Usually I do videos for my race reports, but the other day I was looking at race reports from a couple of my friends and realized it’s more convenient for me personally to read them instead of watch them. So I thought I would take a video break (for your sake) and write up my race report for the Estes Park Marathon I did last weekend.
The Estes Park Marathon is my favorite marathon. I have done it three times, once in 2006, once in 2011, and once in 2012. This year I was using the Estes Park Marathon as a training run for the Boulder Ironman. I admittedly haven’t been running more than 2-3 times a week this entire year, but most of that is racing so my speed is there, just not the endurance. I was most worried about my muscles and joints standing up to 26.2 miles.
I have done 2 long runs this year, one after a half marathon race I ran and walked an additional 5 miles, and the other after the Boulder 70.3 where I also ran and walked an additional 5 miles. This is less training than I usually do for a marathon, but again, this was just a training run for me so my goal was to run 20 of the miles.
On the positive side, I have completed 3 half ironman races so far this year, which although the run is only 13.1 miles, the entire race has been between 5-6 hours which gives me at least a good cardio fitness level.
The day before the race, I decided to bike 100 miles in the Pedal for Promise century ride. I figured a long weekend of training was exactly what I needed 7 weeks out from Boulder Ironman. I rode the 100 miles slower than I had hoped (goal was 6 hours, actual was 6 ½) but managed to finish feeling pretty good.
I ate a nutritious post-race meal of watermelon, vegan chocolate Shakeology, and bean/rice burritos and took a 20 minute ice bath as soon as I got home. I got to bed early with slight aches in my knees and quads that were just a little bit tired. And despite the near 100 degree temps, I managed to stay un-sunburned thanks to mass amounts of applied and re-applied sunscreen.
The Estes Park Marathon started at 6am and I live about an hour away, so I had to wake up at 4:30am. I didn’t really sleep much because it had been almost 100 degrees the day before and we don’t have AC in our house. I woke up feeling a little stiff, tired, and groggy, so I chose to wear my compression tights even though the temps were supposed to reach the high 80s by mid-day.
I drank my usually morning quart of water with lemon essential oil, took my supplements (B-12, iron, and probiotic) and slathered on the sunscreen just in case. I wore my long, black 2XU compression tights with a small sports bra and my DeSoto wings that are designed to keep the sun off my back and arms and keep me cool. I drank my usual breakfast of chocolate vegan Shakeology with power greens and unsweetened vanilla almond milk, grabbed a banana, Bolt chews, salt tabs, and headed up the canyon.
Estes Park is a gorgeous town that sits about 7,500 feet in elevation. It’s the gateway to the Rockies, so it’s surrounded by majestic, snow-capped mountains. In the center of town is a lake. The whole thing is straight out of an outdoor mag. One of the main reasons it’s my fave.
I showed up, grabbed my bib, ate my banana, and headed to the start. There were about 100 people doing the full marathon, about 600 doing the half, and many others doing relays, 10K, and 5K. All the races started at different times, so we only started with about 100. I started off easy but right away saw there were only about 10 women ahead of me, and within the first mile, everyone was so spread out and I had passed 5 of them. My plan was to go easy until mile 14 and if I felt good, pick it up. The course does a loop around the lake about 4 miles, then up a hill and around a big 10 mile loop twice, and then back to the HS track for the finish. Around the lake is fairly flat with a few small rises and falls, the big loop is half gradual uphill and half gradual downhill with a few rollers thrown in.
A couple times on the uphills, I would pass people, only to be passed on the downhills by young fresh knees and hips. No problem! My goal was to run 20 of the miles, and at mile 14 I was still feeling great.
Well, you know, great for 14 miles!! My joints were a little achy and my calves were starting to get tight from climbing, but all in all felt good. I was 5th female. I don’t wear a watch when I race, but there was someone at mile 14. They called out my split 2:12. For the next mile I did the math in my head and thought “OMG! If I keep this up, I can get under 4 hours” which was my “if all goes perfectly today” goal!!
With that new info, my body feeling pretty good, and a long uphill stretch where I could see a couple girls ahead of me, I got my second wind. Instead of one cup of Gatorade at each aid station, I started taking two. I ate my Bolt chews, took a couple salt tabs, and picked up the pace.
By mile 20 there was only one female ahead of me. I could see her with the leader bike about a minute ahead and she was slowing down at a faster pace than I was. I was now passed the last long climb and decided I would go for it. I told myself it would probably hurt…a lot, but I could do it. I picked up my pace and by mile 21 I had passed her. Now all I had to do was keep it up for 5 miles. Easier said than done, but as hard as it got, I kept pushing. I didn’t look back (but did ask the biker at one point if any women were in sight…he said no) and started doubling up my Gatorade and salt tabs again because my calves were borderline cramping. I was so close to the finish I just kept telling my muscles how relaxed they were and how amazing I was.
It worked! I ran onto the track and heard the announcer say “and here comes the first place female marathoner” and the crowd went wild! Well not really, but I did in my head. I have never won a marathon before. I know there were only like 50 women who ran it, but still!! It was a hard, hilly, high altitude course and I WON!!
I made my #1 goal which was sub 4 hours and even negative-splitted my time as my final time was 3:47, so my average for the first 14 was about 9:25 and the last 12 was close to 8:00 which gave me an average of 8:40 which is right at my ironman goal race pace which was PERFECT!
The day was amazing! The sun stayed behind the clouds for most of the race so the temps hovered in the 70s. There were aid stations about every mile so any time I felt like I needed Gatorade, it magically appeared for me. The last 6 miles of the race are primarily downhill so I could keep moving even when every muscle in my body was screaming at me to stop. And of course making my goal time and winning were just icing on the cake!!
60th marathon in the books! And out of the 60, this was my 3rd fastest time. My first 2 fastest are both in California, at sea level, flat courses, so this race was one of my best ever! My previous Estes Park Marathon times were 4:00, 3:58, and 6:34 (when I walked it 2 months after breaking my collar bone).
Here is the link if you want to check out the marathon…
And here are my other race reports if you do like watching videos…
Here are the chews I eat when I race…
And here is the salt capsules I use…
I hope you are loving your summer as much as I am!
See you soon!