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... 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: my footies in my finnies (snorkeling)
mudder's day

We went out for our town's Gallery Walk on Friday night, and the running store was open as well, so when we passed by I went in to sign up for the Mother's Day Telegraph Trail 10K, an annual event which is a charity fundraiser. Oddly, I've only run it once before, in 2009. It was a warm, sunny day and the race started at 10am; I almost passed out a few times, but ran the 5 miles (by my old Garmin) in 58:07.

But on Sunday morning, I woke to the rumble of thunder and the spatter of rain. Getting out the door was more a matter of proving something to myself than anything else - the race was only $20, not a big goal or anything - but I swapped my shorts for capris and put a wool singlet on under my short-sleeved shirt, then put on my rain jacket for the short run over to the start. Which turned out to be even shorter than I'd thought, as the start had been moved down the jeep road to the parking lot, which made a lot of sense (but added some elevation). To compensate, an extra loop was eliminated, though as the organizer said, "We call this a 5K and 10K, but really it's a short course and a long course."

It was the most miserable race of my life. Pouring rain, thunder and lightning, sucking mud, 800 ft elevation gain in the first 2.6 miles. I ended up leaving the jacket on - I'd planned on taking it off for the race, but the cold rain changed my mind. So I froze in the first mile and a half, overheated in the next, almost lost my shoes to the mud several times, and was passed by four people and only passed one. No awards other than random draw and I didn't get ANY. 1:00:24 for the 5.3 miles by Garmin. UGH UGH UGH.

A lot of my friends are 'real' trail racers, who have laughed at my distaste for less than perfect conditions, who have assured me that there is nothing so fun as trail running in the rain through thick mud. I want what you're smoking, is all I can say. Because UGH UGH UGH.
ilanarama: my footies in my finnies (snorkeling)

AHAHAHA.  So the bad news is, I did not come even close to my goal for the 10K.  I ran 49:06, which is my slowest 10K since 2008.

...the good news is I was third overall human, and first woman.  There were about a hundred runners, I am not really sure.  So why, you may ask, the relatively slow time?  The answer, my friends, lies in two images.

First, this is the map-corrected elevation plot; for your information, the climb from the low point shortly before mile 3 (the turn-around - the course was out and back plus a second out-and-back section from mile 4 to 5) was 145 feet in 3/4 of a mile.  Oog.

Run for the Wine 9-14-2013, Elevation

 And the second photo.  As you know, it's been raining a lot in Colorado.  The course was on dirt farm roads.  What happens when you have rain + dirt roads?


 Needless to say, it was NOT a fast course!  There were a half-dozen serious mud-holes (each of which we had to traverse twice) and although the worst puddles could be bypassed, that meant  zig-zagging and heading off into uneven grass or slick mud. 

I lined up pretty much at the line and followed a small pack of men through the first mile and a half.  My pace was a little hot to start but I consciously let them pull away, and I lost the time negotiating the mud-holes and the grassy sections, so my first mile was 7:13, pretty much what I was aiming at...though at that point, I didn't realize just how hilly the course would be!

I slowed a lot climbing in the second mile (there were no markers, but I had my Garmin) and my only consolation was that I could see I was gaining on one of the men who had dropped off the pack.  I passed him about at the crest of the hill, where a water stop was located, and then tried to make up time on the downhill, but my split was 8:15, and looking at the long downhill ahead of me I knew coming back up would be a bear.

I had not counted the guys when they took off, so I was astonished to discover, as I approached the turnaround, that there were only three of them ahead of me.  The next woman was not that far behind me, though, so I knew I'd have to keep pushing.  My Garmin ticked off mile 3 at 7:20, not bad.  But by then I was going uphill, and it just got steeper and steeper..  I had never thought I'd see paces north of 9 minute miles on a 10K!   The only thing that kept me from total despair was seeing that I was gradually closing on the third man - I figured 9:30 pace must be okay, if he was moving even slower than that!

At the top of the hill we passed the water station again, and the third man stopped to take some water.  I slowed but didn't stop, and passed him as I drank.  Then it was time to fly downhill to try to make up some time, and I was able to claw my way back to an 8:21 on mile 4. 

