Monday, May 7, 2012

Colorado Half Marathon

When I first looked at this shirt, I thought it said "O C".  I knew Orange County
has/had a marathon recently so was a bit confused.  Did I make a wrong turn and end up
in Cali?  Took a few minutes for me tosee the "C M".  Ha.  See it?

Seems that it was half marathon race weekend in blogland.  I was no exception ... but I have a "race" almost every weekend in May and June so the fact that I was racing this weekend wasn't big news.

BTW, the reason I am signed up for so many races this spring/summer is because:
1) I'm on a racing team for one of the local running stores and we are required to run x-number of races.
2) I really lack the ability to tempo run on my own well so I wanted to use a variety of race distances as a little speed work.
3) I keep hoping they'll get me into some sort of shape.
So far, that's not really happening (#3), but I do feel I'm getting a wee-bit stronger.

This race was the Colorado Half Marathon (there was a full option, also) in Ft. Collins.  Ft. Collins is about an hour and 45 minutes north of where I live, so I opted to spend the night there since the race started at 7a.m. and it was mandatory you take the buses, which left between 5:00 and 5:30a.m., to the start line.  Call me crazy but I didn't relish the thought of getting up at 2:30a.m. to leave my house.

I don't think I've ever traveled to spend the night out of town to run a half before - aside from the three times I ran the Atlanta ING Half (this course is actually my current 1/2 PR of 1:44).  But the main reason behind the Atlanta race was for a little quality girlfriend time since I once used to live in Alabama and have a very dear friend there.  Fly down to see her, run a little race, and PR along the way - score!  Atlanta also happened to fit perfectly into the equation when I was training for Boston and I LOVE to use half marathons as training for a full.  So spending the night in Ft. Collins for a half marathon seemed really odd to me, and it sort of gave me the typical pre-race jitters that marathons do....since I've always traveled to all marathons I've done.  I almost felt like I was going to run the full marathon and I had to really talk myself down from the wig-session I was starting to have.

I've never run this race before, but I did pace the last 7 miles of this race in 2010 for my friend and fellow blogger, Tara, on her first marathon.
Tara, all smiles after finishing her first marathon - 2010
I also got to see, and run a bit, with SUAR on her first BQ race :).  So I knew the last half of the course and that it really only had one pretty major hill just before mile 7, and overall the course was a gradual downhill - and fast.

I like fast.

When I signed up for this crazy race in January - because it fills up fast and you have to jump on registration when it opens - I had hoped I'd have my training and weight under control and could race the thing hard.  But we all know about best laid plans sometimes.  I went into this race nowhere near where I had hoped in January so my expectations were simply enjoy the amazing scenery down the Poudre Canyon and enjoy the experience.  Nothing more.  Also, my inner ankle was really wonky after the 5-mile race and I wasn't sure how it was going to hold up so my plan was to have no plan.  My daughter was coming with me and I just was happy to be spending time with her, and getting in a little long speed work in.  Simple.

It was really cold when I stood in line at 5a.m. for the bus.  The air temp was about 38 degrees and the winds were wicked, which wasn't helping.  Driving to the start line and watching the "new mood" disappear over the mountains, though, was incredible, and took my mind momentarily off my panic of what to wear when the race started.

That calmness was short-lived when we arrived with an hour and 10 minutes until the start line....and it was freaking freezing.  The wind was so bad and my legs were so cold.  It never even crossed my mind to bring long pants to wear while we waited; it's been a long time since I've had to sit at the race start in the mountains for a long time beforehand.  I quickly found myself clustered in the middle of one small tent along with 1317 of my closest friends.
This is said tent, picture taken later in the day when I went back and drove the course. 1317  people
jammed in that thing.  But at least I was warm :)
I stood there a half hour and just listened to conversations around me.  Time actually clicked by more than I thought. I plowed through the masses at 6:30 to use the porta-potty since the lines were getting long there and then quickly hurried back to my spot in the tent.  Now it was what to wear panic time.  I got out of the tent about 6:45 and ran a teeny bit to see how warm it was going to be.  The sun was starting to come up in the canyon and I'm glad I opted to chuck the long sleeves and go short.  I wore some home-make from knee socks arm warmers and actually ended up chucking them about mile 4.

