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

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Greenland 25K

This morning 550 hardy souls were greeted with brilliant blue skies and a stout headwind that put the wind chill in the high 20's for the start of the Greenland trail races. The forecast all week had been for rain, so it was great to have sunshine. There were 50k, 25k, and 8 M event categories and I was competing in the 25k. This was to be my longest run ever, so I was hoping for good legs to keep me on the move the entire time.
With the wind, everyone remained huddled in their vehicles or in the park shelters until the last minute, then migrated quickly to the start line. All three events started at the same time and followed the same course, except that the 25 and 50k runners did multiple loops.
And they are off!!! The long line of runners took quite a while to string out along the initial double track section. It was quite nice to be in the pack at the start because it delayed the inevitable fact that half of each lap would be spent laboring into a cold headwind. I did my best in the first 2.5 miles to find the tallest guys running around my target pace and ducked in behind for a little drafting!!!
#570 - That's me. I did not carry the camera, so the photos were all taken by Kathleen, who was freezing standing still in the wind.
Nice shot of Pikes Peak just peeking over the rolling hills at Greenland Open Space. This was really a great place to have an event like this. The course was long enough and had enough rolling hills that you often felt remote. At the same time, the trails are contained in a fairly small geographic area, making it a bit more feasible for proper course management. Aside from having only 8 potties for 550 runners - eek! - the event was very well run.
Coming through on the tail end of lap 1 and feeling pretty good.
Giving the "Thumbs-Up" to the cute camera girl!!! I hit the halfway point in about 1:05 and was feeling pretty good but had that beginning inclination that I might have to battle some cramping on round 2. So I accelerated my eating schedule a bit and took advantage of the Hammer Heed at the second aid stop on lap 2 - which was, surprisingly, handed to me by Tony K, our local ultra phenom. It was nice to see him helping out at the race - thanks!!
These two guys drafted me for about a mile heading out on lap 2 - I guess I had to pay back for my drags I took at the start! The gal in blue a little ways ahead of me was my carrot on lap 2 - that is Ms A, a friend of ours who is a very fast local runner. By the time I hit the big climb for the second time, I was in full on cramp management mode. I was metering my stride and doing my best to not overdo the effort. Adding fuel to the fire was the fact that the wind was gusting a little harder on the second loop. But aside from those minor issues, I was having "fun" and was running pretty well. By the middle of loop 2, I was mostly running by myself as everyone had spread out over the course. That probably hurt my pace a bit, along with the cramping.
Tired but happy - here I am coming to the finish! According to the Garmin, the course was 15.82 miles and I finished unofficially in 2:13:34 - my 25k PR - well, the only 25k I've done!!! I was happy with my time. I am not yet sure of my place as the results are not up yet. We stayed only long enough to see the overall and age group winners for the 25k and then took off. Two of Kathleen's friends won their age groups - Ms C taking the 30-39 - and second overall female - and Ms A winning the 40-49. Congratulations to both! Happy Trails - if I can walk tomorrow, maybe I'll get out for a run!!!

UPDATED INFO - Race results were posted last night. Official time 2:13:33, 34th place out of 173 finishers in the 25k. Thirteen runners went sub-2 hours, so there were some fast folks there! Congratulations to Justin Ricks who broke the CR with a 1:36:27 - there were 3 guys that went under the previous CR - WOW!!
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