Tuesday, December 22, 2015

2015 Racing Recap

I honestly cannot believe ANOTHER year has come and gone. I've officially been running for 3 full years now, the last 2 of which have been FILLED with races. It's always tough to recap the year because there were so many awesome experiences (I mean, I did 22 races this year alone!), so I've decided to narrow it down to some "favorites" and "bests" of the year...

Ah, Golden Leaf Half. This tops my racing for the year because it was one of those races where my time didn't matter, I simply enjoyed it. A race that reminds me what it is exactly that I love about running. The trails, the scenery, that feeling of being alive. Simply Stunning. All of it. It's a PERFECT time to be in Aspen. Seriously - if you have a chance to run this race, Do.

Best Overall Experience: PHOENIX MARATHON [3:41:35]
Number two on my list of top races of the year would be the Phoenix Marathon. It was, by far, my most well trained, well executed race this year. It's funny that it happened to be so early in the year. My goal this year was to qualify for Boston. Had I known this would still be my PR 10 months later, I definitely would've been slightly more aggressive in this race, but I am still 100% happy with how it went. I had trained my a$$ off, I was confident, I ran a solid race. I can only hope to do that again this next year. As an added bonus, I also had a lot of fun exploring the Phoenix area with my friend Kellee and meeting up with 2 online running friends, Amanda and Shirley!

Best Time / PR: SLACKER HALF MARATHON [1:39:44]
Slacker was another really well executed race of mine. I am thrilled with my time at this race - although given the fact that it was VERY downhill, I'm never as confident showing it off as my PR (I always have to say, "oh, but it was a downhill course"). However, I still ran this really well - holding my pace in those last few miles was one of the toughest things I've ever done. If there's one thing I've learned this year, it's that I need to work on my mental toughness: pushing through the pain, and just, in general, having more confidence going into a race.

Best Course (and most challenging): RIM ROCK MARATHON
Ah Rim Rock. I FINALLY got to run you! Since this was on my home turf, I'd ran bits and pieces, but never the whole thing. And boy was this tough. There are some people who can run this as fast as a flat Marathon. I am NOT one of those people. With over 2000 feet of elevation gain, the first half of this race left me SO incredibly worn out. It was seriously tough. Had the second half not been downhill, I honestly don't know if I could've ran this whole race. Thankfully..THE VIEWS. Stunning. This is why I run! (In addition to the views, I also consider this the "best course" because I just love the feeling of accomplishment after completing a tough course).

Best Amenities: ROUTE 66 MARATHON
What a fun race. Seriously. Me...drinking Beer at Mile 9 of a Marathon? Check! Mimosa's at 22 - why not? I loved not having a goal and simply having fun with this one. It forced me to talk to random other runners which was a blast (and I swear, I don't know what it is about running...I am so NOT talkative in real life, but I can find anything and everything to talk about on a run). This really is a great race to just have fun at (plus with all those hills - who wants to go for a PR anyways!?), especially if you're a Marathon Maniac or Half Fanatic - so many people to talk to and drink with and who knows what else!

Race that didn't go as planned: REVEL ROCKIES MARATHON
Oh Revel Rockies. You sweet, terrible, wonderful, cruel race. This was my #1 goal race of the year. Unfortunately the race had other plans for me. So well executed until Mile 17 when my race suddenly came crashing down on me as the stomach issues just kept rolling in. First it was side stitches for several miles, then I just felt completely sick. And finally Mile 22.5. Me. On the side of the road. Vomiting. Running can be SO lovely at times. But hey - we all have bad races. Unfortunately this was one of them, and unfortunately it ended my dreams of Boston 2016. It was tough to accept (it still is actually), but I have faith that my day will come eventually! But hey, the day wasn't a total loss. I got to meet Chris, another online running friend. He ran this as his first marathon in 3:32 and change....want to trade finish times?!.

I just wanted to note Mt. Sneffels because I love the race and it was extra special this year since I got to share it with my dad as he ran his first Half Marathon! Loveland Fall Classic was another noteworthy race because after several weeks of extremely rough training (or lack thereof), I was in a bad place mentally until I decided to leave the fate of this race up to God. I trusted him completely and he carried me to my second best executed marathon of the year which I really needed after bombing Revel Rockies. Scott was also able to be at the finish line for this one which was a nice surprise for me, and we went and spent a few days in Estes Park afterword.

