Who is Ted?

I'm the father of two beautiful daughters and an amazing wife. For fun, I enjoy the long hours of seemingly endless suffering that endurance sports (mostly running, cycling and triathlon)provide. During my "down time" I'm an avid beer snob and self-described gourmet chef (in other words I like to burn things on a stove or grill).

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Horsetooth Half Marathon RR

It has been a while since I've had races on back to back weekends.  Last Sunday was the start of my triathlon season with the local Ordinary Mortals Triathlon.  A great event, and while it appears that they've had some trouble with the results getting posted accurately, it was a great race overall.
Waiting for the Trolley at the OSF
This past weekend, my family and I headed north for a weekend of Birthday Celebrations and racing.  The festivities kicked off on Friday night where we celebrated Lily's birthday at The Old Spaghetti Factory.  The next morning we cruised over to the Denver Aquarium for a few hours prior to heading north to my folks place in Greeley.
 After some more celebrating with the family on Saturday evening, we woke up at the comfortable hour of 6:30 to get ready for the race and head over to Fort Collins.  It was an absolutely beautiful morning for a race.  The sun was out, but it wasn't too hot, and a very light breeze was doing its part to keep things cool.
Lily's favorite: Jellyfish
I think I last did this race back in 2001.  At the time, the course followed a somewhat different route through the city, before climbing up to the reservoir with a final descent to Hughes stadium.  My impression of the race at that time was not that high.  I remember running towards oncoming traffic at one point, and a crowded finish area that had people grabbing their bagel in the same place where runners were finishing.  A couple of things lured me back to this race however.  First, was a new course that promised some great climbs again, and a chance to get a feel for some of the running that will be forthcoming at the HITS half-iron distance in July.  The course isn't exactly the same, but it's good to get a feel for some of the running and riding that we'll be doing.  The second equally important reason for doing this race again has to do with the finish line at the New Belgium Brewery.  Nothing could be a better carrot during a race than the thought of a great beer waiting at the finish.  I must admit that I found myself remembering this at some of the tougher points in the race, and I do believe that propelled me forward.
For a race that is run entirely on pavement and concrete, this race has some of the more challenging climbs around.  Some of the grades on this course are above 9%.  The good news is that the steeper climbs come early in the race.  I shudder to think what those climbs might have felt like if they came at miles 10 or 12!  I have to admit that I kind of enjoy the climbs when racing.
My original plan was to shoot for a 9:00 to 9:30 pace per mile.  I wanted to take it a little easier so that I wouldn't completely trash my legs and be unable to work out the rest of the week.  I also planned on wearing my HR monitor so that I could get some data to reference when training for HITS.  However, my competitive spirit took over and I soon found myself cruising along and averaging under 8:00/mile.  Unlike a lot of races with a somewhat flat course however, it was difficult to maintain any kind of consistent pace.  The undulating hills resulted in miles that probably varied more than a minute or two in time.  Still, when I reached a point with only about  3-4 miles left, I was still feeling fairly strong and maintaining a pace that ranged from 7:15 to 7:45.  That is until, the last mile.
By the time I got to the last mile, it was clear that the tank was running empty.  I definitely left everything out on the course on Sunday Morning.  My pace dropped while my heart rate stayed high (it did not drop below 160 for the last 5 miles and really stayed closer to 167 the majority of the time).  I would estimate that my final mile was somewhere between 8:00 to 8:30.   Not a bad last mile, but I certainly didn't have the kick to do better. 
Once the race was done, it was time to enjoy an absolutely beautiful morning. Since I had a few minutes before I anticipated the arrival of my older brother, I decided to take advantage of the free massages that they had on hand.  Normally I don't go for that type of thing after a race (the thought of some poor soul having to rub down all of these sweaty runners), but I figured I would give it a shot and see if it had an impact on my recovery (In truth, I really don't know if it did or not, because it still took me a couple of days to feel better).  That said, I do think it's something I will consider again in the future.  But the best part of the post race festivities was getting to sit in the sun and drink a pint of Sunshine Wheat.  All in all, a great race day. 
A couple of days later, I checked to find the race results.  Although I was a good ways back in my age group, I was pleased how I did overall.  Here's a printout of the results:
The results place me in the top 20% for my age group, and the top 10% overall for the race.  I'll take that any day!  Now it's back to training for the next adventure, the Colfax Marathon on May 20th.   I'll let you know about my unique strategy for that one in another post.

1 comment:

  1. Glad to hear I wasn't the only one who was sore two days after the race!