Georgetown-Idaho Springs 1/2 – 2:43:55.5 New PR

10 08 2008

I’ve come to accept when anyone says “Oh it’s all down hill…” not to believe them … Your reporter here is trying to type with a very sore back – rib cage and shoulders … ankles and bottom of the feet … and a big cheesy grin!

This 1/2 marathon was not in my original plan of trying to kill myself the summer of 2008. With the heat and my not handling it well, I truly wondered if this would be another event that I’ll have paid for an not be able to do or complete. It kind of crept up in the midst of my having training troubles, health thing and my car deciding to essentially go down. I rented a car for this weekend – and had already aligned myself with some friends for a ride up into the mountains. The last couple of weeks, however, I’ve been twisting a bit and I really didn’t want them to be waiting around … Wrapping a virtual velvet rope around my ankle (in other words – speaking logically and reminding me that they don’t mind), I met the Boys at something like 5:15 a.m.

I didn’t sleep well the night before this. Maybe it’s because I wasn’t sure precisely where I was going or maybe it’s because I refuse to pop the speed limit anymore. Actually – the lead foot thing has gone by the wayside a long time ago because I don’t see any reason to be in such a rush. Start earlier. Of course over two hours earlier is kind of folly. I knew if I started into a home project, however, I would probably be late. I also didn’t have my usual coffee before a race … yawn!

It had POURED the night before and allegedly was going to dump on Saturday. After Surf City, I can do anything! I did have warm clothes and my gloves because the event is at altitude:

There is .5 mile of gravel road in the 2nd mile, and 1.5 mile of dirt road from mile 6.5 to mile 8.  Also be aware of a steep grade with a 90° turn at the bottom of Clear Creek Drive in the 1st mile of the course.

The elevation at the start is 8500 feet, and gradually arrives at 7500 feet at the finish.  Temperatures in the early morning at this elevation can be 50°, and can reach 85°  by the finish.  While conditions are usually optimal at this time of year, athletes should always be prepared for adverse weather while being in a mountainous location.   

Aid Stations will be at the 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12 mile marks.

The map is at: 

The ride up was fun. My nerves were in hyper-drive. I really realized I’d not done much of *anything* for a while. I’d done some reasonably fast track miles, but that’s track and thisis up anddown a funky roadway … with a splash of gravel and dirt … at altitude. I was nervous about the Colfax 1/2 because of it being my first altitude 1/2 merrython … but I’d at least trained and I could curl up in my car. I mutilated the words to Benny and the Jets into Lizzy and the Boysas I was riding with three speedy sneakers.

Walking to the bus pick up point there was a bit of a mishap. Q has this … uh … thing … for pre-race gas station snacks. The four of us (Scott, Q, David and I) were walking toward the bus pick up. Quite honestly, I was not paying a lot of attention, but starting to get the feel of my shoes again … and didn’t realize that Q was directly in front of me. It must be mentioned that although I slouch slightly, I’m about 5’9″ or so. Q is something like 5’4″ … actually the height he is can be determined from the bottom of my front teeth. Keeping stride with Scott, I tossed my foot out, stepped directly on the back of Q’s Racer ST-III and gave him a ‘flat tire’. He stopped dead as I was rolling forward and the bottom of my teeth creamed the back of his head! OH MY GOSH! It was an interesting start to the race but fortunately I didn’t draw blood. Yes – I’ve got to pay attention … but Q’s taller than I thought!

As Q stopped at the gas station for a personal fill up, David and Scott showed me where the closing expo was and where they’d be … and … as we came down this little hill that would cause me pause later … I exclaimed “OOOHHHH!!!! Fresh potties!!!!” Only race folks would get it! 

I ran into some TNT friends and others as we were walking to the bus line. The Boys, of course, know everyone in the running world – so they saw a lot of folks also. The interesting thing is that I truly am the one who is coming in last on a lot of things. Other than Jan Hill, I don’t think many of the Rocky Mountain Road Runner racewalkers walk in running events. I like the events and maybe I’malso getting more comfortable with the social aspect of things. More on that later.

Ran in to Lynn Cole who pushes an air cart and later into Mike Mc who pulls his huge air cart. Saw some folks that had said I couldn’t just walk nor do it at any decent rate of speed and a few who figured after my first Disney I would be stopping completely. Kind of interesting to let them know I was going back for a third Disney in the Goofy event … For those who say I can’t do it … bite me … and when I say I can’t do something – the boys just smile, be encouraging and pat me on the head … “Sure you’ll finish in 3 hours, Lizzy … uh-hu.” knowing that I’ll do better than I think! I love my friends.

