Friday, December 28, 2018

2018 Running, Racing & Adventuring Recap

With January quickly approaching it looks like it's time to recap yet another great year! Some highlights for 2018 include finally qualifying for the Boston Marathon (a goal I set way back in 2014), Spending my 30th Birthday running from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon to the North Rim and back, going to Paris for the first time, running through a slot canyon and seeing Horseshoe Bend, and getting a PR for the 50 Mile Distance. It was definitely another adventure-filled year and I can't wait to see what's in store for 2019!


Surprisingly I didn't run a single race in January... but you know what I did do? I went to Paris! The trip was only a week, but it summed up my month pretty well. The other three weeks of the month were spent getting back into a good training routine for Revel Mt. Charleston at the end of April.


I spent February continuing to ramp up marathon training with the exception of an Ultra Marathon thrown in - Antelope Canyon 55K. I've wanted to do this race for several years now but I'm always road training this time of year so I've never done it...but I decided to just go ahead and go for it this year! Between a brief taper and recovery, it did take a couple weeks away from marathon training, but it was an awesome race and definitely worth it!


March continued with more marathon training (can you tell I was really serious about this one!) with a tune up race at Canyonlands Half Marathon on St. Patrick's Day. The wind was pretty brutal for race day, but I still managed a course PR - coming in at 1:44:41.


After 3 1/2 years of trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon, I am SO happy to say I FINALLY did it at Revel Mt. Charleston Marathon in Las Vegas, running a marathon PR time of 3:28:33. This was by far my racing highlight of the year. The course was beautiful, I trained well, I raced well, and I FINALLY did it! It took a lot longer than I thought when I initially set this goal back in late 2014, but to finally reach it was amazing! I was also so happy Scott got to be there with me - we spent the rest of the weekend enjoying Vegas (although I think we've determined we're not big Vegas people, but it was fun for a weekend!).


While finally getting my BQ was definitely my racing highlight of the year, running the Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim on my 30th Birthday was definitely a top running highlight for the year! It was a quick trip but so, so awesome despite how incredibly difficult it was (especially the heat - topping out at over 100 degrees on the canyon floor). I wanted to do something memorable for my 30th Birthday...and I think it's safe to say I managed it!


June was my crazy month. It started with the Skirt Sports Ambassador Retreat (where I also ran the Boulder Skyline Traverse), followed by a 5 day work trip to Chicago, then Country Jam (a 4 day music festival outside of Grand Junction), then a trip to Alaska to run the Anchorage Mayor's Marathon! It was awesome but crazy to say the least.


After running the Leadville Silver Rush 50 Miler for my second time and walking (running) away with a huge course PR - finishing in 11:54:28, I ended up with a hip injury that sidelined me for the rest of the month. It was kind of a welcome break though as I got to spend some weekends doing something other than running - such as paddleboarding, spectating at Hardrock 100, and camping with Scott and the dogs.


After my month off in July, I spent August playing catch-up with training for my upcoming attempt at Crested Butte 105K in mid-September. This meant every weekend was spent doing some sort of big run - starting with pacing Rocky Mountain Half, running the Telluride Mountain Run 22 Miler (which I DNF'd because the course was INSANE), and some long runs at home. I also went backpacking for the first time, where we camped at 12,000' and checked off the stunning Bear Creek Trail in Ouray from my hiking bucket list!


September was another crazy month. Starting with Labor Day weekend where I hiked my one 14er for the year (Quandary Peak), ran High Lonesome Loop above Nederland with Friends, and ran the Fortitude 10K (yep, that was all over Labor Day weekend). The next weekend I checked off another bucket list item - completing the Telluride Via Ferrata which was awesome and terrifying at the same time (center top picture)! The next weekend was Crested Butte 105K which I'm sad to say I DNF'd after having a terrible day. I know my short training was definitely a huge factor as I missed the Mile 42 time cutoff by a solid hour and a half... but it was a beautiful day nonetheless (the fall foliage was OUTSTANDING). The following weekend Scott and I did a fall drive of the San Juan Skyway Scenic Byway (Rigway -> Ouray -> Silverton -> Durango -> Telluride) which was beautiful!


