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Rain Man
07-21-2009, 12:56 AM
As some of you know, I was a participant in the Tinyevel weight loss contest, and as part of that I started jogging. 3 miles became 4 miles, which became 5 and then 6 and then 8, and then last month I ran my first half-marathon here in Denver. I thought it went pretty well overall. I wasn't in the top half of finishers, but I finished it and did pretty well.

My wife had a friend getting married up in the mountains, and I googled around and found a half-marathon in Vail, so I signed up for it.

All half-marathons are not the same.

This was actually about 10 percent longer than a traditional half-marathon, at 14.5 miles, but I figured that wasn't a problem. It's long, but if I can do 13.1 without trouble I can do 14.5.

The altitude was a bit of a worry since Vail is at about 8,000 feet, but I figured there's only one way to find out.

Then I saw the course map. Here's a link, http://www.vailrec.com/ckfinder/userfiles/files/TrailMaps/09_half.pdf, and a picture is below.

So the first 9.7 miles of this thing is up a mountain, topping out just under 12,000 feet in elevation. You're basically gaining 4,000 feet in elevation without respite during that stretch, and then coming back down 2,000 feet in the last 4.8 miles. At 12,000 feet, you're getting 20% less oxygen than you would in Denver, and about a third less than at sea level.

But hey, I'm willing to take a shot, so I sign up for it.

I show up at the starting line, and there's a few hundred people there milling about. And they line us up and have us start.

Mile 1 - Not too bad. It's a dirt road, but it's reasonably wide. However, everyone's all bunched together, and some older guy with no shirt keeps getting in front of me and slowing down with this little trundling jog, so I can't get a good pace as I avoid him. It's a steady uphill run, but doable.

Mile 2 - I've managed to get around Mr. No Shirt, and we're spread out enough that I'm doing okay on my pacing. I'm playing cat and mouse with some woman who's got three small canteens on her belt and is wearing an easy-to-spot turquoise top. No problem. It's a steady uphill run.

Mile 3 - First aid station. If you don't make it there in an hour, you're disqualified, but that's no problem. It's probably only been about 30 to 35 minutes. I've noticed that I'm sweating profusely, and since I don't have water, I stop and get a drink. Turquise Top passes me and gets a reasonable lead, but no problem. I'll catch her again, but man oh man, it's still uphill and there are no level spots at all. In fact, now the road has these moguls in it, maybe four or six places per mile where the road suddenly has a tiny steep hill that then drops into a tiny steep ditch, which then has a tiny steep incline on the other side to get back to the slope. They're small, maybe three foot hills, but they really mess up your pace.

Mile 4 - I've never stopped running on a training run or in my first half-marathon in June. It's a point of pride. But seriously, this is ridiculous. There's no place to catch your breath, it's just a nonstop climb. For the first time since January, I actually have to slow to a walk, and I've still got 10 miles to go. I alternate walking and jogging. Everyone's spread out enough by now that I occasionally pass or get passed, but there's usually no one within about 100 feet of me. Those moguls in the road are not cool.

Mile 5 - For the love of god, this is really hard. No level spots, just uphill. I'm alternately walking and jogging now, but I can't keep my pace for more than a quarter-mile at most before I have to walk again. However, my jogs are still making good time. I can see Turquoise top up ahead of me, and she's keeping a slow but steady pace. However, my walk-jog combos are actually catching her, and I'm only about 100 yards behind her.

Mile 6 - Aid Station 2. Gotta get some water. I stop and slurp down some water. Turqoise top keeps going. Damn those canteens. I need some canteens. By now, I'm walking as much as I'm jogging, and she's slowly pulling away from me. The switchbacks pose me a major dilemna, as I can hug the inside but they're steeper, or I can go outside and walk further but at less of an angle. I choose outside.

