Friday, September 2, 2011

Hills... and my first review

I used to be afraid of going downhill. Not just afraid… I hated it. I have been known to crab walk down steep sections of trail while hiking (hiking is even slower than running). I was becoming more accustomed to it and even beginning to kind of become comfortable with it when recently; Ben suggested I lead the pace on the downhill. Something happened on that run and I felt the need to just take off down the hill. Based on the way I now run down hills, one would never suspect (I hope) that I used to dread those bad boys.

I realized today that I am afraid of long uphills. Don’t get me wrong, I used to love doing hill repeats when I was in high school and am able to power through long uphills on the street. There is something different about running uphill on a trail (apart from being at a higher altitude). You never really know when it is going to end, you have to watch your footing, your legs start to scream louder and your lungs begin to burn more.

It was not until today that I realized I have this fear. We decided to do a short trail run today as part of our “recovery week” (yes, I use this term very lightly). The way out was almost completely uphill, which forced me to a point just short of a meltdown. Since running the Gore-Tex Transrockies Race, I have made a goal for myself that I want to be a much stronger runner on the hills. Well, today I fell very very short of my expectations. We were not even a mile in to the run when I realized that I was tired, my legs were tight, my foot was not happy, and I had a long uphill climb in front of me.

Ben kept reminding me that all runners have hard days. I have not had a crappy run in a long time and today’s run takes the prize for crappy. It was a good reminder to me that it is ok to have to come face to face with your strengths as well as with your weaknesses. I want to hold onto today’s run as an example of why I need to run more. Instead, I have decided to imprint today into my mind as a reminder that it is ok to have a difficult day every once in a while and that one tough day does not define me as a runner or as a person.

Running really is a metaphor for life. Ben tried something knew today and gave me little nudges as we ran uphill. He also was very supportive. As we ran down the hill together, I was reminded that there will be days when I have to rely on others for help or support and that there is nothing wrong with this. I cannot do it all on my own (Phil 4:13).

On another note, today we ran at Hall Ranch just outside of Lyons, CO. The trail is fairly well-maintained, singe track in some places and double track in others. It is very exposed and arid but offers beautiful views of the valley.

By the way, I am not sure that my toe nails will ever look the same if I keep this whole trail running thing up.

Georgetown to Idaho Springs
So, I will get to my review of Gore-Tex Transrockies Run, but I wanted to start with Georgetown to Idaho Springs. Ben and I first did this race two years ago. It was our second half marathon together. He ended up with a stomach bug the night before the race and probably should not have run, so the first time was pretty much a miserable race.

This year we decided to run as part of our taper. I am really glad we did! The race begins in Georgetown, CO and descends about 1,000 feet to Idaho Springs, CO. Within the first mile of the race, there is one short yet unexpected steep descent. Throughout the course, the majority of the race in on pavement; however, two short segments are on dirt. Just prior to the final descent to the finish line, there is a short climb into the neighborhood of Idaho Springs, which can take tired and unsuspecting legs by surprise.

Overall, the course itself is beautiful as it offers varying views of mountains and rivers. The support on the course is also very good (and offered by the local high school teams). The after party has a number of sponsors giving away freebies or offering raffle opportunities. The food is basic after race food (bananas, granola, bagel). The t-shirt is still a cotton t-shirt, however, the design is always unique. The one disappointment of the after party are the beverages. The only beer they offer is non-alcoholic. Really?! Why drink the calories in a non-alcoholic beer after running 13.1 miles?! If you are looking for beer in Idaho Springs, I would recommend hitting up
Tommy Knockers Brewery just down the street from the finish.

Would I do this race again? Yes
Would I recommend it to a friend? Yes (we had one join us for this race)
Is it worth the value? Despite the lack of alcoholic beer, the support and the course make it well worth it
Worth traveling for? If you want some altitude training and an opportunity to meet locals and view some awesome scenery
Overall experience: Great

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