Thursday, September 25, 2014

REVEL Rockies Recap

In August, I had the opportunity to run the inaugural REVEL Rockies half marathon (thanks See Mom Run Far!).  Being southern, I was curious about running at high altitude.  I've snow skied in Colorado but had never run there.  The course was to run through a canyon from Evergreen down to Morrison; from 7500 to 5700 feet. 

Great tech shirt!
The expo was located in Denver.  It was quite small and packet pickup was quick.  When I arrived in Morrison the next morning, the temp read 70.  Ughhh.  No kidding, it took the shuttle bus about 40 minutes to wind its way 13 miles up to Evergreen.  Now I'm nervous!  I love a good downhill route, but what had I gotten myself into?   About halfway up the temp dropped to, I'm guessing, 48-50 degrees.  Perfection.  We were given an emergency blanket and gloves in our goodie bag and I was able to stay warm until race time.

The first half mile was actually uphill...what the heck?  Once we crested that hill, it was pretty much downhill until we got to the last mile...again--what the heck?  The first miles were definitely a struggle for me due to the altitude.  (I was also favoring a sore ankle.)  I am used to heat and insane humidity but this felt different.  Instead of the overall feeling of heaviness the humidity causes, I just felt a burning sensation in my chest.   Where do you keep the air in CO?  I had no choice but to keep it slow.  

Sometime during mile 8, the missing air returned.  Yes, I could breathe!  At this point, it was warm again but the absence of humidity was very much appreciated.   I did my darnedest to make up the time lost at the top.  I'm very proud of the fact I ran my best second half of a half marathon EVER.  Had the last mile not flattened out and actually had an uphill finish, I may have gotten a PR.  Oh, well - another day.  [I did not train for this race as I didn't even know anything about it until 2 weeks prior.]  By the way, at altitude, a flat section feels like UPHILL.  The last portion and finish line were located in a loose gravel lot.  This is probably the only negative thing I can say.

The medal is as big as my face!

Overall, this was an awesome experience.  The route followed a rushing stream and there were times I turned off my music just to listen to the water.  We'd run around a curve and be staring up at a huge mountain silhouetted against a beautiful blue sky.  Stunning.  A definite "this is why I run" event.  Race organization was great.  There were plenty of fluid stops.  We were given a printed card with our race stats.  Very nice.  The after party had a great rock band!  The food was OK and a local beer was provided.  Even though my quads were trashed for days, I'd absolutely do this one again!

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