Mile 7 - Oh, man. Mr. No Shirt is now running even with me. He's caught me after six miles, trundling along with his little short-stepped pace, and I can't see Turquoise Top any more. Every time I walk, No Shirt passes me, and then I pass him again when I jog. We're approaching 10,000 feet, and my legs are feeling the climb. I'm shuffling more than jogging, and I break out one of my little energy gel goos. I'm not sure if it helps.

Mile 8 - I think it's getting steeper. There's a big switchback, and I'm please to see that Turquoise Top isn't really that far ahead of me, just farther up the mountain. Mr. No Shirt is shuffling by her, having won his duel with me. This is brutal. I walk about 3/4ths of this mile, and chat with some guy from Dallas who's using his phone to check on the Tour de France. I can't tell if I can't run because I'm out of wind or out of legs, but I think it's a tie.

Mile 9 - Aid Station 3. You have to make it here in 3 hours or less, but I'm in good shape, running something under 2 hours. Well, not really running. We're up high enough now that there's snow on the road, and then it turns into a trail more than a road. I stop and get some water, and chat with some woman from Orlando who's in the process of slowing passing me as we both walk. At one point, there's a clearing in the trees, and I can see a huge bunch of people, maybe 30 or more, all only a few minutes ahead, all walking. I think I can catch them eventually. One of them looks like Turquoise Top, but Mr. No Shirt is long gone. That dude is fast.

Mile 10 - Summit, glorious summit! There's a little water station at the top of the hill, and a big downhill stretch. I ask the guy if this is really the top, and he says there are a couple more big hills and one more climb, but this is the hard part. I take off, and it feels like I'm flying, whooshing downhill at speeds approaching the speed of sound, or at least a reasonable jogging speed. This is heaven.

Mile 11 - Downhill, downhill, downhill. The trail is now only a foot wide in a high mountain pasture, so you have to stop and step aside if someone wants to pass. The views are absolutely spectacular, a big mountain valley with the Mount of the Holy Cross across the valley. I don't pass anybody, but three 20-something women all cruise by me. I don't know where they came from, but they apparently run downhill faster than me, and I nearly brain myself when I step aside to let one pass and catch my shoe on a root. At some point we end up on a cliff and you have to climb down, which ordinarily wouldn't be too bad, but after 10 miles you're taking it pretty slow. I slip and catch my left thumb under the bark of an old log, which hurts, and then when I get to the bottom the dirt skids out from under me and I catch myself by grabbing some kind of thorny bush with my right hand. Another 20-something woman passes me as the trail widens into a big dirt road in front of a ski lodge, where I stop for a drink and an energy goo at Aid Station 4. I don't know where these women are coming from.

Mile 12 - Long and level, with maybe even a slight downhill. We're out of the forest now, and it's pretty good visibility. I can do this. I'm almost there. And what's that? Up on the horizon, there's Turquoise Top! She's only about three or four minutes ahead of me! Damn those canteens! I chat with a couple of other guys who've slowly caught me, as we're all jogging at a pace that may be slower than walking.

Mile 13 - Oh...my...god. I thought I had it under control, and then it looms ahead. Kloser's Klimb. I don't know how big that hill really is, but at 13 miles it looks like a roller coaster track, straight up and with an upside-down twist at the top, as tall as 10-story office building or more. There wasn't even an attempt at jogging. I walked up that thing, and there was about a sixty-second span when I actually thought I was going to just stop and sit down, but I knew if I did it'd be hard to get back up. Major, major morale hit. I dragged myself to the top, and then as extra punishment, it was so steep on the other side that I had to run with my brakes on the whole way down. At the bottom of the hill was Turquoise top, but I stop at the aid station and she pulls away again.

Mile 14 - Back on narrow one-person trails in the trees, and it's really pretty easy at this point. Relatively shallow downhill, but enough that I can coast. There are times when I can't see anybody in front or in back of me.

