Joe Colton Off Road Run

Enjoyed camping in the canyon where todays race was held (apparently also a very busy train route).  When the 3rd train of the night woke us up around 4:30 a.m., Aaron just got up and went running.  The kids slept another couple of hours and at 6:30 a.m. we all woke up and ate breakfast.  Aaron got back 30 minutes later and we hiked around a little bit to warm up (the temp was still in the low 40s) and broke camp.  Drove the 7 miles down the canyon to the race start and I got out to get my race bib and shirt.  Saw Tony (my teammate), made a potty stop, and ran a 1 mile warm-up. Stretched for a few minutes, did one stride, and chatted with Nuta (whom I’ve now raced three times and am well aware of her speed).  I asked her if she was doing the 10 mile or the 15 mile and she said 15 (I knew from last year’s results that she had won the 10 mile course in 6:12 pace).  She asked if I had run it before and I said no, so she told me a bit about the course, warning me about the tough final two miles before the turn around and wishing me luck.  She said she has done quite a few training runs on that road because it is great for altitude training on a hilly but smooth road.  After running the race, I can attest to the fact that it is very challenging course and could be strengthening if run often.

The race started around 9 a.m. and I felt pretty comfortable with Nuta for a couple of miles.

Mile 1 – 6:19 Little bit rolling, net uphill though

Mile 2 – 6:31 Little more uphill

My heart rate started to go up and my respiratory rate was obviously faster than Nuta’s so I decided I’d better be smart and not kill myself in the first quarter of the race.  Slowly let Nuta go.  After all, I had a lot of climbing to do and I’m not exactly “hill trained.”

Mile 3 – 6:37 more climbing

Mile 4 – 6:44 still climbing, took a gu at the aid station right before mile 5

Mile 5 – 6:37 seems to be a theme here…climbing, climbing, climbing

Mile 6- 6:23 little less climbing

Mile 7 – 7:30 serious climbing (200 ft gain in this mile) respiratory rate shot through the roof

Mile 8 – 6:33 the mild climb equalled itself out because 7.5 mile point was the turn-around.  Nuta had a solid minute on me at the turn-around but I still wanted to give a good effort in catching her and I knew I had a steep downhill mile ahead of me so I tried to use the momentum to see if I could reel her in a bit.

Mile 9 – 5:37 (200 ft drop) At the end of this mile my legs were really throbbing from the pace change and hammering down the hill.  Nuta seemed to be just as far ahead of me, if not farther and I decided again to just run my own race and not kill myself to try and catch her.  I could have decided to run beyond my pain threshold and blow my quads out trying to catch her and then probably still fallen short.

Mile 10 – 6:11 What goes up must come down and I’m really appreciating the downhill at this point.  Took another gu at mile 10 aid station.

Mile 11 – 6:10 more down

Mile 12 – 6:26 starting to feel pretty fatigued here.  My quads were pretty much screaming at me and my head was starting to feel a little dizzy with the heat and sun, so I pulled back on the throttle a bit.

Mile 13 – 6:23 ran by the river and enjoyed the cool air coming off the water totally unaware of anyone else around me and just enjoying the beauty of the canyon

Mile 14 – 6:18 just keep moving forward.  Tired though.

Mile 15 – 6:30 rolling but net downhill.  I’m completely spent. Apparently I went out a little too fast because this mile was faster going up the hill than coming back down at the end.  Oh well.  I’m just glad to be finished.

Total time – 1:36:53 (6:30 AP) with around 800 ft elevation gain/loss

Saw Bean and Dianne (more teammates) at the finish.  Dianne had run the 10 miler and Bean is injured but came up to hike around and cheer.  Tony came in around 1:50 and we whined together about the intense 7th mile heartbreak hill.

Nuta finished about 2 minutes ahead of me, so she had put another minute on me on the downhill. Overall I was very pleased with my effort considering my lack of hill training.  It was also the longest run I have done in a couple of months, so I’m pretty happy with how my body held up.

About 15 minutes after I finished, Aaron and I grabbed the kids and did the family fun run together (1 mile).  Aaron ran with Abe and Breanne and I walked, ran with, and carried Ali.  Ali and I actually turned around at the quarter mile check-point just as Abe passed us at his 3/4 mile check-point.  We did our half mile in about the same time as Breanne and Aaron finished their 1 mile.  Abe ran the whole way and finished strong.

Breanne ran with Aaron and kept telling him how much fun she was having and how cool it was to run her first “race.”  The kids all got little finisher’s medals and toy prizes, which they loved.  We ate some post-race grub and stayed for the awards ceremony (I got a $25 gift card to Boulder Running Company and a Timex watch).  Fun day!

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