We all started down the road about a quarter mile from where the tent was to the start line.  I never heard anything officially starting the race, all of a sudden we were just running.

Miles 1-3: I didn't wear my iPod, I just took in the sounds around me and really tried to look at the gorgeous sights.  The suckiest thing about this section was the constant slant of the road, which caused you to run with a slant.  My ankles were not too thrilled.


Mile 4: I was feeling really good - and strong - and my pace was a bit faster than I anticipated.  This can be a bad thing, especially for taking-off-too-fast me, but I just thought that instead of pulling back to the 9 min/mile pace, where I secretly hoped I'd be able to maintain, I'd just keep up with the 8:40 pace I was running.  I knew there was a high possibility of crashing and burning but really I didn't care that much and I thought it was better to see where this would happen then to pull way back and coast in.  So I made up my mind here that I'd see what I had in the tank with my quicker-than-hoped pace.

Miles 5 - 8:  I had been hovering around yellow-socks guy for awhile and letting him hold the pace.  I'm a leech like that.  At mile 7 we hit the biggest of the hills and he was telling a girl beside him that we had to conserve on this hill so he pulled back some and I did the same.  I was shocked when I found I hit this mile in 8:39.  We were out of the canyon now and the views changed considerably.  At mile 8, the course ventured off the road and onto the bike trail for the last 5 miles.


Miles 9-13.18:  Coming off the top of the hill and back down was my fastest mile: 8:20.  I really tried to pull back here because I know the bike path was going to be very slightly rolling and my gradual downhill miles were gone.  Once we turned onto the bike path, the path was windy and crossed a bridge.  Running across the bridge always gives me a slightly queasy stomach, and I slowed a lot.  This was my slowest mile at 8:53.

Stolen off of Beth's blog.  Thanks, Beth.
I was definitely tiring and my pace was slowing slightly.  I really just tried to focus on my iPod (which I turned on at mile 4 when I decided to go for broke!) and the Poudre River along my side.  It was probably about 50 degrees, perfect racing weather, and I just didn't want to lose such an ideal day giving in to the fatigue and I picked up the pace slightly (oh so slightly!  :)).  The last mile, I was pretty sick of the bike path and knew I had about a quarter mile left in town after the path so I keep praying for the path to end.  Finally got off the thing and my watch beeped that I had just finished 13.1 miles.....yet I still had some distance to the finish.  HATE long courses :).  I absolutely gave up the last .08 long mile (evident by my 9:24 pace - ha!) and crossed:

1:53:31 official time (8:39 pace.  8:37 pace if you take use the 13.18 miles)
296 / 1317 finishers
15 / 100 in my age group

I was pretty happy.  That's a 4 minute and 23 second improvement over the Platte Half I did 3 weeks ago (sorry, I wrote 2 weeks on FB...got the date wrong).  Yes, it was a bit faster course, but the thing I am most happy about is that I just plain and simply felt much, much stronger than I did at the Platte and I didn't slow to a crawl like I did there.  I really thought I was going to be death marching again, but I didn't, not really, and that makes me smile.

I didn't stick around after the race long; I really just wanted to get back to the hotel, shower, and get Abbey to go wander around town before heading home.  Abbey and I drove back up the course and it was still pretty windy so we didn't linger too long, but we did have some fun....

We howled at this picture.  Abbey looks terrified and I'm just typical dorky looking.  And yes, her hair is
now reddish and short, for all those that knew her blonde and long.  

Glad I wasn't in this porta-potty when it had a little mishap
A little celebratory Diet Coke and lunch with my favorite girl....



A bit of shopping downtown, the site of the race finish...


And then headed home in the late afternoon.

Every once in a great "new moon" does a race weekend unfold so nicely for me.  I am still a very long way from where my racing paces were pre-heel fiasco, but I've accepted that and as long as I feel I'm making small dents in my fitness, then I'm going to be just fine with wherever this comeback lands me.

Until next time....

Run strong!

68 comments:

Paul said...

Nice! Quite a huge improvement indeed in 3 weeks!

U r coming back gradually...good to see.

Heather @ Just a Colorado Gal said...

I think I saw you in line at the bathrooms before the race started! I went in and you were gone by the time I got out, so I never got a chance to say hi :) Great race, glad you had such an awesome day too!

