much adrenaline to carry me through. 

The scenery was absolutely stunning! This race was voted one of the top 10 for scenery and it would be hard to convince me that it is not number 1. That little hill on the right seemed to stay with us forever. And, the guy to the far right also stayed with me forever. In fact, I would guess most people that I was near in mile 1-2 were within a minute or two of my finish. I kept seeing the same people!

And, finally, my favorite view of the whole race. A huge grin crept on my face when I came around the bend and I just loved this section of the race. If you look really close, you can see the ski slopes in the far distance. Tons of cows and horses were around too. I really felt like I was out in the middle of God's country. 

I think this picture was taken around mile 8. You can see the slopes in the distance again. They're getting closer! 

Finally, we arrived at mile 9 with a looming, huge (and I mean huge) hill to tackle. It was tough and it was long, but I managed to run the whole thing. I had read to save something back for this hill and I did try to do that but I think I was still at a 10:30, maybe 11:00, mile on this one. I had kept up a 9 minute pace until this point. I'll have to pull my splits, but I think I was very consistent with my 9 pace with only one or two miles slightly less. And, I was feeling pretty good coming into this hill.

This is looking back at the hill after I had conquered it. Love the reverse iPhone camera.

Luckily, what goes up must come down in this race. But, not before an aid station at mile 10 complete with frozen electrolyte pops. I grabbed one and nursed it for the next mile. It was nice treat!

It was at this point that I felt like I was running out of steam. I took my final gu pack (my third!) because I wanted as much energy as I could muster. It was downhill, which was easier on the lungs, but hard on my legs. I did manage to make up a bit of time. I was constantly doing the math to figure out where I would finish and at this point I realized that even 10 minute miles would probably get me in under two hours and that kept one foot going down in front of the other. 

Finally, I started seeing signs of town. The last two miles were rough. And long. The final stretch comes through the main drag of town and I expected throngs of crowds. They were there but probably not until the last 1/4 mile or so. I caught Katie and Claudia off to the side and that gave me enough upmpf to finish the race strong. I managed a sub-2 hour finish by about 29 seconds which was my original goal. Katie pulled out an awesome PR! And, on an incredible course to boot.

I loved this race. The scenery was awesome. The people were friendly. And, I enjoyed running with the same people. If I were the race coordinator, I would only change a few things... (and these are super, duper minor - I really did love the race!)

1. The gear check - let us keep our stuff a little longer, especially when it's cold. Maybe have the van take off after the start?

2. Maybe one or two more aid stations? I'm probably spoiled by the mini with stations every 1-1.5 miles, but one more station on this run would have been really nice. Although, since they were more spread out, I felt like I could walk through them. I grabbed Gatorade and water at each! 

3. Provide some kind of food right at the finish line - even if small. I was woozy and usually like to get something in my belly right away. Not that food was too far away, but again, I was not feeling myself and the girls had to lead me to it. 

After water, a banana and my flip flops (no major blisters - yay!), I was feeling remarkably good. Back to the condo for showers and checkout. I snuck in a final cup of coffee on the deck by the pool before leaving.

Then, Creekside again for our reward - the Nutella waffle! But, not before our main course. :) I chose the Huevos Benedict - so, so good! The waffle was good, but not quite what we expected. We sat outside again and enjoyed the view.

Back in the car and to the airport we went. I fell in love with Colorado all over again on the drive back. On the way into town, it was cloudy. But, this day, it was clear and crisp and beautiful. The snow was melting and the views were breathtaking. We even caught some Bighorn Sheep along the highway. I have visited the mountains a lot in the winter, but never in the summer. I will be back without a doubt. 

I came home today renewed and refreshed. This morning, I was amazingly not sore. Tonight, I can feel it creeping and feel like tomorrow may be a bit rough. However, I wouldn't trade it for anything. I am so thankful for a husband who takes care of the kiddos, a friend who brought me along for the ride on her journey and a sister-in-law who wanted to play along!

Time: 1:59:31
Pace: 9:09
Place: 259/764 - 33%
Division: 27/96  - 28%

1 comment:

  1. Hi I'm Heather! Please email me when you get a chance, I have a question about your blog! LifesABanquet1(at)