The race started going into Georgetown and making a huge square coming back to mile 2 where the start line was. Ok. After making sure my shirt was going to get to the finish line, I realized I was pretty warm at altitude. I did some warming up, but I’d lost the boys in the sea of humanity. I also tend tocrawl into my own head when I’m getting myself warmed up … making sure my feet feel good, socks are comfy, roll working … checking in with the shins, ankles and other joints … rolling my arms and shoulders a little more than usual because I felt tense. Honestly, I could have gone right by them and noteven seen them. This isn’t new for me – I tend to get that way in crowds.

I pulled out of the start area to go down to the lake and just check in one more time with myself. My back has been tight lately – stress (?) – and I looked at the goofy monkey sticker on my watch and said “Go have some fun Lizzy. They’re going to wait. You’ve got food. It would be nice to beat the 2:45:25, but just go get your feet under you and have fun … damn it! I did hope to see Q and Scott before the start … they’re front row kids and I thought I could see them as I made my way to the back. Taking a look at the corral signs I looked at the fast one and thought “Good luck, Boys – I’ve got to go back to the 12:30 and higher area. Hope I don’t come in last!”

There were really few of us back in the Back 40. The beginning of a race, I tend to concentrate on my body check in and getting a place to toss my legs. According to Lynn, I blew past herself and Mike without a word. I don’t remember seeing them. The funny thing is at post-race lunch with The Boys I said “Did you guys see the fire that was starting about mile 6?” The response was that they are so tunnel visioned that they only know what is directly in their view … and where the people they want to pass are … I laughed and said I was the Tour Guide in the end. I guess I get fixated too!

Everything felt pretty good. Usually something isn’t feeling exactly right at the beginning, but I felt like I was trucking along pretty well. When I looked at my watch and kept seeing 11’s and 12’s for my pace I was thinking I should slow down … but I felt good. It took me some time to settle in, however, because this race is *not* all down-hill, there are some ups and there are some flats and there is gravel/dirt. My friend Sasha was right in front of me for the first few miles. When I passed Mary-Kate and her it was only because they were flagging slightly. On one of the longer uphills, she said the reason she caught up with me was because she knows how hills kill me. I’ve got to change that!

For the most part, I was happily zipping along. There were some trouble spots here and there, but all in all I was doing OK. I met some nice folks and kept my pace going while telling them about Dave’s books and the Rocky Mountain Road Runners … forever the PR agent. When I’ve not trained and do something like this, my shins complain … they didn’t. What was complaining, however, were the bottoms and outside edges of my feet, my calves, hips and this funky spot on the rear outside of my knee. I kept on plugging remembering that The Boys did say that this race was rough on them also because of the downhill nature of it.

Water stops were every 2 miles – and it was getting hot enough where I was very thankful that I had my 2 flask Nathan … which were nearly dry by the end. I don’t recall if Powerade was at all the stops – I remember only one where I mixed a cocktail. Mile 6 I did something I’ve never done before – grabbed two cups of water and dumped oneover my head. I think I need to get a cap with better breathing – my hair is short now so it’s not a matter of keeping it back. I did wonder from the 2 mile water stop onward what was up with the plastic Snapple free cups? Can’t really pinch them well etc. Better than the beer cup size at the Belleview. The kids at the water stops, however, were really great.

The course is kind of winding. Since they don’t completely close off the road, racers are to stay on one side. As the sun came out, people were diving under the tree line for a moment of shade. It didn’t make a whole lot of sense what they were doing as they weren’t cutting along tangent lines. Oh Q would be so proud of me even thinking along tangent lines! I didn’t do terrific with the tangets – but as I got more tired, I got better at them. 

I usually do a 10 or 20 Mile PIng onacell phone if I’m travelling with anyone. It started at San Diego Rock and Roll Marathonwhen I was out there with Heather and Sheila and their families. There’s a bit of a time delay when you’re the slowest of a group but the group wants to see you come in anyway. I did it for my folks at the San Jose Rock and Roll Half – which was a good thing as that was my fastest 1/2 marathon and they wanted to be in places where they could see me. Dad pulled it off – and even saidhe was trying to run (envision a very leggy 6’8″ man trying to run around after his youngest daughter who is … just walking) to see me cross the line and could not catch up. Mom wasn’t so lucky as I passed her vantage point in a group of guys … runners … I was passing :). At San Francisco, I pinged Mom who was waiting the whole time at the closing expo and I wasn’t in the best shape as I was really pretty tired. This race, I’d asked the boys if they wanted the phone ping – and since none of them carry a phone after a race the answer was negative. Andeven though they put up with my saying “Ok – I’ll see you in 3 hours …” and don’t believe me whatsoever … I saw them when I was in pretty rough shape going through the expo aiming toward where we were to meet.

