Slacker Half Marathon today! I did not have an easy race, but it was a good one just the same.
Slacker was the first half marathon I ever ran - a scant two years ago. It’s amazing how much can happen in two years.
I met up with my friends Melissa, Tina, and Karen to drive up together. As an extra special treat Kelly from Here We Go met up with us to drive up to Georgetown. One of the best parts of this whole bloggy-world is being able to meet all kinds of awesome people!
The weather here in Denver was scorching - high of 104 today. We’ve been plagued by countless wildfires and no rain - the worst has burned over 75,000 acres and only 50% contained. The mountains are usually a cool relief, but today it was pretty darn toasty up there too.
At packet pick up I got in touch with Jill (Run With Jill). Usually we take busses to Loveland Ski Area for this point to point race. Today was our lucky day as Jill’s family was driving to the start line and had just enough room for the five of us!
So a little Slacker trivia ... it is the highest downhill half marathon in the country. We start at 10,800 feet and zip down to 8,500 feet. The air is thin, the views stunning, and the course quad crunching.
It was warm at the top. Normally I should be shivering but I was actually a little hot. On top of that, my gut had been giving me a lot of trouble since yesterday (probably should have skipped the Thai food until after the race). This should be interesting.
I hung out in the mid/back of the queue. Unfortunately, the first mile bottleneck was really bad - I doubt I actually started running until a half mile in - first mile 11:00 - OK, no PR today. Should have pushed closer to the front. There was a ton of dust in the air for that first mile due to the super dry conditions - but this did settle once the runners started spacing out.
By mile three I just wasn’t feeling good. Waves of stomach aches hit me - but I was able to run through them. I felt like I was just pushing to find a stride the whole time. At this point I should be in a happy groove but it just wasn’t happening.
Mile 6 and I needed a walk break. I was not feeling well at all. I’ll admit I was keeping a sharp eye on the bushes on the side of the road - but praying it wouldn’t come to that.
Surprisingly, my pace was not that bad. Sure I was a good 3 minutes behind due to the slow start and my walk break - but while I was running I was maintaining about an 8:45 pace - not too bad despite a cranky gut.
By mile 9 I was getting hot. The shade was long gone and I was feeling cooked. The views were gorgeous and I tried to focus on that, but I was dubious about even finishing under 2:00. Oh well, still hanging in there.
Mile 11 is my favorite part of the race. We pass a valley where we start a steep descent towards Georgetown. This is part of the route of the Georgetown Narrow Gage Railroad. The trees are lush with Clear Creek running wild below. Ahead is a beautiful trestle bridge along the railroad tracks. The engineers were running the train and whistling as we passed by. Positively perfect.
Mile 12 and I was feeling awful. I had to take another walk break. I was hot and cramping miserably. But no pit stops ... almost there, come on, come on, come on.
I was able to run the final half mile but I was feeling really sick. I was awarded with a scrumptious Otter Pop and I saw Melissa, Kelly, and Karen waiting for me.
Final time 1:59:20 - how about that, my second fastest half marathon!! AND 7:23 faster than my Slacker time last year!
Shortly Jill came in and Cynthia from brgInedsidis. I was so excited to meet Cynthia. She did really well and earned a sub 2:00 too! Tina came through and we went on to collect our goodies and snacks.
|Kelly, Karen, Cynthia, Jill, and half of Melissa|
I tend to hang out at after parties for a little while and head home but we stayed for a few hours. It was great to get to know Jill and Kelly better ... we just might have Kelly talked into running Detroit with us!
Jill’s son, Ryan, Kelly, and Karen all took second in their age groups ... AWESOME!!!
Alas, I think I have a tummy virus, or something lingering from lunch yesterday. I’m not feeling very well. But I’m settled on the couch bouncing between reading and getting this post together.
My legs feel fine - normally my quads are shredded after this run. In retrospect I am really glad things played out this way. The Aspen Valley Marathon is in two weeks and I might have totally screwed myself if I was able to push my legs today. I hope this will result in a stronger marathon. I think it will.