Tuesday, September 07, 2004

American Discovery Trail Marathon

Race Report
American Discovery Trail Marathon
Colorado Springs 9/6/04

I am beginning to wonder if 'Mother Nature' is picking on us? This past weekend she battered our house in FL with a second hurricane - Frances. Fortunately we dodged the second bullet (again) and there was no damage. Now I hear that a 'third' bullet/hurricane may be on the way?

While the hurricane was raging in FL, Mother Nature battered us in the High Country with an early snowstorm and freezing temps. Fortunately we had already planned to go to Colorado Springs on Sun but we had to drive through a snowstorm for 30 minutes as we drove over the Continental Divide and down into Denver. The weather was sunny and warm in Denver and Colorado Springs.

However the temps were a bit chilly (low 40s) as I lined up at the start line of the 'American Discovery Trail Marathon' at 6:30 am on Mon along with 200 runners in the marathon and another 200 in the Half. I had to wear gloves for the first 5 miles. The race started and finished in Confluence Park in downtown Colorado Springs. The course was paved and dirt bike trails along Monument and Fountain Creeks north towards the Air Force Academy. The course started at 6200 ft and was fairly flat for the first Half but miles 13 to 18 were rolling hills that climbed to 6500ft. At 16 miles the course turned and looped back to Confluence Park.

I had researched the finish times for the past two years and determined that a time of 3:45 should win my age group so that became my goal/target. It was a reasonable time based on the altitude and the fact that I hadn't been able to run/train for 10 days due to the heel injury suffered at Pikes Peak. Also I didn't want to push the heel too hard since it was beginning to heal. I reached the Half in 1:50 which was a bit ahead of target but I knew the 2nd Half would not be that fast because of the 6 miles of hills! I came out of the hills at mile 19 in 2:41:16. I wanted to run an 8:30 pace for the next 7 miles but by mile 23 I was struggling to run 8:50s. I reached mile 25 in 3:34 and decided that it was time 'to hurt a little' and pick up the pace if I wanted to be sure to beat my goal. I crossed the finish line in 3:44:15!

I wasn' t sure where I had placed because I had met one runner at the turn-around (16 miles) who looked like he might be in my age group and I was never able to catch him. Turns out he was only in his 40s ( the flock of premature gray hair fooled me?). So the 3:44 (as predicted) was good enough to win my age group. In fact I beat 2nd place by more than 45 minutes! And surprisingly the 3:44 was good enough for 3rd place in the 40s age group!

So it wasn't as fast as I think I could/should run this course (I believe I could knock 10 minutes off my time if I was healthy and ready) but I was happy with both my time and performance. The left foot never hurt during the race but was a bit tender after I finished. However I believe that I can now resume my normal training program to get ready for my next four marathons (in two weeks) at the end of the month. Stay tuned!

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