After my DNF at Crested Butte 105K, I knew I wanted to do another long ultra attempt before the season was over. I was already signed up for the Dead Horse 50K in November so I decided to just bump that up to the 50 Miler. This meant October was pretty much just spent training. The training went pretty well though - running several long runs around town, as well as running the entire perimeter of Lake Dillon in Silverthorne for a total of 23 miles, and ending the month running to Rattlesnake Arches - a local trail in Fruita that I've done before, but at the time didn't realize you could actually hike up to the top of the last arch and run across it - which was AWESOME!


November was once again another crazy month (I always have a few of these every year). It started with my last minute decision to run Back-to-Back Marathons - running Rim Rock Marathon on November 3, followed by the Broomfield Trails Marathon on November 4. It was definitely a hard feat especially about half-way through Day 2 when my legs were wondering what the heck I was doing... But I got it done and thus moved up a level in Marathon Maniacs! I then spent the next 2 weeks doing as little as possible in an attempt to recover/taper for Dead Horse 50 on November 17th. I'm happy to say those 2 weeks of nothing worked because I managed a huge 50 mile PR at Dead Horse finishing in 10:26:57 (previous best 50 miler time was 11:16).


I ended my racing season for the year running the Winter Sun 10K in Moab for the 6th year in a row, and much to my surprise walked away with my second fastest time - finishing in 46:46. The rest of December was spent taking it easy before I start ramping up my mileage in the new year for Boston!

So that concludes 2018.... For 2019 I am happy to announce I am once again representing Skirt Sports and Mad Moose Events as part of their ambassador programs again! I am keeping my racing schedule for 2019 pretty open right now with the Boston Marathon being my only set race right now, which I'll run on April 15, 2019 (followed by a post-race trip to Bermuda!). My plan is to train well for Boston, but I have no intention of running it "for time". This is going to be a once or twice in a lifetime trip for me and I want to enjoy it to the fullest!

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Dead Horse 50 Miler

After my DNF at Crested Butte 105K earlier this year I knew I had to give another long race a shot before the end of the year. I had already planned to do the 50K at Dead Horse Ultra, so I figured I would just bump it up to the 50 Miler. Despite Crested Butte not going so well, I knew it left me with a great base to build upon, and I was happy to get in some really great training runs over the next two months including multiple 20-23 milers and concluding with my weekend of back-to-back marathons the first weekend of November. Given how those went and the fact that I had been told this was a pretty runnable course, I decided to set my sights on going for a 50 Mile PR. My previous PR was from The Bear Chase in 2016 when I ran 50 miles in 11 hours and 16 minutes. The Dead Horse course would be slightly more difficult in elevation gain and technicality but I really felt like I had a couple of strong months of training going into this and that it was doable if I had a good day - so I went into the race cautiously optimistic...knowing that no matter how trained you are for something, you can never really predict how your day is going to go!

I got into Moab on Friday afternoon and immediately went straight to packet pick-up where I was helping check people in from 3:45 to 7pm. After that I met some friends for dinner at The Moab Brewery before heading to my hotel where I was staying with two Skirt Sports Ambassador sisters (the three of us were each doing the three different distances in the morning too which was kind of fun!).

After heading to bed around 10 or so, I was up at 4:45 the next morning, and on the road just before 5:30 to make my way to the start. The race started at 6, but wasn't too far of a drive, so I got there with just enough time to drop off my drop bag, use the restroom, and then spend the last 10 minutes deciding how many layers to wear. It was a chilly 25(ish) degrees, which felt even colder in the dark (and the temperature would only continue to drop for another hour or two before the sun started coming up for the day).

After finally settling on both a long sleeve and light jacket, we were officially off and going at 6:00am sharp. I settled into an easy paced run for the first mile, followed by a run/walk over the second mile as we gained several hundred feet heading up to our first climb. After this short climb, it was a steady downhill mile followed by several flat miles as we made our way along a sandy road to the first aid station just before Mile 5.

