Saturday, October 9, 2010

Blue Sky Marathon Race Report

Warning: If you hoping to find inspiration or pointers on how to successfully run a fulfilling marathon, this posting will definitely disappoint.


I haven't been running much since Leadville. In fact, I don't think I've ran 100 miles since the race. I signed up for this race quite some time ago. I figured it would sellout quickly (which it did) and race is very friendly to transfers and such so knew I could probably find someone to take my spot if I didn't want to run.

I have been working tons the past several weeks so I haven't had a lot of time to dedicate to running, and even when I have the time I'm too exhausted to get meaningful training accomplished. That's life though.

To recap- Overworked. Undertrained. That was my situation. So, should I go run a marathon? Obviously the answer is no.

Race Report

I decided to run the marathon. The plan was to head up to Ft. Fun on Saturday afternoon with Jeremiah, do some camping and get up and run this trail marathon on a beautiful fall morning. This plan got side railed as I was forced to work the majority of Saturday afternoon and into the evening. Plan B was getting up at 4:15am in the morning, pick up Jeremiah, get some coffee in me somehow and get this race done.

I had this strange dream on Saturday night. I was competing in some weird running race and I was winning! At some point the race entered a school or some other similar building and there was an aid station right in the entrance. After the aid station, the course ran up this 4-5 story staircase, and then you were supposed run down some other staircase. I ran up the staircase like an animal, but when I reached the top there was no way down. After searching for what seemed like forever, I returned back down the staircase to tell the AS personnel about my dilemma. They lectured me and told me the course was well marked and that I didn't look hard enough and directed me to go back up there. Of course, when I got back to the top there was no where to go. Repeat about 3 more times and then I woke up. I was on edge all morning because of that dream. I felt mentally exhausted from being lost on my imaginary race course.

I probably should have just stayed in bed.

Th early morning is a blur, but Jeremiah and I found ourselves with water bottles in hand at 7:00 am at the beginning of the race.

I saw a dude wearing a bright yellow singlet similar the ones I saw last weekend and knew I was gonna get beat by at least 1 person. I also had a pretty strong feeling Jeremiah was gonna have my number as well. Throw in an additional 3 or 4 random strong runners that always seem to show up in CO trail races and I was thinking that a strong effort would maybe end in a top 5 placing.

At the gun (or some dude yelling GO), the bright yellow singlet and another guy were off to the races. I found myself running in third. I kept up a decent pace and everybody behind me seem content with our placing for the first several miles before the big climb up Tower Rd. The climb up tower road was a decent challenge. Long and steep, but pretty straight forward. I tried to take it easy knowing I had a goo 20 miles after the climb and wasn't in the mood to deal with jello legs for the remainder of the race. I did make the goal of running the entire climb. As I was slowly running up the climb I got passed on the right by a nice duder who offered some encouragement in a strong english accent. Do English people pass on the right on trails?

After the climb we headed back down this loose rocky single track. I was having a blast and bombing down the trail. Soon re-passed the accent guy (on the left) and was really enjoying the day. I came back into the start area (9.2 Miles) in 3rd place. I slowed a bit to refill my water bottle which allowed a different guy to catch up with me. The two of us set out on the long traverse to the indian summer aid stations, the guy hanging on my heals nearly the entire way. Once the aid station was in sight, he stated that he'd 'lead' for a while. He took off. After the Indian Summer North aid station (13M) there's a decent climb up the side of the foot hills, before a decent into the Indian Summer South aid station. Somewhere along this climb I started to feel a bit off. It was nothing to0 unfamiliar to me. I just didn't feel 100%. As I was descending down into Indian Summer South another runner came bombing down the trail, putting me into 5th at the AS (15.4M). I came into the AS looking and feeling pretty good if I don't say so myself. Check out the pic...

On the way out. Fresh as a daisy

All the happy stuff is over now folks. Shortly after that photo my race headed in a different direction. What happened? Good question. Did I 'bonk? No. Did I go out too fast? I don't think so. Did I get dehydrated? I highly doubt it.

