Thursday, June 7, 2012

Smoky, High and Hot. What’s Not to Love?

Tomorrow morning Joie and I leave for Pagosa Springs, Colorado for our race – the Turkey Track Trail Marathon. The race is Saturday morning. You may remember that we were both training for this marathon, spending hours on the trails, when I got injured. I’ve had to pull back and downgrade to the half, but Joie is still going to pull out the full.

It’s a long drive.

Me: How far is the drive?
Joie: Six hours.
Me: Now, why did we decide to do this?

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It seemed like a good idea the time. Many a running plan or race is decided on over one too many cocktails. Nothing like being three sheets to the wind and signing up for ninety marathons all at once.

But, if you’re going to go – go big. The southwestern part of Colorado is un-freaking-amazing in terms of beauty. The town is itty bitty, but check out that backdrop.

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The only time I’ve been to Pagosa is when I did Ride the Rockies, a 6 day, 410 mile bike ride across Colorado in 1994. We slept on some football field in a tent. I used to be really cool, laid back and spontaneous. Then I got old.

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That’s Ken standing out in front of our tent with his bike.
It was a very peaceful sleeping situation, let me tell you.

This race might take awhile.  Trail running tends to take longer than road running because – duh – you are on trails which usually involves climbing and tripping over roots and pooping in the bushes and stopping to have Coke at the aid stations. Don’t get me wrong, I love running out on the trails, but I do have a couple of concerns.

  • I’m undertrained. When I got injured back in April, I had to stop running for a bit. I’ve picked it up recently, but I know I’m not there yet. My plan is to be conservative. My body feels good, but I know my fitness is not where it usually is.
  • It’s smoky. There have been fires in New Mexico and the smoke has migrated up to Colorado. The race was supposed to start at 8:00 a.m., but they moved it until 9:00 a.m. I guess the smoke settles in the valley overnight and usually by 9:00 a.m. it has moved out.
  • It’s high. The elevation of Pagosa Springs is about 7,100 feet. While the climbing is not HUGE in this run, it’s still about 1,000 feet. I haven't trained at altitude. At all.
  • It will be hot. Race doesn’t start until 9:00 a.m and it’s supposed to be 85 degrees that day. I’m going to be smart and take salt tabs just to be safe.

Aid stations are almost four miles apart, so I’ll be shlepping my fuel belt with me. I’m not a big fan of racing with a belt, but ‘tis the way on the trails. And, I HATE handhelds. Sorry, I just do. Joie is kind of bummed because they changed the course. The marathon now goes like this: run the half marathon loop, then turn around and run it in reverse. I think it’s mentally tough to do loops with a marathon. I prefer a point to point or one big loop.

Race goal? Not sure. I’d like to feel good. The end.

But, for real, I am looking forward to the girl’s getaway. Life and work have been very stressful lately and I’m am welcoming a road trip, a long run in the trees and a break from routine. Even if I crash and burn on the course, I will do so in the middle of glorious and scenic Colorado. Plus, it’s called Pagosa SPRINGS for a reason. Hot springs, baby.

Hot Springs along the San Juan River {source}

This will only be my second trail race, the first being when I ran part of the TransRockies Run with Dean Karnazes in 2010. I have to say that running with Dean for your first trail race is the shit. I know he still misses and fantasizes about me.

bethandean

Too bad his bicep is so ugly.

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Joie has a stomach like I do, i.e. any super rich food will send her packing to the crapper for hours. That is why we have made the mature decision to pack our lunch on the road and not stop for chili cheese fries and milkshakes, I know myself and I have to REALLY watch what I eat the days leading up to a race.

So, maybe I’ll have an update from Pagosa tomorrow or Saturday. Or maybe I’ll just check out, drink beer, race and ignore blogging. Stay tuned.

Ever agree to run or a race or sign up for one after or during drinking? I’ve never signed up for one, but I’ve made lots of plans. This is usually when doing an ultra or an Ironman enters the picture. Problem is, you have to train and race when you are sober.

What’s the most beautiful race you’ve ever run? Probably the race with Dean. Seriously, being on the trails in CO is hard to beat.

Ever do a race that involved running loops as opposed to an out and back or point to point course? The only time for me has in the half marathon part of the 70.3. You had to run two loops, one right by the finish line. Kind of mentally taxing on that first loop.

SUAR

59 comments:

  1. I've never done a trail race. It's on my list of things to do. Not many cool trails in South Florida. I've never ran with Dean, though that would be super cool as well. The most beautiful race I've done is Nike Women's in San Fran. I haven't run a ton of races though.

