|River was very excited for the race|
|In front of the race start, there was no banner or anything just a timing mat, see that huge dam behind me? In about twenty minutes from when this picture was taken I will be trying to not have a heart attack as a I run across it|
|And we are off to conquer the mountain|
After the race started it was up a monster hill right away. My game plan was to just keep moving forward (as opposed to rolling back down the hills I guess). I never run hills so I was not shocked when I had to walk a lot of them. Me and a whole lot of other people that is.
|Why did I sign up to do this again?|
Part of the race was run next to Horsetooth reservoir. It was a very nice day out. A little on the warm side and a little windy but not too bad.
|Beautiful day next to the water|
|The Level 5 road sign is a warning of pain to come|
|Ugh hill number one million|
Perhaps one of the not so great aspects of this race is the fact that you can see the hills that you are going to have to climb from quite a distance. They just sit there and taunt you as you wheeze your way over to them.
When we got to the top of Monster Mountain there was some entertainment for us. So funny. I almost wore that same exact top hat for the race.
Once we got over what seemed like 80 miles of super steep hills there was a nice long downhill that transitioned out of the mountain area and back towards the city.
|See the road in the distance, yep another major soul crushing hill|
My goal for this race was to finish in less time than I ran it in 2006. And I did by about 12 seconds. So .....goal accomplished? This race had some mid-course goal adjustments happening. I honestly thought I would run a little faster but now thinking about it I am not sure why. This race is at a higher altitude and involves hills (GIANT HILLS), two things I ignore in my training. In 2006 I lived in Fort Collins and ran this course as practice so in that case perhaps I am in a little better shape now since I ran a similar time (though also older, but I like to think I am maturing like a fine wine). When I realized how slow the last few miles were going I had to just let my goal of finishing faster go and just enjoy myself. There was a time were I would have been upset about this but I think doing all these races has taught me how to adjust as needed and seeing as I am not going to win, it really is all about the experience, having fun, pushing myself and getting sweet race medals. Some races are for setting PRs, some races are for being grateful that you get to run (when you are not questioning whose bright idea it was to sign up for this thing and wondering why your legs won't respond to your commands).
|Power drive to the finish line|
The best thing about this race was that my sister, her fiance, and my parents were at the finish line cheering me on. I got so excited when I saw them I did a weird double wave, jumping jack while running move. Pretty graceful I am sure.
|Sweet sweet finish line|
So how did I do, well official results are not up yet but garmin says:
1 12:13.2 (uphill)
2 12:33.8 (uphill)
3 9:25.9 (downhill)
4 10:23.2 (downhill)
5 11:28.0 (uphill)
6 9:08.9 (downhill)
7 10:37.3 (downhill)
8 12:29.9 (uphill)
9 10:57.4 flattened out and oh man that was hard after flying downhill
After I met up with the family and made them hug me in all my gloriousness I tried to be less disgusting and we walked over to the
Overall this race was difficult but scenic. You can't beat the scenery but it takes some hill climbs to get there. The concrete bike path is pretty punishing on the legs after the uphill/downhill portion. I couldn't get it going on the bike path. The effort it felt like I was putting out should have been at least ten minute miles but were 11s. This is not a course to PR on but Fort Collins is a fun place to visit and this race is pretty well organized. Packet pick-up and the finish line is at the New Belgium brewery so that is a draw plus there is free beer at the finish for participants. Bring a water bottle or hydro pack. They seem to consistently run out of supplies at this race so better to just bring your own. I didn't see any gu on the course so bring your own of that too if needed. (I ate three in an effort to not die, but it didn't really help and I felt kind of bloated at the end probably from the three gus and three water bottles I drank, I was a sweaty beast for this one and the sun was pretty intense the whole way).
|Fort Collins Old Town square|