Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Race #7 of the Season: Colorado Sprint Triathlon

Catching up still! I have a list and a plan, though, so I can hopefully get back on track with this here blog. I'm sure y'all care ...

A few weeks ago, back on June 4th, we raced the Colorado Sprint Triathlon up in Boulder, Colo. Brandon wanted to do an early season sprint - mostly to regain some confidence after all the DNFs last year - and I raced alongside him because:

1. Why wouldn't I?
2. Familiar course - basically the same Boulder sprint course as we've done before.
3. A Without Limits race, which means slip-n-slide (see: Harvest Moon).
4. Flippin' Flapjacks was there serving pancakes afterward, which, duh.

Race morning was pretty standard. Wake up, eat food, drive up to Boulder, get there right about the time when transition opened. I was once again wearing my new Smash kit while Brandon broke out the old Team MaccaX kit.

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I also, since it was a tri, got my first calf smiley of the season:
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We chatted with the guy on the rack with us, I shared some sunscreen, fun times. 

We walked down to the water to warm up; I ran back to trans as I forgot my snack (Bobo's Oat Bar - this was a great pre-race snack; ate about half). I got in about 250 yards for a quick warm up. I forgot how much that first open water of the season sucks; took me a while to get my lungs and breathing and chest under control, doing my old tricks of bobbing my head underwater and getting used to the cold and blahblahblah. That anxiety had not been missed, let me tell you.

The sprint waves went off fairly late - after all the olympic waves - but soon enough, it was time to start tri season.

The Swim (750m):

Oh, tri open water swims. You are the bane of my existence. I swim so well in the pool, I'm comfortable in the water ... but throw me in open water and for some reason, I swim like :40/100m slower than I do in the pool. I'M WEARING A WETSUIT. THIS MAKES NO LOGICAL SENSE.

Now that I have a Garmin that tracks said swim, I also know that I sighted pretty damn well as the line on my Garmin map pretty much looked like the line on the swim course map.

Maybe the wetsuit/tri suit and how they hit my body change my stroke due to subconscious noticing of chafing. I don't know, but it needs to get figured out. *grumble*

Crawl out of the water, think about hitting my watch there to get a more accurate actual swim time even though the time includes the run up to the mat right outside transition, don't, regret it later.

Time: 22:55 (8th division, 121st gender, 257th overall)


Jog through transition gingerly (owowowOWow), throw off the wetsuit, toss on the bike shoes, helmet, and sunglasses, clomp out. 

Once again, get an amazing T1 time. This is why I don't practice transitions; I have a freakish ability to do well at them. 

Time: 1:29 (1st, 14th, 45th)

The Bike (17mi):

I know this bike course like the back of my hand I've ridden it so damn much. I am still highly frustrated with how much 36 from the Jay to Broadway NEVER gets easier despite how much I ride it. That is the one section of Boulder tri course riding that hurts me so damn badly. I lose so much time there, and I have no idea how I can get better on it. It might just be a mental block, but I don't know.

At least I can fly down the hill right after Broadway and for good chunks of Neva/Niwot.

Legs kind of started hating me as I hit the Diagonal (too much time off the previous week, I think; didn't mean to take that time off, but I had cookies to bake!), but I pushed through their crankiness back into the Res.

Time: 57:23 (5th, 58th, 160th)


Always a little slower, but I didn't bother Body Gliding the feet as I still had a lot of the baby powder I shoved in my bike shoes caked to my feet. Bike shoes/helmet off, socks/running shoes on, race belt skirt on, hat on, out transition.

Time: 1:35 (5th, 62nd, 141st)

The Run (5K):

I'm pretty sure my lungs were still trashed from riding Stage a week ago, as I kept having to stop to walk. When I could run, I was running in the high-8s, low-9s ... but I couldn't sustain it.

Out on the path by the dam around the Reservoir, see Brandon coming the other way (about a mile or so ahead of me), turn around, fight back.

Make a really ugly face crossing the finish line right before hitting the slip 'n' slide (trust me: it's bad).

Time: 31:10 (8th, 96th, 214th)

Overall Stats:
Time: 1:54:34
7/10 division (F30-34)
80/160 gender
190/322 overall

This ... was a disappointing race. I know, I know, I KNOW I'm not training speed right now, but that swim just pisses me off. Still. I felt GOOD during it. I felt like I was pushing it some. But that time ... abysmal.