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  2. I'm doing my first trail race next weekend and super pumped about it... Only a 10k but still pumped. Also super jealous... You live in Longmont? I lived in Ft. Collins the past two years, but recently moved. Missing those mountains.

    Good luck!

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  3. I've done a ton of trail races up here in Beautiful British Columbia, but the longest trail race I've ever done was 26.5 kms. Running trails is sooo much harder than roads, and takes way longer! I enjoy switching from roads to trails in the summer, but normally 8-20 kms on trails is enough for me!! I also just recently purchased a hydration vest from Salomon that is amazing! I hate wearing belts myself, so I always did the hand-held while trail running, and I've gotta say the vest is so much better! Best of luck this weekend, better to go into a trail race with no timing expectations because you just never know how technical a trail will be.

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    1. Oh and the most beautiful is the 5 Peaks trail running race that's held in Whistler, BC every August. You run on skiing/hiking routes on top of Whistler or Blackcomb Mtn, and it has absolutely stunning views. So much so, that I wish I had brought my camera every single time I run it.

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  4. Funny to hear someone who lives at altitude say they haven't trained at altitude. I know what you mean but still funny.

    Jessica H

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    1. Yeah, when I wrote that I kind of chuckled. I guess I meant I haven't trained at THAT altitude.

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  5. But you WILL stop on the way back for Ice Cream and chili cheese fries in Buena Vista, right?

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    1. You bet, who cares if I fart all the way home.

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  6. This sounds so fun Beth! Gosh, I feel like I've dropped off the blog planet. So much catching up to do. so so much. I really loved the Georgetown half but I don't remember if it was pretty or not actually...funny that i can't remember. I'd imagine it was. The Gorge Half Marathon along the Columbia marathon was very pretty. And Napa Valley marathon was beautiful in its own way. Have so much fun!! Enjoy!

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    1. Yeah, the Georgetown is gorgeous. Another one of my favorites. But, there is just something about being on the trails that makes it even more astounding!

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  7. LOVE your blog! A friend pointed me to it while I was training for my first half-marathon, which I agreed to do after too many cocktails - http://www.chckchck.com/how-it-all-started/.

    At least instead of just a hangover, I got 13.1 miles and months of training out of those drinks!

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  8. My last marathon was a quasi double loop. I thought it would bother me but since it was essentially in the woods around a battlefield it didn't mess with my head the way I thought it might. Basically I wasn't familiar enough (or at all) with the course so I didn't have landmarks to dread or really even realize that "I've seen this already".

    Our large hometown marathon is a double loop and I have NO desire to do it for that very reason. I am WAY too familiar with the course and know exactly what is coming where and in certain mental states (say...miles 17-22) that is not really a good thing for me!

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  9. I am sure the people that would have been downwind would thank you for your mature decision had they only known.

    No.

    Calgary 70.3. Which you should come up and do.

    Does a half marathon run course with 2 loops count? In that case yes.

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  10. I've done two double loop marathons and I kind of like it. You know what to expect on the second half.

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  11. Thank goodness I sign up for races at work, during the day so my guy can't talk me out of it, well exceptthe color runs and color me rads, we do those together because there is little running involves but lots of fun.
    I am still new and have only run 5Ks, have shin splints I am nursing but have another 5k in w days! GO US!

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  12. Not quite the same but I believe you did some loops last year at Boulder 70.3. :)

    Good luck this weekend but mostly have a great time! I haven't been down to that area in a long time.

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  13. I don't think looped races are that bad - that being said, I'm talking 5K's here, not marathons. I always think that the same route feels so different when done in reverse. It will probably feel like a totally different woods on the way back.

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  14. I agreed to climb Mt Kilimanjaro during a night of heavy margarita consumption.

    Don't think I've ever done a double loop race before...just lots of loopy running for the sake of running. And the most beautiful race? Probably Hood to Coast.

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  15. Most beautiful race was also the toughest -- Lake Chabot Trail Challenge Half Marathon (Castro Valley CA) this past weekend. I was running so slowly that I was able to enjoy the view!

    I've only run loops at a local 5K/10K series. One lap around the lake = 5K, 2 laps = 10K. It gets kinda boring, but it's also because I run this route at least twice a week. I think a marathon with 2 loops won't be as bad... I'd much prefer that then an out and back, actually.