Mile 14.5 - I'm cruising along, thinking I've got to be near the end, and up ahead I see a guy jogging along, older than me. I feel guilty about passing anybody after 14 miles, but he steps aside and lets me pass and we comment that we're about ready to be done with this. As I pass, I can hear cheering in the distance. Finish line! I'm making good time now, cruising along. Another few hundred years, and then I hear footsteps behind me. I glance back, and there's some woman gaining on me. I have no idea where she came from. I keep up the pace so that she can't catch me, because the trail is narrow and I'm not going to get passed at this point. She stays behind me, and is slowly gaining ground, and then...nirvana! I can see the trail is about to spill out onto a dirt road, and I can see the finish line! But she sees the same thing and makes her move, and all of a sudden she's right behind me. As soon as we're on the road, she hits the gas and is passing me in the last 100 yards, but no ma'am, that's not going to happen. So I hit the gas and she speeds up and I speed up and the crowd sees it and starts cheering and she pulls ahead of me and I reach deep inside my gut and throw everything into it and blow by this 53 year-old woman and take the flag a full two seconds ahead of her. I look her name up later and see that a few years ago she finished a 100-mile mountain race in about 29 hours.

3 hours, 23 minutes, and 2 seconds. 208th place out of 253 finishers. I may have been in the bottom 20 percent of finishers, but I am wearing that t-shirt with pride, my friends. Wearing that t-shirt with pride.

Ari Chi3fs
07-21-2009, 01:07 AM
COngrats man! That is amazing!

Did you even run/jog before the weight loss challenge?

Phobia
07-21-2009, 01:10 AM
So, we're not gonna excuse such a lengthy absence from ChiefsPlanet in the future, Mr. Kevin. That is not what you signed on for and guess what? You can't just leave. Ha! No more 1/4, half, or full marathons.

Baconeater
07-21-2009, 01:12 AM
I'm out of breath just from reading that.

Chiefs=Good
07-21-2009, 01:30 AM
That is an epic tale of win! Congrats mate!

Guru
07-21-2009, 01:36 AM
Weeeeeez.... weeeeez....

You wore me out there Mr. Rain Man.

ziggysocki
07-21-2009, 06:28 AM
Good work Rain Man. You should come run the KC marathon with me in October. I gotta warn you though, the hills here are brutal! Seriously, great job!

Mile High Mania
07-21-2009, 06:38 AM
Congrats, but can you answer the question on everyone's mind ... was "Ms. Turquoise Top" a hot or not?

Skip Towne
07-21-2009, 06:46 AM
Good job, Kevin.

DeezNutz
07-21-2009, 06:58 AM
Wow. Very, very nice.

You should be proud.

Katipan
07-21-2009, 07:09 AM
I'm exhausted just reading about it.

Way cool.

Otter
07-21-2009, 08:00 AM
You're reborn Kevin, researching with an attitude!!! Congrats!

I hope with all this new found stamina & energy the wife is reaping some benefits as well. All the extra yard work getting done and all that.

bevischief
07-21-2009, 08:16 AM
Congrats!

rockymtnchief
07-21-2009, 08:27 AM
I need a nap now. I'm all wore out.

Congrats!

the Talking Can
07-21-2009, 08:35 AM
is it true your nipples bleed on marathons?

ziggysocki
07-21-2009, 08:37 AM
is it true your nipples bleed on marathons?

They definitely can. But usually only happens to newbs. Most experienced runners will take steps to ensure that doesn't happen... lube, band-aids, nipple covers... etc. But raw nipples hurt like a mofo.

rageeumr
07-21-2009, 08:40 AM
The Hospital Hill Half and KC Marathon/Half have been enough to show me that I don't need to try to run up any mountains. A half mile of straight uphill is enough for me, I don't need 10 miles of it.

Congratulations, that is one heck of a tough course.

rageeumr
07-21-2009, 08:42 AM
They definitely can. But usually only happens to newbs. Most experienced runners will take steps to ensure that doesn't happen... lube, band-aids, nipple covers... etc. But raw nipples hurt like a mofo.

True story. I start chafing 3-4 miles into a run depending on the shirt. Thank you Band-Aid Clear Spots!

I know plenty of people who never have any issues, though, no matter how long the run is.