Mileage (as of 12/22/2015): 2046 MILES COMPLETED
A big goal of mine that I had this year was to complete 2015 Miles in 2015. This counted anything done "on foot", which for me was running, hiking, walking, snowshoeing. 1909 of those alone were just running, so I'm pretty proud of that, especially considering my highest year before was only ever in the 1500-1600 range.

I had a blast being a Skirt Sports Ambassador this past year and meeting so many awesome other women! I absolutely LOVE the Skirt Sports ambassador motto: Real Women, Real Bodies, Real Inspiration! Before I started running, I was so timid and constantly telling myself I couldn't do things like I do now. That I wasn't Athletic enough. Fit enough. Skinny enough. Brave enough. Skirt Sports encourages all women, in all walks of life, to live a healthy and active lifestyle - which is just SO awesome to me! And last, I got to go to Chicago for work, but had a free afternoon where I was able to explore the city on my own two feet, by myself, and honestly, I LOVED it!

Winter Sun 10K 2015

Well my 2015 racing season is officially over. I ended it by running the Winter Sun 10K for the third year in a row. With all the speedwork I did in the first half of the year, I wanted to try and PR this race (it's a FAST course, making it great for a 10K PR), but unfortunately with the time I took off over the fall, it didn't happen. That being said, I did still manage a pretty good performance for myself and FINALLY managed to get myself on a podium (my first podium!!), so I'm overall happy with how this race went and intend to keep running it (plus I want to go for the Moab Half Marathon Series Triple Crown next year!).

Since we have such a large group of from Grand Junction that go every year, several runners decided to organize a bus to take a bunch of us down this year, and I was lucky enough to get in on the action. As soon as the idea was born, it quickly evolved into a "party bus" complete with goodie bags:

Needless to say, we rolled up in style. No seriously, we even got permission to have our specific bus take us directly to the start (and park there, so we could stay on the bus as long as we wanted before having to get off - unlike when you take their shuttles). It was pretty sweet.

Our party bus!

The weather was very tricky to dress for. I believe it was low 30's for the race but very sunny out (actually this was the first "Winter Sun" race that I'd actually seen sun at - last years race was overcast, and the year before was snowing!). So after much deliberation, I decided on a skirt and long sleeve shirt. However, at the very last minute, post warm-up (thankfully I did one), I took off the long sleeve and went in just the tank top I had one underneath.... Yes a tank top and skirt in 30 degree weather. But the sun really was nice and since I knew I was going to be racing this as fast as I could, I was okay with it.

Taken on my warm-up - the Moab Golf Course!

As I mentioned before, this is a FAST course. So I started out at a hard pace, and just did my best to hang on for the remainder of the race. Overall this was a pretty good strategy, especially since I knew when to expect the hills - there are a few small ones in the first 2 miles, and then a BIG one right after Mile 2. I always get passed by people on this, but can usually catch back up once I get over the hill and have a chance to recover.

Picture from the race website - it just does a great job showing the views!

After you get over the big hill, it is a really nice gentle downhill until the very end. I managed to keep a decent pace (with the exception of the Mile 3 hill, which resulted in my slowest mile) until the last mile when I definitely started to struggle. The race ends with a lap around the high school track, so I told myself I just had to make it to the track and then sprint it in. Unfortunately, I was dying by the time I got to the track, so I managed to sprint for about 10 seconds as I rounded the first curve, and then I was back to just running. However, I still managed to finish in 48:13 - my second fastest 10K time!

They didn't post the results anywhere, and since the competition for this race has always been very tough in previous years (my 46:29 from last year left me in 5th place) I wasn't expecting to place. Therefore I was pleasantly surprised when I got called up for 3rd place in my age group (women 20-29)! This was my first race I've placed at that had an ACTUAL podium, so I was pretty excited!

