We headed out early this morning to the Greenland 25k trail race that we've had on the schedule for quite a while. This year's event sold out about two months ahead of race day, so all 550 runners had been watching May 1 for a long time. We even got a nice, functional tech shirt again this year.
Last weeks enormous snowstorm left a nice little surprise of over 1 foot of snow on Greenland, and the weather this week was not conducive to speedy melting. We were bracing ourselves all week for atrocious weather conditions but were pleasantly surprised to awaken with clear skies, albeit a bit on the cool side - this would be a good thing, keep reading... Bonus #2 came when we arrived at Greenland Open Space and there was no gale force wind, as there was last year. Sweet! Just look at the view....
Got to meet up with fellow Colorado blogger Ace before the race started. He was running the 50k for his first ultramarathon - cool! We knew we could find him easily, being the Brooks ambassador that he is, but he actually spotted us first. I met him for the first time at the Winter Series III race, but Kathleen had not yet met him so that was fun. We had also been watching for Jonathan and Tammy, who we met in person for the first time last night when we picked up packets at Colorado Running. They were also doing their first 50k - awesome for them as well. Unfortunately, we did not get to see them until out on course, so no photo this time!
So, start of the race was sunny, about 36 degrees, and not much wind. The overnight cold was a blessing as most of the mud was still a bit on the frozen/crusty side for lap 1. (8 mile = 1 lap, 25k = 2 laps, 50k = 4 laps) We were a bit pushed on time after the eternal wait in porta potty line and had to scratch and claw our way toward the front of the start area. Although the race started on a dirt two-track, wading through 550 people at the start of the race can be a drag. First lap went great, with the aforementioned mostly frozen mud being greatly appreciated. After the first couple miles, it thinned out pretty well and we got to settle into a pace with not too many folks around. I was a bit in front of Kathleen, but she was keeping a nice pace and had found a small group (including Jonathan) to pace with. First lap - good run, no issues. Good.
As is the case with the strong sun/UV at altitude, lap 2 started to present some significant mud issue. That really was not appreciated by tired legs, but everyone had to run on the same stuff, so just adapt and move forward. Last year, the wheels came off for me on lap 2 - I was really hoping not to have that happen again. Hit my gels and S-caps on schedule, as did Kathleen, and it worked pretty well for us. Felt good most of the way, even with the mud slogging, with just a wee bit of crampiness coming on to the calves on the drop off the saddle after the big climb. The calf crampiness hit Kathleen there too. Maybe a little dehydrated going into the day? Not sure, but with only a couple miles, we managed.
I stopped the clock
(unofficially - results not posted yet) at 2:10:03 UPDATE: official time posted at 2:10:06 for 24th of 184 overall, which peeled 3:30 off my mark from last year. 2:10 was my target, so that was good! 2:05 was super-wish list, but was not happening today. Course came to 15.62 on the GPS with 1600' climb, so that put the pace at 8:20/mile. Not bad - I was happy with that. New 25k PR. BTW, the Dirty Girl Gaiters were awesome for keeping rocks out of the shoes with the tacky soil and, as always, the Drymax socks were perfect!
Kathleen came in at
2:15:30 2:15:32 - good for 3rd in her age group and 36 out of 184, 6th overall woman!!! So 3 of the top 6 in her age group! That works out to 8:40/mile pace - awesome. Her goal had been 2:12ish for a good day and 2:15 for a decent day. I guess it was decent. Photo above is her getting her award. First ever 25k for Kathleen and her longest race to date - so a PR for her as well :-) And she got lots of comments for the pink leopard gaiters - she said she "sold" over a dozen pairs!
The age group award was a cool ceramic tile "coaster" with a photo from the start of last year's race on it. Very nice!
It ended up being a great day for us - both happy with the results but also knowing that there are still things we can improve on for future races.
Shoes - K Asics 2150 Trail
S - LaSportiva Wildcat