Monday, April 25, 2011

Cheyenne Mountain 25K

Cheyenne Mountain, CO
I took off for Colorado Springs after lunch on Friday.  I decided to save some money and camp in Cheyenne Mountain State Park; plus my campsite was a little up the road from the race start, therefore negating the need to hop in the car and rush to the start.

I got up at 6:30 (two-hours before the race started), ate a light breakfast and drank some coffee.  The weather was overcast and about 38 degrees with intermittent sprinklings of snow/rain.  The wind picked up throughout the race as well (so, weather-wise, the same crap I've been running in for the last 5 months).

I think what stands out most to me regarding the race was how difficult it was.  I underestimated that big time.  We had a total of over 2,500 feet of gain throughout the course.  The first few miles were nearly continuously uphill.  I was feeling decent through the first 10K and spent the next couple of miles going back and forth with another racer.  We were sitting in 6th and 7th position with 5th in sight.  Then I fell apart.

Me about mile 8.  I would lose that 'rock on' attitude shortly after that.
After the half-way point, we began a loop out in the open.  It was relatively flat until it went uphill sharply.  I got dropped on the climb.  I hit an aid station, grabbed a drink and a couple of PB&J wedges, and started out on the section of the course I'm still cursing.  

At 15K, we made a 'lollipop" on the course, meaning we made a one-way loop off the main trail where we had two-way traffic.  This loop was ~5K, and it sucked.  I was hurting pretty bad by that point, was out on my own, and stuck climbing some very difficult hills.  I was cold and ready to be done.  I was, up to that point, averaging about 25 minutes per 5K; I ran the 15K-20K section in 35 minutes.  I also got passed by the first overall woman at that point, but was too tired to care about getting chicked.  I finally finished up that 5K, and was thankful to see the last 5K to the finish was fairly flat.

Finally done!
I ended up 9th overall, 4th in my age group (0-39, kind of a weird age range), and figured that for my first race of the year (excluding the Trudge), and on a tough course, I didn't do too bad.  I now have a better idea of what I need to work on; I need to gradually increase the miles, get longer weekend runs in, and get up on the trails to get more experience running them (once the snow melts), and just try to stay healthy.  Those who beat me this weekend were guys sponsored by Colorado Running Company and who run those trails all the time.  I was lacking in experience.  It'll come.

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