Saturday, September 10, 2005

Road Kill Half marathon

Road Kill Half Marathon
Kremmling, CO

Race Stats:
Sept 10/05
Road Kill Half Marathon
Kremmling, CO
1:38:24 1st AG

This race was to be my final race and speed workout for the summer season in the High Country. To make it more fun and memorable I invited (or coerced) a running friend - Fast Freddy – from Dallas, TX to visit and be my ‘rabbit’ for the race.

Fred arrived on Wed. to allow himself some time to acclimate to the altitude. I thought it important to initiate him quickly into Maddog’s ‘Suicidal High Altitude Training Camp’ so we immediately hit the hot tub with some margaritas and Colorado microbrew to prepare for a hike on Thu.

On Thu morning we hiked to the 12,000 ft level of Ptarmigan Mtn to acclimate Freddy to the high altitudes and single track trails that we would encounter during the race.

A side note is necessary here to explain some of the events to follow.
During the weeks before Fred arrived some friends (Joe & Brenda) who go back 30+ years and who live(d) in New Orleans had been forced to evacuate the Big Easy because of Hurricane Katrina. Fortunately they had evacuated a few days before Katrina hit and the rest is history. Unfortunately they thought they were only leaving for a few days so had only packed a week of clothes and belongings and were wandering around TX wondering when they might be able to go back home to collect more clothes and belongings and check on their home? We invited them to visit and stay with us in Colorado. Well, they arrived the same day as Fred - only late that night! Now on with the story that will make more sense.

Fred is renowned for making a great margarita and happily Joe, Brenda and Nicole love margaritas so we decided it was necessary to initiate Joe and Brenda to the pleasures of the High Country – margaritas in the hot tub while watching the Blue river flow by! They adapted very quickly although they may have a tough job selling a story to FEMA that they are refugees?

On Fri we took all our guests to a musical festival in Fairplay and then Fred resumed his job as margarita bartender even though he and I were sadly on the wagon in preparation for the race on Sat. The race – the ‘Road Kill Half Marathon’ – was held in Kremmling, CO, about 40 miles north of Silverthorne. The race started at 12 pm/noon, which is unusual for a race in CO? All of us piled into a car for the drive to Kremmling. The sports manager and the Treiges decided they would watch the start/finish of the race and explore the town while we were running.

The description of the race was not pretty –start /finish in the town square at 7300 ft, 50% trails, 50 % road, lots of hills and a climb to the top of the landmark ‘Kremmling Cliffs’. My research had revealed that the winning time last year in my age group was 1:53. Based on the description of the course I believed a sub-1:50 should win the age group?

It was sunny and warm at the 12 pm start with temps in the low 60s. The race director advised the 50+ runners that it had rained hard on Fri night and the course was very wet and muddy. They did not want to change their challenging but scenic course so we were warned to be careful in the muddy sections? And the race started!

Well let me tell you – the course description and explanation before the race left out a lot of wee details? Like the wooden rail fence that we had to climb (or hurdle) in the 1st half-mile and all the ravines/gulleys that we had to jump over or climb down and up? There was lots of water and mud as promised and my shoes had picked up about 10 pounds of mud each in the 1st mile. The race was essentially a cross-country and steeplechase run on single-track trails across the high plains /desert around the town! It was a bitch!
And the best was yet to come?

Around 2 miles the trail climbed the Cliffs. The trail went straight up the cliffs that rose 300 ft in elevation above the town. And I mean straight up – no switchbacks – straight up the cliffs! My rabbit was right behind me as we approached the Cliffs (aren’t rabbits suppose to set the pace – in front?). An old fart passed me at the bottom of the cliffs and I tried to stay with him on the steep climb but half way up I decided the wisest strategy was to walk the top section and save some energy for the run back down on the other side!
When I reached the top of the Kremmling Cliffs the rabbit was still behind me but I decided to catch the old fart and took off and never saw the rabbit again?

The next 3 or 4 miles were the same challenging terrain – water, mud, ravines and hills! When I reached the 2nd water stop I checked my watch – about 50 minutes! There were no mile markers anywhere on the course but I figured that the water stop was between 5 and 6 miles, which meant I was averaging about 10 min/mile. If the rest of the course was this tough I would be lucky to finish under 2 hours? However shortly after the water stop the course climbed a very steep hill and dumped out on a dirt road – a real road that cars traveled on. I was finally able to scrape off the 10 pounds of mud on each shoe and haul ass down that road for a few miles. Unfortunately the course again turned off into the plains/desert but the trail followed the tire ruts/tracks of an old 4X4 road and if you selected the proper rut the footing was OK. I managed to hold a fast pace on the ruts and finally reached the 3rd and final water stop. I asked a race volunteer how far it was to the finish line. “About 3 miles” was the response. I looked at my watch – only 1:16. It didn’t make sense – if this was really 10 miles I was running a sub 8-min pace? I didn’t believe the answer – there had to be at least 4 miles to the finish?

I continued to push the pace on the 4X4 ruts in the hope of catching the old fart in front of me but I could never get closer than 300 yards and a few miles later the ruts reached the edge of the town and dumped out on to a paved road. Again I asked a volunteer how far? He didn’t know. Shit! I needed to know how far to determine how hard to push the old bod! I decided to push as hard as I could and hope I didn’t crash. The paved road was a straight shot into the town center and soon I could see the town square and finish line about 1 mile ahead. I looked at my watch –about 1:31! I was really confused and concerned because this could only mean one of three things:

a) I was running ‘way over my head’ and would finish under 1:40

b) The course was short? But they had emphasized that the course was the same as last year and the times had not been that fast.

c) There was an ugly surprise waiting near the town square – an additional loop of a ½ mile or more around the town center?

I really hoped it wasn’t option c) because I was hurting and didn’t think I had either the energy or willpower to run a loop before the finish line. I decided to push as hard as I could and fortunately there was no ugly surprise and I raced across the finish line in 1:38:24 to the cheers of our supporters/Fan Club!

I joined the Fan Club to wait and cheer Fast Freddy as he finished in 1:48:19. I could hear him grumbling “Too damn many hills – I hate hills – there are no hills in Dallas”! We both concluded/agreed that no matter what date the ‘Road Kill Half Marathon’ is next year that our social calendar “is busy”. It was a BITCH!

There was a great post-race party with live band and a lunch of wild game dishes- Buffalo lasagna, Venison chili, Elk Fajitas and tacos and other wild game delicacies.
Unfortunately I had pushed the old bod too hard and was suffering severe stomach cramps and couldn’t stand the thought of food. Fred wasn’t very hungry either so Joe bought one lunch and filled up a sampler plate so the group could taste all of the wild game dishes. That worked out OK.

I wanted to see the race results but they never did post any at the finish area nor have they posted them to the website yet in spite of my requests and complaints! There were no age group awards - only awards for the top three overall and Masters. I didn’t win any of them nor did the old fart who beat me? The three Master winners didn’t even look like they were 40? I am curious to see the results but can’t delay the report any longer.
Update: I did win my age group and established a new course record by 15 minutes. However it may not last long since the old fart who beat me was 59 and will be in my age group next year.

After the race we returned home for a soak in the hot tub – and yes – more margaritas and microbrew. Then we fed the racers and the refugees some great grilled steaks and of course more margaritas/wine/beer. In fact we had to make another (of several) run to the liquor store for more tequila and margarita mix in preparation for our nightly party in the hot tub!

A great way to finish the race season in the High Country – with good friends, a hot tub and lots of margaritas!

I have scheduled one more marathon in Kansas City on the drive back to FL.

So stay tuned for the next race report!


No comments: