Sunday, October 20, 2013

Race Recaps: Broomfield Days 5K / Black Canyon 20K / Ridgway Rhythm 10K

I've been running quite a few small local races over the last month and haven't really had much chance to recap on them, so I'm going to combine them into one post.

Broomfield Days 5K

In September I was feeling a bit homesick, so I made a last minute trip over to Broomfield the weekend of the 20th to the 22nd. It just so happened to also be the weekend of Broomfield Days - a festival type weekend with vendor booths, a parade, Friday night bingo (always a favorite), and a 5K race. Growing up in Broomfield, I've done all of the other typical Broomfield Days things, but I have never done the 5K - so of course, I had to do it. An added bonus was that Amy and her sister Angie would be running it too! My mom decided to do the 1 mile fun run as well. So we had quite a few people, and a good time!

The course hits all of the major Broomfield "sights" (if you can call them sights). It starts at the fire station (right at the heart of Broomfield days), heads east down Midway, veers right behind Nativity, crosses Main Street, goes past the Library to the skate park, loops back around the other side of the Library, and then heads back towards the start.

I tried to stay with Amy, who's always been a faster runner than me, but about half way in, I fell back a bit. She's just too darn fast for me! But I kept my face up fairly well and finished in 25:47 (8:19 average pace).

We waited around for the awards and much to my surprise, Amy got first place in our age category and I got second! It was a bit of a shock to me, especially since Amy had a faster time last year and didn't place. But I guess it's all about who shows up that day!

Race: Broomfield Days Mayor's Cup Race
Distance: 5K
Date: 09/21/2013
Time: 25:47
Average Pace: 8:19 minutes/mile
Overall Rank: 39 out of 145
Gender Rank: 12 out of 81
Division Rank (W 20-29): 2 out of 14

Me, Amy, and Angie
My mom and I
Amy and I with our awards!
"It's a major award!"

Black Canyon North Rim 20K

The third annual Black Canyon North Rim 20K and 8K was scheduled for October 13th this year. As some of you may remember, I did the 8K last year, so I of course wanted to do the 20K this year. Especially since it's a local race put on by the San Juan Mountain Runners (which I am a member of), and doesn't cost too much (cost is the main decision maker when choosing races - you'd be surprised at how expensive some of these races are!).

Well unfortunately, the government had other plans for us this year. Due to the government shutdown, Black Canyon National Park was closed for race day. Luckily, Jan, the race director did an awesome job finding us an alternate course in the Leroux Creek forest area above Hotchkiss.

I had wanted to run the 20K (12.4 miles) at a sub-9 minute mile average pace, but due to some gruesome (although beautiful) hills in the beginning few miles it didn't quite happen. My first 5 miles were between upper 9's and 10s (plus one 11). After mile 5, the course was all downhill, which was a nice reward for completing the first hilly 5. I ran all of the remaining 7 miles under 9 minutes each, several being around 8:15. Overall I was quite happy with my performance. The downhill section of this gave me an inkling of hope that if I keep running and train hard, I may someday actually be able to qualify for Boston (a bucket list dream ever since I got serious about running)! That's not something I'm planning to try for anytime soon, but it was a nice feeling to be running low 8 minute miles without feeling like I was going to die (to qualify for Boston, I would need to run a marathon in 3:35, or an average pace of 8:12 - but personally I would want to train to run it with an average pace of 8:00).

I ended up coming in first in my age group for the 20K with a time of 1:53:00! But don't go congratulating me just yet as I'm also fairly certain that I was the only person in my age group. But since I felt like I ran really well for me, I'm going to take it as an accomplishment! And whose to say if there had been others that I wouldn't have still won right?!

Race: Black Canyon North Rim 20K & 8K
Distance: 20K
Date: 10/13/2013
Time: 1:53:00
Average Pace: 9:09 minutes/mile
Overall Rank: 15 out of 21
Gender Rank: 5 out of 7
Division Rank (W 20-29): 1 out of 1 (first and last place I guess!)
Splits: 11:08, 10:16, 9:54, 10:09, 9:07, 8:55, 8:42, 8:50, 8:15, 8:17, 8:37, 8:13, 7:32 (last .4)
Elevation Gain/Loss: 645 feet / 2,318 feet


Where we usually run!
Views from this years alternate course.
Elevation Profile - look at all that loss! It makes the hills at the beginning look tiny, but trust me, they weren't!

We added a little spoof to the shirts: "Government Shutdown: Nobody Wins!"

