If you’re lucky enough to be in the mountains, you’re lucky enough!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Joe Colton's Off Road Adventure Run - Our first ever running race!

We finally decided to try a running race and we picked Joe Colton's Off Road Adventure run in Rollinsville, Colorado as our initial plunge into the racing world. A little background: Joe Colton was an adventurous young boy who tragically died from the flu at only 6 years of age. The race is a memorial for him and raises funds for the small mountain towns near Rollinsville.
It was an absolutely beautiful day with a cloudless sky and about 60 degrees at the start. Aside from a strong headwind on the way out, the weather was perfect. This was the view along Co Hwy 119 as runners arrived and prepared for the race.
A friendly fellow racer offered to take a photo of us together while we were getting ready, which was nice as Steve did not wear his pack for the race and had nowhere to stash the camera - sorry no race photos :-(
The race was an out-and-back format on the Tolland/East Portal dirt road along the railroad. Rollinsville is at the base of Rollins Pass and accesses the East Portal of the Moffat Tunnel. The tunnel is bored through the mountains under the Continental Divide and drops out in Winter Park on the western side of the Divide. The town and start area sit at about 8500' elevation.
This is the view down the road toward the start area from Hwy 119. The mostly-snowpacked mountains of the Continental Divide are barely visible in the distance, but we would have an awesome view of the peaks at the 5 mile turnaround. We raced the 10 mile version of the course (there were 5k, 10k, 10 Mi, and 15 Mi distances) and it was undulating with a gradual climb out and mostly descent back. The course topped out at about 9000' and logged about 770' of climb. It was a good course made fabulous by the scenery and surroundings. Most of the course followed South Boulder Creek, still flowing rapidly with "spring" runoff. We ran most of the race together which was pretty cool since neither of us knew what to expect from racing. We were strong on the hills thanks to our trail running and thanks to nothing being flat anywhere we run!! The return 5 miles with mostly downhill was new territory for us as we've not done any sustained runs at that pace (mostly between 7 and 8 min/mi). It was apparent when we finished that our non-race-specific training still served us well. Kathleen finished third in her age group and 5th woman overall at 1:22:00! Steve finished second in his age group and 14th in the men's overall at 1:21:43. Not too bad for a first try at racing!! This one will definitely be on next year's calendar. It was an excellent day for sure!
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