ChiTown
07-21-2009, 08:43 AM
SWEET!

I'm not sure I'd have the sack to do a half-marathon+ at that altitude, up so many hills.

Congrats!

mlyonsd
07-21-2009, 08:50 AM
The Mile 14.5 paragraph was written so well the visualization made me laugh.

burt
07-21-2009, 08:55 AM
The Mile 14.5 paragraph was written so well the visualization made me laugh.

damn.....I ran out of gas at 7 miles....was it really that good? Oh well, maybe next year I can finish a marathon story......

penguinz
07-21-2009, 09:09 AM
Sounds like you need to work on your pace. ;)

ziggysocki
07-21-2009, 09:10 AM
I ran my first full marathon in Fayetteville Arkansas in April. I had run training runs of 20 and 21 without too much of a problem. The difficulty goes up exponentially at the end of the race. Even with the steep Arkansas hills I was feeling good around mile 19-20 but by 22-23 I began to wonder WTF I was thinking! It took all I had not to walk the last 2 miles. My goal was 4 hours, which I made with about a minute and a half to spare. Easily the toughest, most rewarding physical challenge I ever completed. You should go for it Rain Man, just make sure you train hard for a few months leading up to the race.

Mr. Flopnuts
07-21-2009, 09:23 AM
That's something to be proud of. Running up the mountain at that distance is no joke.

patteeu
07-21-2009, 10:04 AM
I'm out of breath just from reading that.

Me too! That's a great story, Rain Man. Quite an accomplishment.

Saulbadguy
07-21-2009, 10:14 AM
Where is the poll?

Jilly
07-21-2009, 10:19 AM
Congratulations! It sounds, although hard, like it was a beautiful run. Hope you took in the scenery a little.

cdcox
07-21-2009, 10:47 AM
When you signed up for this, what part of 7% average grade did you not understand? That is quite an accomplishment.

This would rate as a catagory 1 (second hardest category) mountain in the Tour de France if it was on a smooth paved surface. Imagine going up that mountain at 15mph or better on a bike.

Brock
07-21-2009, 10:49 AM
That's quite an accomplishment, congratulations.

Extra Point
07-21-2009, 10:56 AM
Pike's Peak Marathon is only a couple weeks away! Way to go, Rainman!

beach tribe
07-21-2009, 11:15 AM
The energy gel goo? Is that the steroid gel you rub into your belly? J/K dude.

acesn8s
07-21-2009, 11:38 AM
EPIC F...





















FINISH

Congratulations!

Rain Man
07-22-2009, 05:42 PM
Good work Rain Man. You should come run the KC marathon with me in October. I gotta warn you though, the hills here are brutal! Seriously, great job!


Hey, what do you think? How hard is a relatively flat marathon compared to this half-marathon? I'd decided I had no interest in a marathon, but then I started thinking that if this was 14.5 miles with these hills, maybe it's kind of the equivalent of something longer on flat ground, which gets me closer to a marathon. I'm trying to decide if it's worth the effort to do a marathon.

Rain Man
07-22-2009, 05:46 PM
Sounds like you need to work on your pace. ;)


I had to chuckle at the end, because on level ground I walk at about a 18 minute pace and jog at a 10 minute pace. I know I didn't walk half of this thing, but I think my jogging was pretty slow. At about the 5 or 6 mile pace, I was next to a guy who was timing himself and he said we were averaging 13 minute miles, and I'd been jogging most of the time by that point. That uphill part really slowed down the pace.

Rain Man
07-22-2009, 05:47 PM
SWEET!

I'm not sure I'd have the sack to do a half-marathon+ at that altitude, up so many hills.

Congrats!

Well, truthfully it was only two hills.

ziggysocki
07-22-2009, 06:36 PM
So what do you say Rain Man... K.C. Marathon (http://www.kcmarathon.org/) in October... should be a breeze after that mountain climbing expedition you call a half. Much props on that run... hills suck.

