Monday, July 11, 2005

Mountain Madness Half Marathon

Race Report
Mountain Madness Half Marathon
Steamboat Springs, CO
Sun, Jul 10/05
1:46:46 – 10th OA – 2nd AG

This Half was the final race in Maddog’s ‘Suicidal High Altitude Training Camp’. It happily coincided with ‘Rainbow Weekend’ in Steamboat Springs. Steamboat Springs is a lovely ski resort town located 90 minutes north of Summit County/High Country. Rainbow Weekend is a big festival weekend in Steamboat with hot-air balloon races, a pro rodeo, an arts and craft show and many free music concerts. And of course the Mountain Madness Half for those ‘crazies’ who can’t relax and enjoy all the above?

We arrived in Steamboat early Sat afternoon so we could stroll around the crafts show and enjoy some of the music concerts. Then we strolled along the lovely main street that has kept its flavor of an old western mining town to window shop and make a reservation for our pasta dinner.

I woke early on Sun morning so that I could go to the ‘Meadows’ before the race to watch the launch of the hot-air balloons. Quite a spectacular sight to watch about 75 balloons being launched at the same time!

Unfortunately I had to leave before all the balloons were launched but could see them rising and racing from the start of the Half Marathon.

The race was small with only 300 runners in the Half and 10K. The weather was sunny and warm – mid 50s at the 8am start. The race starts just off downtown Steamboat at the base of Howelsen Hill – elevation 7,000 ft. The 1st three miles are a gentle uphill and then there is a BAH that climbs relentlessly for 1 ½ miles. I ran this Half 3 years ago and remembered the BAH but must have forgotten all the hills between miles 6 and 10? Three years ago I missed the turn at 3 miles to go up the BAH and ran an extra ½ mile so I made sure that didn’t happen this year! The 1st place female passed me going up the BAH and I decided I would try to stay with her?

Around 6 miles the course looped back on itself and I was able to count the lead runners. I was in 10th place overall and there was one runner who looked like an ‘old fart’ in 7th place OA but I figured he was only in his late 40s or early 50s so I didn’t worry about him. The next/first competitor in my age group was at least 5 minutes behind me at that point and I knew he couldn’t catch me. So for motivation I decided that I would catch the lead female in the last 6 miles? I closed within 100 yards a few times but much to her credit each time she would pick up the pace and increase the lead again. We kept pushing each other and she dragged me to the finish line in 1:46:46.

At first I was very pleased with my time and performance. My time was two minutes faster than I ran 3 years ago (but I ran ½ mile farther in that race) and I finished 10th OA vs. 12th OA in 2002. BUT I soon discovered that the old fart who finished 7th OA was indeed in my age group. The youngest looking ‘old fart’ I have seen? But he beat me fair and square. Even If I had guessed he was in my age group I couldn’t have caught him. I gave everything I had to catch the lead female and she beat me by 1 minute and he was 2 minutes ahead of her!

So I was disappointed with my finish position but not my time and performance. And it had indeed been a good, hard training run/speed workout to conclude Maddog’s program.
After 6 weeks of hard training in the mountains I believe I am now in decent ‘marathon shape’ and should be able to run/race a respectable time in the Faroe Islands next weekend?

Stay tuned for the next race report.

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