Headlamps in the distance!
Looking back at the sandy road we had just ran for a few miles.
Sunrise over the La Sal Mountains!

I quickly grabbed a banana and headed up the next big climb. The sun had started to come up by this point and we were treated to some beautiful morning light. Once we got up the major climb, I settled into a nice steady pace of easy running. It was gradual uphill from here until the Mile 15 aid station. I knew with it being uphill, it wouldn't be fast, but I also knew I needed to run most of this in order to have a shot at a 50 mile PR.


Over these next 10 or so miles I really tried to focus on keeping my pace slow and steady but still running the majority. Ultra's can be difficult to pace - I knew going out too hard this early would be detrimental, but I also didn't want to go too slow and have too much time to make up later. Finding that perfect balance of "not too slow, but not too fast" would be the trick to a good day today...

The first half only gave us a small glimpse into how much slick rock we would run on later!

After what felt like no time at all, I was to the Mile 15 aid station. I quickly had some soda and a PB&J and headed out. We had a tiny bit more uphill and then it was downhill until the turnaround point. Shortly after leaving this aid station I started chatting with a guy named Clark from the Salt Lake City area. Chatting with him made the next 3 miles go really fast and before I knew it we were at the Mile 18 aid station.

I quickly grabbed another snack as I headed out. One of my goals for the day was to spend as little time as possible at aid stations so as not to waste too much time. After I left this aid station, there was some really nice non-technical double track for about 3 more miles. I chatted with another guy during this section who had ran this last year in just under 11 hours and was hoping to beat his previous time. This had me slightly worried I went out too fast, since my goal was only under 11:16, but I did my best to not worry too much about it. He was running pretty quick though so after it became a little more technical I let him go ahead as I slowed down for the next several miles to the turn around aid station just before Mile 25.

Despite the last couple of miles to the turnaround feeling like they took forever (I think just the mental aspect of having all of the faster runners coming back towards you), I finally reached the turnaround aid station right around the 5 hour mark. This left me with a little over 6 hours to complete the second half which I felt pretty good about. I usually slow a lot in the second half, and so I wanted to have some extra time later on. I also knew the way out to this turn around had been mostly downhill, which meant we had about 9 miles of gradual uphill after this.

Picture with fellow Moose Herd member Lynne - who feel into a cactus and still managed to finish the race!

The first several miles headed back uphill weren't too bad, but the longer the gradual uphill went on the tougher it got for me to keep my pace up. I had been trying to keep my pace in the 12 minute mile range, but it started creeping up the longer it took. After the Mile 31 aid station, my pace really crept up - into 13-15 minute miles as the trail got more technical and more uphill until I finally made it to the Mile 35 aid station where my drop bag was.

I tried my best not to stay too long at this aid station but still ended up with my longest mile of the day - 17:00 and change as I munched on some food for a few minutes, got a few things out of my drop bag, and used the restroom. Despite this being my longest stop, everyone said it was downhill for the next 12 or so miles, so I left the aid station determined to run the majority of the race from hereon out.

This next section was my favorite of the entire course. The views were beautiful and it was just a slight downhill as we made our way down slick rock with great views of the La Sal Mountains over the beautiful rock formations that Moab is famous for! I was happy to find myself being pretty consistent with all of my miles back in the 12:00 range. Clark, who I had chatted with awhile back caught up with me again on this section so we chatted once again as we ran into the Mile 40 aid station.

I was in-and-out of this aid station extremely quick so I didn't lose my motivation to keep running. I was also happy to see I hit 40 miles in about 8 1/2 hours - which left me fairly confident that I could PR at this point given that I still felt pretty good. 

Not too long after the last aid station was the turn off to view "Gemini Bridges" (a famous arch formation). The race had put out a sign saying "If you don't care about your time, turn here to see Gemini Bridges". Well, it didn't say how far it was to view it, so I was slightly hesitant since I did care about my time, but I also wanted to see it... After a few seconds of internal debate, I decided I was here to enjoy the views, so I might as well go see it! And I'm thankful I did, as it was literally only a couple of steps off the trail (I was worried it was going to add an extra half mile or something!)

