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Georgetown to Idaho Springs Half Marathon (Read 682 times)


A Dance with Monkeys

    Okay, so here is a good idea. Spend several weeks purposely overtraining and logging 20-60% more weekly miles than you are accustomed to logging (nay, have ever logged). Run those miles on hard hills and trails. Sacrifice sleep to get those miles in. Then, with an inadequate taper, hop on a plane and fly to a town with an altitude nearly a mile higher than where you live and train. From there, go immediately to a hotel and log about 3 1/2 hours of sleep, then wake up and drive to a town yet another 2000 feet higher in elevation. Grab a grease bomb at a restaurant your kids call "Old McDonalds", then hop aboard a bus to the starting line for a half marathon. All this will ensure that by time you arrive, you are tired, dizzy, breathless, have good belly full of slow-to-digest stuff, are thirsty and have legs of lead. Sounds like a great day to run! I'm at the starting line wandering around for an hour among the 2000 runners, most of whom are in line for the port a pots. (One of my running partners out here, John, tells me I cannot call them Port a Johns.) The morning is beautiful, clear and with a grand view of huge mountains sparsely covered in wild flowers and scrub pines, with clusters of aspen. The sky is wide open and blue, and the sunrise a brilliant pink. I chat with a few folks, who ask why I am here from TN to run this half marathon; I reveal the embarrassing truth that I am here to acclimate before fully succumbing to madness a week later as I run up Pikes Peak. If you can call what I do running. I bumped into Jack Menard, a runner who finished Badwater 135 just a couple weeks ago; he ran the half marathon AND is planning to run the Leadville Trail 100 miler later this week. It is nice to know that other people have it worse. So the race? Well, it started promptly, ran a two mile loop through Georgetown, passed the starting line, and then along frontage roads and dirt trails along a mountain creek to Idaho Springs, an old mining town. The course has a net downhill of about 1000 feet, and despite a few short and many rolling uphill climbs, the majority of the run was a steady pounding downhill. Over the course of the run, the sky clouded up and the weather kept cool. There were fluids every 2 miles, and with the dry air I was plenty thirsty as I ran. I never really felt good during the run: my normal half marathon pace is probably about 7:40 or so; at this run, I had trouble maintaining 8:20-8:40 miles with the elevation and all the excuses I made sure to lay out at the start of this report. (The reassuring point is that all of us in our group who ran clocked a finishing time of at least a minute/mile slower than a flatland half.) My slowest mile was the first, as I navigated the crowds and the twisty, rolling streets of Georgetown. My fastest were the last miles, as I could feel the finish line and the downhill became steady. My overall 1/4M split was nonetheless fairly even. In all, I felt okay with the effort given the altitude. I was more stiff afterwards than I would expect from a 1/2M. But a good lunch, dinner, beer and a long night's sleep and I feel much better today. Almost good enough to run a trail 10k...
    Mile Collector


    Abs of Flabs

      Trent, Sometimes I think you give yourself some handicaps just so you could have a list of excuses of why you didn't do well Big grin Good job on completing another tough race!


      A Dance with Monkeys

        Yep, you figured me out! Big grin It keeps it more interesting.


        Needs more cowbell!

          Trent, Sometimes I think you give yourself some handicaps just so you could have a list of excuses of why you didn't do well Big grin
          Shhhh...I don't think he's the only one--don't give away our secret! Wink Trent, I love reading your race accounts...I get tired just reading them. But if you can do a HM under all those daunting circumstances, then I have no excuse not to do a relatively easy (and flat) one in my neck o' the woods this Fall! Big grin k

          Kirsten - aka "Auntie Kirsten"

          '14 Goals:

          • 2 olympic distance duathlons -- 6 days apart -- PR at least 1

          • 130#s (and stay there, gotdammit!)


          You'll ruin your knees!

            Congrats on the race and best of luck on Pikes Peak! Looking forward to another report on that one. And since you're alredy there, you should be fully acclimated and have no excuses! Cool Lynn B

            ""...the truth that someday, you will go for your last run. But not today—today you got to run." - Matt Crownover (after Western States)


            A Dance with Monkeys

              Ha! Fully acclimated...not quite yet. Maybe in another couple of weeks. Sadly, the Peak is in just 5 days. The day after the Leadville 100 miler starts, so I guess it could be worse. Shocked We are spending the week hiking up 14 000 foot peaks to try and acclimate. After tomorrow, I will likely chill and recover a bit before the Peak. I'm hoping to get a Peak time around the average finishing time: 7:10. Writeup to come...sometime after I run it. Wink


              A Dance with Monkeys

                Four more days until the Pikes Peak marathon. After climbing Mount Elbert on Monday and driving up to and hiking around Mount Evans yesterday, we figured we'd climb another 14 000 foot peak again, then finally take a break to recover our legs a bit for the rest of the week. Our quads and calves continue to remind up of the exertion. But the more time we can spend at elevation, the more adept we will be at dealing with the sensation of hypoxia come the marathon, and we will have undergone some early physiologic changes to deal with it. Full acclimatization takes 2 weeks to 2 months, which is beyond our available vacation allotments. So, today we set out to hike 3 peaks above 14 000 feet: Mounts Democrat, Lincoln and Brosse. Lincoln and Brosse are on the same ridge, which is near Democrat, and Democrat and Lincoln share a "saddle". Most folks who do all three climb to the saddle, go up Democrat then descend to the saddle before climbing on Lincoln, and then Brosse. Well, it turned out that Democrat was fairly tough to get up, averaging a 23% grade over large strewn boulders and gravel, with no clear trail most of the way. At the saddle, nearly 3/4 of the way up, we had been pounded by frigid winds with gusts seemingly over 40 mph and had exerted quite a bit of energy and time just to get to this point. By time we got to the top of Democrat, there were lots of dark gray, menacing clouds coming in and the strong icy wind had worsened. We spent about 30 minutes at summit, and then headed back down to the oxygen at the saddle. The climb down was no easier than the climb up, with all the shifting boulders and scree. Rather than risk getting caught in a storm while at elevation, we came down from the saddle. Good thing, because we were way tired and the time has come for a few days of recovery. The storm never came though, and by time we were safely back to the parking lot at 12 000 feet, the sky was bright blue and cloudless. A brief dip in the ice-melt kite lake to cool our ankles, and then we headed back to the world. Tomorrow, we will drive up to the peak of Mount Evans (the highest paved road in the country) and just hang out at 14 000 feet without any exertion necessary.