Monday, June 11, 2012

Turkey Track Trail Half Marathon Race Report

Spoiler: I survived. I did not die of smoke inhalation or re-injure myself. I was not last. I did not DNF or DNS. I did not POT (poop on/near trail).

The report: Joie and I were up early Saturday, ready to roll, nerves all a twitter. We were both edgy because we had no clue what to expect from this course and therefore had no clue how to pace ourselves. We had tried to check out where the climbs were, but this was almost impossible to figure from the maps that were provided. I knew it would be almost 1,000 feet of elevation gain over 13 miles, which isn’t a lot for a trail race, but it’s a lot for me because I am a pussy.

I didn’t know it at the time, but this was the course. A couple hills, yo.


I had done lots of hill and trail training early on, but after becoming injured 6 weeks ago, I had stopped all trails and climbing, with the exception of some treadmill stuff. In fact, my running went from 30 miles per week to about 15-20. I had a feeling I might die during this run. Or, at the very least cry and scream, “Why, God, why???” while writhing on the ground in all of my girlish drama.

We ate some hotel waffles, pinched off a loaf, and headed for the start on this glorious Colorado morning. It was about 40 degrees.


We drove up to about 8,100 feet to the start.


I actually did not need to use these lemon yellow potties (shocking, I know!) , but this tells you how small the race was – less than 200 people combined for the full and half marathons.

The start was mellow with Reggae music playing and all of us just meandering around waiting to gather at the start while smoking a few joints. Kidding.


No timing chips, no start gun – just a “4…3…2…1…GO!”

I took off pretty fast and before I knew it we were on a single track trail. There was no passing to be done here, so I just chilled out taking advantage of the fact that this allowed me to start conservatively.

After a bit, the trail opened up and I passed some people because we were on a nice downhill. I started running behind one woman who was going along at a decent clip and I paced myself with her. Then I noticed her shoe was untied and before I could tell her, she went down and went down hard (TWSS) . As I passed her I yelled, “LACES!” because I am nice that way.

80% this race was single track trail with a few times that we were on a dirt/rock road. I loved the single track except for the times when you stuck behind someone and it was tough to pass, or when the track was so narrow your feet kept getting caught. I rolled my ankles quite a bit.

We came to the first aid station at about 4.5 miles and I was feeling great. Probably because the first 5 miles were a fast downhill and we went from 8,100 feet to 7,600 feet.  My first four splits:


If you haven’t run trails before then you might not know how much slower you are than on the road. Navigating the terrain and the climbing is tricky. Add in high elevations and your pace drops at least 1-2 minutes per mile. Or, maybe that’s just me.

After mile 5, we started to climb. I was still trying to push my pace, knowing it was just a half marathon. My body felt pretty good, but as we climbed my hamstring screamed “HELLO, mother effer!” and my left hip started hurting a bit. I also noticed what felt like nasty blisters on my feet. I think this is because I had not been running in my trail shoes for the past 6 weeks. With my form changes, I was now striking on my mid to forefoot and my feet were noticing the shift.

I had a strawberry/banana GU around mile 6 and tried to keep drinking from my fuel belt. I had taken some Endurolyte tabs because it was already getting warm – about 75 degrees at this point. 

We climbed up to aid station #2 at 7.5 miles. I slowed a bit in these miles and I could definitely tell I was undertrained. I grabbed some coke and pretzels and took off. We climbed some more, meandering through gorgeous wooded areas. Many times I smiled big as I ran, just loving being out in the crisp morning air and feeling like I was flying. Other times, we would start to climb over rocky terrain and I felt sluggish and tired, thinking “This sucks balls. I’m tired. I don’t like trails.” So much moodiness during races!

My next few splits:


You can tell that I really slowed on the climb back up to above 8,200 feet.

The last aid station was at about mile 11.2. I went through this one pretty quickly knowing I was almost done.


I finished in 2:15 -

8th/21 in the 40-49 age group
22nd/73 women
45th/126 overall

I felt good about this time knowing that I was fighting elevation and coming back from injury. No one in my age group got in below two hours, so I wasn’t too far off. I felt really good when I finished.