The bike was okay. I didn't feel as snappy as I could (or probably should) have felt, but I really can't be too upset with damn near an 18mph average. 

The run ... well, I know why that was mediocre, and I saw glimpses of what I could do.

I did 10 minutes faster at essentially this same race (with a two mile shorter bike course) three years ago. The swim was :30/faster per 100m, but I don't know exactly where the mat was. Regardless, my T1 time was only a minute longer, so even if it was right as you got out of the water, there's an extra minute there. The bike average was faster even with the shorter course and the run was 20 seconds faster. If you go by the old 17ish mi bike that the course typically had, this year was the fastest by three minutes. So who knows ... I'll stop grumbling and let this go since it is MOST DEFINITELY IN THE PAST.

But pancakes. Mmm, pancakes. Flippin' Flapjacks, I love you.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Race #6 of the Season: BolderBOULDER 10K

... though I really hesitate to call this a "race."

As Brandon said in his recap, we forced ourselves to take this one easy. This meant the Saturday prior was Operation: Trash Legs, which meant riding three hours and climbing Olde Stage Road in the process. Operation successful, let's just say that, shall we?

Monday, Memorial Day, we wake up early and drive to Boulder to get there before they shut down the streets. Like we do. We parked at the 29th Street shopping center and headed to the Starbucks. I'm slowly learning I shouldn't run on coffee (or at least iced coffee the way I like to drink it), but as we weren't *racing*, I decided "meh," and got it anyway. And my new addiction, the raspberry swirl pound cake. Norm and Emily came to meet us before Norm had to go run in the super speedy A wave while we took our time.

Our bibs said the E waves (EC and EG, respectively), but as we wanted to make sure we got to experience the fun, we actually started somewhere in the Fs.

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All the people!

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In the start corral.

Our new wave made its way up to the line and off we went. Less than a mile into the race, we both realized, hey, we should probably pee. Off to the first bank of porta-potties we went!

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Obligatory Steve in a Speedo shot.

Legs ... were definitely feeling Saturday's ride. We both mentioned to each other how much it hurt, but whatever. We were making steady progress. 

The rest of the run was a blast. Slip 'n' slides, bacon (me), marshmallows and cotton candy (B), watermelon (me), Red Vines (B), Otter Pops (me) ... I never want to race this race again. We also ran into the always amazing Katie and her Team Amazing Day peeps and got a mid-race running selfie, but I didn't bother to transfer that from my phone to my computer, so you're going to have to find me on Instagram for that one.

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Slip 'n' slide (first one. I hit two).

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Catching marshmallows.

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Trust me, there's cotton candy in his hand.

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Dorito costumes!

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Highest point on the course banner.

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Okay so I really had dropped most of this on the ground and it was really sad but I got a picture pretending I was still really happy about having the Otter Pop regardless.

Overall Stats:
Time: 1:12:52.93
277/521 division (F32)
9059/23930 gender
21020/44632 (I think) overall

I will probably return to this race, but I will most likely never "race" it again. This year was just too damn much fun.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Race #4 of the Season - BolderBoulder 10K

Good morning to all.  I'm dealing with some gastro issues, so bad that I'm making an appointment with a gastroenterologist to figure out what's wrong.  I don't think it's a lactose/gluten/pickwhatevertrendeveryonethinkstheyhave disease, but I'll put it in the hands of a doctor at this point.

Anyway, last Monday was Memorial Day and since I had the day off, it was time to run the BolderBoulder.  This 10K is a tradition for many Coloradans.  There's nearly 50K participants, it finishes at Folsom Field where the CU Buffs play, there's a huge military presence racing, etc.  It's a great race.  It's also a tough course.  It's nearly all uphill.  Usually the day is warm.  It's crowded.  And there's a ton of distractions on the side of the course.  Slip N Slides, beer-chugging, belly dancing, kids with candy, it goes on and on.  It's what makes the BolderBoulder a blast.

