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Ralston Creek 13.1 Race Report

NCAthlete

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Ralston Creek 13.1 – Arvada, CO / Sunday, February 3, 2019

2/12 – Race per month 2019 goal

In case you forgot, I have a goal this year of running a race (of any distance) each month of the year! This was my February race.

I ran this race in 2014. The weather was pretty awful – cold, snowy, and the trails were pretty treacherous. At least one person had to have gotten injured during that one by slipping on ice. The weather is hit or miss this time of year so, “You never know what you’re gonna get.” I actually ended up having to wear the jacket that I brought because the layers I had on weren’t enough – Athlinks says the temp was 26°. However, this year was much different and it was about 47° and sunny at the start! I was in carpis and a thin LS shirt. The race director had reported the day prior that there were only a few icy spots on the course which were pretty negotiable – they even covered up a longer icy portion with carpet!

They had eight port-o-potties at the start, which turned out to not be enough. W and I had gotten there about an hour before the start and just sat in the car. I didn’t realize what the PoP situation would be and didn’t need to go until I was ready to go to the start. The line was LONG. There was one single line for all of them, which I think was fine, but it was moving slow – they needed more shitters. I HAD to pee BADLY and there were tons of buildings around, so I had to stand in line. The announcer kept asking any 5K runners to let the halfers go first, since their race didn’t start until 15 minutes later. I got through with THREE minutes to spare! They still started about five minutes late. This one chick had a dog that piercingly barked through all of the announcements and I didn’t hear a thing. When we took off, that dog was raring to go and was pulling her down the road. I can’t see running with a dog for an entire half marathon.

 

This was supposed to be a training run and I was supposed to keep the pace around a 9:20, but I can’t bear to run a half over two hours if I don’t have to. Once I started, the goal was to just go, not TOO fast, but just to go with what felt comfortable. I felt heavy and clunky when we started and wasn’t sure I’d be running under two hours. We ran on a wide road for about half a mile but then turned onto a smaller, standard-sized greenway that can comfortably fit about three-wide. It got really crowded and I was feeling claustrophobic. I got around as many people as I could and finally settled in.

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I’m #236. I was able to take my headband off after the first couple miles.

After a fast-ish first mile at 8:24, I settled into a nice pace: 8:40, 8:46, 8:39, and 8:45 for miles 2-5. Until looking at the elevation profile, I hadn’t realized how much of a uphill the whole first half is, so that makes me even prouder of that pace! After mile 5, we hit a hill that seemed like it would never end. It wasn’t steep but it was long, over half a mile but I didn’t walk once. Mile 6- 9:24.

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I had to wear my runway Goodr glasses because I forgot my others. I also got a little sunburned on my face.

Once I crested the hill, I wanted to try to make up some time because I could see the next and biggest hill coming up in the distance. It was hard to see it from so far away and see all the bright shirts of other runners in the switchbacks. Mile 7- 8:45. I took a run/walk approach to this hill, just as I did during the Mt. Evans ascent, and it really does help. When I was passed by a runner while walking, I’d end up passing them back when I started running again. This hill was about a MILE and I still managed a 10:18. It was basically all downhill after that and I wanted to make up time again.

Race Character: “Alice” – I remember first seeing Alice in front of me very early in the race. Once I realized we were going at about the same pace, with her about 5 seconds ahead of me, I thought I’d try to pace off of her. She was very energetic and kept talking to the people she’d pass. She would hoot and holler even when no one was around. She yelled out after almost every mile marker. When we hit the half-way point, and actually at the 10K mark, she yells out, “HALF WAY THERE!” A few seconds later, and with the correction of a guy in front of her, yells out, “OOPS! SORRY! ALMOST HALF-WAY!” We did a bit of leap frogging up the hill, but she settled in again in front of me after it.

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Mile 9- 8:02. It had heated up by this point and I was getting a little warm. I was starting to feel the effects of the heat and my inconsistent training. Miles 10 to 12- 8:28, 8:37, 8:53. I was trying to keep up the pace but was running out of gas. At mile 12, I was just trying to maintain and to keep it under a 9 min pace. I had nothing left in the last mile and just kept putting one foot in front of the other. I let two ladies pass me in that last mile, one while I could see the finish line. Mile 13- 9:04. I had nothing left in the tank – just as I like it. I think the course was a bit long because everyone around me had watches going off well before we got to the mile markers. Mine was 0.25 over which isn’t insignificant – that’s a whole lap around the track! I was running the tangents as often as I could. Anywho, my official time was 1:57:00 on the dot. Good and surprisingly enough for 3rd place in the 35-39 age group! I almost didn’t even look at the results because I thought there was just no way I’d place. Alice finished about 30 seconds ahead of me and was in the F45-49 age group : ) We gave each other high-fives in the finish area and I let her know how much she helped me.

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The wind picked up after the race, and when I got tired of waiting for the awards ceremony, I went up to the table to ask about it and they just gave me an award mug:) They had awesome breakfast burritos and chocolate chip banana bread in the tents!

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Race Stats: (2019 vs 2014)

  • Finish Time: 1:57:00 / 1:55:31 in 2014. UGH! I didn’t think I’d ran it that fast in 2014!
  • Overall: 85 of 248 / 127 of 484. WOW! What a drop in participants!!
  • Gender: 21 of 125 / 39 of 282
  • F35-39: 3 of 21 / F30-34: 11 of 63
  • Weather: ~50 / ~26 (Athlinks)

Yeah, that was five years ago but I always want to do better. Don’t get me wrong, I am SUPER proud of myself and the effort that I put out. On race day, there is nothing I could have or would have done differently.

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That Alice is a real self-motivator. Killer hills.

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Yeesh that elevation profile! 

People like Alice need to switch to decaf. Yes I know I'm a curmudgeon. 

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I love that race for two reasons:

1. The first half is so challenging, you really feel like a badass when you get to the top of that last hill

2. That banana bread with chocolate chips at the finish line.

You gotta be in shape for that one, though … maybe next year. 

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didn't realize that course was quite so hilly.. yike. Good work.. 
Every year I think I'd really like to do either that one or the 3 Creeks half, every year rolls around and I'm injured.. ha. 

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2 hours ago, doug in co said:

didn't realize that course was quite so hilly.. yike. Good work.. 
Every year I think I'd really like to do either that one or the 3 Creeks half, every year rolls around and I'm injured.. ha. 

I’m sorry you’re always injured! I’ve done 3 creeks as well and it’s not too bad. I might do that one again sometime. I forgot how hard RC was 

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