PS My Garmin clocked it at 13.25 miles so I got even longer! :)

Kandi said...

It was just last week you told me you would kill for an 8:20 paced 10k. I think an 8:39 paced half marathon is much tougher! Especially if you saw the elevation chart of my 10k race. Great job on your race! I want to run a half marathon that fast someday!
Looks like you had a great day with your daughter!

abbi said...

Sounds like an overall great racing weekend! I love the shirt!

Shellyrm ~ just a country runner said...

Your Abbey looks beautiful! Love the new hair!

Congrats on a strong race. So glad to hear you are feeling stronger. Your recap sounds very upbeat and positive. Probably from a great race and a great visit.

Terzah said...

This speaks well of staying in hotels the night before a half! :^)

Congratulations! I'm so glad to read about you feeling good and racing well. I did laugh at the cold at the beginning, though--you can't seem to escape having some chilly aspect to your races recently.

Christy MyDirtRoadAnthem said...

Nice job on the half! That shirt does look like it says OC on it. Pretty pictures of the course!

ShutUpandRun said...

Nice work pulling out a 1:53!! I will never forget you being at that hill around mile 18 for me on my BQ day.

Sounds like you have a race-filled summer ahead - so fun - glad one of us is racing!

Teamarcia said...

Excellent race Jill! So happy you are back running well--now send some of that race mojo my way will ya?
Super pretty shirt and medal.
Abbey looks pretty! Of course she was pretty the other way as well. : )

HappyTrails said...

I am SO happy that things may be on the upswing and that you had a great all-around day. Since I already sent you a novel-length email earlier I will just say, "You go, girl!". :-)

Beth said...

Great job on your race! I am actually terrified that something awful will happen to me in a port-o-potty! And REALLY diet coke is your celebratory drink??? REALLY?

Jenny @ The Little J-Bird said...

Such pretty pictures! You ran a great race! Isn't it nice when things just come together? :)
Glad you girls had fun!! You both look so happy!
xo

Colleen ONeil said...

Hey that looks beautiful! Even if it wasn't as fast as you would've liked, at least you got a chance to run a lovely course. I'd kill to live out West with all those trails and keen people like you to run with.

bobbi said...

You are outstanding! Can't wait til I can run a sub-2 half :)

There's nothing quite like finishing feeling strong, is there?

Karen said...

I don't know what your running was like pre-injury because I'm kinda new here, BUT I think you're progressing really well. :) If getting faster were easy, it wouldn't be as fulfilling.

SupermomE12 said...

Love the medal and hte shirt (although I couldn't read it either until you told me what it said!)

Congrats on the great race. :) I want to do that full marathon one year!

Tricia said...

I saw OC in the shirt as well. Nice logo though really.

Congrats on the comeback -- that is a significant improvement in 3 weeks. And lots of chances in the summer for more it sounds like. Fun!

hiker mom said...

Way to go Jill! The scenery looks amazing. What a fun weekend:)

Michelle said...

Sounds like a great race weekend! What a beautiful spot to run!

Chicken said...

Awesome race report! Sounds like you had a fun little getaway!

Robin said...

Congrats on a great race. It looks like a beautiful place to run! Nice bling too...well done.

XLMIC said...

Nicely done, Jill! I do the leech thing too :P. Your daughter is lovely :)

XLMIC said...

Nicely done, Jill! I do the leech thing too :P. Your daughter is lovely :)

ajh said...

I LOVE LOVE LOVE that shirt and medal!

I love staying over for halves. You might find you want to do it more too!

Waiting in the cold for a long time sounds sucky! That's when you wish you had brought some throw away clothes.

I LOVE Running over bridges. It puts me in a happy place. I don't know if you remember but a few weeks ago I wrote about the woman ahead of me who yelled Oh Shit over and over all the way across the bridge.

Your stats and pace are amazing! I think you're fast my friend! You did great! Look at your placement!

And to top it off it looks like you had a GREAT time with your daughter. Big smile!

Julie said...

JILLL!!! That is fantastic!!! I'm so very glad you had a good race, it was time for a little confidence boost. You'll get there, you just need to believe. :) And what a great weekend with your daughter. Nice that you got to spend some quality one on one time together.

Caroline said...

