Thursday, November 17, 2011

Heart Center of the Rockies Half/10K/5K

Members of Dailymile, Fort Collins Running Club, and friends

The 2011 Heart Center of the Rockies Half Marathon, 10K, and 5K races are in the books as of November 5, 2011, and a fun time was had by all. Yeah, I know I'm a little late in getting this posted.  Wanna make somethin' of it?

Conditions: Cold, sunny, light breeze...  This turned out better than expected, since rain/snow mix had been forecast for much of the week.

The course: The half marathon course had some patchy snow/ice on the ground, and there is a fair amount of unpaved surface, but I didn't see anyone go down.  I was able to take this first part of the course about as fast as I wanted to, despite the conditions.

Mile 1 - 6
First two and a half miles were on pavement, with some icy patches ad some foot-tracked hard-pack snow remnants, then onto some dirt/gravel path to complete the initial full lap around Houts and Equalizer (Two small reservoirs), then back to the pavement around Houts one more time, before rising up out of the basin containing the two reservoirs on a dirt road lading west to Boyd Lake Ave (Cty 9).

Mile 6 - 7.3
This stretch was on asphalt on slightly rolling terrain. Nothing too steep.  It was just nice to have solid footing under foot.

Mile 7.3 - 9.3
Turning off of Cty 9 and running through the neighborhoods around Boyd Lake was a nice surprise in a few ways. In previous years, the route continued up Cty 9 over a gradual incline. Going down the other side of that made for some good splits for a couple miles, but you had to run by a cattle feedlot, and the scenery wasn't that great. The new route through the neighborhoods eliminated one of the two highest points in the course in exchange for lightly rolling residential streets with a half-mile stretch right along the lake, so the scenery was excellent, the traffic was slower, and some neighborhood folk came out to cheer runners on, as well.

Mile 9.3 - 10.3
This was a tough mile, including the steepest/longest hill along the course, and right at the point in a half marathon when you look at you're either questioning whether you'll be able to continue, or when you think you're doing pretty well, because your splits have been pretty good up to this point. It's not a giant hill. It just comes at an inconvenient point in the race, when even modest hills start to feel more like mountains.

Mile 10.3 - 12.1
This stretch starts with about a 30 ft. decent in 0.2 miles - a nice, runnable slope where you can pick up some time, then runs along the path and roadway in Boyd Lake State Park over lightly rollin terrain

The Last Mile
Brett finishing the Half Marathon
The last mile is a little tough, too, forcing you to climb the 30 feet you descended at the beginning of the previous stretch over about three quarters of a mile, before showing you another good descent leading down to the finishing stretch at the swimming beach (not that anyone swims here when it's 30-something degrees out.

Results: I finished with a time of 138:28 (12/60 in AG 40-49), which was a new half Marathon PR for me, and it was particularly gratifying considering it was on a tougher course than my to previous downhill half marathons. Given how slow I've felt when I go out for my training runs lately, it's nice to go out for a race and half a strong performance. This year, they also provided finisher medals. I'm not sure if they did that in previous years, but it was a nice touch.

1 comment:

  1. Did anyone slip on the icy patch on the 1-6 mile mark? I did a 10k last year where it had light snow and rain a day before the event. My husband slipped and he ended up training and running on a livestrong treadmill. Time to stick little thumbtacks beneath our shoes eh?

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