Finish line area:


With my friend Lisa who ran a really strong half!


My partner in crime, Joie, was running the full. She came in at the half way point in 2:36, looking strong. I was actually on the massage table drinking a Sierra Mist when she headed back out for her second half. I think she literally wanted to kill me at that moment.

I hung out at the finish until she finished watching the marathoners straggle in – one about every ten minutes. The winner finished in 3:54, which was very impressive for this course. Joie finished strong, having paced herself and fueled really well. Her first trail marathon!!


We headed to the brewery for some free pizza and beer, then went to town for second dinner of fish tacos and wine.


Then it was time for bed because we are party animals. But, not before I gawked at Joie’s legs:


The cool thing about trail running is you never have to buy panty hose.

Next race for me is in two weeks: the Loveland Lake to Lake Olympic Tri. 1.5K swim, 30 mile bike, 10K run. Guess I better start training.

Any races for you this coming or past weekend?



  1. Great job! No races this weekend, but last weekend we did the Mikkelson Trail Half Marathon in Deadwood, South Dakota. About 12 miles of downhill running....easy PR, but my quads complained for a few days after! Beautiful run, too, and well-organized! I would highly recommend it!

  2. The one and only trail run I have ever done (because I am a city girl - I could drive to a trail for a run, but that just doesn't happen) was a five mile trail race. I averaged 9:55/mile which is more than a minute slower than my usual road time. But the amazing thing was that the entire race I felt like I was FLYING! I guess it was because I was so focused on not busting my ass (which I did anyway) and with trying to keep up with the stream of runners during the single track parts. Congratulations on your strong, poo-free run. The scenery looks absolutely gorgeous!

  3. Congratulations, you did great! Trail running is fun.

  4. I did the "This Race Blows" 5K--to benefit a friend who has a daughter with CF. I am still nursing my hamstring so walked with a friend who had never done a 5K before. She was so proud of herself, and that is what mattered most.

  5. 10k is my furthest distance so far; I live in Florida but was visiting my brother in Colorado so I ran the Saloman 10k on Copper Mountain (which started at 9800 elevation and finished at, yep, all downhill). We also had a tail wind. It was AMAZING and beautiful (and freezing). My 2nd 10k but way above sea level, so I didn't PR but was only off by 3 mins on my first 10k time. Then we had signed up the next day for the 5k trail run. BIG MISTAKE. I don't run trails. at all. We had climbs similar to what you experienced, biggest issue for me was that I was way way way above sea level and it takes me about 1.5 miles to catch my breathing rhythm...first 1000 climb was in the first mile. It was brutal. I decided it was my baseline time for a Colorado rocky trail run. :) We finished but it was tough. A small race too. I would have run the 10k about 15 times over as the conditions were so perfect, a babbling stream along the path the entire way, downhill, tailwind. Glorious. Then the stinking 5k almost killed me. too funny. :) It will be hard to leave this place though I'm banking on a great run Wednesday morning when I'm back in Florida and have tons of red blood cells to burn. :) GREAT job on your race!!! Half training is next on my agenda.

  6. Great race! I'm so jealous of the area and races that are near you. I live at the beach and every race is flat flat and more flat. Gets boring after a while. I'm on the DL because of a knee injury, but I hope to be back for a mud run in August at Little Creek Naval Base, 5 miles in soft sand, up and down sand berms. One of the few races here that aren't flat. Hope your HS feels better, good luck at your tri!

    1. Yeah it's nice here, but I am a beach girl and REALLY miss it. Wish I had both.

  7. Congrats on a great run!

    I've never run a specific trail race, only done them as part of a larger adventure race. The running portions have exceeded 15 - 18 miles, depending on the overall race distance (35 - 45 miles).

    You? Train for a tri? You don't need no stinkin' training. That's how you get hurt. Just show up and race. ;-)

  8. I can't wait for your race report for the Lake to Lake Tri. I've thought about doing it but haven't pulled the trigger. Good Luck!