There's always a point in a marathon where things start to hurt and you get tired. For me that usually happens somewhere between 17-20 miles. This race was no different. I found myself 18M into a marathon and I was tired and hurting a bit. In every marathon I've ever ran I've been able to deal with this hurdle somewhat respectably. I'm not saying that my races weren't effected by it, but I took it for what it was and pressed on.

I didn't do that this time. I straight up quit. I decided I didn't want to run another 8-9 miles and deal with the necessary discomfort associated with a solid marathon performance. Why? I don't really know. I quit because I felt like it. I was tired.

"I'm pretty tired... I think I'll go home now"-Forrest Gump

Slightly altered race course map

My truck's transmission has what they call "limp" mode. When something is wrong it switches to this mode which essentially allows you to go from point A to point B, but you lose a lot of power an such. I went into 'limp' mode. My 'limp" mode consists of a light jogging like cadence. Not walking, but not particularly running either. I kept up the 'limp' mode effort until I got back to the Indian Summer South AS.

On the way back. Compare and contrast.

I was most likely still in about 10th place or something at this point (20.3M). I decided that since I was taking it easy, I might as well see what they had to offer on the buffet. What I found took my race even further into the doldrums.

Queue 'hiking' mode. There's not much more to say about the rest of the race. I ate this delicious cupcake, and convinced myself that I was just some dude out for a hike on a nice autumn morning. I picked up a bunch of trash. Said hello to lots of people as they passed by. It seemed to take forever, but eventually the finish line was in sight.

I thought about gamely jogging it in across the finish line, but I didn't even want to pretend that I was trying. I had given up. In reality, the only reason I was actually finishing this race was because it was the easiest way to get back to my car. I ended up in 30th place, but with a memorable experience none the less.

I was greeted at the finish by a concerned Jeremiah, who had finished nearly an hour ago (in 3rd place!!!!!). He was convinced I had dropped out somewhere.


We headed to the bar for some beers. Jeremiah was awarded with a flannel hat and a nice picture for placing 3rd. I won a $50 gift certificate for an otter box. I don't know what that is, but its a Major Award.

After the awards we were gonna head to New Belgium to fill my growler up with some brew. It was closed. I failed again.

After dropping Jeremiah off, I drove to The Hole and drowned my sorrows in a $2 PBR and doughnut special.

Beer and dogunuts: Much better than running a marathon.

September 2010 Recap

Yeah, so... I haven't been very diligent with this whole blogging thing. I'm gonna keep trying though. I thought I'd spend a little time summing up month of September as a start.

Since Leadville most of my time has been dedicated to working, attending weddings and their associated events, and sitting on my couch drinking beers. It's been quite a change of pace to say the least. Some for the good, some for the bad.

Runningwise- The week after Leadville was actually pretty rough. I'm still not positive why (I'm thinking I overdid the electrolytes), but my feet and ankles swelled up like crazy after the race. I had cankles. They looked like 80 year old women legs. For several days after the race I could leave thumb prints in my lower legs that would stay for several minutes. I ended up investing in a rather expensive pair of compression socks. They worked magic! I wore those things non-stop, with the exception of showers, so about 23.8 hours a day for an entire week. Needless to say, I netted 0 miles that week. Since then I've really been struggling to find a 'groove' with my running. Some days I felt like superman out there and sometimes I felt horrible. This seems to still be the case. I've decided to take a break for a while (especially after this past Sunday-read the RR; its a dandy) and see if that remedies the situation.

There have been a few notable and fun events over the last month that deserve some special attention:

Summer Beermile 2010

The 4th ever Denver Metro Beermile was held on Thursday September 9. Once again we had a solid turnout. We even had a visitor from runnerspace come and videotape the whole debacle. You can watch it here.

The planning for this event was my responsibility, and I was getting quite used to the sitting on the couch and drinking beer thing, so I put off the arrangements until the last minute. On the evening of the race, I jumped on my cruiser and headed down to one of the several trashy liquor stores on Broadway and picked up a selection of 'fine' wines for prizes, and also picked up a six pack of the cheapest beer I could find. This turned out to be Lost Lake Pale Lager.

The Prizes!

I was looking to defend my Spring Beermile championship, which I ran in a CR of 7:51. This was looking to be the most competitive Beermile yet with some new blood and known drunken exercisers. My friend Turtle is famous in the ultimate (frisbee) community folklore for once running a 5 minute mile after downing a 40. Jeremiah, my friend and Leadville pacer, was also in attendance.