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    1. I used to run this race every summer back in the 1980s and loved it! They also use to have a race over the same course every January in the mud. Another beautiful trail race in the East Bay is Woodminster. Best and most beautiful of all, bar none, is the Double Dipsea, which I ran eight times. If you are really fit and/or really crazy, there is a Quadruple Dipsea (28.4 miles) every year on the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend.

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    2. Woodminster is 9 miles. Dipsea is 7.1 miles. My times every year were about the same on both courses, which will give you an idea of just how difficult the Dipsea Trail is. When fit, I could run Woodminster or Dipsea is about 1:15. The Dipsea Trail is the most beautiful trail run in America.

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    3. Good to know, since I'm contemplating running the Woodminster race in 2 Sundays. I'll also have to look into the Dipsea... but probably not the double or quadruple. Sounds painful! Thanks for the recommendations!

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    4. Woodminster is wonderful. Don't miss it. It is now named after the late Dick Collins, a legendary ultrarunner who was a friend to many, including myself. You don't have to run the Dipsea race to run the Dipsea Trail but you should have someone with you who knows the trail or you will almost certainly get lost. Also, you will need someone to drive you back to Mill Valley. In the Dipsea races, shortcuts are allowed; the only requirement is that cross the finish in Stinson Beach. I used to work on Grand Avenue and would run two laps around Lake Merritt almost every weekday at lunchtime. Once, when I could not find a training partner for a last long run before a marathon, I ran seven laps.

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    5. You all have to come to Philadelphia and run a marathon here. I keep hearing about beauty, clean air and altitudes! One of the best things about Philadelphia running, is watching the air quality meters, which determine whether or not you're running outside, or on the treadmill in the gym. Summers are hot, humid and the city smells like diesel fuel. Plus, if you run along the rivers, you get the stench of the water, YUM! I have to try a running vacation out in the midwest or the west coast, here all we see are buildings.

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  16. This makes me laugh! almost every race i've signed up for involved a few too many margaritas, a dare and credit card with a high limit. :) Never did a loop course before -- I need to have a point to point or out and back. Most beautiful race for me was either SF marathon (misty fog as I ran over golden gate bridge) OR Dirty Secret Trail race in Cool, CA .. Or Blood, Sweat & Beers in Auburn, CA..

    Good luck!

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  17. Ah, at least any SBD flatulence should go unnoticed due to the eau de Pagosa Springs.

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  18. I seriously dislike races where I get to SEE the finish line over and over again when I still have to finish running or biking or whatever. It is depressing when the volunteer asks you "Is this your last loop?" and you have to say "No". Ugh!! And to have to run it backwards? Double Ugh - poor kid. I want to get to the finish line and know that I am DONE!

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  19. I signed up for my first trail race this year, a 5k up in Vail. It should be beautiful and I'm excited to give it a try.

    Have fun this weekend- I love Pagosa Springs!

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  20. Love this post! Totally got brave when drinking and signed up for the Honolulu Marathon. AFTER I had already committed to the Xterra Half Trail Run on Oahu. Oh - and did I mention they are 1 WEEK APART!? :D Crazy, stupid and naive - BUT AMAZING!! The Xterra at Ku'uloa ranch was STUNNING. Would never do back to back races like that again. But I finished what I started. :)

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  21. The ultimate loop course: 5,649 laps for at total of 3,100 miles.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-Transcendence_3100_Mile_Race

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  22. There were 4 of us that decided to do a marathon over drinks last fall. Not a smart move on my part as I already had a marathon on my schedule too close to it. By the time I ran the 2nd marathon (within 3 months), I was mentally burnt out on training. I PR'd in the 1st marathon, and struggled to finish on the 2nd marathon. Running is 80% mental and 20% physical. I made up those percentages, but you all get my point. :) But the good news is that my friend wore my Shut Up and Run shirt in the marathon!! I need to send you the photo of her! Good luck on the Turkey track Trail run! Go get 'em.

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  23. Wow, what a beautiful place! I need to choose a race in your country to run (trail) but which one where? I've made plans over drinks and actually sign up the following day. Most beautiful race for me is the 50km Mont-Aux-Sources Challenge in the South African Drakensberg. I'll be back there on 8 Sept. I've done many lap races. Most marathons in SA are two laps of a half marathon. I've also done some 6 day races where we run a 1km loop for 6 days. My best is 689km or 689 loops.

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    1. Girl, you are a badass!! 6 day races??? Maybe someday for me. I hope.

