Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sneffels Half-Marathon - The Seniors' Race Report

The Colorado Contingent of the Young Mountain Runners

Great location, great weather, great run in the mountains. Running season ramps up through October and this late summer outing was a very, very nice one.

Driving directly to Ouray from Grand Junction on the day of the event turned out to work well except for acclimatizing to altitude. Up early, 3 AM, but green lights on the main streets of Delta and Montrose helped us roll right down the 100 miles in fine time.
Early morning - The Ouray Start
Much cooler down that way, in the 50s at gun time on Main street at 7900 feet. Our planned pace kind of blew up immediately as we ran south ALL the way to the south end of town. After all these years of driving that street we can confirm that, from 'foot level', it definitely rises right up to meet the Million Dollar Highway!! From many points of view that isn't much gain but we remembered too well burning the clutch in the VW van climbing that direction in the old days! This early hill knocked our pace for a loop sucking air and putting stiff muscles to work too soon. The course then turned and went down the same route back to near the start line, turned up a parallel dirt road and went all the way back to the south end again, up hill but not quite as bad. Then on another dirt road finally toward Ridgway and the finish line.

Finally leaving Ouray we got our rhythm going but could never regain our planned pace. We finished nicely -- me at 2:22:12 chip time and mom at 2:24:53 chip time. Our PRs are around 2:10 but that was on a fast course and 3000 feet lower. So we forgave ourselves which really wasn't that hard to do running in such beautiful country as the Uncompahgre valley in the San Juan's. We felt great after all said and done especially when we found that Mary had acquired another gold and I even pulled in a bronze. Not really gold and bronze but San Juan shale rock with an inscription in brass.

We would have enjoyed a little more competition because Mary got first of two women in the 65-69 division and I was third of only four men. But, as usual, at least we were there competing with who ever showed up. The exhilaration of putting you body through the 'test of time' is reward enough. The race was the USATF Colorado Half Marathon Championships so we thought there would at least be more folks in our division. The 65-69 division comprised only about 1.5% of the 418 in attendance and while small it is a larger percent than many road races. Sad but true that after 59 the numbers dwindle. That being said this is sometimes a tough turn for us since those that are left are many times pretty tough folks!

As always it is inspiring to be running with all the young people. Three or four young couples commented on seeing us at many other races and either beat the socks off us or came in behind and telling us about the inspiration they get from seeing us at the races. One of them said, 'Thanks, you paced us all the way and kept us going'.

As usual I did do my final two mile 'push' and the new training for endurance/distance is really paying off for both of us and can only get better. I caught two older guys I had been watching from a distance but it turned out they were in a younger division. I Then had a great, and satisfying, sprint finish with a couple of 30 year old's we had been following for 10 miles. At the line I reached hard and got them by a second! Great fun. (Announcer: '..and here's Dennis Young coming in fast. He's 69 on this fine day!!) Mary came in quickly and we had a great sit-down in the grass guzzling chocolate milk and a lot of water and another S-cap talking to other runners and learning about more races.

Later we walked up and down Ouray (yep...that same hill) and then headed home and over Pablo's Pizza with friends and devoured a 12 inch pizza and plenty of wine. After espresso and conversation at their house we collapsed into bed.

After the many years hiking in the San Juan's it is great surprise to both of us that we are running in these late years in this same location. We climbed Mt Sneffels 23 years ago last month. The summit is just 7 straight miles from the start line.

Overall 311 of 418 top 74%
Females 167/255 top 65%
Division (65-69) 1st of 2
chip time 2:24:53

Overall 293/418 top 70%
Males 141/163 top 86%
Division (65-69) 3rd of 4
chip time 2:22:12

Our chip times were about 7 seconds behind the gun.

1 comment:

  1. You guys rock! I can't wait to follow your progress for the marathon.