Monday, August 23, 2010

2010 Colorado Relay

I ran 4 legs this year, a total of 23 miles. I did not get any sleep and spent a lot of time in the active van, I witnessed 23 of the 29 exchanges, it was a unique experience. With Zach on the other team running 3 of the same legs with me and both teams being in the hunt for the overall win, it was so much fun and something I will never forget.

After watching the relay start and the first 4 legs up to Loveland, we were in 2nd place with a time of 1:49, Patrick pulled a double leg going up to Bakerville from the start. The Somewhat team was a couple of places behind us and had 1:56 at the Loveland end. We then headed to Diann's friends condo in Frisco, just a couple of blocks from the race course and a half mile from exchange 10 where Zach and I would finish. We had time to relax, some slept and eat lunch and get ready to run. Bob was with us running leg 9, exchanging with Scott from Georgia Pass.

Leg 10

We dropped off Bob and drove to the Golf Course it was after 5, I was ready to run and I'm know Zach was too. Being the 10th runner takes forever to get going. It was a crystal clear day, kind of warm upper 70's and the Bike Path was mainly in the sun. Bob came flying down the hill to the golf course and I was off. A couple of ladies were running together in front of me and my goal was to catch them by the time I got to the light on the highway. Which I did. Then I spent a minute with them at the light, lost a minute there, but that's relay racing. The light changed, I wished them luck and took off. I was on the bike path Leg 10, I had never run this, but thought it was pretty straight forward. Zach's team was about 15 minutes behind us and I was concerned he might take the wrong spur off the path. Turns out the path was not marked well, nor was the entire race except in certain spots.

Zach and I at Exchange 9 getting ready to run Leg 10 from the Breckenridge Golf Course.
Craig M's mother (pictured) and father were volunteers for this exchange.

Bob Exchanges with me for Leg 10. Craig's Father Volunteer looking on.

It was hot but I was running pretty good. Concerned about holding out for 4 legs and 23 miles and keeping my predict pace. A couple of times I was concerned I was on the wrong path but knew I was heading toward Frisco so kept going hard. There was some shade that helped near the hills and then up into them. I did not know there was a mile and a half of uphill in as you turn away from Lake Dillon. That slowed me down some, and there were lots of bikes on the route. I passed 5 teams on this leg. It ends on a spur called Zach's Stop that goes to main street. There was a big exchange zone party and lots of teams and cheering cool place to finish. I did the 7 miles (posted as 6.8) in 53:09. Exchanged with Patrick and he took off.

Steve and I hung out a bit while I recovered, then I jogged down to the spur to make sure Zach made the turn. He turned just as I got there and had the Beaver Creek runner right behind him. He held him off to the end. He got caught at the light for 2 minutes and the Beaver Creek team caught up to him there. Zach finished strong but we did not get to talk much as Steve and I had to get to the Copper for his double run for Legs 12,13 Up and Down Vail Pass.

Garmin Watch Data for Leg 10

Leg 20
I got very little rest this year and no sleep. I only spent about an hour 45 at the Vail house, but got a shower and some pizza and stretched out some. We headed to Legs 15-20 and I watched everyone run hard and finally it was my turn again for leg 20. Zach's team got there and we chatted a bit, they were about 15 minutes behind, it was chili waiting for the runner, but once you got running it was really nice. Short Sleeves and no gloves. it was 1:30 in the morning and 6.5 miles lay ahead, almost a full moon and no clouds. The exchange was without volunteers, Bob came running through Eagle and I handed him my jacket and I was off. Turned Left on Highway 6 and worked my way through town and on the open road. Such a beautiful night. One thing about running this race in August vs September, the nighttime running was fantastic this year. The mountains silhouette with stars and just the headlamp, cool clear air. I was loving it and I know Zach was too. In the back of my mind though I know I still had 2 legs and 10 miles to go after this. One good thing about the 4 legs I ran, was each one was shorter than the last going from 7 down to 4.4.

I ran the 6.5 in 51:11, not blazing fast, 4 minutes over the predict, but I felt good, like I had more in me.

Garmin Watch Data for Leg 20

Zach ran this leg in about 42 minutes, he killed it. His first night time run and he took off. Passed a bunch of runners and went back and forth with the Beaver Creek runner again, out sprinting him at the end. He gained 9 minutes on our team and we only had about a 5 minute lead.

Leg 22

Patrick took off on leg 21 and I got in the Van with only 6 miles of rest before my next leg. This was my double. I had done this leg a few times before and was familiar with it, it was a fun leg from the Green Bridge 3 miles on highway to the Canyon Bike path and then 2.4 more miles. I was tightening up some and feeling my hamstrings and glutes hurt, similar to the Cache-Teton relay.

