The Road to 10: The “Fource” is strong with this one

The force is strong with half marathon number four! The gravitational force that is. As a physicist, I am fascinated by all things related to mechanics, gravity, and how every aspect of the world works. The gravitational force was strong with half marathon number four because the entire run was downhill!

I was signed up to run the Revel Rockies in July of 2015. I showed up about 4:00am and awaited the busses that would drive us up the mountain so we could run back down to our cars. The line of runners was getting longer and longer in the parking lot. The busses should have already been taking runners-up for 30 minutes. Finally, a bus showed up…one single school bus. We were assured, “The rest are on the way!” We were approaching the “last bus” time, but there were still no busses. Finally, race officials came walking down yelling, “The busses aren’t coming, you may not drive up the mountain because the race is starting for runners who are already at the top. You will receive an email later with more information.” The race officials didn’t even have a megaphone so information was coming down the line of runners “telephone style.” I was furious! I had been planning this for months, I was covered in KT tape (which isn’t cheap) and I had even bought a new Sparkle Athletic skirt for the occasion.

To make me feel better, the friend who had come to cheer me on at the finish line decided we needed to put some food in me, so we went to breakfast at iHOP. While enjoying my breakfast, I was reading tons of Facebook posts and news articles about the incident at the race. Basically, the bus company was going out of business and chose to send 18 busses instead of the 52 promised by their contract. Read all about it in this Runner’s World article.

 

As compensation for missing the race, Revel offered to fully refund race entry OR provide free entry to a 2016 race. For me, this was fair because I only live 20 minutes from the race location, so I hadn’t spent hundreds of dollars in travel costs like other runners. But I still felt like I should get a little more than a refund for the time and training that was arranged to line up with the race. Luckily, other local race companies came to the rescue!  The Georgetown to Idaho Springs Half Marathon offered a sweet discount to runners impacted by the Revel incident.A perk of living in the Rockies, its not hard to find a downhill half because there are tons of mountains to run down! It was only a few weeks later, so I took them up on the offer!

The night before the race, I stayed near Georgetown with a friend in his family’s condo. We even went for a little shakeout run the night before to get used to running at that high altitude! Sparkly Soul had sent me a new headband earlier that week, so I wore it to show it off as we ran around an outlet mall. IMG_1274

The morning of the race, I wore a Rock N Roll San Francisco jacket. It’s 2 sizes too big, and I have never run RNR San Francisco. So where did I get the jacket? From a thrift store right across the street from my apartment of course! It was $8!!! What a deal!IMG_1275

The downhill run was awesome and the mountainous views were beautiful! I set yet another PR (4th half, 4th PR). 2:27:10! I FINALLY broke 2:30!

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When I picked up my medal, I was ecstatic! It is a mini gold pan! As a “Miner” at the Colorado School of Mines, this medal reminded me of home! IMG_1277

To this day, this half was one of my favorites and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a small race in the Rockies! It was so small, there weren’t even wave at the start and I felt like I had the whole trail to myself the entire time.

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2 thoughts on “The Road to 10: The “Fource” is strong with this one

  1. So I’m confused. Is running a downhill half considered the same as running a normal half? It seems like cheating, if it is timed the same way, or is the downhill-ness incredibly slight.

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    1. That’s a great question! When I first started running, I found out that many people run the downhill marathons to cut down their time in order to qualify for Boston, which totally seemed liked cheating to me. When I first embarked on my downhill journey, I contemplated not counting the PR for that exact reason. However, by the end of the run, I discovered the challenge of downhill running. In a normal race, alternating between up, down, and flat alternates which muscle groups you are using. However, hile running down for over 2 hours made my quads burn more than I ever thought they could! Running downhill also can be very hard on knees, which is why mine were all taped up to help prevent injury.

      Moral of the story: no two races are equal and lots of things can effect a PR: weather, elevation changes…elevation in the first place! Some people consider training in Denver and running at sea level cheating as well. Instead of trying to sort out my half PRs into different categories, I just keep track of my overall PR, and my PR for each race from year to year. Conditions are not always ideal for a new PR, so I often focus on improving my time in the same race from year to year.l because eventually my overall PR will plateau. I actually have a post in the works about PRs for my Nashville 2016 recap! Watch for that post on Saturday!

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