Monday, July 22, 2013

Vail Trail Half Marathon

I think I've reached a completely different level of insanity.  I signed up to do the Vail Trail Half this past weekend since my brother was visiting and we figured it'd be fun.  And well, it was only $28.  Always easier to sign up for cheaper races.

We enjoyed a pretty laid back Saturday while cheering some people on at the Beaver Creek X-Terra.  Aside from Lindsay's fiance Patrick making his grand debut on X-Terra triathlons, my all time favorite Julie Dibens, was returning from a two-year break from competing due to an injury.

We decided to go straight to the Finish Line that staged the second transition as well.  I was under the impression Patrick was racing the short distance, but to my surprise, he was doing the long distance along with his younger sister Kelly.

As usual, Shonny and Josiah were the X-Terra champs.  They crush every single mountain race around so it was no surprise seeing them finish first. Congrats Josiah and Shonny!

Julie was not far behind finishing 6th female.  Quite the accomplishment after a few knee surgeries.  She is a three-time X-Terra World Champion after all.

Also, both Kelly and Patrick placed 1st and 3rd in their categories.  Not too shabby for Patrick's first off road triathlon and Kelly's first triathlon EVER.

 As for me, I toed the start line of the half marathon scared to death that I may die. There I was. Lined up next to my brother and my fiance, hoping for the best.

The race director sent us off and it started straight up since the beginning. No room for warming up. The bottom of my calves were feeling tired, but I just pushed through. I tried to be very conservative so I wouldn't get hurt or burn up all my energy early on. My first walk was 3/4 of a mile in for a small steep section and I continued to jog.  I kept a run/walk strategy as much as I could.

Around mile 4.4 you hit the first flat. I want to say it's an uphill flat... A nice traverse along the central part of Vail Mountain. It then circles back to the 4.4 mile marker, but this time, you're at 6.5ish. I did enjoy a nice 1/2 mile downhill before having to head back up. It looked something like this:

View of "runners" going up from mid-vail. 
Against all odds, you eventually do get to the top of the mountain if you continue to put a foot in front of the other. We topped off at the top of Chair #4 (if you know Vail, you know what I'm talking about), which is around mile 8.8 after 3800ft of elevation gain. And while you'd think it's easy from that point on, you're mistaken. Running at 11,200ft is no easy feature feat. (ah, it even rhymes- I think I should re-name this post).

The remaining 4.3 miles are slightly downhill at first, but involve some rollers and a lot of traversing (losing a grand total of 500ft between the aid station at 8.8 and the finish line). But this I'm gonna say. The climb up to 11,200ft is TOTALLY worth it once they make you head over to the other side of the mountain:

Who doesn't want to run here?!?!
The single track was amazing in more ways than one.

True true trail running (and I caught and passed those two). 
Once you arrive to the top of the Gondola, they make you go towards the top of chair 26, go around it and down to the finish (key word- down). Yes, you ACTUALLY finish running down.

I finished 35/40 in my Age Group with a time of 3:11. Not great, but I ran 50 miles the weekend before. Not even sure how much faster I could do it on fresh legs. It's A LOT of climbing.  But I made a small calculation like this:

- Chuck's last road half marathon time was 1h39m (Platte River Half 2013)
- Chuck's vail trail half was 2h23m
- Which means it was 44% slower

- My same half marathon time was 1h57m (Platte River Half 2013)
- If my performance decreased 44% due to trail difficulty and elevation gain, my time should be 2h49m

Since I ran a 50-miler the weekend before and decided not to push it overly hard, I finished at 3:11, which means a decrease in performance between my Platte River Half (PR) and this of 63%, but guess what? I took pictures and I had fun.

For shits and giggles, my brother's Vail Half Marathon was 40% slower than his last road half marathon, so messing with that 40-45% rule was fairly accurate.

In the end, I finished 253 out of 297 finishers, which means EVEN after running 50 miles, I still beat 44 people who MOST LIKELY did not run 50 miles the weekend before. It's still much better standing than the Vail Pass Half.

The rest of the day we did nothing but rest. As I will do today as I deal with a nasty case of allergies, ugh. I should live in the mountains.

Happy finishers!

No comments:

Post a Comment