Every year we've run it, T and I have run it hard, trying to PR.  In 2010, it was my first 10K.  2011 I wanted to better my '10 time, and so on.  In 2014, T and I ran it very very hard.  It wasn't enjoyable for us.  I'm not good at the 10K distance as it is; it's a tricky distance to pace.  From what I hear from runners, it's either a distance that you love or hate, and clearly I fall into the latter camp.  So we decided that this year, we were going to fully embrace the BolderBoulder.  We were going to have a lot of fun, hit the Slip N Slides, maybe drink beer, eat bacon, all the fun things!  To do this, we were going to go deliberately slow.  To ensure we would be deliberately slow, two days prior, we did a 57 mile bike ride that included a climb up Old Stage Road.  Operation "Trash Legs" was a success!

We got up early that morning and drove up to Boulder.  We parked at the same garage we always do and got to Starbucks early.  I pooped and had a cup of coffee.  We hung out and waited for our friends Norm and Emily.  We chatted with them for a bit, then they skedaddled.  We hung out a bit more then made our way to the bag check line near the start of the race.  It felt odd to not hop in our "wave" (I was EB this year.  Go speedy BAA 5K time) and T was in EE, but we vowed to hop in the F waves so the fun stuff would all be out and about.

We made our way towards the start in the FB wave.  Both of us vowed again to take it slow.  I love the start of this race.  There's a dude with a trumpet who plays the Call to Post right before your wave goes off.  You can imagine my giddiness as a horse racing fan.  Then the starting pistol went off, and we were on our way!

The Race
About .3 into it, I hit a porta-potty to pee.  We both said that we felt the fatigue in our legs and we were very happy.  

Here's a small list of what I did along the course:
- Slip N Slide 1x
- Ate a Red Vine
- Ate cotton candy
- Walked a lot
- High Fived some kids
- Fake-sprinted to the finish line

It wasn't a race to be sure.  It was a leisure 10K that I had a blast doing.  Simply put, I would never want to race this race again.  My friend Curtis summed it up best; the BolderBoulder is an event, not a race.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

May Round-Up

Oh look, I'm getting behind in recaps again. Quelle surprise. I need to do this, the BolderBOULDER recap, and the Colorado Sprint Tri recap ... and I've got another 5K this weekend. Well, even though this monthly recap is out of order, I want to get in on this first. 


Swimming: 18150m (11.28 mi)
Cycling: 277.18 mi
Running: 75.52 mi
Lifting: 15 sessions (1:54)
Other: eight stretch sessions (1:03), five yoga sessions (:54)

Swimming was an improvement over April, but I still don't feel like I'm where I want (or need?) to be with it. Part of it is I feel I should be swimming more than I am, but who knows. I have seen improvement in the pool, but the open-water translation is a different story ...

I think I'm slowly starting to get there on the bike, but I also know I still have a loooooong way to go (... in the next two months. eep.). 

Running isn't necessarily getting faster, but I am building up the mileage base, which I guess is more what I should care about given that I have to run far, and not necessarily fast. Endurance first, then speed; isn't that how it goes?

It seems like a lot of lifting sessions in not a lot of time, but a lot of that is planks here and there which don't take up a lot of time, but are still "sessions." I'm also trying to work in the yoga and stretching, but I also know I'm still not doing it as much as I should. Things to work on ... I do think it is helping, though.

The beginning of June has been a bit rough (work for me this whole week (6.1-6.7) has been a giant stress ball, but I think I've figured that out to not be an issue anymore and free up a whole lot more time for stuff like, I don't know, riding my bike, swimming, running, and maybe even blogging ...

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Race #3 of the Season - Colorado 1/2 Marathon

This is a very late blog, so I apologize.  Life has been busy.  More details on that to follow soon.

I was very excited to do this race.  It's knows as one of the best in Colorado and is used often as a Boston qualifying course.  Probably one of those races one must do if they live in Colorado.  One of my goals this year was to race a lot, so it seemed logical to sign up as I had the days off to do so.

We left our house ridiculously early and drove to Ft. Collins.  We had discussed staying that night up there, but the ability to have our breakfast the way we like it overruled that decision. That, and you know, cost.

We found parking in a garage and after grumbling about being awake, we found our way to the buses.  We had heard through the grapevine that up at the start, there were tents to keep people warm and coffee/hot chocolate to drink.  This would certainly be welcome on what was a cold morning, with snow potential.