Gemini Bridges

From here I had a few more miles of slick rock before we would get back onto the sandy dirt road from the beginning of the race. If you've never ran on slick rock before, it definitely starts to beat you up after awhile, so needless to say I was very happy to see that road around Mile 44! Just a mile left until the last aid station now...

I was happy to see some fellow Mesa Monument Striders (our local run club) volunteering as I made my way into the Mile 45 aid station in just about 10 1/2 hours. I now felt extremely confident that I could not only PR, but also run sub-11:00! Because of this I once again didn't stay long at this aid station, determined to keep my pace and motivation up. 

I now only had about 3 miles of sandy road, then a mile of uphill followed by a mile of downhill to the finish. The sandy road, however, which I swear had been "flat" this morning, now felt uphill because I was seriously struggling to keep my pace up. Nevertheless, I kept at it until finally reaching the hill. I told myself I could walk this hill but once I made it to the top I had to run the entire rest of the race in to the finish line.

View from the top of the last climb.

After what felt like a never ending climb, I finally reached the summit, snapped a picture, and then did my best to run down the other side. My 48+ mile legs though were seriously struggling with how steep of a downhill it was, so it wasn't my fastest downhill mile, but I made it before our final long flat stretch to the finish line, where I finished in 10 Hours, 26 Minutes and 57 seconds - a PR by over 45 minutes!

Finishing and SO happy about my PR!
(Photo credit:  Skirt Sister, Amy Michael)

Race: Dead Horse Ultra (50 Mile, 50K, 30K options)
Distance: 50 Miles (my garmin came in at 49.2 miles)
Date: November 17, 2018
Temperature: I thought it was around 28 at the start, but my Garmin actually says 21, and then 50's for a high, but overcast so it never felt overly warm.
Elevation Gain: 4,767'
Bib Number: 67
Official Time: 10:26:57
Average Pace: 12:32 per mile
Overall Place: 98 of 169
Gender Place: 24 of 54
Age Group (F30-39): 9 of 17
1-10: 11:06, 14:15, 10:19, 10:19, 12:33, 12:41, 12:29, 14:14, 11:34, 11:28
11-20: 11:22, 13:06, 11:49, 13:47, 14:31, 12:00, 12:09, 12:48, 11:02, 11:11
21-30: 11:48, 10:41, 12:14, 12:19, 15:06, 12:07, 13:20, 12:05, 13:13, 15:43
31-40: 15:08, 13:41, 13:47, 15:03, 17:52, 12:28, 12:43, 12:25, 13:07, 12:43
41-50: 12:12, 12:17, 12:54, 12:52, 11:56, 11:41, 15:01, 12:46, 10:58, 9:46 (moving pace for last .2)

Course Map
Elevation Profile

Post-Race Thoughts:

Overall, this race went really well for me. Given this race and Silver Rush 50 earlier this year, I can definitely tell that the more ultras I run, the better I get at keeping my pace up in the second half! The fact that this race was pretty runnable helped immensely and I think my training method of running half of my long runs on trails and half of them on roads worked out really nicely for this race (the road runs definitely helped me get better at running consistently vs. walking too much, while the trail runs obviously helped just being used to running trails/picking up my feet etc.).

My fueling went really well this race - I actually didn't feel like I ate that much, but still had enough - throughout the race I had a couple of PB&J slices throughout the day, two packages of shot blocks, coke (I actually kept a small coke bottle in my pack), and electrolyte tablets along with some other small things here and there at aid stations. 

Course wise, I really liked this course, especially Miles 30-45 as you ran along the slick rock and had great views of the La Sal Mountains. As mentioned, it is definitely a very runnable course. My garmin clocked the elevation gain in at just under 5000', but it honestly didn't even feel like that much since there were only a few steeper climbs where you couldn't run. Most of them were very gradual so you could still run or run/walk them. There were varying degrees of technicality for the trail - most of it was very runnable, the slick rock sections do start to hurt towards the end if you're not used to it but it's nothing too bad. The only sandy section was a couple of miles on Gemini Bridges Road, but only a very small section was deep sand that was more difficult to run on.