I think this is the fanciest award I've ever gotten so far! :)

Ridgway Rhythm Run 10K

I signed up for this race kind of last minute. I remember hearing about it a lot at last years Black Canyon North Rim race, so when we got an email reminder about this years, I decided to sign up. I've only done one other "official" 10K race, so I thought it would be a good chance to try and PR.

Well what I did not know (although I probably should've figured with it being in Ridgway), was that the course, while absolutely beautiful, was not a great one to try and set a personal record. It was very HILLY! My current personal record is 56:51, set back at my only other 10K - the Fruita Sweetheart 10K last February. Well I tried to run fast, but it just wasn't going to well. I struggled up the hills and tried to make up for it on the downhills, but it wasn't enough. I finished in 58:46 according to my Garmin (I do not know if they post official results, so I'm not sure what my official "race time" is). It was an average pace of 9:21. Not bad considering the hills, but not my sub-9 minute pace I wanted (I just seem to be having a lot of trouble achieving that lately).

As I mentioned above, the course was beautiful. Although, it wasn't necessarily the "course" that made it beautiful. I think any course in Ridgway would be beautiful. Magnificent views of both the Sneffels Range and Cimmaron Range are just right there! We did run about a mile and a half along the Uncompahgre Riverway Trail which was pretty, although definitely past it's prime fall beauty (I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned this - but Montrose has an Uncompahgre Riverway Trail too - I think I read somewhere that the plan is to someday connect them to each other - how neat would that be!).

I was a little surprised that there weren't any of the typical Montrose runners that I usually see at local races. But I still hung around after the race for the awards ceremony and raffle. I don't know any stats other than that I was the 4th place women (because the lady in front of me got a 3rd place award).

Race: Ridgway Rhythm Run 5K/10K (Rhythm - because it's a fundraiser for the music department)
Distance: 10K
Date: 10/19/2013
Time: 58:46
Average Pace: 9:21 minutes/mile
Overall Rank: Don't know - probably one of the last - there weren't a whole lot of people doing the 10K
Gender Rank: 4 out of ?? (at least 6 because I saw 2 other women finish after me)
Division Rank (W 20-29): ?? (probably 1 of 1 again, I didn't see many other young people)
Splits: 8:58, 10:03, 9:23, 9:55, 9:08, 9:00, 7:59 (pace for the last .2)
Elevation Gain/Loss: 338 feet / 335 feet


Elevation Profile

Overall, I'm glad I did all of these local races. They really showed me that "winning" really is all about who shows up that day. And it's kind of fun to actually win every once in awhile (especially when I'm not expecting it!).

I'd like to do 1 more race before 2013 ends, just because that would put me up to 12 total races in 2013 (or an average of 1 race per month), but I'm not sure of any I would do. I would love to do the Moab Winter Sun 10K in December, but it's fairly far away, so it's still up in the air. Other than that, the amount of races in Colorado are starting to dwindle as winter sets up, so who knows!

Last, one other somewhat exciting announcement: I officially signed up (and by "officially" I paid a non-refundable $85 registration fee) for my first Ultra Marathon!!! The 24 Hours of Moab 50K put on by Gemini Adventures. It's a whole weekend of activities including a 100 mile race, a 24 hour race, a 100K, and a 50K. I'm pretty excited about it. I knew I wanted to do my first Ultra sometime next spring, but I was having trouble deciding on one. But I finally took the plunge! And I can't wait. It will be on March 22nd, 2014!

I can't wait for this former chubby girl to be able to call herself not only a marathoner, but an ULTRA marathoner!!!  (Now lets just pray I don't get any injuries in the next few months to alter that course!)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Marathon Training Weeks 3-5

Wow, where does the time go? I have already completed 5 full weeks of marathon training! It is going to be here before I know it!

These past 3 weeks since my last training post have been spent trying to get back on track. My mileage was just way off for my first two weeks, so I've been focusing on really trying to follow the training plan. And I think I've done a pretty good job overall. Week 3 was slightly off, but weeks 4 and 5 have been consistent. As much as I don't enjoy the cold weather and shorter days, it definitely makes it easier to get my running in since I'm not off trying to fit in hikes or drive over to Denver. Plus, I primarily just road run in the cooler months which is much faster than the trail running I was doing over the summer.

Other than training, there hasn't been a whole lot new going on. At the end of September, I headed to Glenwood Springs, which you can read about here, and the first weekend in October was spent driving around the San Juan Mountains in an attempt to capture some of the beautiful fall scenery (shown in this post as well as this post).

