Hey Gang! Well, Here it is, my First Race Review of 2013! Saturday January 13th was the Pike’s Peak Road Runners Winter Series Race #1. For those of you who are not familiar with the PPRR, they are a running group down in Colorado Springs. They put on both Road and Trail Races all year-long. Their Winter Series is a Trail Racing Series. I have don the Series for the last 2 years, but it is during my Coaching of Winter Lacrosse for Castle View High School, and it is hard to make the entire series. This year I planned on only racing the 1st in the series. Let me just say, that the other 3 races in the series, are on dirt and are good races, but the are NOT Trail races as I see them. Race # 1 is however, located in Cheyenne Mountain State Park, and it IS a Real Trail Race.
The past 2 years, that I have done this race, I have raced the 3.3 mile race. This year, I decided to run the 7 mile course, and Boy am I glad I did! I will probably never run the Short Course race again, it was THAT GOOD! I will apologize at this point, that I have NO Pictures from this race.
I was able to go down to the race with 2 guys that I have been running with for a few years now, Michael and his Brother, Chris. We are very close to the same pace, and it is alway good to go to races with friends, after all, I run primarily for the camaraderie and friendship.
After meeting at Lost Coffee in Castle Rock, and grabbing our favorite Cup of Coffee, we headed down to Colorado Springs, and Cheyenne Mountain State Park. I thought it was appropriate to point out to everyone else, that this was the State Park where the lady was chased my a Mountain Lion a few months ago. We all agreed, that if this were to happen to us, that you don’t need to be the fastest runner, just NOT the Slowest. When we arrived, at the park, we parked, and walked along a great trail that lead to the Visitor Center, where we were able to Race Day Register! This is where I would suggest that if you need a Winter Race to run, Check these guys out! http://pprrun.org/ is their link and then look for the Winter Series. The 4 race series will set you back $55 and you get some cool swag. Last year was 2 pint glasses and a shirt. Since we were running just the 1 race, we were set back a WHOPPING $12 AND that got us into the State Park as well.
Saturday was a little cold, I don’t think that the temp got above 20 degrees, so once we got our Race Bibs, we headed back to the car, to get layered up! Definitely a running tights day, and a few upper layers and gloves. Last minute change for me, no wool hat, just my visor.
The 7 mile Race started at 10:00am, and the 3.3 mile race at 10:20. Michael, Chris and I toe’d the line with about 250 other racers, and got ready to run a course that we knew about 3 miles of, the other 4 would be an Adventure. This race is also now a Chip Timed race. again, not bad for $12!
Mile 1: the start is in the upper praking lot and heads down to the lower parking lot, which is good as you have a 2 lane road to thin the group out before getting onto some double track, and then to Single track. but after a quarter-mile, you are climbing. Not much snow or ice this year, and the trail was in great condition. mile 1 split: 10:34 (These times are from http://app.strava.com and are not official times)
Mile 2: we are now spreading out, but still needing to pass people and mile 2 is all uphill. Not bad, but still getting the blood pumping. This mile is almost entirely on the 3.3 mile loop also, and the very end of this mile we turn uphill and leave the 3.3 course. There is also a water stop at the junction, but I have my handheld so no stopping for me, just thanking the volunteers, because they have to BIKE AND TRAILER everything to that point! We even hit some 10 – 14% grades. Mile 2: 11:05
Mile 3: This mile was steep! my Garmin had some 19 and 20% grades, but some SPECTACULAR views of Cheyenne Mountain, you know, the Mountain that NORAD is buried in! This is also the start of the race that I have never seen, and I just kept thinking, I really need to come back and run this place more. Since I really only have 1 race that I am training for (Leadville Silver Rush 50) When I hit the steep grades, I practiced my “power-hiking” which is just over glorified walking. at this point Michael was in front of me, so I wanted to see how much time I lost to him, as he ran, and I walked some sections. Mile 3: 13:09
Mile 4:This is the mile that we start back down the way we came. This mile loops around a small bluff, and rejoins the trail up. it is also when we start back downhill, right around 3.5 miles. I was back to feeling pretty good, after the steeps, and I heard someone say , we were almost done climbing. So I decided this would be the best and last place to grab a Gu, if I was going to grab one. I have been practicing on my runs, to eat when I should time wise, even if I feel I don’t need it, so I get used to it in my BIG race! Mile 4: 10:50
Mile 5: mile 5 is all Downhill. We hit some grades of 16% and possibly more, but that is what I remember seeing. still picking off people, and getting back in touch with Michael almost. I was in a good little group that was freight-training downhill, and I remember saying, “this is Definitely the E-Ticket Ride part of the course!’ We were moving fast, but I felt comfortable and in control of myself, I was really happy with how my Brooks Adrenaline ASR 9’s (trail Runners) worked out. I only remember one spot where I lost a little footing. Mile 5: 9:16
Mile 6: This mile is where we meet back up with the 3.3 mile course, and we are close to the finish line! at the junction, we hit the water stop again, and I buzz right through. I was somewhat surprised with the number of people who stopped and were not carrying their own water. I did not stop, and I am headed to the finish. I am now in the pack that Michael is in, but he is in the front and I am in the back. This is also the mile that is probably the fastest, because it is downhill, but not steep, so it feels like a non-stop sprint, and the time shows it. Mile 6: 8:00
The Finish: There is only 8/10ths of a mile left, and we are still moving fast. This last section is through a rather meadowy area, and you can see the finish line. I think I am running about as fast as I can, without throwing up, and feeling pretty good about my race. They changed the race finish a bit, and there are no stairs to run up as in year’s past I kinda liked the stairs, but it definitely makes for a smoother finish. Final 8/10ths: 8:05 pace
Well, I cross the finish line, Just behind Michael, who ran a pretty good race, and my official time is: 1:09:22 for a pace of 9:56. I am pretty happy with that, and was able to finish 8th in my Age-Group (45-40). That also put me in 152/254 finishers.
I will definitely be running this race again, and I will also be heading back to Cheyenne Mountain State Park for some training runs. I like the place That Much.
I hope you enjoyed this, and please let me know what you thought.