Race: Winter Sun 10K
Date: 12/5/2015'
Location: Moab, UT
Distance: 10K (6.2 Miles)
Bib Number: 57
Weather: 30's and Sunny (my first year the winter sun actually had sun!)
Official Time: 48:13
Average Pace: 7:46
Overall Rank: 83 of 406
Gender Rank: 21 of 249
Age Division Rank (F20-29): 3 of 27
Garmin Splits: 7:40, 7:39, 8:22 (the big hill mile), 7:30, 7:39, 8:00, 7:30 (last .2)

Course Map & Elevation

Our group stuck around for the awards and raffle, then went to lunch at the Moab Brewery before having one big Fireball Toast as we headed back home.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Turkey Tracks 5K

I've participated in some sort of Turkey Trot every year since I started running. It's become my new tradition in a way, so when I knew I was going to be in Oklahoma for Thanksgiving this year, I decided I had to find one there as well. Being a larger city, they had several options, but with help from an online running friend, I decided on the OKC Turkey Tracks 5K in downtown Oklahoma City, and was not disappointed (aside from the uphill against the wind section during Mile 3...).

As I've mentioned in about EVERY post since mid-fall (I know it's probably getting annoying), I knew I wasn't in "racing shape," and so didn't really know how this would go. I was HOPING, especially given that I was at 1000' elevation (as opposed to 4500' where I live), for Sub-24:00. That would be a 7:44 pace for those who can't do math in your head (like myself). My comfortable, no worries, no sweat (well maybe a little sweat) pace is about a 9:30-10:00. So 7:44 is stretching it a little, especially when I haven't been pushing my pace AT ALL lately... so I gave myself a B Goal of running a sub-8:00 average pace.

The weather leading up to the race was questionable at best. The forecast called for rain all day on Thanksgiving - although LUCKILY the temperatures were going to stay warm for the first half of the day. When we arrived downtown it was 60 degrees and drizzling with a bit of wind. We were pretty thankful we had opted for the downtown race given the wind (the other one we looked at was at Lake Hefner - which would've been VERY windy). At least the buildings would hopefully block some of the wind for us!

The race starts downtown at the Oklahoma City bombing memorial site, so my dad and I walked through the memorial while we waited. After that, I saw Jennifer - who I only knew from social media (I started following her on Instagram at the Walt Disney World Marathon in 2014) - so we met up and got a picture! It's always fun to meet online running friends - everyone is always so nice!

The Race Start/Finish
The Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial
Meeting my online running friend Jen in real life!

Finally, it was just about time to line up. This was by-far the biggest 5K I'd ever ran, and I knew I wanted to "race" it, so I opted to start pretty close to the front - where I snapped this picture looking at the crowds behind me:

Then pretty soon, the gun went off, and we were off! It was a lollipop course (and out-and-back with a loop connecting the beginning out from the end back), and the very beginning was slightly uphill. I knew this would be nice for the way-back! Unfortunately, about 1/2 mile in, once we turned to start the "loop" portion, it was all downhill - this would mean it was "up" on the way back! But - not much I could do about it, so I took advantage of the downhill as much as I could and ran my first mile the fastest in 7:38.

Mile 2 was slower, but not terrible in 7:44, but I could tell I wasn't going to be able to keep this up, especially since I knew I was going to have to make up for that downhill soon. Sure enough, the uphill came right into the first part of Mile 3...and of course, not only was it uphill, but we were also running against the wind. I tried my best to keep my pace up, but I knew the sub-24:00 wasn't happening. Finally with 1/2 mile to go, it was back to downhill and I managed an 8:17 third mile, picking up the pace as best as I could for the last .1, and finishing in a time of 24:33.

Not my A-goal, but managed my B-goal with an average pace of 7:55. Much to my surprise, this was also good enough for second in my age group, although they weren't actually giving out any awards to age group winners (which I actually decided was probably for the best, since I wouldn't have wanted to wait around for awards anyways - not only was it raining, but I wanted to get back to helping out with thanksgiving dinner).

So - overall this was a good race for me to get a feel for where I'm at right now. I have a lot of work to do to get back into marathon racing shape (aka "operation BQ"), but I know with hard work and commitment, I can get there!

Proof that I DO have some bad race photos! This was the least embarrassing out of 5!