This past Sunday (October 13) I ran another race - what was supposed to be the North Rim 20K at Black Canyon National Park. However, due to the ongoing government shutdown it had to be moved. It still ended up being a great coarse though, and fit in perfectly with marathon training. I was scheduled to do a 12 mile run that day, and 20K is 12.4. I will go into more detail about the race (including a few pictures) in a later post. 

My last three weeks of training:

Week 3

Day 15, Monday 9/23
Cross Train
7 Mile Run (trying to make up for missing my long run the day before)
Day 16, Tuesday 9/24
3 Miles
3 Mile Run + Body Flow Class
Day 17, Wednesday 9/25
5 Miles
5 Mile Run with Scott
Day 18, Thursday 9/26
3 Miles
Day 19, Friday 9/27
Day 20, Saturday 9/28
5 Miles
4 Mile Run/Hike – hiked 1.5 miles up to Hanging Lake, ran 1.5 miles down + an additional mile
Day 21, Sunday 9/29
6 Miles
6 Mile Run with Scott
22 Miles
25 (over because of Monday, but closer!)

Week 4

Day 22, Monday 9/30
Cross Train
Cross Train - 37 minutes (3.65 miles) on the Elliptical
Day 23, Tuesday 10/1
3 Miles
3.07 mile run at Confluence Park in Delta
Day 24, Wednesday 10/2
6 Miles
6.04 early, DARK morning miles
Day 25, Thursday 10/3
3 Miles
Day 26, Friday 10/4
3.09 mile run
Day 27, Saturday 10/5
6 Miles
6.13 mile run
Day 28, Sunday 10/6
11 Miles
11.06 Miles with Scott
29 Miles
29.39 (33.04 w/ elliptical miles) FINALLY ON TRACK!

Week 5

Day 29, Monday 10/7
Cross Train
Cross Train – took Argie for a walk! (nothing too fancy, only about a mile)
Day 30, Tuesday 10/8
3 Miles
3 Mile Treadmill Run + .3 cool-down
Day 31, Wednesday 10/9
6 Miles
6 Mile run with Scott (it was dark by the time we got back – not ready for that!)
Day 32, Thursday 10/10
3 Miles
3 Mile Interval Treadmill Run + .25 mile cool-down
Day 33, Friday 10/11
Day 34, Saturday 10/12
6 Miles
6.02 mile run with Scott + Body Flow Class (not with Scott, lol)
Day 35, Sunday 10/13
12 Miles
20K (12.4 miles) Race in Hotchkiss
30 Miles
30.42 – still on track for another week!

So there you have it. A few weeks in the life of a wannabe marathoner. Not too exciting yet, but I'll get there. I cannot and (yet at the same time can) wait to start getting into the "longer" runs and into an unknown territory! 

Again. I want to remind any followers that I am dedicating this marathon as well as the journey along the way to my grandmother, who passed away from Alzheimer's in 2011. To honor her memory, I am fundraising for the Alzheimer's Association ALZ stars. To donate towards my cause, follow this link: (and of course, THANK YOU for any and all support).

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Fall Drive Part II (Dallas Divide & Owl Creek Pass)

Apparently I didn't soak enough fall foliage in on Saturday, because I decided to head out again on Sunday for round two! Since I had driven about 250 miles the day before, I opted for something a little closer to home this time. I had been wanting to drive up to Dallas Divide so I could compare last years infamous fall picture (infamous compared to my standards) to this year. Plus I just love stopping at the Dallas Divide overlook - it is by far one of the prettiest views you will ever see in Colorado - the grandeur of the Sneffels range is astounding (and yes I know I'm starting to sound cheesy with all of these adjectives, but I'm running out of new words to describe all of these places! They are incredible).

Dallas Divide is about 10-15 minutes west of Ridgway (which is 30 minutes south of home), so I figured I would make a quick trip up there, head back to Ridgway and then attempt to drive to the summit of Owl Creek Pass, just east of town. The pass connects Ridgway to Silverjack Reservoir in the Cimmaron Range (where we camped in early June this year - another stunning place). I had read that Owl Creek Pass was a good fall drive, but didn't realize it was traversable in a low-clearance car until researching it further last week.

It ended up being another spectacular day in the San Juan Mountains! Dallas Divide was definitely prettier last year (which could partly be due to timing - I went 2 weeks later this year - but I also just feel like the trees this year aren't quite as cohesive, so I'm not sure going any earlier really would've helped). But I did love how the peaks were snow capped. I'm almost thinking maybe I should just Photoshop the snow capped peaks form this year onto my photo from last year, to form the perfect picture. Is that cheating in the world of amateur photography?!

