ilanarama: a mountain (mountain)
I had all sorts of grand plans for dominating my new age group at the Imogene Pass Run this year, but it was not to be. I did not get the consistent mileage, nor the long runs, nor the trail hill repeats I'd planned. My stupid blisters had kept me from trail-running on our layover day on our July 4th weekend backpack, but I had managed to at least get out hiking at high elevation fairly often, including much of the previous week, and so I clung to my unrealistic hopes until they were cruelly dashed.

Getting ready to start

Read more... )
ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (marathon)
I'm getting nervous about the Imogene Pass Run, which will be a week from Saturday. I have not managed to get either the mileage or the long runs that I did last time I ran it, two years ago, so I am probably not going to PR, or place in my (new) age group. Oh, well. My own fault. I think I can come in under 3:45, anyway, and maybe around 3:40, five minutes off my PR.

In fact, I haven't actually done any long runs since CIM. A couple of half marathons and a couple of 13+ runs have been the max, so on Sunday I decided I'd better run on some steep trails for at least 3 hours, which I figured would be about 14 miles. In fact those 14 miles ended up taking me 3:14, with a lot of walking involved, but I know I'll be walking a lot at Imogene, so that's okay. And I got some excellent views! )

Imogene will only be the beginning. I've got big plans for the fall - for some value of 'big', anyway. First up will be a 5K the following week, on September 13th. It's a benefit for the local Alzheimer's association, as one of the local runners (and a guy I know through both running and politics) has developed this disease, and his wife has organized this race. I've signed up both me and Britt. I'm hoping to do well in this race as I have been doing coached track workouts lately - more on this later, probably in another post. I doubt I can PR since my PR is a downhill race, but if I get a "loop course PR" I will be content.

The following week is the Animas Mug Run, a trail 10K-ish which I ran once, back in 2009. (I actually drank my tea out of the mug today.) I'd like to run it again, just because it's a cool race.

Then three weeks later - on October 11th and 12th - it's time for the Durango Double. For the past two years it's been a trail 25K/50K on Saturday, and road half/full marathon on Sunday, but this year there is a new race director, a new format of trail half Saturday and road half Sunday, and new (and I think better) courses. I did the trail 25K/road half combo two years ago, and enjoyed it a lot. Last year I volunteered, but this year I'll be running again.

The main reason I volunteered rather than ran last year was that The Other Half, the Moab half I run every October, was scheduled for the following Sunday, rather than two weeks later as it was in 2012, and that was my goal half (and I ran a PR, so, yay!) But this year, as last year, the races are a week apart - too close, I think, to be able to run a quality race at TOH...

...so I'm thinking about a 50K instead. Um. I know this sounds crazy! But the Dead Horse 50K will also be in Moab, on Saturday October 19th, and as this is the opening weekend of hunting season here and Britt will be otherwise occupied, it's a good weekend for me to do a race. This is a new race, but the company that's organizing it is an established one, and they put on many ultras including the well-regarded Red Hot 55K which several of my friends have run. The course is near Dead Horse State Park on the Gemini Bridges mountain bike route and other nearby jeep roads, and the course profile looks relatively easy - for an ultra, anyway!

The thing is, it is probably easier to run an 'easy' ultra (that is, just complete the distance at a comfortable-ish pace) a week after the double than it is to race a half, and if I can't give a good effort at TOH I don't want to do it. And then I'd be out there for the weekend, anyway, and could cheer my friends on at TOH, and go out for dinner with them as usual, etc. Anyway, I haven't yet committed, but I'm strongly tempted.

I haven't even looked at November.... ;-)
ilanarama: me in Escalante (yatta!)
The morning of the 39th Annual (and my fourth) Imogene Pass Run dawned clear and surprisingly warm in Ouray. In previous years I'd worn arm warmers along with my short-sleeved shirt, as well as fleece hat and gloves, and kept my rain/wind jacket on as I lined up for the start, stuffing it into my pack at the last minute. This year, it didn't matter that I had forgotten my arm warmers back home in Durango; I wore a headband instead of a hat, and the jacket stayed in my pack as my friends and I headed for the start line.

A few photos and a whole bunch of babbling )
ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (marathon)
On Saturday I'll be running the Imogene Pass Run for the fourth time (you can read my previous race reports via my Imogene tag). It's an entirely gorgeous race, 17.1 miles from Ouray to Telluride over a high mountain pass.

As far as my goal and plan: my PR on this course is 3:54:26 from two years ago (the last time I ran it - last year I had a stress fracture and didn't run) which was only a tiny PR over 2009's 3:55:07. However, in 2009 I ran the Kennebec Challenge in 3:19, and this year I ran it in 3:04, a 15-minute improvement. I'm a little reluctant to project that to a 15-minute improvement at Imogene, since a) Kennebec is about 2.4 miles and 1000 vertical feet shorter than Imogene, b) this year's Kennebec course looped in the opposite direction from the 2009 course, and c) and a friend of mine ran Kennebec in 3:06 and Imogene in 3:50 last year.