I ususally dont like race shirt but this one is nice and I would wear it!

congrats on your race and great time!!!

love the pictures..beautiful!

Kate said...

Oh, your daughter's so pretty! How cool that she went with you. :)

Great race! Wow, the pictures are beautiful. I'm so jealous of all your scenery. Is this the same as every freaking one of my comments on your blog? Bored with that? Come run in Illinois...then I won't be saying that! More like...geez, Jill, more pictures of cornfields?? Really?

Happy for you that you wanted to push and were able to maintain! You're getting there!

Char said...

What a great race you had Jill. I'm glad you had the courage to keep going for it.

I'm curious about how that porta-potty ended up on its side. A gust of wind perhaps?

Mike said...

Ha, I saw OC on that shirt at first too. Glad it wasn't just me.

Great race! That's a nice pace and really great that you felt good. I hate being cold pre-race (and racing) so I do the ghetto arm warmer thing too with socks :-). Saw on someone blog they picked up a snuggie for pre-race warmth. I might have to hit up good will and pick up some disposable snuggies. Yes, I would be made fun of but they would secretly be jealous that I was warm and they weren't :-).

I would have gotten a hotel instead of leaving at 2:30am. Heck I'm thinking about getting one instead of leaving at 4 am this Sunday, but will probably stay at home.

Beautiful pics (as always). Congrats again!

pensive pumpkin said...

woooooo!!!!

(that's me cheering for your comeback!!)

you are getting after it, girl. way to go.

brg said...

was so happy to read this race report. 4.5 minutes faster that Platte?? hells yeah! But mainly I'm happy because you sound happy. AND i LOVE that picture of you and your daughter. :)

Tasha @Healthy Diva said...

I saw "OC" too, so you are the only one. Looks like you had a lot of fun. Colorado is so beautiful- I need to plan a vacation there soon!

Johann said...

Great run Jill! You are certainly getting stronger and back into good shape. This post and your time with Abbey made me a bit sad again about PP. I would so have enjoyed hanging out with you people after the race...:( One day our time will come...

Jennifer said...

Looks fab! You look fab, and what a nice improvement! Great shirt and medal. I know what you mean about the tempo thing, races are my best way to get it in too. Cheers!!

Mamarunsbarefoot said...

Wow how beautiful that course was!!!!! You look amazing Jill, I am soo incredibly happy for you! After all this crap I'm glad that you are feeling success!! xxoo

C2Iowa said...

Really nice race and pics! Glad it improved your outlook. Keep it up!!! As for Abbey's hair -- it appears that she can pull-off any look. ha It is good to be around your kids. Green with envy here.

Big Daddy Diesel said...

Congrats on another successful race

Marlene said...

Diet coke (must be from the fountain!) is my ultimate favourite post-race bevvie. Soooo good! Congrats on a GREAT race out there. Look at that smokin' AG placement!!

Tara said...

Oh, you put ME in your post! Yay! Love seeing that pic of us, brings back memories of that race. :)

Congrats to you my friend! You did an excellent job and I am way happy for you! I love that course, it's so pretty, and it sounds like you rocked that stupid hill too!

I like Abbey's hair, it's a nice change for her and the red looks good with her coloring. Love the mother/daughter time. :)

Tara said...

Oh, and when I first saw the shirt, I thought it said O.M. like Ommmmm. Dork.

Molly said...

whoo hoo! Your races are getting better and better! Love Abbey's hair : ) Congrats!

Christi said...

Great job girlie! Your daughter is beautiful!

Liz said...

That is a great time! Shame the scenery was nothing to look at - ha! I want to race in Colorado! It looks amazing. Fantastic running, well done!

Coy Martinez said...

I think I was cold sitting here just reading about you being cold waiting out there for over an hour with no pants. Well, no long pants that is :) HAHAHA!

Sounds like you're doing really great though! Heel shmeel!

That porta potty looks like the last place anyone would wanna be. Those things smell so vile this time of year.

Abby @ Have Dental Floss, Will Travel said...

Nice work - sounds like a really strong day!

Shana said...

Congrats on such a great race & such a fun time with your gorgeous girl!
I hope someday I have a race day like that.
Love & hugs.

Ewa said...