Then came the second out-and-back section with another downhill I was not excited about having to climb back up.  The two guys ahead of me looked strong and comfortable and much younger than me.  I was just pleased to see, when I made the turnaround, that the second woman was a bit farther back than she'd been before.  I made 8:05 on that mile.

Where the second spur rejoined the main dirt road the route was a bit unclear, and I was worried I'd chosen the wrong path until I hit a mud-hole and saw all the running-shoe prints.  This stretch was the muddiest, and on the way back it was uphill.  I could no longer see the two men ahead of me, and all I could think of was that I had to stay ahead of the woman behind me.  I put my head down and chugged in, with 8:24 in mile 6 and an 8:10 pace for the last .2, to finish in 49:06 - nowhere near what I had targeted, but a good effort in these conditions.

I jogged back with my cellphone to take a few photos of the course, and caught the second place guy jogging back with his wife - who was pushing their kid in a stroller!  Talk about a serious workout!


Oddly they didn't do overall awards, but my satisfaction in coming in third overall and first female is its own reward.  I did get first in the 40-49F AG (the second woman was also in my AG), and so won a bottle of wine from the winery that hosted this event.  Finishers also received T-shirts, Balega socks, and a wineglass we could have filled at the tasting room. 


 Anyway, not remotely a PR, not any sort of fitness gauge, but a fun time and a solid workout. ETA: And to point out how solid a workout it was, I wanted to add that my HR average was 160 (86%WHR), for the last 30 minutes averaged 162, and for the last 10 minutes averaged 164, maxing out at 166 or 91% of HR reserve (working HR). So even though my average pace was just under 8 minute miles - slow for a 10K for me, the same as in my PR marathon - the effort was the level I would expect for a 10K.

ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (marathon)
This Saturday will be my first race of the training cycle - my first race since my half marathon six months ago! I'm a little nervous, because it's an entirely new course to me, and a distance I haven't raced in nearly two years; but I do love racing, and I'm excited to see how I do.

There is no way I'm going to beat or even match my PR of 43:06 from the Winter Sun 10K nearly two years ago, as that was set on a significantly downhill course at about 2500 ft lower elevation than here (race report). But I think I'm in better shape now that I was then. A week before that race I ran a 6x half mile workout with 2 minute recoveries, targeting 7:10-7:15 pace for the first 4 reps, then letting myself go - I ran the 5th at 7 minute pace even, and then blew up on the last with a 7:31.

I did the same workout on Tuesday, targeting 6:55 pace, and averaged 6:51, no blowups. My heart rate was considerably lower, too, both for the speed intervals and for the recoveries - in fact, my recoveries before the older race were at higher HR than my average HR during the intervals on Tuesday! But I'm not sure how the HR translates, because all of my HR values have been lower lately; does this mean I'm not working as hard, or that my working HR range has shifted lower?

So, what am I looking at? The Runworks calculator has a hills-equivalent calculator, and when I feed in the data from my Winter Sun PR (58 ft of uphills and 375 ft of downhills, as calculated by SportTracks' elevation correction plugin) it tells me that the equivalent time on a flat course would be 44:01, and with some modest total uphills and downhills - say, 60 ft total up and down - 44:13. Then I plug that number back in and ask for the conversion from 4300 ft to 7000 ft, which gives me 44:59.

So, that's my goal: under 45 minutes. (The more under 45 minutes, the better, of course.) Which incidentally would be much faster than my last 10K at this elevation, 47:22 at the Fem 10 in 2010. That would be a pace of about 7:14, which is a bit faster than my tempo runs have been, and my longest tempo run has been four miles; six miles at a faster pace will be tough! But if race-day magic works, I might be able to pull it off. We shall see!
ilanarama: me in Escalante (yatta!)
It has been, frankly, a rather sucky year for my running. In February I ran a 5K hoping to break 22 minutes, but instead ran 22:24, ten seconds slower than my PR set the year before on the same course; in March, I missed a hoped-for half marathon PR by over 3 minutes, although quite a bit of that can be blamed on a ferocious headwind that ruined pretty much everybody's day. And then injury was added to insult, so to speak, as a metatarsal stress fracture not only forced me to bail on my planned spring marathon (at which I was anticipating a huge PR) but all my planned spring and summer races.