Overall, this is a great late season Ultra. November is the beginning of the off season in Moab, so it makes a great time to come visit the area without too many crowds, and the weather is typically still pretty good (although it can be pretty chilly in the morning and evening). I highly recommend this one from Mad Moose Events (and I swear I'm not just saying that because I'm an ambassador!).

Post-Race Fun:

Finishing earlier than expected meant I was back in time to shower and go to dinner at the Moab Diner with Becky and Heather (who I stayed with), along with a couple other runners Becky knew from Fort Collins! It was fun meeting new runners and this was my first time checking out the Moab Diner which was pretty good. The next day we all went into Arches National Park for a bit where we hiked around the Windows Area for a couple of miles to stretch the legs before heading home!

Friday, November 9, 2018

Double Marathons – Rim Rock & Broomfield Trails Marathons

Running back-to-back marathons has always intrigued me and I knew I wanted to do it someday… I wasn’t sure that “someday” would come this past weekend until a few days before. You see, I signed up for the inaugural Broomfield Trails Marathon last spring when they first announced it. A new marathon in my hometown sounded like something I needed to be a part of, at least for the inaugural year. However, it also fell on the same weekend as one of my all time favorite races (and favorite local race) – Rim Rock Marathon.

I immediately had the thought of making the two races into a “Doubler”… I mean it was kind of perfect in many ways – running marathons in both my old home and my new home on the same weekend. A symbolic journey of where I’d come from and where I was now (cheesy I know)… however, there were some serious complications with deciding to do this. On one hand, the two races are over four hours drive apart from one another. That’s a lot of sitting to do after running a marathon… On top of that, they were both in November. And driving over the Rocky Mountains in November isn’t always the easiest thing to do. Because of this, I decided not to commit to the second race (Rim Rock) until closer out when I knew more about where my fitness level was and depending on what the weather was looking like...

The week before rolled around and while weather didn't look ideal, it wasn't looking horrible either. Plus a friend offered to transfer her entry to me for a reduced price... so I was officially set on doing it... (I pretty much knew in the back of my mind that I would have regretted it had I not anyways!).  So there I was, preparing for 2 marathons in 2 days...

My #FlatRunners all ready to go!

Day 1: Rim Rock Marathon - Saturday, November 3rd 2018

Let me start by saying that Rim Rock is no cake walk of a marathon. In fact, it’s one of the hardest “road” marathons I have ever done… so having it as Marathon #1 probably wasn’t the smartest plan from a logistical / recovery standpoint… but that’s how the race dates fell, so it was what it was.

You see, the race starts in Grand Junction (about 4600’), then runs up into the Colorado National Monument (6600’), before dropping down into Fruita (4500’). That being said, at least I had done this course before and was able to come up with a race plan: slow and steady. Especially on the uphill. The last time I ran the full marathon back in 2015 I went too hard on the uphill and paid for it immensely in the second half. I was too dead to really enjoy and embrace the downhill. So I was settled – I would take the uphill very easy, and be sure to mix in walking as well, so as to keep myself from getting overly sore (not sure the “not getting sore” really worked out for me).

Right at 8:00am we were off with a gradual first mile and a half before the major climbing came in from Miles 2-1/2 to 4-1/2 as you climb close to 2000’ over these miles. This is where I immediately started adding in walk breaks. The trick to adding in walk breaks is to not let yourself walk for too long, so I would always point out a starting and stopping marker on the road and tell myself I could only walk from here to there (such as a sign, tree, etc). This worked pretty well and in no time I had made it to Cold Shivers Point and the end of the major climbing (there was still gradual climbing for quite a while though).

Right after the start!

And up we go!
Entering the Colorado National Monument - 22 of the 26 Miles are spent in the Monument!

Looking back from where we came.

