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Posts Tagged ‘trail running’

My most recent outdoor weekend started with a post-work trail run with Brad out of the Doudy Draw trailhead. We covered a semi-hilly 8 miles at a mostly conversational pace. Our main topic was the outdoor efforts we were planning for next year and how we could support one another in those endeavors.

Saturday I spent the day out-of-doors, but largely in my backyard as I built my first retaining wall to level out our side yard for a future garden plot. The work was a lot of fun and took me back to my days of regular trail maintenance and should be the first of many such projects.

And on Sunday I decided to metaphorically combine the prior two day’s activities by running and hiking a marathon on my first Boulder Trail Runners “Church Run”. The Church Runs are usually all-day affairs involving a lot of elevation gain. Today’s all-trail loops at Heil and Hall Ranches near Lyons were notable for being particularly runnable. The pace and elevation gain turned out to be perfect training for my Tecumseh Trail Marathon sweep role in a few weeks. Three of us (out of the original 8 runners who started) finished up the full distance for the day and with plenty of hydration and food I’m not sure we ever really hit the wall.

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The Rattlesnake Ramble trail run’s original 2013 race date clashed with the September floods that closed numerous mountain roads outside of Boulder, Colorado and Eldorado Canyon State Park. After the park re-opened the race was on for Nov 9th.

I had no particular race goals but to have fun and try to push myself to run a decent race. To that end I didn’t start out too fast and plodded along up the main road to the Fowler trail. I was keeping pace with a couple people including the first place woman and followed them on a couple passes on this first out-and-back stretch.

Back on the main road I threw my windbreaker under the aid station table as we went by and ran the road fairly steadily, pacing Bill Wright (race director) in this section. The big climb up the Eldorado Trail came up quickly and I did a little jogging through the lower section of this climb, passing a couple competitors and gradually my pace morphed into a power walk (Bill Wright’s pre-race announcements included a story of jogging this trail only to be passed by a hiker), jogging only a few of the less serious inclines. The lead runners were bombing down the hill while we made our way up but the climb ended earlier than I thought. Someone said “this is the top” and at first I didn’t believe them only to find myself running downhill on a short stretch to the turn-around.

I’m a fairly fast downhiller, so I let my legs reach a quick turnover while still trying to stay within my comfort range for the rocky terrain. Towards the bottom I got behind one slightly slower runner and had someone else on my heels. The three of us hit the bottom of the trail and wider road together and the fellow behind me passed both of us. I locked onto his pace and fell in behind and we pushed the pace down the dirt road for a mile towards the finish. Once again a third runner caught up and joined our pack and using the Bastille rock formation as a guide I launched an early finish-line sprint (Strava claims I hit a 4min/mile pace for a [very] brief moment).

My final kick lost steam with 50 feet or so to go to the line, but looking over my shoulder it looked like I had enough of a margin to coast in ahead of my two competitors. My run is posted to Strava for viewing. My run was good enough for a 25th overall finish and a time of 36:27.

Tara came in a bit later, feeling pretty good on her run and made the podium for the Masters Women division.

Preliminary results, a large collection of photos, and the race director’s report are posted online. The post race prize table was deep and full of runner/climber goodies. We even helped ourselves to a post-race donut (ssssh, don’t tell everyone else in Boulder!). There’s a good chance this event will make it onto our calendars for next year.

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While away from Colorado for two weeks I was joined in Indiana by the lovely Tara and we got in a few runs including the Thanksgiving day Drumstick Dash and a recovery run two days later on a cross country course. Before she flew away on a jet plane we hit Indianapolis’s Prospect Street and enjoyed the New Day Meadery, Atomic Bowl Duckpin lanes, and Santorini Greek Kitchen – all come highly recommended.

A couple days later I took another last training run on Indiana University’s cross country course after work and then rested up for the rest of the week before Saturday’s Tecumseh Trail Marathon. For the 10th year in a row I’d volunteer as race sweep, following the last runners and letting the aid stations know they could close down. Since I’d been running more leading up to this event this year, I stayed back further from the tail runners for much of the day and spent more time stopping and chatting with the aid station and ham radio volunteers before running and catching up. I also let the other runners get ahead of me on some portions of the course that I love to run (a few of the downhills mostly) and then ran those segments.

In past years we’ve had challenges with snow or rain forcing course changes – this year would be our warmest yet and present a dry course. Unfortunately, a couple of the buses transporting runners from the finish to the start line either broke down or got lost and we had to start the race about 50 minutes late. Some of the cut-offs were bumped up by 30 minutes, but we couldn’t extend them out past that due to the early sunset this time of year.

I felt bad for the couple of runners who could have finished the full course given an extra 20-30 minutes and hope race management can work out an early start option or move up the start in the future.

Congrats to all the runners who toed the line for the 10th Tecumseh Trail Marathon. Full results.

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