Race: Oklahoma City Turkey Tracks 5K
Date: November 26, 2015
Location: Oklahoma City, OK
Distance: 5K (3.1 Miles)
Bib Number: 895
Weather: 60's and rainy (sprinkling)
Net Time: 24:36
Gun Time: 24:33
Average Pace: 7:55/mile
Overall Rank: 83 of 1193
Gender Rank: 17 of 707
Age Division Rank (F25-29): 2 of 108
Garmin Splits:7:36, 7:44, 8:17, 6:47 (last .1 - clearly I had a LITTLE left in me)

Not very many 5K's have Finishers Medals!
Elevation Profile - although this makes it look worse than it was.
Course Map
My Dad and I, post-race!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Race Recap: Route 66 Marathon

Yesterday I ran my 13th Marathon (16 if you count ultra's) at the Williams Route 66 Marathon in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I signed up for this one at the end of last year after hearing it was a great race for Marathon Maniacs (a club for people who run a lot of marathons - you have to qualify by running multiples within specific time frames - I qualified by running 3 in 90 days last year, and then "leveled up" to the second level by running 8-11 marathons in 365 days). It also worked out nicely because it's the Sunday prior to Thanksgiving - and since I have family in Oklahoma, I decided to make a trip of it - run the race and then stay for Thanksgiving week. The only real issue I faced was finding plane tickets - I prefer to fly directly out of Grand Junction during the winter (since getting to Denver is much trickier in the winter months due to unpredictable weather), however flights were just outrageous, so I bought Tickets out of Denver from Southwest...and hoped for the best.

Unfortunately, my hoping didn't really pan out. The forecast for Friday in the mountains was for 7 inches of snow from Vail to Loveland. My biggest fear was I-70 getting closed, so I made a last minute decision to leave Thursday night instead. As stressful as it was to pack in 30 minutes so I could hit the road at a decent hour, at least the drive was good (mostly just a bit wet in places), and the bonus perk was having the entire day Friday to do whatever I wanted before our flight left on Friday night. So I ended up spending the day leisurely exploring the Boulder area before our flight left that night:

After two hours of delays, we finally made it into Oklahoma City late on Friday night. We headed to Tulsa on Saturday afternoon, hitting the expo and packet pick-up at about 4pm. After walking around the expo for a bit, we headed to our hotel out near the airport, then finally to dinner at Red Robin, followed by a trip to Walmart so I could get some cheap toss-able sweats (a lifesaver considering how chilly it was waiting for the start). Then it was time for bed.

With my bib, and my #FlatRunner all ready for the next day!

The next morning I got up just before 6 (SO late compared to most marathons - it was NICE!), quickly got ready, grabbed a bagel and coffee from the hotel, then my mom and I hit the road so she could drop me off at the start line at about 6:45. She was able to drop me right across the street from "Maniac Corner" - the special VIP area of the race start just for Maniacs or Half Fanatics (same club, but for Half Marathoners - I actually just joined this a month or so ago so that I could become a "Double Agent"). The VIP area had it's own separate bag check, port-a-potties, a tent area (to somewhat provide warmth - although it was still COLD), and then we all did a group picture at about 7:20.

All of the Marathon Maniacs & Half Fanatics - I'm somewhere in the top right!

I headed over to my starting corral at about 7:45 and got ready for the 8:00 start. I waited until the last possible minute to shed my sweatpants, and opted to keep my sweatshirt on for the time being. The wheelchair races were off at 7:58, and then it was our turn. They shot off a bunch of confetti with the start of the gun which was pretty awesome (and it kept going long after I had gone through) and fit with the "party" atmosphere that would continue through much of the race.

The starting line (photo from the Route 66 Marathon Facebook page)

The first few miles went okay - my feet were frozen from standing around for so long, and it took several miles until I could feel them again! I ended up shedding my sweatshirt at about 1 1/2 miles, but still had another light long sleeve that I kept on until about Mile 6 (I didn't want a repeat of Rim Rock where I dropped everything too early and regretted it). Honestly the first 8 or so miles went well, but mentally just felt LONG. I was a little worried about how I was going to go for 26.5 miles at this point (yes I said .5 - they have an optional Center of the Universe detour, adding .3 miles to the race, making it the "World's Shortest Ultra"). But luckily, starting at around mile 9 things got a little more interesting (don't get me wrong - the first 8 were through really pretty neighborhoods that still had a bunch of fall color - I enjoyed it - it was just mentally I wasn't in it yet or something).