I got just outside mile 10 and realized something didn’t feel right – maybe it was because I’d been moving a bit faster than before and I was at altitude. I’d popped a shock block at around mile 4 then 1/2 a clif gu at 6. I was more concerned with keeping everything working. Coming in to 10, I felt like my hips and calves were going to just stop working. The bottom of my feet had been punished like I’d been wearing spike high heels for 10 hours straight. I pulled over to the side and tried to stretch a little – my back was hurting even with all my on course exercises. I felt a strange tightness across the front of my rib cage also. Ok – not terrific, but not life threatening. I’m probably holding myself up funky. I tourist walked in and through10. Not how I wanted to, but a huge check in. Coming in to the water stop around12 I was really concerned. I hurt more than I have in a long time. I think it has a lot to do with not being able to train properly. Hips, tushy, calves, ankles and, most of all, bottom of my feet. I swore that they felt so warm that it was reminiscent of my first ever event where I finished with four ripped blood blisters all over my feet.


This gal I’d been playing leap frog with saw me coming out of 12 and said “You’re starting to fly again! Go!” I knew I was close to the end … and even better I knew if I could keep myself someplace under a 13 minute mile, I would potentially have bested myself. I really hoped the Boys would be someplace close to the finish line, because I knew that it might not be pretty, but I was going to not only finish this, but really need them to make sure I got to water. Just as you go under the freeway there was a race in progress sign. It was the first one I’d seen that had the words “Runners and Walkers” on it. Hey – made me feel good enough to pass the five people in front of me. Another hill … oh gosh no! I knew it had to be someplace because when I was shown where then finish line was, it was going to require a hill to get to the feeder road. No problem. I’m on the feeder road … I feel beat up, but I’m on the feeder road. Now what?

David said, in passing, “Ok – this road is 12th street. You turn on 12th street. The streets start at 1st.” OH MY GOSH I SAW 1st Street! I let go of any other thoughts – and started counting blocks. 12 is a very long number! At 6th street, I saw a guy I know from TNT. He’s been a mentor and a captain. Last season, I met him at an event and we just had a great time. I was wearing my white 20th season TNT training shirt and he spotted it. “I’ll run with you for a little.” and like I did my very first Disney at a harrowing to me mile 24 … and like I shall probably always do … I told him that Sasha (a well known mentor) was behind me and had been having a little trouble. At a potty stop around mile 10 she spotted me calling out that she had a friend to run with and to keep going. That’s the way I am … I want my friends to be safe out there. He smiled and said”You got it! I’ll go get Sasha!” There are some great TNT coaches out there with the right attitude.

10th street … there was a knot of people at the end that I could barely see. I knew I was going to have to make a hard right so I started to prep it. I pulled wide two groups of people in front of me and was still able to make the corner to cut it sharp and get to the middle of the downhill on 12th. Oh my gosh – there’s the finish and I truly have nothing left. Usually I’ve got something in reserve to sprint in, but all I wanted to do was get some water in me and fixate on the eyes of friends to pull me back from the brink I was on.

BEEP-BEEEP … hit the watch between the two timing pads. It wasn’t pretty … but when I looked at my watch and blearily smiled. I wasn’t lifting my foot up to have the chip clipped. Sorry – it wasn’t working right. I felt like a lost kid, but  I looked around for a face I knew … just someone to center on. After a moment or so, I realized I would have settled for a water stop to fixate on. There wasn’t anything at the finish. I had to get to the expo which was held in a field down a fairly steep but fortunately short hill. I’d grabbed a Joint Juice that nearly made me wretch on the first gulp – so sweet! I tried to think where I was supposed to go and saw Mary Kate. I let her know what was going on with Sasha and she got me to water. She wanted to make sure I was going to be OK and then I saw … Da Boys!

The conversation went something like this:
Lizzy:              “AEEIEIIII!!! Hi Boys!!!! You missed me … again!!!!”
Scott/Q:     “You said three hours …” (followed by both of them saying how they knew I wouldn’t take that long)
Lizzy:          “Since when have you ever listened to me on that?!” Knowing full well that they both have really been amazing friends to keep me moving forward and when I feel discouraged keeping me going. I had my watch tossed to Scott – we both have the same watch – as I’d already re-set it. I knew I’d done well and I didn’t want any chance of my falling over on the pavement starting another lap!