When We showed up at the track we became somewhat concerned because there was a bunch of little people running around attempting to kick a ball, as well a bunch of parents. Luckily they finished up their business shortly. There's not a lot you can say about Beermile. Once again, it proved to be one of the most uncomfortable experience of my life. A few notable highlights were:

-I tried to run while wearing my Leadville buckle. The attempt lasted approx. 100 meters. I need a better belt.

-Lost Lake may possible be the worst beer I've ever tasted. I'm not alone.

I let some photos do the talking....

Start of Beermile: Aggressive drinking, athletic stances

Middle Beermile: Pained faces, beer nursing, not so athletic stances

The Winner: Doesn't even look phased....

When all was said and done, I got my butt whipped this go around. Jeremiah proved the victor. He was within sight on the last lap and I made an attempt to chase him down, but after maybe 20 seconds of hard running I felt an even stronger urge to vomit. For those not familiar with Beermile rules, puking earns a runner a penalty lap. Chasing Jeremiah down would have surely ended with an extended 5 lap Beermile, so I had to let him go. Congrats to him. He finished in 7:33 for a new CR.

Jess was the repeat female winner. She won handedly, and while drunk at the bar later that night, claimed that she could have performed significantly better if only she had felt challenged by any of the other competitors.
Complete Final Results. We may need to move to chip timing soon. It was too hard to track all of the splits.

I'm already looking forward to Fall Beermile 2010!


After a several year hiatus, I attended the GABF once again this year. We had a nice big crew. Well, its still a shitshow. I went on Saturday night so a lot of the better interesting beers were already gone. I got a chance to try some damn good beers none the less. Some of my favorites... Russian River, The Bruery, Jolly Pumpkin, Trinity. I was sad to see Surly from MN was not in attendance. The TPS Report from Trinity my be one of the best worst beers I've ever had the pleasure of tasting. It kind of tastes like dirty laundry, but for some reason I went back for 2nds and even 3rds. I still can't really figure out the allure.

The GABF Crew. Cliche Pretzel necklaces and all. I ate all of mine and part of another

Tastes Like Funk

Golden Gate Canyon Half Marathon

On a whim I decided to enter runhill racing's GGC Half Marathon on Sept. 26th. I think what pushed me over the edge were some photos posted on FB of the course a few days before the race. Changing leaves and all...I felt inspired to get off my lazy arse and enjoy some nature.

One of the pictures that persuaded me to run the race

I carpooled up to the race start with a bunch of random people I met at a coffee shop in golden early that morning. It was quite chilly before the race, but forecasts were calling for 90's in Denver, so I knew it would probably heat up. I braved a short sleeve shirt right before the race started and toed the line with a small crowd of 75 people. I got out quickly and found myself in 3rd place behind an older guy in a bright yellow singlet and a much younger guy who looked maybe 20. The course starts out on a road that quickly turns off onto a switchback trail going uphill. I can't remember the last time I as expected to run hard up a hill. All the Leadville training had gotten me quite used to power walking. Soon I was passed by a 2nd older gentleman in a bright yellow singlet. I towards the top of the climb I was passed once again, and found myself in 5th place. I kept that guy in sight for maybe 3 miles but eventually lost sight of him. I looked over my shoulder and saw nobody.

At about mile 5 I passed the the younger guy who was in 2nd place at the start. He was walking. I asked if he was okay and needed anything, but he waved me on. Later I wold find out that he turned an ankle.

That was the last encounter I would have with another runner. I ran the remainder of the race all by my lonesome. It was a great morning, with great scenery. I couldn't have asked for anything more. There was a laughably steep hill at mile 9. It was so steep I have to use all 4 limbs.

I ended up in 4th place , finishing just under 1:50. I was beat by 46 and 49 year old men. What an inspiration those guys are. I can only hope I am still doing this stuff when I'm that age.

Some post race chili and socializing topped of a great race experience. I even got a nifty wooden trophy for my efforts. I'd highly recommend any of the runuphill racing events. They are priced right and have a low key fun aura about them, and they're all on fun beautiful courses.