Only about 1/2 mile into the race.
1 or 2 mile in - it still looks like Fall here!

So what happened to make it more exciting? Well for starters at Mile 9 was one of the best "un-official" aid stations (this one vs. the Mile 22 one are up in the air - they were both awesome) - a group of spectators had beer, shots (not sure of what), and then jello-shots! I was a little hesitant at first since I was only 9 miles in (that's 17 1/2 miles still to go!) but I just decided, why not? I'm clearly not going for a PR (I'm not in shape for that right now - and even if I was, it was an INSANELY hilly course), so I had some beer!

Beer at Mile 9...what could possibly go wrong? (Thankfully nothing)

I contemplated the jello-shot, but ultimately decided against it (the 17.5 miles to-go being the reason - had I been past the 20 mile mark, I totally would have). After that, things just seemed to go faster. At about Mile 11, I saw a guy wearing a Runners Roost Race Team Singlet (P.S. I got onto the Runner's Roost 2016 Road Race Team!!! Pretty excited about it - I've been applying for the past 3 years) so I struck up a conversation with him about it and then we got to chatting about various Colorado races for awhile. We stuck together until about Mile 13 or 14 which helped those miles pass by immensely!

The Half Marathoners and Full Marathoners start together and split off at about 12.5. This was similar to the Denver Rock-n-Roll Marathon in 2014 - which I hated at the time, and so was a little worried about this. That race I really struggled with the transition from huge crowds to extremely small crowds post-split. But I decided I didn't mind it that much during this race - I actually found it much easier to start up conversations with people once the crowds has dispersed - and chatting always makes the miles go by more quickly!

Once I lost the Runner's Roost guy (I believe his name was Joel - I'll probably find out when I officially start the team in 2016), I continued on for a bit by myself before striking up a conversation with another Marathon Maniac from Indiana for a mile or so. Then I was back to running by myself for bit until around 20 when I met Ron - another Maniac (I told you this was a big race for Maniacs!). We ran together until right around Mile 22 - when we hit the other awesome "unofficial" aid station. They had Guiness, Mimosa's, Gummy Bears, Pretzels, Oranges, and Pickles! It was pretty AMAZING. I toasted my mimosa with this awesome lady, then had a pickle (I know it sounds weird - but they actually taste really good in races - it's the sodium I think - it's such a nice change from all the sweet stuff), and finally grabbed some gummy bears as I continued on (although it was one of my slowest miles of the day at 12-something).


Only about 1/2 mile or so later there were some more people with Beer, so I had a quick sip, and kept at it. Meanwhile, the hills just kept coming (I was getting a little tired of them by this point). Just before Mile 24 we turned onto a section that was an out-and-back - although when I was on my way "out" I didn't see anyone coming "back" yet so I got super confused on whether we were on the part of the course that was the "out" or the "back". Ron ended up catching up with me again on this section and confirmed when I had eventually determined - that we were on the "back" section. I also saw a fellow Skirt Sports Ambassador Cheryl on this section - so I said Hi as we passed (although - I wish I had thought to snap a quick picture - but I didn't think about it until it was too late to go back)!

My pictures never seem to do the hills justice! I swear they were big.

Meanwhile Ron and I got back to chatting for a bit about different races etc. Then before we knew it, it was TIME! For the detour. I had been waiting for this all day (especailly after seeing how cool the coin was at the expo the day before). We turned right for the short out-and-back section. It required going up a big hill, past the actual Center of the Universe, then down a hill where Michelob Ultra was giving out Beer (this is a great race if you like beer BTW). Naturally, I had to have some and I got a picture with the Beer Keg and Ron, and then we headed back to the course, stopping for a picture "on" the Center of the Universe. From here, it was just about a mile left to the finish. We kept at it, kicking it into high gear once we could see the finisher's shoot. My mom and sister were watching from the finisher's shoot so I waved at them and then sprinted to the finish, finishing in 4:17:18 - not my fastest, but also not my slowest, and considering the amount of chatting, drinking, ultra-marathoning, and pictures being taken, it's not too shabby!

Seriously, how awesome is the Beer keg costume?