I did not change clothes between, so I was chilling a bit, the guys in the van were keeping me company. We were waiting for the exchange with Kern and the female runner from Beaver Creek. With only a few minutes lead on each, I was hoping Patrick would hold off Will and I would have a bit of a lead and could hold it to the next exchange. I ran hard, but could not hold the pace I wanted. After I got in the canyon I looked back on a curve and could see 2 headlamps behind me. Not sure how far, I pushed harder to hold off being passed before the exchange. I made it, but our lead was now 4 minutes as I handed off to Steve. With Matt trying to catch Steve. So much fun. The race was on.

I ran the 5.28 Miles in 41:39.

Garmin Watch Data for Leg 22

During the canyon legs of the relay, it's pretty straight forward, run the bike path with the river on your left, don't take any spurs to the river or the rest areas. Usually it's straight forward, but they had no arrow signs this year and several runners got lost. Including Diann and Tim. Diann got a little lost in a parking lot for a couple of minutes. Tim got off on a river path and was lost for about 20 minutes. It happens in relay racing it's a part of it. As a result, the Somewhat team passed us and had about a 10 minute lead going into Leg 25. Several other runners got lost there, 1 team said their runner was supposed to finish 40 minutes earlier. Wow.

I thought at this point our hopes for a victory were gone and maybe the Somewhats would win. I was happy for them, but still a long way to go.

As fate would have it, the Somewhat's runner (Jackie) got lost on leg 27, a short 2.5 mile leg, but with no trail markings and a confusing bridge, they ended up losing about 20 minutes. We passed them of course, not seeing their runner on the trail and were ahead by 15 minutes again.

Leg 30 The Finish

Leg 30 starts high up on the hill above the Carbondale Valley and has 3 miles of steep downhill with 1.4 of flat and then the finish in the park. I was really sore and tight and hungry. I ate a peanut butter sandwich and some snacks from the volunteers at the exchange. I felt like I needed more energy. 19 Miles down 4.4 to go.

Bob came into the exchange with his yellow shirt flying down a hill. I took off and turned the corner. He didn't have a bib, but we had one in the car, so Jeff dropped it off as he drove past. I was running downhill when I started having a lot of pain in my right side, abdomen/groin area. With the downhill pounding it was excruciating. I am not sure what it was, it felt like an intense stitch, might have been from food I ate but felt like a pulled abdomen muscle. I gutted it out but it was painful and I could not hold a pace. It hurt all the way down the hill for 3 miles. It felt better on the flat path with less pounding and I was within 1.5 miles so I pushed through it. I was wondering how far back Zach was and if he was running yet, where we were in the overall standings and how close to the top we would finish. With the 2 starts and the waves, you cannot always tell in the relay what place you are in. I thought the Young Guns were ahead and had heard they came through the last exchange very early in the morning.

As I got to the light on Main Street I saw Bob on the other side. I hit the timing on the light just right and Bob ran me into the park. That felt good. I was hurting but almost done. He told me there was a guy in tight red shorts a hundred yards behind me, a bit of a fabrication but he was back there.

The finish was in the park this year with a tour through the finish area, a nice touch. I heard the other team cheering us as we ran down the road and met up with the rest of team for the finish. It felt so good, to be done with 9 runners and in the contention for the lead. I was disappointed with my pace on the last leg, but glad that I pushed through the pain. I felt fine after I stopped running, probably just a food cramp, I should not have eaten at the exchange, that was dumb and cost us a couple of minutes. We finished in 21 Hours 48 Minutes, 2nd overall.

Garmin Watch Data for Leg 30

My camera was in the van, so I did not get a team finish photo, but they took one for us. We got our Pint glasses and our belt buckles and then I went to the van to get my camera and change shoes. As I was changing, I heard Matt say hey Dennis and Zach, Matt and Will were running by for the finish. They were only 15 minutes back and had made up some time after being lost. I did not get to the finish in time with my camera, but got a couple of pics of them going through the tent.

Somewhat Pickled's Finish 22:15. 3rd overall and won the Open Division

Post Race

We hung around the post race for about an hour. Zach got a massage and I got a couple of beers. We were waiting for them to post the results so we could see where we ended up. Not sure, we thought we were 2,3 and the Somewhats were 4,5 depending on the other teams. We found out they were not going to post results until 12 (it was 9:00) so Matt, Zach and I drove home.

We ended up finishing 2nd Overall. 21:48. The race did a terrible job with the times this year, they had us posted as last place with an incorrect start time, then had us listed as first place for a day but had an incorrect start time for the Young Guns also which is now corrected. So in the end they won by a big margin 20:03. They did it with an ultra team of 5 runners. Congratulations to them they deserved it.

It was a very fun race and an incredible experience. I loved it. My relay season is now over and it's time to recover and then maybe think about what I want to do this fall.

Photos from 2010 The Colorado Relay

Results posted on our team Blog also


  1. Congratulations!! I got lots of details and updates from Matt - awesome!! Hope you're getting some much-needed rest!!

  2. Great run and stories, Congratulations to the finishers.