Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Black Canyon Rim Rimp 10K & Fruita Sweetheart 5K

I ran a couple of smaller low-key races over the past few weeks - the Black Canyon Winter Rim Romp 10K on February 7th and the Fruita Sweetheart 5K on February 14th. Both went pretty well if I do say so myself! So without further ado - recaps:

Black Canyon Winter Rim Romp 10K

On normal years, the Black Canyon Winter Rim Romp offers snowshoe and cross country skiing categories in 8K and 16K distances. Well this was not a normal year. We had WEEKS of 50 degree weather (in January and February!!), which left the rim of the Black Canyon with not-so-much snow, despite it's 8000' altitude. I signed up in January to do the 8K snowshoe race - but after seeing some photo's on facebook a few days prior to race day, I decided to just run it in Yak Track's and not even worry about the snowshoes. There were sections of the course that were completely bare with no snow - so this worked out nicely. Several people decided to do this as well, so an entirely new "running" category was added to the race. They also changed up the distances - having a 5K and 10K option instead of the typical 8K/16K (although a few brave souls did do the entire 16K).

In January I had talked with my friend Rochelle about doing this and so we both signed up. Then Rochelle managed to recruit a bunch more people - so we ended up with a giant SUV full of Grand Junction folks carpooling down to Montrose for the event! We made it to the Black Canyon with about 15-20 minutes before the start of the race, so I made a quick trip to the rest room, picked up my packet, and debated what I was going to wear before heading to the start line. I chatted with a few old friends from Montrose before starting the race!

My original plan was to take the whole race easy, as I had my last long run before the Phoenix Marathon scheduled for the next day. Well despite running the first mile or so easy, my competitive juices started flowing and I picked it up a little from thereon out. I had a light long sleeved shirt on at the beginning which I had to take off fairly quickly - leaving me running in a tank top (at the "Winter" rim romp)! The weather was seriously gorgeous!

The course is pretty rolling with a long gentle downhill on the way out - that ends up being a very long uphill on the way back (feels never ending while you're on it), but it was a nice challenge and I just kept pushing through. The terrain was actually kind of rough to run in - the snow was packed down, but not even at all, so it was a workout. I tried to run on the pavement as much as I could whenever there were melted sections.

Finally with about 1/2 mile to go it's downhill to the finish! I picked up my pace as best as I could and finished in 1:05:25 - which to my surprise was good enough for 1st place female (there was one women in front of me on snowshoes - but they ended up doing the snowshoe race as a separate category - good thing too because she was SPEEDY!).

Race: Black Canyon Winter Rim Romp
Location: Black Canyon National Park South Rim (Montrose, CO)
Distance: 10K (6.2 Miles)
Date: 02/07/2015
Elevation Gain/Loss: Probably several hundred feet? (My garmin says 1,592 - but there's no way it was that much - I'm thinking when I got close to the edge of the canyon, it must have thought I went over the edge or something!)
Bib Number:
Weather: Beautiful - 50 and sunny!
Garmin Time: 1:05:26
Official Time: 1:05:25
Overall Rank: 2 of 10
Gender Rank: 1 of 8
Division Rank: Unknown (not enough participants to have this)
Garmin Splits: 10:47, 10:57, 9:12, 10:12, 11:48, 10:05, 8:22 (last .2)

The Start!

The snow was almost gone in a lot of spots! (Very unusual for this time of year)

Stopped to get a picture around Mile 2

Coming in to the finish!
Post-race! We wore pink for Valentines Day!
My major award for being 1st Place Female!
Course Map
Elevation Profile - I think this is accurate other than the huge dips - that's where my Garmin must've thought I was falling off the edge of the canyon!).

Fruita Sweetheart 5K

Ever since I ran the Winter Sun 10K last December and destroyed my previous 10K PR, I've been wanting to run a 5K again. It's been driving me CRAZY that my 10K PR average pace (7:29 per mile) was faster than my 5K PR average pace (7:40 per mile). So, I decided to sign up for the Fruita Sweetheart 5K. This race has a 5K and 10K option. Two years ago, I ran the 10K as my first "official" 10K, but skipped it last year, as it was the same day as the Rim Romp.

I showed up to the start line fairly early so I could get a nice warm-up in prior to the race. I hadn't ran the day before - which I usually don't like to do - but I was feeling really worn out and not recovered after my marathon training "peak week" (my highest mileage week in my current training cycle - which was 63 miles and included a 20 miler, a pretty intense speedwork session and 10 mile tempo) - so I had decided to take Friday off. I warmed up for about 25 minutes before lining up at the start.

Now I'm not sure if I missed some directions because I was warming up, or if they just didn't make any announcements, because without a single word - they just fired the starting horn - and we were off - just like that. My goal for this race was to place in my age group. Looking at last years results I figured it was probably do-able - especially since this race had the 10K option too - I think typically when there's two options like that, most of the serious runners will do the longer distance (also helping my case was that Moab's Red Hot 33K/55K was also this same day - so I'm sure people were at that one too!). I started out pretty fast - my race strategy for today was to "go out as fast as I possibly could and hang on for dear life." It seemed to work pretty well :). (In all honesty though, I've been getting advice from other runners lately and apparently you don't want to negative split a 5K - that just means you had more left in you and you should have ran faster!).

About 1/4 mile into the race I got to experience some excitement! There was a guy outside his house with his dog - who apparently got loose and started chasing the runners. It was coming up to me and the guy yelled "STOP RUNNING, HE'S GOING TO BITE YOU." Me being all gun-ho about trying to PR and place yelled back, "NO - I'M IN A RACE!!!" Haha - probably would've regretted saying that if I had gotten bit - but thankfully I didn't. The dog kept on running and the owner kept running after him - it was kind of funny.

Eventually I passed the guy and his dog, so not sure what happened, but hopefully no one got bit! I kept my pace up as much as I could and ran the first mile in 6:51! Now if only I could keep that up for 2 more miles! At around the half-way mark there is an aid station as the course turns onto the Big Salt Wash Trail. This was when a course volunteer yelled at me, "First Female!" - which was kind of exciting (and good to know - I hadn't been sure whether or not there were any other women in front of me or not). This kept me motivated to keep my pace up and I finished mile 2 in 6:58.

Now the tricky part - maintaining that pace and/or my lead for ANOTHER mile. I knew I was getting extremely tired - I have only ever ran a sub-7:00 mile one time prior to this race. I did the best I could, but I could feel myself slowing a bit. I also wasn't sure if there was anyone behind me - but I also didn't want to look either. So I just kept at it and finished mile 3 in 7:23. Only .1 to go! Well kind of - my Garmin was (as usual) showing the distance as farther than the course had it. But I kept pushing and finally the finish line was in sight! I finished in 22:41 - a PR by over 1 minute and good enough for first place female!!!

Race: Fruita Sweetheart 5K/10K
Location: Fruita, CO
Distance: 5K (3.1 Miles - Garmin measured it at 3.21)
Date: 02/14/2015
Elevation Gain/Loss: 40 Feet Gain / 34 Feet Loss
Bib Number: 8
Weather: Mid 40's and sunny! (Once again, PERFECT)
Garmin Time: 22:42
Chip Time: 22:41
Overall Rank: 13/434
Gender Rank: 1/289
Division Rank: 1/45
Garmin Splits: 6:51, 6:58, 7:23, 7:09 (last .1)

My award for winning overall female - a blanket and water bottle. I had to get to a lunch meeting, so I had already showered by the time they did the awards! Forgot to get any other pictures at the finish line :(
Course Map
Elevation Profile - relatively flat!

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