Standing on "The Center of the Universe"

The awesome coin we got for completing the detour! (Front and Back sides)

Finishing (and showing off my coin)!

The race had Spaghetti and various small treats for finishers. I had a little bit, and then went to find my mom and sister before going in Maniac Corner to get my drop bag, switch my finisher's medal from the regular medal to the special "Maniac" medal. They also had a separate beer area and pulled pork sandwiches just for Maniacs which was awesome (and way better than the spaghetti). I had part of a sandwich and beer before we took off and headed back home!

Race: Williams Route 66 Marathon
Date: November 22, 2015
Location: Tulsa, Oklahoma
Distance: Marathon (26.2 Miles) + .3 miles for the Center of the Universe Detour, making it a total of 26.5 Miles
Bib Number: 3673
Weather: Chilly, but honestly perfect for running - 30's at the start, 40's at the end and sunny.
Net Time: 4:17:45
Gun Time: 4:17:18
Average Pace: 9:49 minutes/mile
Elevation Gain: 661 Feet
Overall Rank: 611 of 2585
Gender Rank: 177 of 1269
Division Rank (F25-29): 28 of Unknown (can't find where this is listed)
Garmin Splits: 8:51, 9:21, 9:06, 9:24, 9:22, 9:00, 8:58, 9:20, 9:27, 9:21, 9:01, 9:38, 9:29, 9:11, 9:58, 8:59, 9:55, 9:12, 9:52, 9:16, 9:30, 12:02 (enjoying a mimosa), 9:42, 9:51, 9:38, 12:07 (enjoying some beer and taking multiple pictures), 9:10

Elevation Profile - SO many hills!

Course Map

Race jacket and bling! (Love it all!!!)

Finisher! (with special Marathon Maniac metal)

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Race Recaps: Black Canyon North Rim 20K & Global Hope Apple Cider 10K

And with this post - I am officially caught up on blogging! It feels so good (remind me never to run 6 races in 6 weeks again...)

I am combining 2 races that I've done before, since I figured I wouldn't have as much to write about given that I've already blogged about them in the past. So without further ado - I will begin with the Black Canyon North Rim 20K that I ran on October 3rd, followed by the Global Hope Apple Cider 10K which I ran on October 24th!

Race Recap: Black Canyon North Rim 20K

This race is the only race I have done EVERY single year since I started running (how cool is that? And because of that, I think I have to keep it up). The 8K course was only my second race ever back in 2012! I ran it again in 2013 - this time my running had progressed enough that I jumped up to the 20K. Unfortunately, it was also moved that year to a different location because of the Government Shutdown that closed down all of the National Parks (although, I actually really liked the course that year). Last year, 2014, it was back at the Black Canyon and I once again did the 20K (although only the first time on the "real" course).

I went into this race with the only real goal of beating my previous years time of 1:57:23. Now, that's not a super fast pace for me (9:26 per mile), however this is a VERY hilly course. That being said, I still really thought I could do it - I had just ran a 3:44:26 Marathon only 3 weeks prior (8:34 per mile). Surely I could run this race in under 1:57 without a problem, even if it was hilly. I could not have been more wrong....

The race started out okay. I ran my first few miles at a respectable pace (8:58, 8:43, 8:44), however from the very get-go I could tell something was off. Yes, I was at a higher elevation (about 8000'), but I felt like I was at a SIGNIFICANTLY higher elevation (I'm talking like 12,000 feet). I just felt like I had barely any oxygen. I was facing a headwind for those miles, so I thought maybe that had to do with it? But even after we changed directions I will still suffering immensely. 

Nevertheless, I was here to run a race, so I just kept at it. The more I ran though, the more worn out I felt. Finally at about Mile 7, I started taking walking breaks. Every time there was a significant hill, I just walked it (this isn't a trail run, but is on dirt roads - in the past, I've been able to run the whole thing - albeit slowly given the hills). 

