I love this race and love the distance. It's long enough to fall into a rhythm and also test you, and the pace is between that marathon and 10K speed. Hurts, but is manageable.
It's billed as a net downhill course, but I've made the points before about it of why it's a little deceptively tricky. First, it starts at about 8300 ft and the first 2.5 miles actually send you back into the town, up and down some hilly streets. Second, there is a 1.5mi section on dirt road and trail that can be a little tough, especially since that comes around mile 7 or so and you have to watch your footing on the rocks, sand and ruts. Finally, in the last mile there are some rollers through Idaho Springs at 7300ft that you have to mentally push through when tired. You also have to be a good downhill runner to take advantage of a downhill course. I finally feel like I'm getting there, but am always reminded on this course that I still can improve.
That being said, it's a fast course and that brings out a decent field. About 2560 racers this year.
The weather was perfect. Nice and brisk, but not too cold at the start. This is my third year running the race, so I knew I needed to stage up front. Otherwise, you can get clogged up going back into town at the start, and then you spend too much energy running off the side of the road and weaving to move forward and keep a good pace. In a half, you don't have lots of distance to make up easy time at the start. It runs more like a 10K than a marathon.
I was really happy with the start, my overall pacing and being 'present' mentally through every mile. The last is something I've worked on over the years. Otherwise I tend to drift off pace and miss out on key places in the race when I could have gone faster. And I was strong into the finish, passing a couple folks on the last couple turns.
So I sped up a bit and planned pit stop at mile 6 (hoping they had porta-potties there - they did). At mile 6 I ran into one of them and a minute and a half later was back out on the course - much better. Mental note, no more big burrito for lunch the day before. Need to really keep things bland and light all day prior. Ah well.
I then picked up the pace to pull back the lost time. I don't think a 1:30 stop has to translate to that amount of time lost if it happens with 6mi to go because it gives you a little recovery time and you can always run a bit faster for a couple miles. Maybe it cost me 45s net lost time? Anyway - lesson learned.
My finish time was 1:27:49 - which was a PR for me (both 1/2 marathon and on that course) - by about 1:40! I was super stoked by that! It's a fast field in my division though. Even though overall times were slower than last year, there were some fast guys (I know many of them by name from other races) in my division. The above time would have put me 4th last year - this year I was 8th (out of 125 guys). I was 84th overall out of 2560 racers. Happy with that with my 49th birthday coming up! Nice to be PR'ing as I age :-)
Saturday night we headed out to Hacienda's for my favorite post race treat; Chicken-Changa and a big house margarita!
Ah, but to finish off my Dumb and Dumber day, I cut my finger while making some home made tortilla soup. It was a decent slice. I put a band-aid on which stopped the bleeding, and even swam later in the day. Doesn't hurt, but when I took the bandaid off last night, it still bled pretty well. I went to Urgent Care more just to make sure it didn't need stitches (I didn't) and to see if I should get a tetanus shot (I did). But they apparently wanted to give me a 'money's worth' bandage. Look at this puppy!