Tunnel #1 of 3

One of my favorite pictures I took - I love how small the two runners look.

From here on out since the climbing wasn’t as extreme, I didn’t add in as much walking, but still some here and there as I continued gradually heading up towards the high point around Mile 9. Meanwhile, since this is a small race, I was pretty much alone now for the remainder of the day, with the occasional passing of people (or being passed – although I’m proud to say it was more of the former – guess I paced myself well on the uphill after all). After I hit the high point, I decided to put my headphones on for the remainder of the race and just zone out to some tunes while enjoying the views.

I still felt pretty good mentally as I reached the half-way mark, but honestly my legs were hurting a bit already and I was starting to wonder how I was going to run another marathon the next day… but I tried not to let myself worry too much about that yet. The good news about making it to the halfway point is that it really is mostly downhill from here on out. Just like the first half though, it’s a relatively gradual downhill for most of it, with about 4 miles of steep downhill later in the race. So I embraced the gentle downhill for the next 5 miles or so until reaching the visitor’s center at Mile 19 – which is when the major downhill (and what I call the “fun part”) starts. The years I run the half marathon, I seriously CRUSH this section (we’re talking low-7:00 miles)… however when doing the full, I don’t seem to have that kind of speed left in me by this point (no idea why…). So I had a few high-8:00’s and a lot of 9:00’s through this section, just trying to enjoy it and let gravity pull me downhill.

One of my favorite sections of the course!

Now, despite thinking I had paced the uphill well, I was starting to get tired by Mile 22… great, tomorrow was going to be interesting… Nevertheless I kept at it. At Mile 23 you exit the Colorado National Monument leaving you with a somewhat boring couple of miles leading to downtown Fruita. In the scheme of things, I really don’t find these last 3 miles “that” bad, but compared to what you were running before it doesn’t exactly compete. Finally I hit Mile 25 which meant I just had to run the final stretch up and over the interstate and down towards Circle Park, which I did, finishing in 4:33:xx. Missing my course PR (I’ve only done the full marathon here once before) by about 4 minutes… but given that I wasn’t going for any specific time goals I was pretty happy with it (my only goal was sub-5:00).

After I finished, I got my medal, walked around Circle Park for a few minutes to get my pint glass and finisher’s picture before quickly hitting the road to make the 4 ½ hour trek over the mountains to get ready for Day #2...

Day 2 – Broomfield Trails Marathon

After a very last minute decision to take the bus from Glenwood Springs to Denver (which I was very thankful for given my exhausted legs and the fact that it was blizzarding over Vail Pass on Sunday night), I made it into Denver on Saturday night around 6:30pm. My mom picked me up from the bus station in Lakewood where we had dinner before heading to their house. I was thankful for their hot tub so I could soak my somewhat stiff legs to hopefully help them out before Marathon #2 of the weekend. After that it was an early bed time before getting up the next day.

It was daylight savings on Sunday morning so while I was really looking forward to an extra hour of sleep, I, of course, woke up an hour before my alarm… nevertheless at least this meant I could leisurely wake-up and enjoy my coffee before we made our way to the start. My dad was doing the Half Marathon and my mom was doing the 10K. The half started at the same time as the full, but the 10K was an hour later, so my mom was able to take our coats just before the start time (which I was very grateful for because it was COLD out).

After lining up towards the middle of the pack, they played the National Anthem, and then right at 8:00am we were off. The course started near the library and civic center (the civic center which was not around back in my day – Broomfield has really grown since I left home!) and headed north over to Main Street where we actually ran several blocks up Main Street, past my old High School, and then headed west where we hopped onto The Outlook Trail around Mile 3 – the beginning of my favorite section of the course.

Running down Main Street around Mile 2

Getting onto Outlook Trail

I’ve ran the Outlook Trail before and it’s pretty hilly if you do the whole thing, but we were only on a small portion of it as we ran around the west side of the Outlook neighborhood before dropping down to get onto Rock Creek Trail (note – these “trails” are a very well maintained crushed gravel, not a “trail” trail). We were on Rock Creek Trail for until about Mile 7 when we reached the Flatirons Mall area. As mentioned this section (Mile 3-7) was the best part of the course. It was on the nice maintained trail, away from traffic with nice views of the Front Range in front of you.

