Rapid-fire Race Recaps

To avoid boring everyone with long recaps from my last 5 races, I thought I'd just shorten them and combine them into one post. That's kind of how the last few weeks have seemed to pass, anyway.

Slacker Half Marathon - June 27
Location: Loveland Ski Area to Georgetown, CO
Distance: 13.1 miles
Starting Elevation ~ 10,500ft
Ending Elevation ~ 8,500ft
Surface: Road
Shoe choice: HOKA ONE ONE Clifton
Finish place: 3rd woman & 13th overall
Time: 1:21:30

I ran Slacker because it's part of the Colorado Runner series I've been competing in this year, despite knowing that 13 miles of downhill probably wasn't the smartest idea. It turned out to be fine (in terms of my knee), but I found it surprisingly difficult. I had thought I could essentially just roll downhill for 13 miles, but the small uphills en route turned out to be challenging and my hip was really tight for a few days afterward from the downs. I thought it might be a good idea to work on my downhills, but I should probably cool it a bit. 13 miles may be excessive.

Superior Downhill Mile - July 4
Location: Superior, CO
Elevation change: drop of about 170ft
Surface: Road
Shoe choice: HOKA ONE ONE Clifton
Finish place: 4th woman & 22nd overall
Time: 4:49

Okay, this one was just fun. And felt kind of weird. I don't get to race short, fast stuff very often. I race the mile, at most, once per year. The first quarter mile was the steepest, so we got out really hard and I was sure my stomach was going to fly right out of my throat from the jarring motion. Very bizarre. I think the hardest part, though, was staying fully engaged through the 2nd and 3rd quarters. I realize it's a very short race and attention span shouldn't be an issue, but I had to keep reminding myself to keep pushing because it would be over before I knew it. I obviously can't count this as a new PR because of the downhill, but it was still a lot of fun to run a mile faster than I ever have before.

HOKA ONE ONE ERS Larkspur 10km - July 11
Location: Larkspur, CO
Elevation: around 7200ft
Surface: Trail
Shoe choice: HOKA ONE ONE Huaka
Finish place: 1st woman & 1st overall
Time: 40:48 (course record)

Since the ERS series is sponsored by HOKA ONE ONE, I thought I'd jump into a couple of their races. This first one was an out-and-back route in the pretty town of Larkspur, just a bit north of Colorado Springs. For the first mile, our group consisted of me, one other woman, and two men. After the mile, the men went ahead and I focused on trying to just hold the same pace. Because the half marathon started 10 minutes earlier, I was never all alone and felt like I had plenty of people to chase. Around 3.5 miles, I passed a group of half marathoners to discover the 2 men were only a few seconds ahead of me. I surged to catch them, thinking we could run together. When I settled right behind them, they slowed, so I decided to just go for it at 4.5 miles. I was worried they would just sit on me and then outkick me at the end, but that didn't happen and I was the first person, male or female, across the finish line. Since this was a first year event, I guess that counts as a course record too? I can't say either of those things happen for me very often!

Photo by: Tim Bergsten of Pikes Peak Sports
Summer Roundup 12km - July 12
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Elevation: a little over 6,000ft
Surface: Trail
Shoe choice: HOKA ONE ONE Challenger ATR
Finish place: 1st woman & 19th overall
Time: 49:14 (course record)

After the Garden of the Gods 10 Mile went so well, I started considering the Triple Crown of Running series as a possibility. I contacted the folks at TCR, and that's how I ended up on this starting line. Having just raced in Larkspur the day before, I didn't think my legs would really be "there" for me, but thought it would be fun to give it a go anyway.  The best part was that my friend and teammate Nicole was going to be there too! As she's been dealing with an injury for quite a while, we don't get to run together very often. The 12k was a 3-lap course (and they frequently change the course, so the winner would automatically get a new course record), so my race plan was pretty simple: Go out in a comfortable pace, regardless of what place that put me in, hold strong through the second lap, and then try to really attack the 3rd lap. Liz, a triathlete, took it out pretty aggressively, and Nicole and I tried to stay calm and work together for a bit.

On the first climb, we closed the gap on Liz a little bit, and then she opened it back up on the downhill. Right before the 2nd climb, I pulled up next to her and, in that moment, I decided to just go for it and really compete. With as strong as Liz was on the downhills, I knew I'd really have to push on the 2nd and 3rd climb. The last uphill half-mile to the finish felt brutally long and I was so relieved to finally break through the finishing tape, with Liz not far behind. I was super proud of Nicole's 4th place finish, since she hasn't been able to seriously train in quite a long time. Hooray! And we got an awesome picture together in the first mile (see above).

And, because post-race interviews are always super awkward, here's a little bonus for you!

HOKA ONE ONE ERS Longmont 10km - July 19 
Location: Longmont, CO
Elevation: around 5000ft
Surface: some paved bike path, some dirt
Shoe choice: HOKA ONE ONE Huaka
Finish place: 1st woman & 1st overall
Time: 39:54 (course record)

I was really tempted to jump in the Barr Trail Mountain Race in Manitou Springs, but stuck with the original plan of running this 10km in Longmont, just up the road from Boulder. It is advertised as a "trail" race, but a significant portion was on a paved bike path around some nice little lakes. After a 10 year old girl led the first mile in an impressive 6:11, Tim and I shared the lead for most of the race and enjoyed a bit of conversation. Then, on a short out-and-back section around 4 miles, we saw that Bryanna wasn't all that far behind us and that lit my competitive fire, so I decided it was time to just GO. I was convinced Tim was right with me, but I crossed the finish line alone, with Tim about half a minute behind me.
The folks at Endurance Race Series put on some great races, so I'm hoping I can fit a few more of their races into my schedule!


So, with all of this racing... What's next?

Well, that's a mighty good question!

On Saturday (July 25th), I'll be racing over rocks and dirt, up and down steep trails, at the US Mountain Running Championship in Bend, OR. I wanted to race the championship last year when it was in New Hampshire, but wasn't able to make the trip because of injury. This year, I'm healthy and ready to "embrace the suck" in a very beautiful place.

I'm also very excited to announce I've been given a spot in the Pikes Peak Ascent, where I'll race for 13ish miles up "America's Mountain" on August 15th. This will be the hardest thing I've ever even considered doing. I'm really looking forward to the challenge and am honored to have the opportunity!

Let's go!

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