Months ago, Courtney told me about the Equinox Half Marathon, and Weez and I knew we wanted to run it during our Ft. Collins anniversary weekend getaway. And then I heard that the one and only Mountain Kait was running it too, and it was a done deal :)
First and foremost, I gotta give it up to the race directors and volunteers. Despite being an inaugural event, the experience was simply flawless. Logistically this couldn’t have been a simple event to orchestrate, yet, it was awesome from my participant perspective.
I trained my butt off for this race. We spent the spring racing 5Ks to train for speed and the summer months upping the tempos and putting in the miles, to make sure we’d toe the line ready to race. I felt fit and confident going into this, which is all I could really ask for.
This was a super speedy, downhill course, starting at 5900′ and finishing at 5300′ with only 1 not-a-downhill bit. I’ve never run a road half marathon before, so I was excited for the new experience and I certainly had no idea how I’d do time-wise. I just wanted to run the crap outta that canyon.
I loved riding the buses up the canyon to the starting line with Kait. This girl rocks. We jabbered away the whole time. She keeps it real, is pursuing a double masters, and is so much fun to hang out with.
Kait is adorable. I am a giant.
Before long, we exchanged good lucks. The countdown was quick, and off we went!
I wanted to keep a conservative effort for the first mile to feel out the aid of the downhill grade. Mile 1 felt light and smooth, and I came across at 7:20. My legs were feeling fresh, so I decided to pick it up.
I caught up to Travis, a Runners Roost guy who was aiming for a 1:34 (who, btw, ran the Denver RnR half, THE DAY BEFORE)(no big deal), and it was great to chat with him. He knows Luke and Courtney and it made me smile. He made me feel like a rockstar with his encouragement, and I kept cruising along.
The miles literally flew by.
I was pleasantly distracted by the breathtaking views in the canyon.
The downhill grade was lovely, and made my legs feel great turning over at a nice clip.
The course was run on the lefthand shoulder of the oncoming lane going up the canyon. Traffic cones kept cars a few feet away from us, and I made sure to do the headnod/hand-wave thank you as cars slowed to drive by. I can’t imagine the logistics of blocking off part of a highway for a road race. Again, the race directors rocked. I never had any issues with the cars.
The aid station volunteers were awesome, and cheered super loud. I took water at each of the 4 aid stations but always managed to spill it on myself :P since I didn’t want to slow down. I ate GUs at miles 5 and 10.
Random spectators popped up here and there along the canyon, cheering, playing drums, making me smile. I was on cloud 9 the whole time.
After the mile 10 marker, the downhill and pace started to beat me up. I caught myself slowing, I made sure to stride it out to get back on pace (7:00s felt good, so that became my goal pace). My legs were getting real worn out and I won’t lie, the last couple miles were touuughh! I was super tired and very ready to cross that finish line!
And there it was at last! With a half mile to go, I sprinted in with the last drops of gas in my tank. Coming across the finish line a wee bit dazed, but happy as hell.
13.1 = 1:32:34 (7:04 pace)
42/356 overall, 4/18 AG
I’m really excited with my time and effort from this race because I gave it my all. I know the downhill certainly had to have shaved minutes off of what would have been a slower time on a flat course. (note: the male and female winners came in 1:05:38 and 1:18:06… blazing!) But either way, it was really fun and I had a blast!
Weez and Kait dominated their races too, crushing their goal times and comin’ in strong.
The post-race finish area was a lot of fun. Basically unlimited food and local beer! It took me a good while to recover afterwards, so I didn’t partake in the delicious local brews (ooohhh well!).
It was a lot of fun hanging out with Travis and Kait after the race, not in any hurry to leave. It was gorgeous weather. What a great day! Congrats everyone!
And now? Time to recoup and recover… the ol’ legs and feet are SORE! Holy cow! But after that? Perhaps another half marathon in November :) We shall see!
Have you ever run a downhill course? How long did it take you to recover?
How many Runners Roost teams/teammates are there in the Denver area? You guys are everywhere and I love it!