Rain Man
07-22-2009, 07:32 PM
So what do you say Rain Man... K.C. Marathon (http://www.kcmarathon.org/) in October... should be a breeze after that mountain climbing expedition you call a half. Much props on that run... hills suck.

That's quite tempting. However, the Denver marathon is the next day, and I think I'm going to do that half marathon just because it goes more or less right by my house. (The marathon is half a block away at roughly the 12.5 mile point, but it's right after the half splits off.) I may work up the guts to try the marathon, but at this point I'll at least do the half.

So what do you think? What was my 14.5 equivalent to on flat ground? 17? 20?

mlyonsd
07-22-2009, 07:45 PM
That's quite tempting. However, the Denver marathon is the next day, and I think I'm going to do that half marathon just because it goes more or less right by my house. (The marathon is half a block away at roughly the 12.5 mile point, but it's right after the half splits off.) I may work up the guts to try the marathon, but at this point I'll at least do the half.

So what do you think? What was my 14.5 equivalent to on flat ground? 17? 20?

From someone that only runs about 10-12 miles a week on the treadmill (4-12% incline) every week all I can say is I admire you.

rageeumr
07-22-2009, 08:01 PM
That's quite tempting. However, the Denver marathon is the next day, and I think I'm going to do that half marathon just because it goes more or less right by my house. (The marathon is half a block away at roughly the 12.5 mile point, but it's right after the half splits off.) I may work up the guts to try the marathon, but at this point I'll at least do the half.

So what do you think? What was my 14.5 equivalent to on flat ground? 17? 20?

Here is an elevation map that I did based on the data from my GPS watch in this year's Hospital Hill half. I've found that it's not super accurate, but it gives you an idea.

The reason I show you this is because Runner's World featured this race a few months back in an article about toughest courses, and as you can see, it's nothing like what you did. Climbing 4,000 feet in 9 miles should be reserved only for Gitmo detainees.

I don't know about equivalencies, but that hill in the first few miles really took it out of me this year, but I recovered quickly after it leveled off. If you can get up 4 or 5 miles of that crazy course without walking, I bet you could finish a full if you trained right until October.

Rain Man
07-22-2009, 08:25 PM
Here is an elevation map that I did based on the data from my GPS watch in this year's Hospital Hill half. I've found that it's not super accurate, but it gives you an idea.

The reason I show you this is because Runner's World featured this race a few months back in an article about toughest courses, and as you can see, it's nothing like what you did. Climbing 4,000 feet in 9 miles should be reserved only for Gitmo detainees.

I don't know about equivalencies, but that hill in the first few miles really took it out of me this year, but I recovered quickly after it leveled off. If you can get up 4 or 5 miles of that crazy course without walking, I bet you could finish a full if you trained right until October.

I'm really tempted to try a full at Denver in October. I've got an employee who runs them, though, and he scares me a little with all of his training and stuff. However, he actually runs them fast, which is a key difference between him and me.

The weekend before I ran at Vail, he did the Leadville Marathon. Wanna see a crazy climb? Check this out:

You go up 2,000 feet in the first 6 miles, which isn't as tough as Vail, but then you go back down and head for the Steep Hill. Starting at Mile 10, you go up another 2,000 feet in 3 miles, ending up at over 13,000 feet. That's just plain ugly. My employee said that coming down was also really hard if you didn't want to fall and kill yourself, because it's on loose rock.

rageeumr
07-22-2009, 08:34 PM
I'm really tempted to try a full at Denver in October. I've got an employee who runs them, though, and he scares me a little with all of his training and stuff. However, he actually runs them fast, which is a key difference between him and me.

The weekend before I ran at Vail, he did the Leadville Marathon. Wanna see a crazy climb? Check this out:

You go up 2,000 feet in the first 6 miles, which isn't as tough as Vail, but then you go back down and head for the Steep Hill. Starting at Mile 10, you go up another 2,000 feet in 3 miles, ending up at over 13,000 feet. That's just plain ugly. My employee said that coming down was also really hard if you didn't want to fall and kill yourself, because it's on loose rock.

