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Winter Park half marathon report, aka hills are my friends…

Not on the race course, but saw a lot of this.
Not on the race course, but saw a lot of this.

I suppose I should do a quick little race report so I can have record of my early mountain running days (I say this as if there will be more!).  I sorta trained for this race.  I did very, very hilly runs, 1-2 days a week and pushed on them.  That’s it.  I also savored hard conditions.  On an 80 degree, 96% humidity morning, I pushed 15 miles of a hilly run, and once I nailed that I knew I could handle some altitude.  This race was super low key, and I also knew that going into it.   So I knew it wouldn’t be super competitive.  But check out this course profile:

That top peak is over 9500 feet.  I live at about 100 ft.  So I knew I had some work, even though it was a small race.  I just didn’t want to have a 13.1 mile walk.  The beginning was hills right away and they were monsters.  I was surprised to be passing a lot of people and kept telling myself to slow down.  I just felt great though.  I was so happy to be running in the mountains, on Forest Service roads, with water rushing around me and amazing views, I just couldn’t feel crappy on the mega hills.  I had one of those great days were I felt good and had no negative thoughts.  I do admit on the last big hill at mile 6 my legs were burning like crazy and I questioned my ability to take on more hills, but then the down hills started.  Bombing downhill is the weakest part of my running, so I got passed back by some of the folks I passed.   Once the down hill became more gradual, I caught a few folks and had less than 5K to go.  I know to my marathon and ultra friends a half marathon does not seem like much, but this was a very challenging course and I was pushing it the whole way.  I still felt good the last couple miles, but I knew my legs would be done when I finished.  Super happy to see my fam at the end, I crossed the finish line with Jasper and was very shocked at where I finished in the results.  I am not a fast runner, I’m mid pack at best, but I do think sometimes these harder courses suit me and they are a bit of an equalizer.  I seem to do ok with heat and hills.  Anyhow, I was really stoked to have a good mountain race and definitely want to do more.   I love that my normal pace is erased for the day and it’s all about what is possible on the hills.  I also really love this distance for a hard race.  It was a challenge but I was functional the rest of the day.  I was very, very sore the next day, but nothing I didn’t expect.  So, check out Mt Evans, my next bucket list race.

It was just a treat to run in the mountains and enjoy the Rockies.  It’s a good thing to have a regular vacation spot, as we are really starting to learn our way around.  Lots of hiking, wildlife viewing, ice cream eating, swimming, and chilling out rounded out our trip.  It’s good to be home though.  I missed my green monsters for breakfast, and sleeping in my bed (I get bad insomnia when I travel).   But I do look forward to the day I am rich enough to have a summer home in Colorado, oh and not have to work so I can enjoy it all summer.  Then you Colorado runners better really watch out.  🙂

Seen on a hike.  Jasper was concerned it was raining on the moose's head.
Seen on a hike. Jasper was concerned it was raining on the moose’s head.
Coaxing the little boy up a mountain at 12000 feet.  Summiting ruined by a request to go poo-poo.
Coaxing the little boy up a mountain at 12000 feet. Summiting ruined by a request to go poo-poo.

 

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