What a great race! You rock!
I love that t-shirt, whatever it says. :)

Neon Blonde Runner said...

Congrats on a strong race!!!

I wish I signed up for a lot more races, I agree, it's a great way to force myself to do some speed work haha.

Yes, your shirt totally looks like it says OC on it. My shirt from the OC marathon was a tinnnnnny "baby t" because they were all out of the normal sizes. Nope, not going to be wearing that one!

Bubble Boy said...

Great race Jilly Beans! Speaking of Beans, it appears someone had some deadly gas in that port-o-potty! I will be e-mailing soon to get started for Twin Cities Marathon!

The Green Girl said...

That is so funny - it totally looks like 'OC'.

Congratulations on running an awesome race, girl. So happy for you!

On the Right Track said...

Well that was a g reat, happy post...you could see it in all of your pictures!!! Your daughter is beautiful!

Your words hit me deeply and your advice was what I needed to hear! Thank you so much for understanding and letting me vent and worry...I am very thankful for each day I have and who I have it with...sometimes just need to be reminded about how much more patient I must be ;)

Thanks so much!

Raina said...

Great job Jill! You have improved a lot in just a few weeks. It's so nice to feel GOOD during a race.

Your daughter is BEAUTIFUL - even if she had green hair. :) Glad you both got to have some time together.

I liked reading your list of why you like to race. I never would have figured that you would have trouble keeping a tempo going. I still think the racing gig you got is super cool! I wish someone would front the dough for me to run 5 or 10 5ks (or 10ks) this summer :)

secondhand bicycles in uk said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jamoosh said...

Wow: Great scenery and a great race.

Not-so-wow: Diet Coke? With all thise great beers in Colorado? Beer is much better for recovery!

Petraruns said...

what a great race - and what a great pace! It's not a PB - yet - but you held on there, brave decision and a wonderful confidence booster to have in the bank.

Gorgeous scenery and you're looking good yourself - and your daughter is pretty too. nice going there ladies!

2 Slow 4 Boston said...

Cool Jill. Always nice to feel strong during and after a race. Seems like very few races where you beat you goal.

That is a confusing shirt. And with your medal on it, it looks like POC, or PCM. Nice medal BTW.

Next time, you have my permission to have a celebratory beer instead.

Evolving Through Running said...

Gorgeous pictures - truly running in God's country. "I like fast" ... I'm right there with you. Have to second Jamoosh's comment - no post-race beer in Colorado may land you in running jail. Really like that medal too. Great job.

TX Runner Mom said...

Great job! Looks like a beatiful course. What a fun weekend!

Suz and Allan said...

Great job! This looks like a beautiful course.

Amanda - RunToTheFinish said...

look out folks she is coming back! glad each race seems to be getting better, though hello the scenary has to help!!

maybe if we get to pick where to move next i'll start begging D to consider CO

Tina @GottaRunNow said...

That's a great finish time! That you felt stronger than the recent race is great, too! Have fun with all of the races!

Black Knight said...

Another great day of sport with great results!
Congrats for the fast finishing time.
Beautiful pictures.
Enjoy all the next races, you are an inspiration!

DRog said...

Ft Collins!~
nice running and great improvement...and lots of racing coming up!
the photos and scenery seems much better than when I lived there...though I probably was not paying attention:)

D

Adrienne said...

It does look like you plans # 2 and 3 are working out well! WTG on the 4-plus minute improvement!!

It's gonna be a fun summer:)

NY Wolve said...

Looks like a great Colorado race! All that sun (and the hills, too). And I agree, the shirt says OM!

Amanda@runninghood said...

NICE Jill! I love the shirt. And love seeing a post with your daughter in it. I think I ran a 1:53:xx this weekend too. I don't remember my exact time but I'm pretty sure. Sounds about right. I ran with Tasha. But your course was a lot harder!

Fair Weather Runner said...

i love that shirt and logo! i want to do this race just for that :) congrats on another half marathon, glad you enjoyed it!

Anonymous said...

Hey there would you mind letting me know which webhost you're using? I've loaded your
blog in 3 completely different browsers and I must say this blog loads a lot quicker then most.
Can you recommend a good web hosting provider at a honest price?
Thanks a lot, I appreciate it!

Feel free to visit my web-site :: how much should i weigh for my age and height