On the bus on the way to the race start, I even commented to T that this seemed well-organized and well done.

Oh how wrong I was.

The ride up seemed to be taking forever.  T attempted to snooze while I just looked out the bus window.  Eventually it had been determined that we had gone to the start of the marathon course instead of the 1/2 marathon course.  I figured we were hosed, but thankfully, we made it to the 1/2 marathon starting point in time.  Barely.  There was barely enough time for the porta-potties and pre-race rituals that we like.  So much for a relaxing start.

Regardless, we pushed it out of our minds and got ready for the start.  We positioned ourselves somewhere between the 2:10 and 2:20 pacers.  I stayed wrapped in a bed sheet until the start.

The Race
I wasn't tapered for this race.  Coach asked me if I wanted to be and I declined, preferring to get in as much riding as possible (I need miles; more to come on that soon).  So I went into this race not only undertrained, but a bit beat up.  I didn't care - I was treating it as a training run and we'd see how it went from there.

In the early 3 miles, T and I were never out of sight of each other and usually staying right close.  We were running our own races today but it was up to each of us to decide what we could do.  

Around 4 miles in, I started feeling great.  I was comfortable running sub-10 and was ahead of the 2:10 pace group.  I figured at the pace I was running, it would be sustainable, even on the minimal training I had under my belt.

Then came the "hill of doom". 

In mile 6, there's a hill that's about 4/10ths of a mile long.  It's not terrible - on any other day it'd be fine.  Today though, it cooked me.  I got slower and slower going up and eventually walked with T.  At the top, she bombed down the hill while I hung onto my just sub-10 pace.  It'd be the last time we ran together this race.

In mile 7, I felt myself slowing down.  I attempted to regain my pace, but was unable to achieve it.  By mile 9, I felt the fatigue in my legs and knew I was cooked for the day.  The lack of endurance training in running at this point + the previous week's work did me in.  I walked/ran the rest of the race.  In mile 10, it started snowing pretty good and I was getting colder.  Not much fun.

I ran hard when I saw the finish, but my heart was barely in it by this point.

Final time - 2:23:38

While I can't say this was a bad race for me, it was a tad disappointing.  I believe I could have done better even on the training I had.  I also believe that the bus ride was a major factor playing into my performance.  

Regardless, it was a good training run!

Race #5 of the Season: Barkin' Dog Duathlon

If you're a long-time reader of this blog, you may recall the last time I did this race back in 2014. In short, my first podium, blahblahblah.

It fell on the same weekend as Dino Half last year (it usually does) and since that race had a T-Rex medal, clearly I was doing Dino Half. This year, I wanted to make the return to Barkin' Dog. I once again did the short course (1.2 mi run, 11 mi bike, 5k run). I don't really recall if I tapered into this race two years ago (knowing my training life back then ... probably), but I definitely didn't this year.

Thursday: strength work, hour time trial on the bike.
Friday: bit of yoga, 2:50 bike ... riding good chunks of the IM Boulder course.

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Brandon cresting a hill.

Saturday: race day, with a lot of miles in my legs.

Although I was the last wave to go off, we got there soon after transition opened ... this extra time ended up being a Very Good Thing, as I realized I was WAY underdressed for the race. I didn't bother looking at the weather that morning, thinking it was going to be nice and toasty that day. Yeah, well, it was in the 40s that morning and might creep up into the 50s by the time I finished. I was wearing a tri kit and my new, comfy BU zip up hoodie that I technically could have worn, but it's super lightweight and kind of big and would have turned into a sail on the bike and really isn't all that warm.

Since Brandon a.) wasn't racing; and b.) is the best husband ever, I gave him the keys and he busted ass back home to grab me my snug BU pullover and my MaccaX cycling jacket. He got back to me about 6 minutes before my wave went off; perfect.

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Still kinda cold, but much better off! In the start corral.

Run 1:

The course was different this year than in 2014. The first one left the Hobie Hill parking lot (Cherry Creek State Park), went out on that little road, up the Res road toward the entry station, on to the bike path to the top of the hill, and back down again.

I managed to run up the whole hill, and then back down again, kind of dying the whole time.

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On the way back down. You can see the runners up above me.

