Wednesday, August 14, 2013

GTIS Half Marathon

It's been another busy few weeks! Two weekends ago (August 3-4) I squeezed in a quick 8.5 mile trail run on Saturday morning before heading over to the Front Range to visit my sister who was in town. My trail run was of Blue Lakes - one I had hiked last year, and loved, so I was happy to get to fit it in and get a little IPR training in! The weather was cloudy and ominous, so it made it a completely different experience than before. I love that I live so close to the San Juan Mountains that I can literally "squeeze" in something like this!

Lower Blue Lake
One of the Upper Blue Lakes

The other Upper Blue Lake

This past weekend (August 10) was Georgetown to Idaho Springs (GTIS) Half Marathon. It was about a 4 hour drive from home and I've been wanting to do a "Mountain Getaway Weekend", so I decided to take Monday off of work so that the hubby and I could spend a long weekend in Georgetown and surrounding areas. We ended up running on Saturday, gambling on Sunday, and hiking on Monday! It was a lot of fun!

We drove over after work on Friday and didn't get into Georgetown until almost 10:00pm, so that meant straight to bed so we didn't miss our 5:00am wake-up call! We woke up early, showered, ate some breakfast and then headed to the start line. Our hotel was fairly close to the starting line at Georgetown Lake, so we decided to walk rather than drive. We got there at about 6:45am (the race started at 8:00am), so we had enough time to pick up our bibs.

After waiting around for about an hour it was time to line up at the start. This is where I left Scott. I had specific goals in mind, whereas he just wanted to take it easy, so we parted ways and I attempted to squeeze myself into the crowd near the 1:55 pace group. I had two goals for this race - goal #1 was a sub-2 hour time, #2 was to try and run with the 1:55 pace group the whole time. Obviously goal #1 was the most important to me, but I wanted to push myself, which is why I added goal #2.

The gun went off right at 8:00am, and, as with most races, it was slow moving and congested for the first several minutes. It was relief when we started moving because it was cold! The sun had not made it's appearance over the mountains yet and my fingers and toes were numb.

The course takes you on a loop around Georgetown for about 2 miles before heading down to Idaho Springs. As soon as we got onto the frontage road towards Idaho Springs, the sun reached us, and I went from cold to hot in a matter of seconds! I was not expecting it to be so warm! The forecast had said low 60's and clouds, so it was a bit of a surprise for me. I was glad I decided to bring my own water bottle with me because I ended up drinking a lot more water than I'm used to.

The first half of the race sort of flew by. At the beginning when we were still congested I was behind the 1:55 pacers, but by the time we reached the frontage road I had caught up with them and stayed for a mile or so before deciding to move ahead of them for awhile. Pace wise, I was doing awesome. My mile splits were between 8:20 and 8:45 minute miles (fast for me)!

I kept this up until just around mile 8 when I got a cramp that caused me to slow down. I was still moving and managed to keep the next two miles under 9 minutes each, but I just couldn't quite recover. Add to the fact that I had been drinking far more water than I was used to, and my stomach just wasn't sure it could handle picking up the pace again. So my last 3.1 miles were a bit slower than I wanted, in the low 9 minute range. The good news was that I had my Garmin with me and knew that as long as I ran the last 3 miles in under 10 minutes each, I would hit my sub-2 hour goal.

After pushing through the last several miles, I finally reached Idaho Springs and knew I was close! Since I mentally knew I was almost there I did manage to get myself to pick up my pace for the last 1/10th of a mile (coming in at around a 7:11 pace according to my Garmin) and finished with a time of 1:56:35.

As with my last Half Marathon, crossing that finish line felt awesome! However, immediately afterwards, I found shade and sat down for a minute to see if I could get my stomach to settle a bit (it was still feeling a little queasy from drinking so much water). The shade helped a little, and after a few minutes of sitting I found my parents who had driven up from Denver to watch us finish (and get lunch afterwards). I got something to drink and then we wondered back over to the finish line to watch for Scott.

After Scott finished we went and picked up all of our race swag, got a little bit of food, and then my parents drove us back to Georgetown so we could shower before meeting them back in Idaho Springs for lunch at Beau Joes Pizza!

Overall I'm really happy that I got my sub-2 hour time, but I won't lie, those last 5 miles really pushed me. It definitely made me realize that I enjoy trail running more than road running. This is simply because trail running is less about speed and more about endurance, and because of that, for me anyway, more enjoyable. I've always said that the one thing I did differently when I started running last year, was that I slowed down. Slowing down made all the difference in terms of allowing me to truly enjoy running and stick with it. So while it is still fun to try and beat goals and make PR's on occasion, I definitely think I will be taking my first marathon in January nice-and-easy. I want to be able to not only enjoy the marathon, but enjoy my trip afterwards. I don't want to be sore for days on end (although I may still be, since I'll be pushing myself to go 26.2 miles!). And most importantly, I want to be able to keep running. I want running to become a lifestyle for me, and not a temporary thing, and the key to that is to make sure I'm enjoying it!

Distance: 13.1 Miles
Bib Number: 159
Gun Time: 1:57:14
Chip Time: 1:56:35
Average Pace: 8:54 min/mile
Overall Rank: 897/3025
Gender Rank: 399/1943
Division Rank (Females 25-29): 54/252
10K Split: 54:30 (a PR!)
Garmin Splits: 9:39, 8:34, 8:26, 8:30, 8:42, 8:26, 8:33, 8:53, 8:56, 8:59, 9:10, 9:16, 9:08

Beautiful Morning!
Freezing while waiting for the start!
My Mom snapped this as I was heading towards the finish line.

Scott and I after the race!
The professional pictures!
After lunch with my parents on Saturday, Scott and I headed over to Black Hawk for some gambling on Saturday night and Sunday morning before heading up to Leadville to get ready to hike Mount Elbert. Stay tuned for my next post about reaching the highest point in Colorado (and seeing a beautiful sunrise)!

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