Summer Roundup Review
It has been a while since I wrote anything here, I have been severely lacking in motivation to blog lately. Today was the Summer Roundup, the second race in the Colorado Springs Triple Crown of Racing. I was hoping for a good race today; it didn’t go exactly as planned but I’m not overly upset by the results.
The Sunrise Striders group has been training almost exclusively in Bear Creek park since the Garden of the Gods 10 Miler. There have been some hill workouts on the West end but we have done tempo runs along the course a few times as well. That familiarity with the course was something I was counting on for today. We also did some cruise intervals on Thursday to help keep the legs loose; I didn’t realize it at the time but those repeats were along the the final stretch of the course and really helped me mentally.
Because the race is in a park with an off-leash dog park right across the street I decided to drag the whole family out of bed at 5:15AM to join me. We arrived around 45 minutes prior to race start and they headed over to the dog park while I did my warm-ups. I found a few guys I have been training with at the start and we all grouped together in the corral. The course consist of 3 loops around the park with a lollipop O/B for the start/finish section. When the race started it was a little tight and I had a hard time getting out in the open, when we got to the loop section the course opens up and I was able to get out into the open.
My #1 goal for the race was for my first loop to be the slowest. There is a nasty hill about half-way around the course and I didn’t want to blow my load the first time through. I tried not to pay attention to what other runners were doing and just run a strong tempo. “Slow and steady” was the mantra I kept repeating in my head. The big hill is only about a quarter mile but you gain a little over 100’. When you near the top you hit a little flat section and then it kicks again before you are done. After that you run along the ridgeline for about 20 seconds before you drop back down through some trees. I am careful not to push it on that little flat section and to use the ridge as a recovery. After you drop back down there is a longish stretch that is mostly flat where I wanted to push. I think I did a good job of not pushing too hard.
Heading into the second lap I felt pretty strong, all those tempo runs along the course were a big help as I was able to just let my legs fall into the pace they remembered. There was one guy who wasn’t to far ahead of me and someone else right behind. Someone told the guy he was in 11th so I knew where I was. For lap two I wanted to just hold my pace. My mantra modified to “strong and easy” and I just kept that on mental repeat. I ended up passing that guy and another during the loop and found out the person behind me was “Emily” and she was the lead woman. The big hill did not feel nearly as good as the first time, I really wanted to hike part of it but knew if I slowed down it would be a parade of runners blowing by me. Emily passed me going up the second time and I was able to restrain myself and just focused on my effort. It worked out as I went back ahead on the kicker before the top. My recovery along the ridge didn’t feel as good but I managed to keep the legs going strong on the downhill and flat.
Going into lap three I was surprised that I fell right into the same groove as the previous two loops. We were passing lots of runners who were a lap behind at that point so it was hard to tell who was who but Emily decided to make her move on the little hill. I once again kept myself in check and gave her some encouragement but didn’t try and stay with her as she went. The big hill was a serious challenge the second time, I wanted to conserve my strength for the last time up. I really felt awful that time but I kept my head down and just ground it out until the top. My legs felt like limp spaghetti by the time I hit the ridgeline and I didn’t think I would have anything left for the last stretch but I was able to pick it up on the downhill. The last section you went further than we had done in our tempos but it followed the route from Thursday’s intervals, so I felt good from that aspect. Emily was long gone but there was another guy I was slowly catching up to; he was probably 300 meters ahead when I noticed and the distance was closing. I didn’t think I could get him unless he fell apart but chasing him kept me going. The last quarter mile is a long steady climb; not very steep but enough that you definitely notice. I was really struggling that last bit to the finish line but I didn’t want to limp in so I held pace the whole way. I’ll call it a moral victory but I would have preferred to have something left for a finishing push.
I finished 11th Overall and 5th Master. In case you are wondering, yes half the top 10 males were over 40 today. Tough crowd 😛 I did get a spiffy horseshoe award for my trouble so I have that going for me. I’m not sure where I stand in the Triple Crown standings but I don’t think it will matter much. The final race of the series is the Pike Peaks Ascent and my goal for that race is to not get pulled off the course.