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Time: 10:32 (5th division, 21st gender, 52nd overall)


Take off the shoes, try to remember to loosen them, swap out hats, go.

Time: 1:02 (2nd, 13th, 27th)


The bike two years ago took place on the Dam Road due to flood damage within the park. This year, it was basically back to the course that I rode for the two Chilly Cheeks races ... with an extra little dip-doodle-y thing to add on a tiny bit of extra mileage (probably to help the long-course racers get their 30k). I was pushing it, but I definitely felt the last couple rides in my legs.

However, I did continue my Barkin' Dog short course streak of having the fastest bike split in my AG both times. Woo hoo!

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My socks made me easy to spot.

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This was on that little added part.

Time: 38:10 (1st, 8th, 31st)


When I saw later I had the fastest T2 time, I was shocked as I felt like I went slow. After I racked my bike, I took a sip of Skratch, flopped down, changed shoes, ditched my MaccaX jacket ...

Time: 1:04 (1st, 11th, 26th)

Run 2:

For the second run, we went out basically the same way as the first one, but turned left on to the path paralleling the main road, popped out on the main road to about where the Butterfly Hill (I think?) is, went up the dirt path, did a tiny out-and-back, across this bridge, and popped out near the middle school before heading back down to the finish the same way as the first run.

I was running as best as I could, but I still had to take more walk breaks than I wanted. Stupid lungs. I also took off my BU pullover and carried it through half the run because I finally started getting warm again. Yay being a hot runner!

Brandon got me at the aid station just after mile two ... which meant nice pictures of my fancy new Smash kit, but with me walking with my water, so boo.

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I don't think I noticed him taking the picture ...

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Isn't the kit pretty????? Also notice that black blob in my hands - that's my BU pullover.

I told Brandon to bust his butt to the finish (he was cycling all over the park for these photos) where he met me there.

Time: 30:41 (6th, 30th, 61st)

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As I rounded the curve to the finish, I saw that girl and decided to beat her ... which I did, thanks to my amazing ability to sprint at the end of races (usually). Fortunate thing, too, because she was in my AG and I beat her by ONE SECOND. Aww yeah.

Overall Stats:
Time: 1:21:31
2/12 division (F30-34)
14/63 gender
40/118 overall

I was pleasantly happy to see 2nd when I got home, as the results had me third at the park. I got bumped up as the overall female winner of the short course was in my age group, so all of her stuff got taken out of AG consideration (she was technically the only one in my AG to beat me on the bike).

As the short-course race is still small, no podium for me as they only honor the tops in the division. Which is kind of sad, but I'm still happy with how I did. Let's compare the numbers to 2014, shall we?

Time 2014: 1:27:28
Time 2016: 1:21:31
Difference: basically 6 minutes faster!

Run 1 2014: 10:14
Run 1 2016: 10:32
Difference: slower. But IIRC, the run was easier (that is, not up a damn hill) in 2014.

T1 2014: 1:10
T1 2016: 1:02
Difference: 8 seconds quicker. Woo.

Bike 2014: 42:56
Bike 2016: 38:10
Difference: about five minutes quicker. This is where I gained a lot of my time. I would also argue that this year's course was harder.

T2 2014: 1:09
T2 2016: 1:04
Difference: 5 seconds faster. 

Run 2 2014: 31:57
Run 2 2016: 30:41
Difference: and here's that other minute I chopped off.

The biggest thing, however, was the amount of people that did the race this year as opposed to 2014.

In 2014:
1/7, 13/39, 34/71

In 2016:
2/12, 14/63, 40/118

There were a lot more people racing this year. So yes, I may have gotten faster, but other fast people also showed up. All I can do on a given day is show up and do my best ... and make sure I always sprint across that damn finish line.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Race #4 of the Season: Colorado Half-Marathon

I chose an early season half-marathon this year for a test of my run legs. Like the BAA 5K, I wasn't specifically trained for this, necessarily, but I once again had hopes for this race. We even tapered into it in hopes of doing well.

Weather-wise, the race looked to be kind of miserable. In fact, we'd probably get snowed on (and we did). At least it wasn't going to be hot?

