Friday, September 11, 2009

Colorado Relay Leg 13

Vail Pass. 8.8 Miles. Downhill, 10,600 - 8,800 Feet

I have run this leg twice before. It is a fast downhill, but a long leg and hard to see the path at times. It starts at the Vail Pass rest area at the top of the stairs and goes down the frontage road to the bike path, follows the bike path and then goes under the highway and up to the old frontage road to East Vail. I've run it in nice conditions, full moon warm weather and in bad conditions, snow and rain and cold. Both times I've run this leg, I had done 8 miles down Guanella in my previous leg which made me sore before even starting this leg. I thought I would do really well on this leg this year.

The weather was great, temp was around 45 at the top of the pass with 55 in Vail. No wind, clear skies with stars and a half moon a rising.

Steve Drove me to the top around 8:30. We figured Andre might be there as early as 9. Always a guessing game as to when the previous runner will come in. It was not as cold up top as in previous years. Seems like I'm always up there either running or doing the exchange and it is always cold. Parking lot up top is dark and crowded. The previous runner runs up Vail pass from Copper, takes a while to see who it is in the parking lot, if it's your team or not. Every year it seems like I would see Mark Brown up there with his team. One year he loaned me a jacket while I was waiting for a runner to come in. Missed you up there this year Mark.

I felt good after a nice long rest in Vail. I had a bowl of Chili and Rice around 5:30 and was well rested and stretched. I didn't sleep any, but I felt good and ready to run. I wore shorts and a short sleeve shirt with gloves. I checked in and went back to the Van with Steve to stay warm. We saw the other team's van and then Jill check in. I went over and said hi to Jill and walked back to the other van, first I'd seen of them since Silverthorne. Jill was a bit nervous about the route.

I took the exchange from Andre and headed through the parking lot. The route was familiar as I remembered it and headed toward the bike path. I found the road a bit rough, there were some glow sticks but they were smaller Orange ones instead of the larger green ones.

Several runners had left the exchange while we were waiting, so I had some runners on the course most of the way to chase down and pass, they were runners from earlier waves and not competition. I passed 8 runners on the leg. 1 runner was difficult to catch. She (as it turned out to be) was passing runners ahead and we seemed to stay about the same pace. I encouraged the runners as I passed them and most wished me luck as well. At 5 miles I passed the difficult runner, she said "I was wondering if you would pass me", she could see my headlamp gleaming ahead of her most of the way. I gained a lot of ground on the 1 uphill section when you cross under I-70.

I felt good until about mile 6. I got a serious stomach ache. I should not have eaten the Chili, I know I can't eat something like than and then run after. I was grabbing my side most of the way. I ran through it, but it was not pleasant. Not sure if it impacted my time, but it sure made the experience less pleasant and I did quit looking at my watch, just running in the zone I was in. I passed the last person at mile 6 and ran the rest of the way hard. I finished at 1:00:47. I was disappointed I thought I would run a 58 or faster, at least under 1 hour. Steve took off and I was very relieved to be finished, wondering if I would recover and how I would do on my 3rd leg.

Garmin Watch Data for Leg 13

1 comment:

  1. We weren't actually going to be at Vail Pass this year but with Patrick picking up the Copper to the pass leg we were there. Just turned out to be a little earlier than you guys this year! Nice job on your legs. That downhill one is actually quite fun except for that stretch by the highway.