I've been completely engrossed in Ancestry.com for the past couple of months. I've been researching my family history for years, off and on. And I really do just love it to pieces. I get so engrossed that everything else goes on the back burner....that's why I do it off and on. The underlying theme with my family, maternal and paternal, is that I come from a long, long, long line of farmers and the men in my family served in every military conflict and war. Maybe that's why I love a garden and it's bounty and why I'm drawn to the military. Could be! Anyway, I've been so engrossed these last few weeks that I've neglected to get my Revel Rockies Half Marathon post to you. I apologize....profusely. So without further ado.......I give you the race report.
Warning No. 1: Well, I guess I will release these photos. But, grody, I take awful pics.
Warning No. 2: This is long, but I was sure you wanted to know everythang.
Originally, we planned our trip to Colorado for Cliff to train. And then, Whitney sent me a message with a link about the Revel Rockies Half Marathon. She said, "You will be here on August 17th....just saying". I looked at the website and saw that it was all downhill and that was all it took. I figured I wouldn't get this chance again, so I signed up right away. I told Whitney if I was going to run it, she had to run it with me. And the child did!
Although I started training for this race in May or June, once we got to Colorado, I only had three weeks to get over the altitude sickness and acclimate to the lack of oxygen up there. Remember, we were staying at a 9000 ft. elevation. That, my friends, was a whole different ballgame. And, I am so glad it's over. I got over the altitude sickness pretty quickly, but danged if wasn't hard to breathe out there. My training suffered that way, but that coupled with climbing three flights of stairs everyday, more than once, prepared my legs. I felt strong and excited to run this half marathon.
So, the morning of…Aug. 17, 2014….Whitney and I awoke at 3:45 a.m. to get ready to leave for the half. We had coffee and peanut butter toast for breakfast. Left for the race venue to catch the bus to the start at 4:20 a.m. Arrived to the Bandemeer Speedway and what looked like hundreds of cars all trying to get into the parking lot. We parked and walked straight to a bus, which left within five minutes of our arriving for the race start. The start was in Evergreen, CO. It was cold! In the 40’s for sure. We were provided one of those very thin Mylar blankets and a pair of gloves. I didn’t use either. I just jumped up and down to warm up.The race started and immediately, we had two steep hills to climb. Whitney and I decided to run our own races. She wanted to finish in under 2:30 hours, so I told her to go for it. Even with an ITB issue (she wore compression pants and an ITB strap), she took off like a streak of lightning. She ran the hills, which she states she’s good at, and I walked them. I was still dealing with a cold and didn’t want to lose my breath at the start. After the two uphills, we began descending and it was downhill the rest of the way. Sometimes it flattened out a bit and sometimes the downhill was in switchbacks (steepish), but mostly it was a gentle descent. I walked some, especially through the water stations. When I could, I would use the switchbacks to make up time. But, back on the course, even though there were those two hills in the beginning, what got me the most was when the road twisted and banked on the switchbacks. Running on a slanted road was horrible on my feet and ankles. But, I quickly learned how to run the flattest portion.
You know me…I always see the most unusual things on the road when running and this race day was no different. You know what it was? SPIT. Yes, spit. I saw more spit than the law allows. Heck, I even spit a few times myself. I was really hoping for lots of funny things to tell you, but everyone was pretty much normal this time. HaHa! I was passed by many runners, but I also passed a few myself. I could definitely see an improvement. There was this one lady that was running/walking and I felt like she was trying to pass me and stay out front. But, what’s a race if you don’t have a little cat and mouse chase, right? So, I would pass her when she walked and then she would pass me when she started to run. I could tell that she wouldn’t be able to keep this up for long. So when we hit the switchbacks around mile 9, I pushed it. I used gravity and quick, short steps to pick up the pace. I left her and she never caught back up. Later, I saw a deer grazing on the side of the mountain. But other than that and the beautiful surroundings, nothing much happened. Oh, there was this one older lady that was apparently in awe that we were running so far. She asked me, “Honey, you’ve been running the whole way”? When I answered, yes ma’am….she just shook her head and smiled.
I took a few pictures. The quality was not good as I was using my cell phone and I didn’t take my time. The sun angle was bad….it was early morning and we were running straight into it. But I’m including them in this post anyway, because I’m sure you’re curious as to what it looked like out there. It was totally gorgeous. The pictures just doesn’t capture how gorgeous.
This and the following pictures were taken on
the run route from Evergreen to Morrison, CO.
To get to the finish line, we had to climb one last steep hill. I wanted so bad to run it, but I just couldn’t. I walked the hill and waiting at the top was Whitney. She had finished a good 45 minutes or so before me. But bless it, she met me at the top of the hill to run with me to the finish. The downhill to the finish line was a rock and gravel road that was killing my already sore feet, but running it in with Whitney was worth the pain.
Whitney, approaching the finish.
Whitney running to the finish with me.
I finished in 2:55 hours. Whitney finished in 2:08 hours. This was her first half and my third….and we both PR’d. Woo Hoo!!! I shaved 3 minutes off my time from the Diva's Half in April.
A little Revel Rockies bling, bling!
Over all, considering this flatlander was running a half marathon at an elevation of 7000 feet, I would say this race was really good. Granted, I had been training at 9000 feet. And although I had conquered altitude sickness, I still had problems breathing. And....it didn’t help that I had been battling a cold all week. My early goal was to finish in 2:45 hours and who knows, if I had not had a cold, I may have achieved that goal. I am happy with my results, though. And I am even happier that I got to run it with Whitney.
I would love to say that I want to go back next year and run the Revel Rockies Half again, but I just don’t think so. Running in high altitude IS NOT EASY. You can’t get enough oxygen and your legs feel like lead. I never had one run that felt easy. But I wouldn’t take anything for the experience. Once again, I learned that I can do far more than I thought I could. And the views were breathtaking…..no pun intended. Really, it was just plain beautiful in Colorado.
What’s next? Hmmm, I have another half marathon in October…..The Myrtle Beach Mini. And after that, I’m not sure. I’ll continue my running and I’m thinking to get back on the bike some and start lifting weights again. But, who knows? My love of adventure will surely take me somewhere. We’ll just have to wait and see.