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

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Rescue Run 2011

After we intentionally eased back on the running through the month of December (and probably through January), I planned on spicing things up for the start of 2011 by doing the Rescue Run 10k. A race that benefits El Paso County Search and Rescue, it is a fun and challenging course that winds through the hills of Palmer Park.  It utilizes a combination of paved  and dirt roads, providing sweeping views of the Front Range.  Unable to coerce convince Steve that he would enjoy running it too, I was on my own (although he came as my cheerleader).  The primary goal of running the race was to use it as a hard tempo workout - to shock my semi-hibernating, slow body awake.  Other than that, there was no objective - work hard for a few minutes and have FUN!

We ran into our friend, CW, before the start.  She is one of our local elite women and I knew she would win today.  We have known she and her hubby for 13 years or so, originally meeting through a Young Marrieds class at church.  Funny thing - she used to 'taunt' Steve and I, daring us to come over to the 'dark side' (ie: become runners) when we were exclusively cyclists.  That 'taunting' went on for years and years.  Then one winter, tired of going out in the cold on our bikes, we decided to try some cross-training - that's where our running took root, more specifically, trail running.  We did a few years of winter cross-training and Spring of 2011 will mark 3 years of 'full-time' running, now using cycling as our occasional cross-training.  I guess we have crossed over to the dark side........
 Me and CW before the start....See how close I am standing to her???  I am hoping that some of her 'strong and fast' will rub off on me!  I was also eyeing and scheming on that pink down jacket. Hmmm, we are about the same size......
 The stampeding thundering hooves at the start......

Temps were quite brisk at the start - low single digits with below zero windchill.  The race officials were encouraging folks to wear either screwshoes or some sort of traction device on our shoes as the paved portion of the course was quite icy and treacherous.  It is a very hilly course, with some short sharp pitches in the shade - those sections would prove to be the most tricky.  I chose to wear Screwshoe Lite (7 screws in each shoe) as opposed to Screwshoe Deluxe (13 screws in each shoe) and the Lite was JUST RIGHT!  Thanks Honey, for drilling them up for me this morning!
 Can you find Mrs. Happy Trails?

My mantra for the day rotated between 'stay steady' and 'stay tempo'.

After making the right hand turn, above, we climbed some pretty good hills and the herd thinned out quickly after a mile or so.  It was funny hearing  the 'clickity-click' sound of screws and traction devices on the ice heading up the hills.  I fell in behind a couple of guys who seemed to be going my tempo so I just paced off of them for the next few miles.  I must make mention of the nice gentleman I was directly behind during that time - he was thoughtful enough to check behind him  (for me) and then move off to the side a bit to spit or blow.  I was highly appreciative of his conscienciousness - nary a drop reached me - thankyou Mr. Runnerman!

After running the dirt loop on top of the mesa, we headed over to the Grandview Overlook - a rolling out and back portion of road.  Halfway or so up the road,  the lead men came storming back toward me, heading toward the finish.  I kept my eyes peeled for CW, and sure enough, she was the first woman.  Then I started to count.  One woman, two woman, three woman, etc.  Why was I counting?  My only objective was to tempo, right? so who cares how many women are in front of me???  Oh yes, but I do care, in shape or NOT, unfortunately I do care.  I was 6th woman.  Since the realization hit that 'I do care' where I stood in the race's pecking order, I took a quick look on my way back and started counting again.  Two gals about 20 seconds behind and two more about 10 seconds behind them.  Uh-oh.  I was fairly confident I could 'hold them off' over the rolling hills that connected to the main road but my confidence ended there.  Because I am a more cautious descender, I fully expected the two closer girls to pass me on the way down toward the finish, about a mile or so away.  Halfway down the descent, part of my prediction came true as one  girl passed me, not blazing, just a little faster.  I just stayed steady, and being a realistic and somewhat logical person, expected the second girl to come by BUT hallelujah, she didn't!
A couple of guys came by, but that was it.  I made it to the finish, 7th woman.
(above photo from pikespeaksports.us)
Heading back from Grandview, getting ready to turn onto the descent and await the inevitable passes.
Happy to be finished with a good, hard tempo run.  And the bonus surprise:  1st place Woman 40-44.  Woo-hoo!

I did have a few silent moments of disappointment and despondent despair when I saw my finish time, though, as it was 3.5+ minutes slower than when I ran it in 2009 ( 40-44 age group win then, too).  The frigid cold, a few stretches of deep, chunked up snow, and icy conditions affected almost everyone today compared to the nearly perfect winter conditions in 2009 (which was a skirt day!).  I quickly put it out of my mind and tried to focus on the completed objective of a hard tempo run made even better by a decent finish, regardless of slow time.  I have to be mindful of our intentional cut-back on miles and intensity.  Final score:

1st 40 - 44 Age Group  - 15 women
7th overall woman - 79 women
54th overall - 279 finishers for the 10k

The Rescue Run certainly was a fun change to the normal routine.  I love the course and plan to do it whenever possible every year.  A BIG thanks to Pikes Peak Road Runners as they put on THE most well organized races, ALWAYS!  They are a well oiled machine - the best.  Because of the cold conditions and wanting to get people on their way, they did the raffles early and posted a list of those prizes for folks to check after they finished the race.  They did awards about 15 minutes after I finished and had printed results posted immediately and then just kept updating as runners finished.  I think full results were posted online by 1:00. Awesome!

