Masters Running


Autumn Color Marathon Race Report (with pictures!) (Read 297 times)

MM #5616

    This was a very small, low key race, located in beautiful Buena Vista, Colorado, which is pronounced “Byoona Vista” by the locals, or “Byoonie” for short.  If you call it "Bwena Vista" they know you’re not from around here…    Byoonie is located at the foot of the Collegiate Peaks, a group of 14,000+ mountains in the Sawatch Range. 


    The Autumn Color runs included a half marathon, 10k, and 5k in addition to the marathon.  There were only 27 marathoners but many more people in the other races.  We were bused to the start, 8 miles up the canyon west of town, at 6:15 am for a 7am start.  Here’s the elevation profile:


    The first 9 miles were uphill on a dirt road, from 9,000 ft up to 10,800 ft.  It was chilly at the start, so I wore a windbreaker and gloves.  The gloves came off at mile 5 and the windbreaker at mile 7.  (No, I didn’t tie it around my waist – I put it in the back pocked of my hydration vest.)    I carried the hydration vest because I wasn’t sure how much aid station support there would be, and I was glad I did, because one of the aid stations on the course map wasn’t there, so in the first 14 miles there was only one aid station that we passed twice at mile 3.5 and mile 14.


    One interesting thing I noticed because of the cold:  my legs were so cold by about mile 3 that I couldn’t tell if I was wearing shorts or not, because I couldn’t feel them on my legs.  I actually looked down to make sure I was wearing them!  Surprised


    The first 3 or 4 miles of the road were pretty smooth till we got to the aid station at the Cottonwood Lake Campground.  After that, the road was single-lane 4WD road, and got kind of steep and rocky in places.  The colors were amazing up there.  I carried a camera, but didn't' really stop to compose pictures - just clicked a few and kept running. This is Cottonwood Lake, taken at about mile 3.  I love how some aspen groves turn orange instead of the usual yellow.



    These were taken at about mile 5 and mile 6:




    This was up near the turnaround past mile 8.


    The RD had told us the turns would all be marked with orange paint on the road.  He said the turnaround was marked with a wide stripe across the road – he said a foot wide.  Well, that’s great, but paint on a dirt road doesn’t hold up well to traffic…   Not that there was much traffic, but the line was only visible at the very edges of the road and had been completely erased in the middle.   I saw it only because I was looking for it, and the guy who turned around just ahead of me told me I was almost there when he passed me on the way down.  I warned all the folks behind me that the line was erased, but later heard several people say they had missed it and run up too far. That would be a bummer!

    I mostly had the road all to myself during the next stretch, after I’d seen all the runners coming and going at the turnaround.  I was in 18th place at that point.  I passed a girl at mile 14 and a guy at mile 15, both of whom were taking walk breaks.  The guy was limping, but when I asked if he was okay, he said he’d make it.  This stretch was really fun – easy downhill and beautiful scenery.  Then I missed a turn at about mile 18, and came out on the highway about 2 miles sooner than I should have.  I guess I didn’t see the orange arrow in the dirt.  I was a little confused but kept running, knowing that I was headed toward town.  At mile 20, I got back on course when I passed a side dirt road where I should have been, and where a bunch of half marathoners were crossing the highway. By my Garmin, I only added 0.4 miles extra to the race, but 2 more miles of pavement.  I passed a bunch of the slower half marathoners, and from here to the finish I always had runners in sight ahead. The last miles were partly on the highway and partly on side dirt roads – not nearly as nice as the early miles, but at least it was downhill.  The aid station volunteers all treated me like a rock star since I had a marathon bib.  Cool


    Here's a view of Mt Princeton (14,197 ft), one of the Collegiate Peaks, from about mile 23.  There's new snow on top, from a storm last week:


    I finished in 5:12:32, which turned out to be 1st of 4 in my AG (51-60) and 16/27 OA.  They didn’t give finishers medals or AG awards, just overall awards.  The winner was Gary Krugger, who finished in 3:04:33, a full 44 minutes ahead of the 2nd place finisher!  I saw him running (flying!) down at mile 11 for him when I was running up at mile 7 for me. This guy is amazing – here’s a link to his marathon maniac race list… just scroll through and read some of his race descriptions – very amusing!

    The guy has run 28 marathons this year and won 11 of them.  He came in 2nd at the Flying Monkey last year, and he came in 2nd at the marathon in Colorado Springs I ran 2 weeks ago. One of my favorite lines from his MM summaries:


    Leadville Trail Marathon: “ I had a pretty good streak going for June. Marathon every weekend without getting beat by any girls.”  Roll eyes


    The drive home after the race was awesome – I drove through Leadville and over Fremont Pass, through the central mountains of Colorado, and the fall colors were at their peak. I sure live in a gorgeous state!

    I hammered down the trail, passing rocks and trees like they were standing still.

      Way to go wild.  What lovely scenery.  Congrats on a fine marathon and 1st in AG.




        Hi Carolyn,


        What Tom said!


        You always look so happy in your race photos - but how could you not be smiling when you've got such a gorgeous place in which to run and race? To add .4 mile to your race because of a missed turn and still come in 1st in your AG is mighty impressive! Congrats on another great race.



        Without ice cream there would be darkness and chaos.

        MM #5615

          Seriously, Carolyn--you are amazing.  No, really--you are!

          Back on Stride

            An amazing race by an amazing runner on an amazing course! Need I say more?

            Doug, Runnin' in Rochester, MI

              Awesome race, once again, Carolyn! Congrats on the 1st in AG! This looks like a course I'd really like, but there's no excuse for bad course marking, even in a small race. Glad you only had a little out of the way on your race, but sorry to hear about those who missed the turnaround. And yeah, nice that the winner takes pride in not being chicked. He needs a good comeuppance, I think!


              So... what's your MM streak now?


                   The aid station volunteers all treated me like a rock star since I had a marathon bib.  Cool


                I sure live in a gorgeous state!

                 You are a rock star.


                  Nice!!!       Carolyn   Congrats and thanks for sharing.

                  Courage ! Do one brave thing today...then run like hell.


                    The photos make me envious of you for running that race.  The elevaton profile makes me thank God I don't have to run that race!!  Big grin


                    Running is stupid

                      Awesome report, Carolyn!  I love the pictures, and yes, you are a rock star!  I would be disappointed to not get a medal for running a marathon.  If there were only 27 in the marathon, I wonder why they couldn't fork over a few medals.


                      The downhill, beautiful scenery is what I'm looking forward to in the Black Hills.

                      MM #6177

                        Wow, simply wow! Definitely rock star material, congrats! Beautiful photos too!

                          Gorgeous photos!  You are knocking these marathons off like they are nothing!

                          Were there any race photographers at the finish line?  We need to see another gorgeous Wildchild photo!

                          "During a marathon, I run about two-thirds of the time. That's plenty." - Margaret Davis, 85 Ed Whitlock regarding his 2:54:48 marathon at age 73, "That was a good day. It was never a struggle."


                            awesome race and photos!!!  i can't take such great photos standing still, let alone in the middle of a race



                              The photos make me envious of you for running that race.  The elevaton profile makes me thank God I don't have to run that race!!  Big grin

                               Exactly what I was thinking!


                              Carolyn, what MikeE are just simply amazing!

                              "Champions are everywhereall you need is to train them properly..." ~Arthur Lydiard

                              Top 'O the World!

                                Well Done! That's now one on my bucket list Wink

                                Remember that doing anything well is going to take longer than you think!! ~ Masters Group