I spent the remaining 5 miles of the race just trying to figure out what in the world was up with me today. The only thing I could think of was that I had recently started a DietBet to get my eating back under control (I had been eating terribly lately), and so I had eaten at a fairly large calorie deficit all week. Now, that might have been part of it, but then, all of a sudden while talking with someone post race, a light bulb went off: I had just donated blood 2 days prior. I hadn't thought much of it at the time because I used to donate regularly - however this was my first time in over a year since I got my tattoo. I felt pretty stupid though - especially because now that I knew what it was, I even remembered the Phlebotomist telling the guy next to me about how the amount of oxygen in your blood drops significantly (or doesn't replenish as fast as the actual blood I think - something along the lines). I'm no expert in that kind of stuff, but I do know that the more oxygen in your blood, the better you run...so, with that in mind, I decided not to be too concerned with my negative performance!
Picture taken from the race Facebook page.
I stopped and took a selfie with my friend Randee along the way!
Randee took this of Rochelle - it shows the course well!

I ended up finishing in 2:08:51 - which was actually, much to my surprise, good enough for first place in my age group (gotta love small races!) - I'll take it! This was also the second year in a row that I ran all 3 of the Black Canyon races in one calendar year (this one along with the Winter Rim Romp in February and Black Canyon Ascent in May), so I got an awesome Pint Glass (I am getting quite a collection of these)!

Race: Black Canyon North Rim 20K
Location: Crawford, CO (closest town - really another 15-20 minutes south of here)
Distance: 20K / 12.4 Miles
Bib Number:
Weather: Not as warm as I was expecting because it was WINDY, but not cold - 60's and sunny I think.
Official Time: 2:08:51
Average Pace: 10:23 minutes per mile
Elevation Gain: 860'
Overall Rank: 23 of 31 
Gender Rank: 13 of 19
Age Division Rank: 1 of 2 or 2 of 3 depending on how you look at it! (the overall winner was in my age group, so that's why I got the award for "1st" in my age group)
Garmin Splits: 8:58, 8:43, 8:44, 9:47, 11:02, 10:38, 10:28, 10:28,  11:14, 10:16, 10:50, 13:50 (can you tell I was ready to be done?), 9:31

Map & Elevation Profile
With my age group award!
Rochelle, Randee, Ed, and Myself
Now onto Race #2 for this post....

Race Recap: Global Hope Apple Cider 10K

This race is a fundraiser for Global Hope - an organization I donate to and sponsor a child through, so  even though it's a bit of a long drive for a 10K, I wanted to go support it (and P.S. they need sponsors - so go sign up to be a God Parent and make a difference in a child's life!!). Last year was the first year they had a race - a 5K in Broomfield. For the second year, they changed it up a little and ran on the Big Dry Creek Trail in Westminster instead, while also adding the 10K option. I was trying to keep my mileage up for Rim Rock training, so not only did I do the 10K, but I also did a 9 mile warm-up prior to the race starting - so needless to say, I wasn't going in on fresh legs, and I could definitely feel that in the last mile!

However, I also knew it was a smaller race, so thought, MAYBE, I could still sneak in a top 3 finish (within Women)....yeah not so much. The women were actually faster than the men - with all 3 top women finishing before the second male. But ohwell - I still managed to get in some faster miles (for me) in while enjoying the scenery (Big Dry Creek is a great place to run if you live in the area!).

Picture from the race website - all of the runners shortly after the start!
Carrying cups for 1 1/2 miles...NBD.

(They weren't sure they would have enough cups at the first aid station, so I volunteered to carry them out on my way)

Views from the course - taken earlier that morning while on my warm-up.
Another view of the course.

I had also convinced some friends of mine to come out and do the 5K too and my friend Amy ended up finishing first female! And to top it off, I ended up winning 4 huge bottles of hard cider - so overall it was a win! 

I managed to recruit all of them! :)
One of the best raffle prizes I've won!

Race: Global Hope Apple Cider 10K
Location: Westminster, CO
Distance: 10K / 6.2 Miles
Bib Number: 112
Weather: 40's and sunny (perfect racing weather!)
Official Time: 53:47
Average Pace: 8:38 minutes per mile
Overall Rank: 12 of 31
Gender Rank: 6 of 18
Age Division Rank (F20-29): 1 of 3 of 2 of 4 depending (2nd overall was in my age group - so that's why I'm ranked as 1st in the results - they did not do individual Age Group awards though).
Garmin Splits: 8:19, 8:31, 8:22, 8:47, 8:41, 9:09, 8:35 (last .2)

Elevation Profile
Course Map

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...