I spent most of Friday driving to Colorado! the 500+ mile trip was not a quick drive…so I took in the sites. I made pit-stops into leg-stretching opportunities, jumped for joy making it to the KS/CO state line, oooo’d and ahhhh’d at all the mountain views, and wandered up and down Miner Street in Idaho Springs.
Expo – Packet Pick Up
Location : The Buffalo Restaurant (1617 Miner Street in Idaho Springs) in the back of the bar
I wasn’t sure what to expect going to a restaurant and bar for the packet pick-up, not something I have done before! Usually at “packet pick-up”, you get your paper swag, race shirt, and bib – but all we got was our bib. That was also new! I’m sure it is 100% easier to only have the bibs ready to hand out quickly and not a lot of additional things…but it was just different.
If the hubs came with me on this trip, he would have loved this! The brewery staff was nice, the packet pick-up was easy, and we probably would have stayed for dinner and drinks. Since the hubs is not here, I was on my way…
While the “packet pick-up” was quite different from what I am used to, I was glad that I was in and out and on my way. I then wandered the street of Idaho Springs, bought the hubs some beer and soda from Tommyknocker, and hit the highway back to Morrison.
I was sure to get to Idaho Springs with PLENTY of time to catch the bus to Georgetown. The traffic on Friday was crazy, and I was glad that everyone was still sleeping on my commute to Idaho Springs this morning!
I relaxed in my car, sipping on my coffee and electrolyte drink, waiting out the impending cold… Once I was ready to find a bathroom and the bus, I headed out. There were a lot of runners milling about the parking areas, so I knew that I was not alone. The bus was plain to see at the corner and I was happy to feel that it was a heated bus! I am not used to the cold, and the warmth of the bus was very appealing! We rode through the winding Colorado highway and side road to Georgetown.
Once we got close to the start, we were dropped off to walk the 1/4 mile to the starting area. There was an awesome long line of port-a-potties, several tables of bib pick-ups, a water table, and ample space to mill around and attempt to stay warm.
I opted for walking up and down the blocked off side road to keep warm and loose. The views in Georgetown were amazing, and I couldn’t help but snap pictures 🙂
Once the Runner’s Edge vehicle passed me on my walk, I knew it was time to head back and get my pacer materials. We got our sticks, shirts, and hats with plenty of time to change, hang around and chat with fellow pacers, and just take in the morning air.
Ready to go!!
The first part of the course was running through the Georgetown Lake area. Part of the course was not paved, but well maintained. Several residents were on their patios cheering or clapping and friends/families of runners were cheering when we made the turn back to the start around mile 2.
Once we were out of the Georgetown lake area, the sun really started to heat up the course. With the high elevation (roughly 8,500ft at the start), the sun really started to beat us down – which is something I am not used to (since I try and get my runs in before the sun comes up).
The following couple miles were mostly downhill with amazing views to boot!
The miles ticked by, slowly. The rolling hills left some choice words in my head, but the change in terrain was allowed for some challenge.
Another challenge to overcome was the lack of course support. There were several water and gatorade stations, but little to no people throughout the entire race.
Around mile 7, we transitioned from blacktop/concrete running on the frontage road to a gravel road. Along this path, we ran through a small residential area, past a dog shelter/kennel, and in and out of the trees.
Nothing too exciting happened along this area…minus my running buddy having some digestive issues…but that is relatively normal, bahaha!
Once we got back on the blacktop/concrete, we were in the home stretch! There was another water stop and I stopped to use a port-a-potty.
When I came back out, a woman hollered at me! She had been trying to catch up to me the entire run and “got lucky” that I stopped to use the bathroom. We made conversation and the winding road brought us back to Idaho Springs.
We were both from lower elevations, so we both were struggling a little. I decided to use her 4-5 minute run, 1 minute walk timer a couple times to give us a little break. We talked about how to take the winding road (running the tangents) and passed the time in good company!
Once we got close to town, I told my runners to finish strong and that I would see them at the finish. I was struggling and I knew that intervals were going to get me to the finish on time.
The stretch of street once you got back into Idaho Springs is one of the uphill battles of the race. With 12-13 miles of mostly downhills on our legs, that last uphill felt like a mountain! I ran, then walked, ran, then walked, and ran until I surpassed the “uphill” portion and then RAN the downhill corners!
Once I you run around the final downhill corner, the finish line is in sight! I knew it was going to be close for me to finish on time, but I hung around long enough to get a couple runners to kick it in strong!
I finished 2:39:50 – only 10 seconds ahead of my pace time. I looked back several times as I approached the finish to see if there was anyone in my range to help finish in 2:40, but the runners I saw were a little farther out.
I met up with my runners and everyone was real excited to have finished before me!
The course was beautiful and challenging. While the course is mostly downhill (a loss of 1000ft from start to finish), it was not without climbs! I would recommend this race to anyone with a love of nature! While you are running with the highway, you really didn’t notice it all that much…unless the cars were honking 🙂
After the finish, I followed the wandering runners around a couple corners to the finishers area. There were many tents set up from sponsors and vendors. I bee-lined to the Runner’s Edge vehicle to drop off my pacers stick and get my bag.
Now is the time to slowly wander through the post-race area! I first stopped to get my shirt and medal. This tent was right next to the pacers area so I didn’t have to waddle very far.
I first went to the food tent and loaded up with watermelon and bananas 🙂 They also had bagels, but I stuck to the fresh fruit.
I then hit up as many of the sponsors and vendor tents as I could handle! A few of the vendors were Ripple Foods, Noosa Yoghurt (handing out yogurt), Colorado Runner, Love Grown Foods (giving out little boxes of cereal), BolderBands, Califia (giving tasters and full bottles of chocolate protein drinks and cold brew coffee), and The Great Candy Run; in addition to booths from the sponsors: Brooks (games for participants and kids with fun prizes) and Runner’s Roost (selling merch and handing out free pint glasses to the participants).
AFter a while, we decided to go find the beer 🙂 Priorities, right?!
This was BY FAR the most beautiful race I have ever run! The views and course elevation was always changing and there was always something new to focus my sights on (and to forget about the pain!). In the future, I might take a little more time away from work and make the trip a vacation, because that elevation, PHEW, it really hurt! It took me a while to get my chest to feel better after the race, but it was all worth it! I helped my runners finish strong and that is what really counts!
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