The mountains always look better in person!

After we reached Flatirons Mall, the course atmosphere dropped quite a bit. You ran around the mall which was okay given it was Sunday morning and there weren’t too many people out, but then, you got onto the US36 Bike Path… which is a concrete bike path that hugs US 36 – the major highway connecting Denver and Boulder. On top of having to run right next to tons of traffic, you’re headed uphill and away from the mountains (so no views either). This section was by far the worst part of the course. I get that it works well to make the course into a loop, but running right alongside a major highway is never very fun. The uphill was pretty gentle though and since I was taking it easy today I didn’t mind it too much – I just kept chugging along (now, had this section been at Mile 20, I would have been cursing).

I took this picture solely to document this horrible section.

Around Mile 10 we were still running along US 36, but the half marathoners split away from us as they went over the highway and on to finish up their race. Us marathoners keep on straight for another half mile or so until we cut over to a couple of smaller roads before making our way onto Big Dry Creek Trail right around the half-way mark. Big Dry Creek is a paved bike path with many sections of it having a soft shoulder if you prefer to not run on pavement.

A random barn somewhere along the route that I thought was neat.

Now, I just remembered I haven’t mentioned at all yet how I was actually feeling given I had ran a marathon the day before… well truth be told, the first half actually felt okay. I felt tired, but like I could run slow and steady and definitely finish this thing no problem… that was until just after the half-way point. I think my body all of a sudden realized this wasn’t a short recovery run I was doing anymore... After that half-way point, my right shin started majorly hurting every time there was a slight downhill (shin splints??)… and guess what? Big Dry Creek Trail (the 7 mile stretch I had just started) is entirely downhill. (Fair warning in case you’re reading this for feedback for next year, yes it’s downhill but it’s very gentle downhill - had my shin not been hurting I would have barely even noticed it was downhill). I know this pain was caused by the downhill from Rim Rock the day before because extreme downhill like that always makes things sore in weird places… so here I was, over half-way and yet I knew I still had a LONG way to go.

This was NOT taken during the race, but just showing what Big Dry Creek Trail looks like since I didn't get any pictures.

So the next 7 miles were spent alternating between running and walking… I had ran the first half in 2:20 and at that point had still felt okay and felt confident I could definitely run Day 2 under 5 hours. Now I wasn’t so sure. No matter what my time though, I knew I just needed to keep going. One foot in front of the other. Relentless forward progress…. My focus became to just get to the next aid station. Meanwhile, several people had caught up and passed me. Around Mile 18 a couple of people passed me, but then they were also doing a run/walk routine as well, so I made it a personal goal to try and stay somewhat near them (leapfrogging a bit). This worked out well for a while and kept me motivated to run more.

At Mile 20 we got off of Big Dry Creek Trail and made our way through some neighborhoods for what felt like forever. I didn’t love this section either, but I did my best to just keep running until FINALLY we made it to Broomfield Commons just before Mile 23 – a park that I know well and thus knew I was getting close. Something about getting here motivated me, so from here on out I actually ran the entire remaining miles. We ran through a couple more neighborhoods where my Garmin decided to die at Mile 25 (seriously??). I told myself at least I only had a mile to go and picked up my pace as best as I could, passing two people before finishing in 4 hours and 55 minutes. Definitely not my fastest marathon (by an hour and a half), but hey I got it done and can now check “back-to-back marathons” off the bucket list!


The finish line was pretty anticlimactic as it was still seriously cold out (it was apparently 50 by now, but it was windy and cloudy and did not feel anywhere near that warm - I actually didn't even take my longsleeve off until Mile 23!) and there was hardly anyone around. They handed me a water bottle and my medal and I met up with my parents who had finished hours before (and gone home and come back). I got a couple pictures with my two medals and then we went to Panera for lunch before calling it a day!

SO Happy to be done with my Two Marathons!

