Scatter my ashes here...

Scatter my ashes here...
scatter my ashes in the desert...

Sunday, April 13, 2014

2014 Horsetooth Half Marathon: Hell Freezes Over

About 1500 runners paid their dues today. There should be a new rule for running in bad weather: you should only have to run in crappy conditions once a year, and then you're done, the rest of your races will be on nice days.

This morning's race was everything you hope you'll never have to run in: rain/snow mix, face dermabrasion from sandblasting sleet, cold temperatures, damp, wind, puddles, mud, slush, and icy bridges where you almost wipe out and risk tearing your groin muscles out of the attachments.

But it was fun anyway. I ran my slowest time ever at this race, I'm pretty sure of that. Even two years ago when I was slow and heavy I ran faster. But that wasn't at the end of a 100 mile week.

I actually didn't do so bad, considering I powerwalked up all the hills and averaged faster and faster average splits for each segment of the race. The course does get faster as you go along, but if you're tired, that doesn't matter. I didn't slow down, and I ran my last 5K at a faster pace than I was able to run some of those mile repeats the other day!

It's not your average half-marathon. You start near Hughes stadium and immediately start going uphill, climbing 500 feet in about the first 1.8 miles. Then you go up and down big rolling screaming hills until 5 miles, slightly downhill to flat until mile 7, then you climb two more hills, a big long hill and a small hill, on Bingham Hill road. Then you turn down Overland Trail briefly and get on the Poudre Trail bike path going east toward Old Town, for a flat to ever so slightly downhill last 4 miles. It finishes by New Belgium brewing.

First thing this morning I was texting with my friend Jen, who needed a ride to the start. She already had her number, so she was happy to get there at the last minute. I stopped by and picked her up and we made it to the start just in time. The gun went off and I was happy to not be standing around in the cold.

Today was not the kind of day people wanted to stand around and drink beer. When I got done all I wanted to do was find Dennis and go home to take a hot shower. All those volunteers who stood out there in the cold and wet conditions should get beer for life.

I finished in 1:54:27 and my final 5K split was 25:32. 9:02 pace for the first 5 hilly miles, 8:44 pace overall and 8:14 pace for the last 5K. It was tough, I pushed hard with everything I had left. I would say after 7 miles I was feeling it...but somehow I got a small second wind around mile 10. At that point all I could do was watch for the milemarkers, gasp for air, and think about how many miles I had left: 97, 98, 99...to reach 100.

It wasn't too bad in the first 5 hilly miles, it wasn't until we turned east onto Bingham Hill Road that I started to notice the cold wind.

I have no idea how I did relative to other people, I really wasn't concerned about that, since this was one of those survival training runs. Hearing everyone else, it sounds like a lot of people had slower times this year. All I know is that when I run ultras, I never want the race to end. In these shorter races, I can't wait for it to end. Those last 4 miles took forever....

In true Fort Collins tradition, we got beer glasses, and a poster with a print by my friend and local running artist Tom Riggs.

So now it's taper time. I will do a fairly high mileage week coming up, something between 70 and 80, and then really taper for the two weeks leading up to Cornbelt. I've been hitting it hard and I want to get some good rest.

4 comments:

Rachel Gantenbein said...

Great job, Alene!! Your time was great especially considering your 100 mile week plus the horrible weather conditions you got there. Those beer glasses look pretty cool.

Alene Gone Bad said...

Thanks Rachel! I can't wait to fill that beer glass. But I'm still warming up.

Jen Sajbel said...

Great job and thanks for the lift to the start! Maybe next time we can run together in better conditions and a more relaxed setting? I didn't have a beer either--had a dollar in my pocket for the planned Boy Scout hotdog and headed out after that. We made it through the blizzard! YES, those volunteers should get beer for life... I tried to thank each and every one of them as I slogged past! Jen :)

Alene Gone Bad said...

Great job to you Jen! I'm ready for some spring weather. Looking out the window at what now looks like a blizzard, I'm still trying to warm up...