Anyways, after enjoying the views at Dallas Divide and letting Argie get some fresh air (since the drive wasn't as far, I brought him along), we hopped back in the car and headed back to Ridgway, grabbed a snack, and then started the drive up into the Cimmarons.

It takes about 13 miles up County Road 10 to get to the top of Owl Creek Pass. To be honest, reaching the pass was a little anticlimactic. There was a small parking area and a sign, but it's all hidden in the trees. The views are much better along the way up!

Overall, I really enjoyed this drive (and watching my dog have a blast sticking his head out of the window) but didn't feel like I got quite as many good pictures as I did of Lake City. Nevertheless it was still a beautiful day:

Top Picture - 9/22/12, Bottom - 10/06/13

The beautiful Mount Sneffels
The Cimmaron Range
The Sneffels Range

Chimney Rock
Look at all that green!
Top of the Pass

I did drive through a bit of snow on the way up!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Fall Drive Part I (Lake City)

Last year I went for my first official "fall drive." By official, I just mean that the sole purpose is to take in the beautiful Colorado scenery in all of it's fall glory. After last years gorgeous trip to Telluride, I knew I had to make this a must-do EVERY year! 

Fall in Colorado is truly magical. I cannot believe I waited until last year to really spend time experiencing it. The trees light up with golden yellow, orange, and the occasional red leaves, contrasting with fourteen thousand foot peaks (and if you're lucky, they're snow capped). It's extraordinary.

This years problem was trying to decide where to go! Telluride was amazing last year. There are aspen trees ALL OVER. But, there are still so many places in Colorado I haven't been yet, so I decided to branch out and check out Lake City. About an hour south of Gunnison, Lake City is another small town nestled in the incredible San Juan Mountains. It's through Lake City that you are able to access many of the standard routes to most of the San Juan fourteeners, specifically Uncompahgre Peak and Handies Peak (two I really wanted to hike this summer, but alas time slipped away from me).

We've been getting some strange weather so timing this years fall drive proved to be a bit tricky. The beginning of September brought a lot of rain and the middle brought snow. I drove over I-70 a few weeks ago and knew that the colors would be changing much later than last year. Last year the third weekend in September was the perfect weekend. This year, I'm honestly still not sure there was/will be a "perfect" weekend, but I think I still managed to soak in some of the beauty. About a third of the trees had already peaked and were either turning brown or losing leaves, another third were perfect, and the last third were still green. It was kind of bizarre. But, still having green in the mix just added one more color to the palette, so I wasn't complaining (P.S. you'll see a lot more of the green in my Part II post, coming soon).

On Saturday morning I set out to make the 2 hour trek over to the east side of the San Juan's. I was a bit disappointed when I found out that the visitor's center was closed (I can never understand why visitors center's are closed on weekends). I had wanted to stop in and get recommendations on where to go, but alas I had to make due with Google and my iPhone. I had heard about Lake San Cristobal, so decided to start by checking that out. And I think I chose well. Lake San Cristobal road (or County Road 30) eventually leads to Cinnamon Pass, and while I didn't make it all the way up there (not only is it already closed for the year, but it is also a high clearance four wheel drive road), the views were still phenomenal.

After traversing County Road 30 for a couple hours, I headed back out to the main road with the intention of heading back home, until I got a gut feeling that I should continue south for just a little longer. It was getting late in the afternoon, so I knew I didn't want to go too much further, but thought I should just drive for about 15 more minutes and then I could turn around. Sure enough, my gut was right. A few miles south there was a beautiful overlook of Lake San Cristobal. Even more exciting, was that on my way back down from the overlook, I saw, for the first time (and I've been wanting to see it for awhile now), Uncompahgre Peak! At 14,309 feet, Uncompahgre Peak is the tallest fourteener in the San Juan's and has a very unique look to it! It is also on my hiking bucket list. Finally getting to see this beautiful peak officially made the trip worth it!

Now enough of my rambling and onto the photos:

A few miles before reaching Lake City
Still Green.
Lake San Cristobal
Lake San Cristobal Overlook

I think I have an obsession with bridges.


The magnificent Uncompahgre Peak!

Flattop Mountain & Hallett Peak

I've been wanting to hike to the top of Hallett Peak ever since I found out it was the gorgeous mountain towering above Dream and Emera...