Scott grabbed a couple of bottles of water for me as I asked Q to help me stretch out my hamstrings. I’m needing to find out if I can take his full weight sitting on my legs when I’m in a figure 4 stretch. He’s extremely light and speedy – and after he tried to stop my stretch when I yalped in pain but continued when I said “No, reeaaallllyyyy keep going.” I’m going to stay limber and bendy and I’m hoping my friends will help me on this quest. They were going for a walk, but had grabbed my bags and water and pointed me in the right direction. This race there were enough snacks and treats …. but I really liked having my own replenish mix as a security blanket.

 The Rocky Mountain Road Runners has this banner thing and the Boys said there were a lot of ‘us’ over there. Us … that was an interesting concept for me. I don’t know … I still think I’m too slow to be an usbut whatever. I recognized a couple of faces as I waddled over saying “Ok – the last of the family is here now!!!” Speedy sneakers Karen Voss and Kevin Downing got a real giggle out of that. Scott and Q hadbrought over my food bag … complete with coffee nips hidden in the pocket … and, most importantly, my replenish bottle. No matter how sore I am, when someone asks “How do you do that racewalking thing?” I give it a shot to try to show them … it wasn’t pretty and lessons will be moved to the next trophy series race I’m at!

Although friends would be winning awards, the awards ceremonyholdsnot a lot for me … let’s face it … there wasn’t a walk category. I’ll pay closer attention when there is one, but until then Q will have to remind me to check my results or just let me know when he checks his. I got to see Sasha as she was getting something to eat. She looked good. I ran in to Scott by the food area … go fig. There were bananas, yogurt, bagel bits and the rest, but I’d already started in to my own bag – bell pepper, snap peas, chocolate, sourdough pretzels … We hung out for a bit (long enough for a row of Newman’s Own Non-Dairy Fig Newmans and mysecond or was it third 20 g protein Clif). David was third in his age group, Q won his and Scott was grousing about being 4 months shy of diving head first into the next age group as he would have won it. Don’t wish your life away … just get faster for next year! It was nice to be asked if there was a walk category by a fast runner. Lynn had her air cart and I triedto chase her down (bad hearing) … my running with tightening calves was not a pretty sight. Turned out that Mike Mc had air problems on the route and needed a re-fill.

When all was said and done, we packed up and went on our merry way. I didn’t much want to look at my feet, but I also knew I wanted to sit in the back seat so I could curl up or stretch. Q got us over to a river to dip our tired legs. When you’re travelling with three guys whose combined weight is under 400 pounds … watching them gingerly get into a strong river current without soaking their shorts is interesting. I kept my flip flops on which was OK and waddled out fairly far. Q was amazed I could do it and, while hiking my skirt, I said “Um … it’s called body fat, sweetheart!” Nice late lunch at a local pizza place and then it was home.

I got in to my house realizing I was completely beat. I was spent when I finished, but beaten up by the time I’d gotten home. I just wanted to see my dog and zone out. Gina was here picking up a couple of things and had invited me to the movies. Another friend had invited me to the blues festival downtown but she didn’t handle the race all that well, so I figured she didn’t go down. I just wanted to drink water, take a shower and go from there.

Today – I’m OK. I’m starting a new callous where the old one was shaved off. My rib cage across my back feels like I’m wearing a corset three sizes too small, but I’m pretty good.

Next race: Park to Park 10 Miler

 Current distance records:

9/24/06                Boulder Backroads 1/2 Marathon                         3:12:45
1/7/07                   Disney World Marathon                                       6:21:01
6/7/07                   San Diego Rock and Roll Marathon                      6:30:53 

Lis goes to class








10/14/07              San Jose Rock and Roll 1/2 Marathon                  2:48:04
11/4/07                US San Francisco  1/2 Marathon                          2:51:51
1/13/08                Disney World Marathon  +1 mile of traffic!         6:08:17
2/3/08                  Surf City 1/2 Marathon                                         2:49:24
5/18/08                Colfax 1/2  Marathon                                           2:45:25
8/9/08                   Georgetown to Idaho Springs 1/2 Marathon      2:43:55







2 responses

10 08 2008

Hey Liz!

Sounds like a rough race – but you did it!

You have really picked up speed quickly. I’m very impressed. I’m still trying to break the 3-hour mark for a half.

Cindi Leeman
WALK! Magazine

11 08 2008

Except for the Surf City marathon ( if I remember correctly it was raining) , you keep getting faster and faster!

I’m glad you’re feeling better.

Congrats on your new PR! !!!!!!!!!!!!

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