Saturday, we went up to the race expo for packet pick-up. Everything was taking place in Fort Collins and we were debating spending the night up there, but with how early the buses were leaving, we figured we'd just stay home and that way, we could at least eat breakfast. So, Saturday's trip was up for packets and back.

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At packet pick-up. Brandon's wearing his brand new BU sweatshirt. I'm so proud.

I talked with a couple of my fellow Skirt ambassadors who were running the booth at the expo. One of them, Dawn, wasn't running that year, but had in several previous years and had nothing but good things to say about the half. She mentioned a tent up at the race start (point-to-point race) with coffee and hot chocolate in it to help keep you warm before the gun went off. Brandon and I were super excited to hear this.

Sunday morning, we're up super early in order to eat food and get to Fort Collins by 4:30, which is when the first buses left. We didn't really need to get up there right then (we had a good 45 minute or so window), but our triathlon background leaves us wanting to get to these things stupid early. We get up there right about 4:20ish. Perfect.

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Why do we do this again???

We get on the first bus and the bus leaves, no problem.

Then ... problem. I felt vaguely like I did before Silverman (that is, not good), so I tried to snooze some on the bus ride. The bus ride also felt a hell of a lot longer than 13 miles. Which it was. It was 26 miles. Our bus driver took us to the marathon start as opposed to the half-marathon start. Uh, oops.

For a while it seemed like we were screwed before the guy eventually turned around and got us to the start.

Meanwhile, I feel like utter shit (I get carsick in my old age. It sucks) so I don't want to try eating my snack until we stop moving.

Unfortunately for us, we FINALLY get to our proper race start ... with barely enough time to hit the porta-potty line and drop off our bags. I'm still feeling like poo, but I know I need calories, so I try to eat my snack while we're waiting in the bag drop line. That ... is not successful. We barely get my bag dropped off when we're ushered to the start line. We gaze wistfully at the beverage tent and grumble.

We station ourselves somewhere between the 2:10 and 2:20 pacers and off we go.

Our race plan is to try to stick together somewhat (particularly in the early miles) and me peel off when/if I can. I was tapered for this; Brandon wasn't. 

For the most part, we stick together fairly well through the early miles. 

10:43, 10:08, 9:40.

About 5K in, I've settled in nicely with the 2:10 pacers. I figure if I can stay with them (and at that point, the pace was comfortable enough), life would be good.

9:58, 9:47, 10:33.

That 10:33 is for the one main hill on the course in mile 6. The 2:10 pace group went steadily up the hill and I needed to walk up part of it. The cold probably contributed to this. Brandon caught up to me at this point, but I left him again because I wanted to get back up to the pace group. A fairly speedy 7th mile accomplished this.

8:57, 9:48, 10:15, 10:05.

I bombed the downhill to catch up with them and stayed with them fairly successfully. I ended up dropping them at some point - about the time we strayed off the main roads and started on random bike paths in Fort Collins - and still felt pretty good.

Unfortunately, I was starting to feel hungry - lack of food since 3am kicking in - and the only aid stations with gels (which I probably would have just choked down) were long past. On one of these paths, the 2:10 pace group caught up to me and blew past. I was on the struggle bus.

10:41, 11:15, 10:24.

I felt the mileage at mile 8 in my legs, but I was still fighting there. At mile 10.5ish, I started feeling like vomit and it never really went away. I was running when I could, but I started walking more and more because of the nausea. Damn bus driver.

I fought it in to the finish, finishing not as fast as I would have liked, but with my 2nd fastest half time overall.

Final Stats:
Time: 2:14:27
82/150 division (F30-34)
410/855 gender
727/1298 overall

I got my medal and hung around in the finisher's chute, trying not to barf. I was also waiting for Brandon to come in. I wasn't sure how far behind he was. The volunteers/staff were trying to funnel me down to the post-race expo, but I wanted to be there for husband, so I hid on the side of a tent until he crossed. Which he did, some time later, half-frozen.

We got some food and headed back to the car to thaw out, as we were both quite cold.

I had heard many great things about this race and I do believe I can do a lot better on this course, particularly if I'm actually trained for it (with more and better long runs under my belt) and without a stupid bus driver who doesn't take us to the marathon start line. So will I do this race again? Probably. Was I happy with how the day went? Kind of. I was hoping for better, but it wasn't to be on that day.