Our babysitter arrived 5 minutes early (Thanks, Brenna!) but we still left the house 20 minutes later because we must have been overly optimistic about the morning routine. We found ourselves going in and out of the house three times before actually driving off. Arrived at the race 50 minutes before start time and Aaron dropped me off to pick up our race bibs while he found a parking spot. We had a hard time finding each other again after he parked due to our poor communication, the 1000+ people wandering around and the unfamiliar packet pickup area but we finally hooked up again and started our warm up about 35 minutes before race start time. We jogged the course and did some strides down the final half mile, then went to the car to change into shorts and take my long sleeve off since it was super warm and balmy (37 degrees). We arrived at the starting line with 1 minute to spare feeling a little bit rushed and un-stretched which is not really unusual for me but still slightly uncomfortable.
The race went out FAST with Fiona Docherty at the front and Tera Moody and me stride for stride behind her. Cassie Slade was right behind us within striking distance too. We came through the first mile in 5:15. My legs felt pretty flat but there I was. Second mile had a steady climb and Fiona fell back while Tera and I pushed forward to a 5:28 split which felt much less comfortable and labored than the faster first mile. The uphill in the second mile was very gradual but challenging. The final 1.1 mile was fast and mostly downhill except for one short climb with less than a half mile to go where my respiratory rate shot through the roof and oxygen debt set in (thank you 5,500 ft altitude). I didn’t get the exact split on my final mile because I forgot to stop my watch at the finish but based on my calculations, it looks like I ran 5:07 pace for the final 1.1 mile. Tera and I were together for most of the final mile and I started to feel unsure of whether I could stay with her when she surged up the short hill with less than a half mile to go but I just stuck to her like glue and then at the top of the hill I felt encouraged by the downhill finishing sprint and I surged hard to the finish, gaining just a few seconds on her. It was a very close race and a tough sprint to the line.
After the race it was nice to catch up with Tera and Cassie. Tera was really happy with the fact that she ran a minute faster than she did last year on the same course and encouraged by the fact that she is sharper in her fitness than she thought she was. Cassie had done some extra intervals right before the race and was happy with her “workout race.” She is looking fit and ready for the Houston Half. I didn’t get a chance to talk to Fiona much but she is looking super fit too. I love how I can jump into a regular “low-key” local race here in Boulder County and be pushed to very challenging effort and solid finish time (a 4 second PR, even!)
Aaron took a big chunk out of his PR and finally eclipsed the 18:00 mark by 8 seconds. He joined his “mountain men” ultra running buddies for an easy 7 mile cool down while I did a shorter cool down with Tera and Cassie. When I got back to the car and figured Aaron was still running, rather than just sitting in the car waiting for him, I went into the crowded cafeteria for some oatmeal pancakes, oatmeal banana muffin and fresh longmont dairy chocolate milk (Mmmmmmm……) Tera said they didn’t have an awards ceremony last year so I assumed they weren’t having one this year either which was perfectly fine with me, I always get cold waiting around for those anyway. I think I did win a couple hundred bucks which I assume they will send in the mail. Super fun race! All the runners even got a free canister of Oatmeal!
After a nice afternoon of rest and more food, now I’m heading to FAC for a session in the weight room and an easy 4 mile shake out run to complete another week of solid training for Houston. Tomorrow…I will SLEEP. A LOT.