Most races will let you switch from the full to the half or vice versa up until like the day before, so you could probably just register for the half, train for the full and see how you feel. And you can just tell everyone you're running the half so there's no pressure :)

Don't get too discouraged, though, if the training gets tough. I've trained for 2 marathons (one got cancelled :() and still never finished a 20 mile training run. Before I ran the KC Marathon, the longest training run I did was an 18, and that was pretty rough. Then I breezed through the race and never hit the wall. I even beat my goal by 9 minutes.

It's amazing what a taper, carb loading and a cheering crowd can do for your performance.

Hog Farmer
07-22-2009, 08:34 PM
I would have had to stop at least nine times just to change gloves.

patteeu
07-23-2009, 08:38 AM
I'm really tempted to try a full at Denver in October. I've got an employee who runs them, though, and he scares me a little with all of his training and stuff. However, he actually runs them fast, which is a key difference between him and me.

The weekend before I ran at Vail, he did the Leadville Marathon. Wanna see a crazy climb? Check this out:

You go up 2,000 feet in the first 6 miles, which isn't as tough as Vail, but then you go back down and head for the Steep Hill. Starting at Mile 10, you go up another 2,000 feet in 3 miles, ending up at over 13,000 feet. That's just plain ugly. My employee said that coming down was also really hard if you didn't want to fall and kill yourself, because it's on loose rock.

Brutal. I can't even breath standing still at 13,000 feet.

TinyEvel
07-23-2009, 08:46 AM
Dude!
That is an EPIC effort! Did you know that a 7% grade is considered a MAJOR climb in the Tour De France? (and that's on pavement)

congrats you beast!

patteeu
07-23-2009, 09:29 AM
Dude!
That is an EPIC effort! Did you know that a 7% grade is considered a MAJOR climb in the Tour De France? (and that's on pavement)

congrats you beast!

Just since post #28. :p

BigRedChief
07-23-2009, 09:32 AM
Very cool Rainman! Very Cool! Congrats!

Rain Man
07-19-2011, 11:31 AM
Okay, this is going to be the first run ever that I repeat. I'm heading up there on Sunday.

I weigh about 10 pounds more than I did at this point in 2009, but I have more experience. In 2009 this was only the second half-marathon I'd run, but I now have 23 10+ mile races under my belt, running about one a month over the past two years. We'll see if I can beat 3:23:02.

AndChiefs
07-19-2011, 11:31 AM
Okay, this is going to be the first run ever that I repeat. I'm heading up there on Sunday.

I weigh about 10 pounds more than I did at this point in 2009, but I have more experience. In 2009 this was only the second half-marathon I'd run, but I now have 23 10+ mile races under my belt, running about one a month over the past two years. We'll see if I can beat 3:23:02.

Good luck sir.

LiveSteam
07-19-2011, 11:43 AM
good luck . Awesome story

Phobia
07-19-2011, 11:44 AM
Seems like you're a slow learner.

Mr. Plow
07-19-2011, 11:45 AM
Good Luck Rain Man! Looking forward to seeing the difference of it being your 2nd race vs. your 24th.

4th and Long
07-19-2011, 11:47 AM
I weigh about 10 pounds more than I did at this point in 2009, but I have more experience.
At what? Eating larger portions
Seems like you're a slow learner.
LMAO

Brock
07-19-2011, 11:49 AM
You showed that old broad! Seriously congrats on the achievement.

kc rush
07-19-2011, 01:37 PM
Bring your canteens.

Iowanian
07-19-2011, 02:53 PM
Good luck.

Pawnmower
07-19-2011, 03:00 PM
fuck yes! go getem

Rain Man
07-19-2011, 03:13 PM
Bring your canteens.


Dang, I need to go buy some canteens.