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  24. Ha! I just really wrote a post about that very same thing...signing up or talking about future runs, while drinking (http://runkwrun.blogspot.com/2012/05/hunting-infamous-el-chupacabra-de.html).

    I agreed to do an MS150 after that race ... drinking.

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  25. My first 10K was a trail run and I loved it. Most everything here in Kansas are road races and I don't travel far. :( Wish we had the terrain, scenery and trails here like you have in Colorado!

    Good Luck this weekend hope you have fun and do well!

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  26. Good luck! I'm sure you will kick ass!

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  27. Destination races with a good friend are the best! I do a minimum of one every year. You're going to have a blast.
    Hope the stress subsides quickly.

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  28. Have a great time out there Beth! Nothing like a half day on the trails. Sounds like you have a good plan for the heat.
    And all the best race decisions are made over drinks. I signed up for my first marathon right after I came back from Mardi Gras. Pretty sure I was still under the influence.

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  29. I know this doesn't answer any of your questions but...YOU ran with DEAN KARNAZES?! That's awesome!! You both look great in those photos, dream team right there(it really is too bad about that bicep).

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    1. Yes, it was awesome. A real treat for a new runner like myself. He is a nice bit of eye candy as well.

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  30. most beautiful race? http://www.utahadvjournal.com/index.php/desert-r-a-t-s-a-running-race-of-heat-sand-slickrock-and-solidarity

    good luck this weekend!

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  31. No, never signed up for or planned a race over drinks, but I do sign up on the spur of the moment and then wonder what on earth I was thinking. Haven't run a real trail race yet, it's on my wish list. I've run some beautiful courses here in Washington state; it's a toss-up between the Whidbey Island HM, Yukon Do It HM, and Bellingham Bay HM--all races along the water, come to think of it. Yukon Do It was on Dec. 31 and stinking cold (had to be careful going downhill because of ICE), but it was lovely. I do NOT like races where I see or hear the finish line and have to pass it, knowing I've got many more miles to go; those are just plain cruel!

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  32. Good luck this weekend. I have never ran a trail race.

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  33. I just got back from CO and we actually stayed 1 night in Pagosa Springs.. We didn't get to tour the town but I absolutey LOVE it in CO!I thought about you while I was running at our cabin by Buena Vista! Good Luck to you and your friend!!

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  34. Welp - drunkenly last weekend my friend and I decided we are going to do a Tough Mudder in Virginia Beach - so yes.

    Any race in Central Park has my favorite scenery :)

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    1. Posted before I finished - good luck and enjoy your girls weekend!

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  35. Definitely on my #FITNESSBUCKETLIST to do a trail race! Gosh, Dean just looks lazy doesn't he? ;)

    GOOD LUCK THIS WEEKEND! Be smart and enjoy the gorgeous CO scenery! I will be there June 28-7/1!

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  36. Good luck on your trail race...looks awesome. I've done a few loop courses, mostly trail races. They are also the most beauiful runs. I've never signed up for a race after drinking but I've run a race after drinking (jello shooters all night then ran my first sub 2:00 half marathon).

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  37. Those trails for Turkey Tracks are awesome and, for Colorado, the climbing is negligible. Have fun! Kind of a drag about the re-route for the marathon....

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  38. I'm so envious! I moved away from Pagosa in '04 and miss it like crazy. Have a great time and good luck!!!!

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  39. Best wishes and good vibes for no injuries! And I did sign up for one race this year that I personally was not planning on, but enough high school friends convinced me - the Air Force Half. Now I'm paranoid all these Top Guns will be sailing along past me thinking "who is this turtle"!!! ha ha

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  40. I did my first trail half marathon last weekend. And my boys got to run with Dean. No joke.
    They thought he was a local runner/race director they've met before and had no idea they had just run with someone famous.

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  41. Most beautiful marathon? Tough question. San Francisco Nike Women's marathon was pretty nice but a personal favourite is the Prince Edward Island Marathon which starts in Cavendish Provincial Park (think miles of sand dunes) and takes you across the green rolling hills of one of the most picturesque places on the planet.

    Another gorgeous race is the Cabot Trail Relay in Nova Scotia which I just ran a few weeks ago. If you're interested, there are a few pics on my blog at: http://www.jannielynn.blogspot.ca/2012/05/race-report-part-2-cabot-trail-relay.html

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  42. Running races that loop past the finish line are the worst! I've done two 5ks that did this and HATED them. I've learned to look at the course maps and elevation maps now because of them. ugh!

    Best of luck on your race!

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