04 November 2012

Heart Center Half Marathon

On Halloween a friend asked me if I wanted to run one of the Heart Center of the Rockies races. The treats to choose from were a 5K, 10K, or half marathon. Originally I planned to do the 10K as a prep for the highly anticipated Eau Claire, WI Turkey Trot 5 miler that has become a Burch Family Classic. During registration a black cat crossed my path and meowed, "Half and Half." It was a sign...

I think it's been over three years since I've done a road race longer than 5K...not counting AR50 in that category. It was a random scratch to itch and I looked forward to pushing the pace for 13.1 It would be another great gauge on fitness and a chance to wear a roadie costume for the day.

My goal was to go sub 1:20. Lately I've done some highly specific training for this race; running really mellow up and down Horsetooth with friends and one speed workout on the track. I knew I had it in me! I figured I could also set a PR. The existing benchmark was a 1:20 split at the 2009 CO Marathon.

Race day came and I felt good. I wore compression socks to fit in with the crowd but knew my inner trail runner was sticking out like a sore thumb when I donned a hat, gloves, and a longsleeve. Compared to the rest of the front row I looked like an overdressed newbie as they stripped down to shorty shorts and singlets. I seemed to have forgotten how much heat I can produce when I run fast. I was out of my element.

The race started and I found myself in the 6 spot chitchatting on a beautiful morn with the guys next to me. It was fun to run hard for over 3.1 miles. I began thinking how good the half-marathon distance could be for ultra training. It doesn't beat you up like a road marathon. It is a great sustained high intensity cardio workout. And on the simple side you don't have to worry about eating or drinking during the race.

Through 6 miles I was at 37:xx. Through 10 I was at 1:01:xx. With 5K to go I could tell I was beginning to close the gap on a few of the runners in front of me. Shortly after mile 11 I found myself in the 5th spot looking ahead at Heather Utrata who was about 30 seconds up in 4th with 3rd place 10-15 seconds up on her. I put the remaining pedal down but knew I would run out of real estate for the two in front of me. I crossed the line in 1:19:19 achieving my goals for the day.

I had a ton of fun out there on Saturday! Running hard and throwing down some hotcakes postrace. Seven weeks removed from Basic and the exuberance for running continues to spill out my cup. An unnamed friend (living on Overhill Dr) enjoyed pointing out the fact that I got "chicked." I thoroughly did as only a true man can admit with pride and a smile. Running is fun.



  1. Nice job, it was the last-minute cramming session of the track workout that did it for you!
    I believe, empirically, that HM and lower race times are *not* useful for being a good ultrarunner -- I think what you've already been doing the last couple years has been working out great!

    Good luck on T-Day -- we'll be in SE Wisconsin in a new Milwaukee-area 5k. FoCo, represent!