Because my coach is
I've been fighting a little cold all week, so I wasn't much fun on the ride up. I think I slept for a good chunk of the drive. We parked at Summit High School, which was good access for going up Swan Mountain Road. I decided to do a little 10 min warm-up on the bike path before launching myself up the hill.
|that, my friends, is a 6% grade for 1.5 miles. solid!|
About half way up I had GI issues and had to hop over the guardrail and find a tree. Random fact: pine branches aren't as scratchy as you'd think. I blame my head cold because I never have issues like this.
I continued running up the big hill. I ended up doing a run-walk pattern, maybe 1:1 or something around there. I made it to the top in 20 min, which isn't awful (about a 13:20 pace). I got to the top (yeah!) and there were a ton of cyclists. The looked at me like I was crazy.... which is probably justified. No one runs up that road. Back down was really nice - I let gravity do the work. Had some flashbacks of GTIS but my knees/quads were ok. Total pre-race run was 5.28 mi at an average pace of 11:21. Faster than my Ironman time - I'll take it.
I'm glad I did this run before Ragnar so I can get a gauge on how it felt. Really, 20 min uphill isn't that bad, compared to other things I've done this year. I'm glad that this hill is on my first leg - at the start of my run. I can do it on fresh legs and the rest of my runs are flat. I also didn't notice altitude, which was a relief.
We headed over to Copper Mountain for the Powdr Shot race and had a text message from friends who were already there, saying that this was a pretty casual event. That was an understatement. We checked in, somehow the guy already knew my name. People loved our Pistols for Pandas shirts. We learned to how shoot guns (air pellet rifles). Chase and I decided it would be a good idea to do a run loop and then shoot. You pretty much run UP the ski hill, then across, then down. They said the run course was 1k but I'm pretty sure it was short.
|two funny things: I think its hilarious the the google street view is from the winter.|
I also think its hilarious that they basically had us run through the where the half pipe usually is.
I had signed up for the 5k, meaning that I was supposed to run 1 loop, shoot 5 shots, then repeat that 5x. I had to do a short penalty lap (see the little circle area in the areal image above) for every shot missed. They had tags for us to pin to our backs that they'd remove as we crossed the "finish" line. The order of tags in their stack = finish order. There was no timing chip or anyone keeping track of total number or laps or penalty laps. This was all on your honor.
They started the "Expert" (5k) group first, so that meant that Chase and I were up, with ~10 other people. Somehow I was 2nd to last in the first 100 feet, going up the hill. Really? Ugh. And going up was pretty steep. Across was fine. Down was a rocky singletrack that had really tricky footing. You had to go slowish or risk twisting an ankle. It was also narrow which meant no passing. Then you got down to the base, ran across the grass and shot a gun 5x.
I somehow missed all 5 targets.
I don't think my gun was shooting correctly. No way did I miss that many legitimately. This also meant I had 5 penalty laps. Lame sauce. So I ran around in circles (literally), completing my penalties and then started lap #2. Chase lapped me up at the top. Lovely.
So that was pretty much the race. Shoot, do penalty laps, run up the hill, across the hill, down the hill and shoot some more. Will and Chase's friend were doing the 3k so they finished while I still had 2 or 3 more laps. They were nice and cheered, but it was really more annoying than helpful. I walked up all of the uphills, sometimes trying to at least make it to the fence before the walking started. That pre-race run really wore my legs out. I did suck it up on the last lap and ran a bit more, but there was still walking on the steep bits.
Somehow I finished 2nd to last. Behind the fat guys and the kids. Will thinks I mis-counted laps, but I distinctly remember how many targets I hit with each round (0, 4, 3, 3, 2). I think perhaps some people weren't so honest with their penalty laps or their overall laps. But whatevs, I was there to run at elevation and that's what I did.
Random notes: the elevation (maybe 1,000 ft more than my earlier run that day) REALLY got to me. Holy schmoley. I was winded going up those hills.
Also: the "1k" loop was way short. I did 13 penalty laps (ouch) and my garmin clocked my total distance at 3.12 miles.
The post-race awards were pretty cool. Top finisher in each division got 2 free lift tickets (!!) and stainless steel engraved shot glasses. Everyone else (regardless of finish) got a shot glass and we all got t-shirts. Will got 3rd in his division. Overall, a pretty sweet deal for $20.
We had lunch and beers at the Dam Brewery in Dillon and then tried to go fishing on a random creek behind a gas station at the Copper exit. No fish and I was so tired that I literally couldn't be bothered to toss my fly around. So I found a nice spot on the bank and laid down. Chase eventually came over and said "that's not fishing!". Sorta, I was fishing for zzzz's.