Post-Race Thoughts on Double Marathons:

Right when I finished I said “never again”, and while I have no desire to ever run two back-to-backs again I’m not going to officially say “never” just because looking at it now, I know I could have a more enjoyable time doing this had I done things differently. For starters, having the two races over four hours apart (which turned into 5 on Saturday, 6 on Sunday given the bad weather) was not ideal, and having the Day 1 Marathon be a seriously hard marathon with 2500’ of elevation gain and loss did not help the situation. So, if for some reason I were to come across the opportunity to do flat races close to each other where I could just take my time, I would probably would enjoy it much more! (That all being said, I have no regrets for doing it the one time - I loved that I got to do these two races!).

Overall Review/Thoughts on Rim Rock Marathon (Day 1):

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I love this race. I think it’s the best race we have in the Grand Junction area. While I’ll still agree that the half is more “fun” because it’s less exhausting and there are more people, I really enjoyed running the full marathon this year. Taking my time and even walking some on the early climb must have made all the difference because my 4:33 time felt comfortable and for the most part, I felt good the entire race.

For a more detailed recap check out some of the other years I’ve ran this, but this was once again well put on. It’s definitely a small town race and if you do the full marathon you will probably be alone for a lot of it (the half is large enough that you are not alone), but the views are seriously phenomenal and make the race.

Race: Rim Rock Marathon
Date: November 3, 2018
Distance: Marathon (26.2 Miles)
Weather: 40's at the start, 50's at the end. Sunny and beautiful running weather!
Bib: 502
Gun Time: 4:33:14
Average Pace: 10:26
Overall Place: 49 of 83
Gender Place: 14 of 32
Age Group Place: Unknown

Course Map

Elevation Profile

Overall Review/Thoughts on Broomfield Trails Marathon (Day 2):

This was the inaugural year for the Broomfield Trails Marathon. Given the amount of advertising and hype they had for this race I was expecting a lot. In some ways I think they delivered and in some ways I don’t. They had a great turnout for the event, so I think it has a lot of potential. The volunteers were by far the number one best thing about this race. They had SO many volunteers out on the course. The aid stations were often and well stocked (they had coke at every aid station, which was awesome and something I have only seen at trail races – I feel like someone googled “what to have at trail races” when they came up with that…which is funny since it’s not really a trail race, but I loved it). I’m pretty sure I saw more volunteers than runners out on the course!

That all being said, some of the negatives: overall I just didn’t love the course. I’m still kind of scratching my head as to how you could make it better…but essentially, it just felt very discombobulated. There were so many intersections to cross and different sections spent cutting from one area to the next area etc. It just didn’t “flow”. There were some great sections too… so again I feel like it could be made better, but I just can’t figure out the “how” yet.

Last, I briefly touched on this already, but the finish line atmosphere was seriously lacking. Now, I will be the first to admit that a lot of this had to do with the weather. It was cold out and people don’t like to stick around after a race when it’s cold out. I totally get that… but there was hardly anything at the finish line – I didn't see any food, which after finishing 26.2 miles is kind of weird (I did find out later that there was some over at a tent further away). Last, I was kind of expecting a really cool medal given all of the advertising they did and the high price tag of the race, but it was kind of lame compared to a lot of races these days…(seriously just 5 years ago it would have been awesome, but medals have come a long way!).

Overall, it was well put on and well attended, I think it just needs a little feedback from runners to get it on par with other races in the area! (Also, I wish they would just call it Broomfield Marathon because putting "trails" in the name has got to confuse people!).

Race: Broomfield Trails Marathon
Date: November 4, 2018
Distance: Marathon (26.2 Miles)
Weather: 30's at the start, maybe 50's at the end, but overcast and COLD
Bib: 1003
Gun Time: 4:55:36
Chip Time: 4:55:17
Average Pace: 11:17
Overall Place: 61 of 93
Gender Place: 30 of 46
Age Group Place (F21-30): 10 of 16

Course Map (except my GPS died - it should finish at the start)

Elevation Profile

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...