I have similar mileage over the past 8 weeks or so, although in 2009 I had higher mileage over the longer term (since I cut back hard over much of June this year), and in 2010 (my slight PR year) I had substantially lower mileage. (In 2010 I was faster uphill but slower downhill, at the end of the race, than 2009, which I attribute to the lower mileage.) I'm in better shape now than in either of those years, based on shorter-distance race times and training paces. I'm about 4 pounds lighter than I was in both these previous races. A month after Imogene in 2010 I ran the St. George Marathon in 3:36; I am reasonably shooting for 3:25 at NYCM in November.

So. I think my A goal here is 3:45, my B goal 3:49, and my C goal a PR. However, this is not the kind of a race where you can target a pace. I'm just going to run this sucker and hope I make my goals!
ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (Default)
It was a glorious day, what we call a "bluebird" day here in Colorado, for the 37th annual (and my third) Imogene Pass Run, a 17.1-mile trail race mostly on jeep roads. The morning dawned cold and clear, and the race director took obvious glee in telling the runners, as we assembled at the start line shortly before 7:30am, that the temperature was currently 24° at the summit, some 10 miles distant and 5000' above us. I lined up with my friends from the RWOL forums, Jen, Annette (whose first time it was), and Karah, and when the gun went off, so did we.

Enjoy the experience without the leg pain! )

Stats and analysis )

Just the photos
2009 IPR
2008 IPR
ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (Default)
The Imogene Pass Run is one of those idiosyncratic races that you either sign up for again and again each year - or you shudder at the mere thought and never consider it. I am clearly in the first category, as I did it again this year. There is something irresistible (at least to me) about running from one mountain town to another over a high mountain pass.

The cool thing about running a race for a second time is that not only do you know what to expect; you also have a mark to compare yourself against. My last year's time was 4:11; this year, I wanted to get under 4 hours, with a backup goal of simply beating that time, and a magic pixie dust goal of 3:45. I've been running a lot more this year, and running more hilly trail miles as well, although I have spent less time hiking or at altitude. I had analyzed my mile splits versus the terrain, and made some crazy assumptions as to how much better I might be able to do.

I had put together a pace card with guesses as to where I thought I would be each mile, mostly using the most pessimistic assumptions, and came up with a total time of 3:54. In fact, I ran 3:55, which looks like I hit it right on, except in reality I was about right on the first 6 miles (the reasonably steep part), way slower than I expected on the next 4 miles (the unreasonably steep part), spent too much time on the summit (and, er, in the portapotty just below the summit), and was much faster than I expected on the descent.

One of the joys of doing this was meeting up with a bunch of women I knew from a running forum. Two who live about 4 hours north of me I had met (Deltarose and Kazz - Kazz and I had met at Imogene last year, and the two of them had come down for the Steamworks Half in June) and two (Cara and Jana) live in Nebraska and had somehow let Kazz and me talk them into signing up. Jana made awesome t-shirts that we each wore at least part of the time during the race.

Details... )

The funniest thing happened at the finish line. At the end, the course turns right onto a paved road and goes a block or so to the finish line, and that's where most of the spectators are. As I approached the line, a woman passed me on the right. I thought, well, hmmph! and sped up and sprinted past her. JUST as I got to the finish line, she passed me again, and I turned on the afterburners and we ran shoulder to shoulder across the line in a photo finish. (Although according to the official time, she edged me by 0.2 seconds!) Then we looked at each other - and it was Deltarose! We had both been so focused we hadn't realized who each other was.

Eventually our whole group met up in the finish area. The storm finally hit, with periodic rain and even one really impressive stretch of 15 minutes with huge, soft hailstones, but hey, we were done. Deltarose got a lift back to Ouray and then to her home with someone else; the rest of us got lunch and beer and then took the bus back, rested and hot-tubbed, then went out for dinner and too many margaritas...

...which is probably why we all agreed to sign up again next year.
ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (marathon)
Saturday was the Imogene Pass Run: 17 miles (plus two blocks) from Ouray (7810 ft) to Telluride (8820 ft), over 13,120 foot Imogene Pass. That's over 5000 vertical feet up in 10 miles, followed by over 4000 feet down in 7 miles, most of it on a rough and rocky 4WD road. It was the most awesomely fun race I have ever run.

to trail cut

Up, up, and away! )

I averaged about 11 minute miles and made it to the finish line with a time of 4:10:42, 19th out of 73 finishers in my age group. I was hoping to get in under four and a half hours, so I'm really happy with that time.

All the photos on my Flickr page are here.

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ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (Default)
Ilana

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My running PRs:

5K: 21:03 (downhill) 21:43 (loop)
10K: 43:06 (downhill)
10M: 1:12:59
13.1M: 1:35:55
26.2M: 3:23:31

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