Rain Man
07-21-2011, 06:47 PM
For those of you grumbling about the heat, here's an excerpt from the pre-race instructions I got today:

It should be a beautiful morning for a challenging and scenic run. There will be snow on course between mile markers 8-10. From mile marker 8 there are small piles of snow that can easily be run over or around. Once you hit the 9 mile marker expect to have large piles of snow to navigate around or over. The course will be well marked in this area to help guide you through. You will end up with wet feet after this section but it will be a fun challenge.

Because of the snow, the 3rd aid station at mile marker 8.6 will be moved to about 7.8. The truck is unable to make it through the snow in this area.

mlyonsd
07-21-2011, 07:50 PM
For those of you grumbling about the heat, here's an excerpt from the pre-race instructions I got today:

It should be a beautiful morning for a challenging and scenic run. There will be snow on course between mile markers 8-10. From mile marker 8 there are small piles of snow that can easily be run over or around. Once you hit the 9 mile marker expect to have large piles of snow to navigate around or over. The course will be well marked in this area to help guide you through. You will end up with wet feet after this section but it will be a fun challenge.

Because of the snow, the 3rd aid station at mile marker 8.6 will be moved to about 7.8. The truck is unable to make it through the snow in this area. Thanks. Prick.

patteeu
07-22-2011, 09:17 AM
For those of you grumbling about the heat, here's an excerpt from the pre-race instructions I got today:

It should be a beautiful morning for a challenging and scenic run. There will be snow on course between mile markers 8-10. From mile marker 8 there are small piles of snow that can easily be run over or around. Once you hit the 9 mile marker expect to have large piles of snow to navigate around or over. The course will be well marked in this area to help guide you through. You will end up with wet feet after this section but it will be a fun challenge.

Because of the snow, the 3rd aid station at mile marker 8.6 will be moved to about 7.8. The truck is unable to make it through the snow in this area.

LMAO That's mean.

Good luck with the run.

Mr. Plow
07-22-2011, 10:33 AM
I expect nothing less than a top 2 finish from you Rain Man. At which point streamers will fall from the heavens, glitter will shoot from the finish line, fireworks will explode in the air, and you will be rewarded with your first class trip to the Playboy mansion.

Rain Man
07-24-2011, 05:55 PM
Meh. Unofficially 3:27:33, which is 4.5 minutes slower than 2009. I'm not too happy about that because I thought I'd improved, but we'll see what the average times were. It was much warmer today than it was in 2009, which slows people down. I at least survived.

Here's a recap for those of you who are forced to read this because of some type of court order.

Pre-Race - I was leaving the hotel and the girl at the counter said, "Oh, go out that service entrance. It's quicker." Well, the service entrance had no lights and I was wearing sunglasses, and I felt my way down the stairs grumbling at her. Then I took one more step and it turned out that there was a half-step curb deal at the end of the stairs that I couldn't see. Down goes Rain Man, with an audible pop in the left ankle. I really thought the race ended there, but it turned out to be a false alarm. It was a little sore, but didn't hurt when I ran, so I was okay.

Mile 1 – 13:26 pace, starting elevation 8,200 feet, rise of 400 feet on a dirt road. Usual jockeying with other runners, but it wasn't bad at all. I usually run 9:00 to 10:00, but the first mile is steep, so I was happy with this. My goal was to keep my miles on the uphill side under 14 minutes, so I was ahead of the game.

Mile 2 – 13:20 pace, starting elevation 8,600 feet, rise of 350 feet. Still doing good, still on relatively smooth dirt road.

Mile 3 – 13:11 pace, starting elevation 8,950 feet, rise of 350 feet on smooth dirt road. On a roll, getting a little faster with each mile.

Mile 4 – 15:19 pace, starting elevation 9,300 feet, rise of 300 feet. Progress slowed to a crawl as the altitude starts to kick in, and the road was rough, making a fellow carefully pick his steps to avoid big rocks and the occasional washed out deep hole.

Mile 5 – 15:08 pace, starting elevation 9,600 feet, rise of 300 feet. Okay, at least holding my own. Rough dirt road interspersed with rocks.