Ok Jill - are you happy???!!!  I actually did a RACE!
Thanks to my dear Mr. Happy Trails Man for standing out in the cold cheering and freezing your fanny off.  You are the best!  :-)
Happy and blessed 2011 to everyone and may you spend good miles on many happy trails this week!

The gear that made me comfy in spite of the cold:

Screwed-up Asics 2150 Trail shoes
Icebreaker merino wool undershirt - heavyweight
Sporthill 3sp pants (I LOVE 3sp!)
Sporthill Symmetry jacket
Drymax Winter Socks
Smartwool headband (I LOVE all things merino wool!)   
Ibex wool gloves 


Average A said...

Whoa!! I must admit I'm a bit taken aback not only at the fact you did a race... I'm a bit shocked you did a SHORT race, compared to your normal long distances! ANNND, you smoked everyone, too! Way to go, podium finisher!!! :) That's a nice way to start 2011!!! Congrats!!

I didn't end up going back to run laps with Catra during the 24-hour run. :( I had already made plans that evening and they went late. While part of me thought it would be awesome to go run with her even at 2am, the weather got really treacherous. She and Andy had to drop out because they were getting hypothermia, and ended up "finishing" from the view of their heated car. Too bad! While their limits are much greater than my own, I'm still happy they recognize when enough is enough. I'm glad I got to chat with her for a few minutes, though I wish I could have had many more. There's always next year. :P

Happy new year!

Footfeathers said...

You and Steve are such sandbaggers! "Oh, Tim, we are slow and don't run long distances..."

Then you run me into the ground every time we meet up AND throw down races like this. Super run K!

Freezing temps have huge impact on perceived effort/breathing, not to mention wearing an extra 3-5 lbs of clothes.

Nice work.

Johann said...

Great race and race result for you, well done! I enjoyed your story of crossing over although I consider cycling the dark side. So I'm happy you joined the light side!:)
Have a wonderful 2011!

Tina @GottaRunNow said...

Funny how the two of you match. That's some cold weather! I'd have trouble running, but you got 1st in your age group! Big congrats!

Jill said...

When I started reading this, I was thinking, "Wow, Mr. Happy Trails did a race"...um, yeah, shocker to read it was you, K!! :) But yes, I am very excited. And excited about your placement. I notice you didn't put down your time...I bet it was somewhere around 43??? Remember what my friend and running coach, Lisa Mills, said about being elite!!! :)

I'm glad you had a nice race, especially since the weather turned so nasty cold and I'm sure that wasn't easy to get out and do. And heck ya, you need your friend's pink coat...let me know where you find it, I think I need one too :).

Happy New Year to you and S! Hope 2011 brings you tons of fun miles on the trails!!!

Laura@Run_Eat_Date said...

Congratulations on your race! Yes, I think you have crossed over to the dark side...some folks, including me, would not have braved those cold temps!!

Christi said...

Great Race and great report!

Runner Jill told me I should check out your blog. I am also from COS and I did the Rescue Run 5k. I am not as speedy as you but I did get 6 out 16 in thee 40-44 age group. I love running at Palmer Park! A group of girls that I run with often run there. If you ever want to join us, just let me know!

Julie said...

Awesome job Kathleen!!! You are a speedster! Way to go on the age group win! It looks just as cold in Colorado as it is here in Minnesota! Great pictures as always:)

Take care! Hugs!

HappyTrails said...

Dear A: I thought doing something shorter and 'faster' would be a good addition to my Lack of Training Plan right now.

Dear Mr. Footfeathers:
'sandbaggers' and 'you run me into the ground' - ha, ha, you are a very funny and delusional man! Thanks for being nice and pep talking us, though. It's greatly appreciated. :-)

Dear Jill:
I did not print my time b/c I can't bear to look at it. Most people would cry if they saw it, too, but it's not a 'normal' 10k - you should have come down for it - it was FUN!

Thanks to everyone for your kind and thoughtful words!

ajh said...

You are too funny with your wardrobe list at the end! I LOVE IT! Congratulations on a good race. You did awesome! Good report and pics. I always love your blog and make sure I have time to read it and appreciate it. Even though I met you two for such a short time it was a great connection! Keep on running! Didn't know the story about coming over to the dark side. I did my own little journey in the other direction!

Happy Feet 26.2 said...

Ice, snow, hills, trails, little running = a tough 10k, but you pulled it off, in a great way, and went home with a prize. Congrats! Great tempo and you started the year off right. Woo Hoo!

Meg said...

Fun story about your friend's taunting to come to the dark side. Look at you now! 1st place finisher in your age group, LOVE IT! Go masters women!!!
I know placing and competing isn't something you want to over emphasize but it can be FUN to see how your hard work pays off. It is also VERY motivating to all of us; your humble, kind and enthusiastic attitude is just so appreciated!
By the way, Daisy is one tough runner. She can run up to 7 miles when she's in shape and she's wonderful on trails, water and is very smart when it comes to navigating the terrain. That being said, she' take on a bear, a wolf or anything larger than herself since she DOES have the "little dog" complex. I like her that way.
HUGS, thanks for the happy pictures!

Jennifer said...

Great job on the race and funny race report. You crack me up! Cheers!

Anonymous said...

You Rock Kathleen!

Pinkcorker (Renee) said...

That's awesome Kathleen! Great job. And, you looked great doing it, as always. I can't believe how fast you are - it will be a stretch to keep up with you in September, since I'm a lowlander. I think you would do great in the ultra world...
just sayin'...

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