    I was supposed to run the Front Range Relay on Sunday (also called the Beer to Bong relay because it goes from Hughes Stadium at CSU to Boulder Rez.) but they canceled it due to smoke from the forest fire. Huge disappointment!

    1. Really? I am kind of worried the tri could be cancelled too since it is so close to Ft. Collins. But maybe by then the fire will be more contained.

    2. I would hope so. Although I heard on the news that the fire in NM is at 270K acres! I really hope the Ft. Collins one doesn't get that big. I'm betting you will be fine...

  9. We ran the Turkey Tracks Half/Full marathon courses this past April. Beautiful area with beautiful, pristine trails. Probably one of the best courses in Colorado for someone to try their first trail race - flat by Colorado standards and not technical. Challenging enough but not too much so. Looks like you had awesome weather and a fun time!

  10. We have opposite racing seasons. So no big races until fall. Late October, at that. I've never ran a trail race but I would like to run one. I think I think the same things during races, like why am I doing this??!

  11. Okay, as awful as this looks when it comes to Hard courses, it also sounds so rewarding and fun. I must add this to my list. I've never had the desire to do races like this until recently. Yesterday on our trail run my husband told me that he'd like to do a 100 mile trail run in about 10 years and he wants me to run the last 30 miles with him to keep him from getting lost from being delirious. We talked about training in elevation and this looks like a good one to do together. So beautiful. Glad ot see you happy and healthy and enjoying your beautiful state Beth!

  12. Great Job!! Congratulations:) quite impressive with your injury.

  13. I love me some trails but not how much more slow my pace is! They say if you plan to run 4 miles but decide to run it on trails - you should run the TIME it takes you to run the 4 miles on the road and run that time on the trail. Crazy how the trails affect your body!

    NICE JOB battling back from your injury! Seems like a great time - your friend rocked it too. I had the Mini 10K (first woman's road race ever) this weekend and nursed it coming back from injury.

  14. Big congratulations to both of you! Wow, that must have been lonely out on the course for the marathoners. I don't think I've ever run a race longer than 5K with so few people.

  15. That looks like an awesome race! I'd love to do it one day - except I'd probably have to run with an oxygen tank and mask - which would be awkward!

    Nice job and congrats on solid placing in the AG and OA!

  16. Great job to you all! It looks fun, but I may have had more fun at the Tough Mudder! I went into a lot of very cold water, so I peed myself just a little bit before just because I could! Will you be running the Skirt chaser this year?

  17. I'm looking forward to a local mud run this weekend... A 4.3 mile course with about a dozen obstacles. It sounds like FUN! I guess that's about as close to a trail race as we get here in Savannah, Ga... haha! ;)

  18. Nice work...I see you changed your skirt after the race so I guess you did poop somewhere closer than the trail. ;) Cute hair, BTW! Your Swim Outlet ad is quite eye-catching - the first thing I saw when I arrived at your site was a guy's Speedos. Nice.

  19. Hey nice job on that!! But don't think I didn't notice you were wearing different pants in the before and after photos... hmmmmmmmmm...... oh wait, I see that Alison in the comment right above me noticed that too. :-D

  20. Nice job, ladies!! What a fun weekend! Definitely deserved 2 dinners that night after those hills. Hope the hamstring and hip are happier and ready to start some serious tri training! :)

    Miss ya!!

  21. In the top picture check out the bicep? Nice work there lady.

    And did you follow up 'LACES' with the words 'DUMB BITCH' as you were flying by her? I mean not stopping to ask if she is ok is badass but following it up with DB would have been classic.....HA HA HA!

    Great race.

  22. "As I passed her I yelled, “LACES!” because I am nice that way."

    LOL!!!!! You are HILARIOUS!!!!

  23. awesome race! congrats! just coming off an injury myself and looking forward to race again..... july hopefully!

  24. I did the half at this race too - I probably saw you there. I love your report (and am glad I didn't see the elevation chart before the race) and that you all finished (and I felt a bit for the full runners that had to witness the finish line beer drinking and relaxing going on before heading out for their second loop). You can read my race report here ( and see a bunch of pictures I took here ( Thanks for posting!

  25. Amazing post, I've been looking for the answer for a long time.