Adventures in Colorado and around the World

Spring Racing and Personal Records (PRs)

Spring racing season is officially upon me and I’m so glad it’s here. After long months of training on the trails and roads in and around Denver and Boulder, it’s absolutely amazing to finally test my mettle against some of the best runners (and obstacle course racers) in the country. Well, I don’t actually get to compete against them since the best racers are usually way in front of me, but at least I get to run the same race course as them.

Pikes Peak from I-25

Two weeks ago my sister and I ran the Nike Women’s Half Marathon through Washington, DC. My goal going into the race was a sub 2 hour half marathon. Unfortunately for me that didn’t happen due to a variety of weird issues going on with my body but my sister finished in 1:56:45. The most amazing thing about her time is that she ran negative splits the whole way (see her 5k interval splits below):

In addition to running negative splits the whole race, she didn’t really train for it and had never run longer than 8 miles. My sister rocks!

Although I didn’t achieve my sub 2 hour half marathon, I did get a PR of 2:12:42, 4 minutes and 34 seconds faster than my Platte River Half Marathon from the beginning of April and 8 minutes faster than the Rock N Roll Denver last September. The race course was really amazing, running past about 10 different landmarks in downtown DC. It was also really flat, which doesn’t play to my strengths, but was a nice break from mountainous Colorado running. 

 Mom, sister, and I before the start of the race

 My sister ready to rock the half!

Me with the Larabar that I carried for the whole race (and didn’t eat) 

 Me with the guy in a tuxedo that gave me my finisher’s necklace

The pretty Tiffany’s finisher’s necklace

Also while I was home my mom and I went to Great Falls to check out the loop part of the North Face Endurance Challenge that I’ll be running on June 1. The course is really fun! There’s a nice mix of graded forest service roads, non-technical single track, and rocky off-trail single track. The loop is almost 7 miles and it took my mom and I about an hour and a half, which included lots of stops to take pictures and trying to decipher the trail map when I got lost (which happened about 10 times!) It was great to get out and run with my mom and it made me really excited about my first foray into ultra-distance racing. Here are some pics from the course.

 A glimpse of the Potomac River from the trail

 Mom and I at the edge of the river

 Taking a break in the shade

 Pretty flowers along the trail

 I’m taller than the cliffs!

Great Falls

After a great weekend at home visiting family, I came home to piles of school work. I had three papers, one debate, and one pre-exam (for Statistics I have to take a pre-exam before the TA sends out the actual exam) all due by last Wednesday and have the actual Statistics exam and one more paper due by this coming Wednesday. After burying myself in school work all week, it was awesome to take a day off yesterday for the Colorado Spartan Military Sprint.

I started the day with the elite women’s heat. It was really entertaining watching other racers’ warm up routines prior to the start. For this race they split up the men’s and women’s elite start times by about 15 minutes. This was great, especially since there were only about 80 elite women in my heat. The course design was spot on this year. The course designer’s used a hill with radio towers on the top to their advantage this year, as evidenced by the fact that the race had about 750 ft of elevation gain, most of which happened during the five separate occasions where racers ran straight up and then down the hill, usually carrying something heavy like cinder blocks or ruck sacks with 50lbs (for women) or 100lbs (for men) in them. My goal for this race was to beat last year’s time of 1:52:41. Not only did I crush last year’s time with a time of 1:25:48 (based on my GPS watch, still waiting on official results), the course was half a mile longer and had 4 more obstacles. 

After my first time through the course

After running with the elite wave, I ran the course a second time with a team of my coworkers. On the second time around I skipped the obstacles I didn’t want to do (all the ones involving mud since I had already washed off between heats) and offered advice to my teammates. It was absolutely amazing to watch my teammates push beyond their limits and conquer the course. Every single person commented on the fact that the race was harder than they imagined it would be. Hopefully they will be back next year! 

The past two weeks have been really great for my racing and I can’t wait for the rest of my Spring and Summer racing season. I have set two PRs for two sports that I’m not training for (OCR and road racing). I am also looking forward to setting a PR for the 10k @ 10k training run this weekend. The 10k @ 10k is is a training run my relay team does every year through the old mining town of Goldfield, CO. Setting a PR should be pretty easy since I DNFed last year due to a calf injury. I also have an amazing pre-dawn run scheduled with my running buddy for Sunday! I can’t wait to run with her again. Until next week!