Mile 6 – 16:22 pace, starting elevation 9,900 feet, rise of 350 feet. Urk. Walk. Jog. Walk. Jog. Try to breathe.

Mile 7 – 16:16 pace, starting elevation 10,250 feet, rise of 350 feet. At this altitude, even walking doesn't let a fellow completely catch his breath. The road has become more or less a wide trail and is pretty washed out in spots, though not horrible.

Mile 8 – 16:25 pace, starting elevation 10,600 feet, rise of 400 feet. Gutting it out, chatting with other runners who, like me, are walking 90 percent of the time. Road has transitioned to a trail.

Mile 9 – 17:51 pace, starting elevation 11,000 feet, rise of 400 feet. Hitting snow and mud and occasional places where there's a three or four foot semi-climb that's covered in snow. Trying to run immediately results in losing one's breath. Pretty much on a rough trail now.

Mile 10 – 14:57 pace, starting elevation 11,400 feet, rise of 250 feet to max altitude of 11,653 feet at about Mile 9.5, then back down to about 11,300 feet. Gorgeous views. The last half of this mile was a blessed downhill for a bit, but included climbing down about a 30 foot rock face and some smaller rock faces. We're now on a single-track trail that's less than a foot wide going through a big field of plants and small bushes.

Mile 11 – 13:06 pace, starting elevation 11,300 feet, net fall of 300 feet but with some hills. The trail hooked up with a big wide dirt road in good shape that's used to get to the tops of various ski lifts. I wish I could run faster, but my legs are a little rubbery.

Mile 12 – 12:31 pace, starting elevation 11,000 feet, hills with no net rise or fall. Big wide dirt road. If it wasn't so dang high and 12 miles into the race I could make good time. As it is, I'm slogging.

Mile 13 – 13:50 pace, starting elevation 11,000 feet, no net rise or fall, but one big nasty hill that's too steep on the downhill to run without your brakes on the whole way. That's cruel at this point, because you expect a nice downhill when you get to the top, and then it's too steep and since it's a dirt road it's easy to trip or slide on a pebble. Gotta go slow.

Mile 14 – 10:39 pace, starting elevation 11,000 feet, fall of 500 feet in a nice steady downhill. Woohoo! The dirt road has become a narrow trail about 18 to 24 inches wide, and it's the type of downhill where a person can make good time if he hasn't just run 13 miles.

Mile 14.5 – (10:04 pace for half-mile) pace, starting elevation 10,500 feet, fall of 300 feet in a nice steady downhill. Cruise control on the narrow path until we hit the finish line at the top of a ski gondola. From there, it's some water, some orange slices, and then a 10 minute gondola ride back down to Vail (and a 1.5 mile walk back to my hotel).

There may be some rounding error, but that hopefully adds up to about 3:27:33. The good news is that I don't think anybody passed me the last five miles, which happened frequently last time. I think maybe 3 or 4 people passed me, and I passed 3 or 4 people. That's a big win, even if my time was slower than 2009.

Edit: Final standings were 235th out of 286th, which is exactly the same percentile that I was in 2009, so it was a slower course today. There must've been a mess of people barely ahead of me, because I would've been 218th if I had run a 3:23:02 again. Cutting 20 minutes off would've put me at 182nd. The winning guy was at 1:49:27 and the winning woman was at 1:59:32.

WTF? Their official time for me is 3:27:56. I guess it took me 20 seconds to get across the starting line, and they don't have electronic chip timing. Damn them.

Buck
07-24-2011, 06:08 PM
Regardless of your finishing time, you still did something that 95% of the rest of us cannot do. Congrats.

cdcox
07-24-2011, 06:13 PM
I've made a dozen trips or so out to the smoker today. That should pretty much take care of the 1000 calories worth of pork I'll end up eating, right?

patteeu
07-25-2011, 08:20 AM
This must be like childbirth where the woman forgets how painful and unpleasant it was last time and decides to do it again. Congratulations on making it through the whole course for the second time.