Friday, July 17, 2009

Leadville Heavy Half Marathon Recap

On Saturday morning, I ran in the Leadville Heavy Half Marathon as a part of my training for the PPM. What is a "heavy" half marathon you ask?? Here's how they describe it on their website, "13.1 (plus a couple more) miles of breathtaking, Leadville Rocky Mountain trails." In total it was about 15.5 miles. Most importantly, it was at high altitude. The race began at 10,200' and the turnaround was on top of Mosquito Pass at about 13,200'.

This was my first race on trails. Wow, what a difference from a road race. With trail running, there is no "locking into" a pace. No, your pace is constantly changing due to varying factors of trail conditions, elevation gain, not being able to pass on narrow sections, etc. This race was almost entirely on a 4WD only road. It was rugged and steep. Almost all of us were relegated to hiking the last two miles to the top of the pass.

Trail races are fairly bare bones when it comes to frills. Let me tell you where they don't skimp. The aid stations. Boy, what a sight it was to approach the first aid station after a grueling 3.5 mile climb. Cold watermelon slices, jelly beans, M&Ms, Coke, Sprite, Gatorade, PB&J sandwiches, pretzels, energy bars...I could go on. I had to remind myself I was in a race and not to linger too long! I went for the watermelon slices and slurped them down with delight!

Another first for me? Breaking the tape as I crossed the finish line. Sorry to get you excited, but I didn't win the race. Since most runners were spaced out, they had several young girls hold a tape for every finisher to break as they cross the line. Despite my 25th place finish, it was a nice touch that I'm sure I'll never experience again.

I finished the race with a time of 2:53. It's hard for me to think about going another 11 miles, 4000' of elevation gain, and 3 hours on my about a month. But I was also encouraged that I felt pretty good after this race.

Lastly, I want to give a shout out to James, who just completed his "26point2" video masterpiece. It's awesome! Check it out at the link below or on our Videos page.

26point2 - My First Marathon

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