Monday, October 07, 2013

Wildlander 12k Trail Run Race Report

Our friend from the Color Run was looking to do another 5k this fall and one of my tri-club friends found this race.   I was hoping to avoid the big races (Race for the Cure, Hot Chocolate - $40 for a 5, and $64 for a 15k is ridiculous, even if you get a hoodie) due to cost and crazy-huge crowds.  This was a small race, benefitting local wildland fire and EMS efforts, and - the best part - was on a private ranch off of one of my favorite cycling routes (Palmer Lake / 105).  Every time I ride my bike through here, I'd see the pretty sandstone formations and would want a better look.  Wildlander was my opportunity for that better look.

This race was just about perfect for us.  There was a 5k for Will and Kambria and I could go long with the 12k, which fits in nicely with my 70.3 training.  It had a 10 AM start and you could park literally steps from the start.  (as opposed to the Hot Chocolate race, where they were asking you to show up at 5:45 for a 7 AM start.  Ick!)

There were about 40 people doing the 5k and 30 people doing the 12k.  Very chill and PERFECT.  It was also really cold out.  Maybe 30 degrees, but sunny.  I decided to run in my capris and my tank top at the very last minute (ditching my long sleeve shirt and gloves) and this was a smart decision.
Adrian, Will, me, and Kambria

The race start.  Colorado is so ugly.
My instructions were to a) not twist an ankle and b) cruise the first part of the run and then if I felt good, go hard for the back part.  There was about 800 ft climbing for the 12k (7.3 mi) so I really didn't know what to expect.

It wasn't a true trail run - it was more like a "run on dirt ranch roads".  Although spur 1 had some washouts and you did have to watch your step.  Running didn't feel all that easy, those little steep hills sucked and I had to walk a few times.  But apparently when I ran, I ran quickly.  The 12k crew definitely got the more scenic run - we ran through the forest and popped out in meadows with really cool sandstone formations that looked like castles.  I wanted to bring my phone with me so I could snap photos, but my damn Galaxy S4 is so ginormous, it won't fit in any of my running pockets.  So here's what I found on the interwebs:
The run was a series of 3 out and backs, which was actually pretty cool.  You could tell the turn around was coming up soon when you started to see familiar faces running opposite you, and I could high five my CDA buddy Adrian at each loop.

I tried to keep my pace/effort reasonable and just was running and enjoying the beautiful October day.  Leg 2 had a SUPER COOL suspension bridge.  I really wish I could find a picture of that, it was out of control.  The bridge went up at probably a 30% angle and topped out on a cliff formation above a stream.  I really wish the run went over the bridge, it looked badass.

The final leg was the 5k course, which was more open, a bit less scenic (but still pretty) and more windy.  The hills weren't as steep, though, and I made myself run up the last mile to the top of the hill.  After all the hills I've been running, I didn't want to let this one defeat me.  I got to the top (it was windy and cold) but made sure to take a minute and look around at the panoramic view of the ranch and the sandstone formations.  Beautiful.  Then it was time to book it downhill - it was go time.  At 6.2 mi, I hit lap on my garmin so I could get my 10k split.  I knew from the top of the hill I had about ~1.5 mi to the finish, most of it was down or flat and I wanted to really push that last bit.  So that's what I did, with a lot of focus.  Afterwards, Will said something about chicken coops and I had no idea what he was talking about.  *shrug*

With about a 1/2 mile left, you made a turn and ran toward the barn that was the start/finish line.  And there was a guy that I thought I could catch, so I ran HARD.  Probably the fastest I've ever ran (I saw 7:XX on my garmin).  I worked so hard to catch him, and not puke or blackout.  Seriously, I was working hard.  And it worked - I passed him!  Yay!  And then I finished and nearly did pass out.  Ooof.

isn't this a great shot of Will?
Kambria running to the finish

Santa Claus is impressed
10k split: 1:03:54, 10:19 pace (a PR by ~30 seconds, but with 700 ft of climbing)
12k: 1:13: 36, 10:06 pace.
The last 1.1 mi were on a 8:54 pace.  Damn.  1:03:54.3

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