In October was happy just to be able to run a half, with no hopes of anything close to a PR. But as I ramped up my running through November I was feeling pretty good. I'd been running every day, 2-3 times a week on hilly trails and the rest on the paved rec path or roads, almost all easy, comfortable miles. As I posted last Sunday, I had some solid runs, giving me hope that maybe, just maybe, I might be able to get a PR out of 2011 after all.

The Winter Sun 10K in Moab is definitely a PR course. It's mostly downhill with one moderate and a few minor uphills, and it's about 2500 feet lower than where I live and train. This latter fact makes it critical for me to run by feel rather than by pace: because I can't train at anything close to my race pace, I really have no idea how fast I can run it until I actually do. Last year, every time I glanced at my Garmin I boggled, thinking, "OMG, I can't run this fast! How am I running this fast?" (Here is last year's race report.) This year, I hardly looked at it at all.

Pre-race )

Race )

A little [embedded] video of the finish )

Numbers and analysis )

ETA: Have some photos! (via the Flickr "guest pass")
at the first turn
finish line

Or all the race photos that I'm enabling through this system:

Of course my real goal race is Houston, six weeks (yikes!) from now. I've played a little with various race-equivalency calculators, including some that adjust for elevation and terrain, and come up with 3:25 to 3:30 as a reasonable marathon goal (which, of course, is exactly what I want). This is supported by my friend Jim (, who last month ran a 10K two seconds faster than I managed today, and a 3:30 marathon yesterday (congratulations again, Jim!) so I am fairly confident I can get my goal if I can stay healthy and keep running good volume.
ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (marathon)
On Saturday I ran the Winter Sun 10K in Moab, UT. This race is put on by the same crew that runs the two half marathons there, The Other Half in October and Canyonlands in March. Three hours is a little far to drive for a mere 10K, but if you run all three races in one calendar year you get the "Triple Crown Award" which includes a guaranteed entry to the next Canyonlands (which is otherwise a lottery). I actually got my guaranteed entry by winning my age group at TOH, but I had already registered so I figured I might as well run. Besides, I'd already promised my race roomie Karah that I'd come out and split a hotel room with her.

The Winter Sun is known to be a fast race. Except for a slight uphill at the start, a long uphill in the third mile, and a flat finish around the high school track, it's downhill all the way. "Just go bombs away," said Karah. "You're going to surprise yourself." I was pretty sure I'd PR, since my most recent 10K was shortly after restarting running after injury time-off, 47:22 on a hilly course. Based on my last half time, the altitude difference, the downhill, and what my training had been feeling like, I figured I could run a 45:30 - 7:20 pace - with my seekrit stretch goal being under 45 minutes. With about 600 total runners, I figured my chances were reasonable for top 3 AG, even though age groups were 10 years and at 47 I'd be competing with a lot of younger chickies.

Gory details )

Cut to the chase for results )

A couple of photos )

Analysis, more nattering, future goals )
ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (marathon)
This morning I ran the Fem 10, a small women-only 10K that I ran two years ago with a time of 51:28. That's the only 10K I have run in the past 20 years, and I don't have records of my time in the ones I did in the '80s (nor remember how I did) so I was calling that my PR - or I would, if I weren't embarrassed to admit it, because I have become so much faster that I have since run three half-marathons with faster paces. So I was looking forward to a chance to retest myself at the 10K distance.

Race report )

By the numbers:

Milepaceavg HRavg %WHRmax HRmax %WHR

Total time 47:22.


Sep. 22nd, 2009 03:50 pm
ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (marathon)
Sunday was the last race of the "Town Series" which I entered for the first time this year - three trail races, one on each of the major in-town trail systems. They are all individual races but if you enter them all as a series it's quite cheap (as a member of the local running club, only $36 for all three) and you get a t-shirt in addition to the various minor goodies for each race. The final race, though, the Animas Mountain Mug Run, has the best goodies of all: an after-race party with free Mexican food (and beer!) and this lovely ceramic coffee mug:


(The handle's in the back where you can't see it.) You have to earn it on the course, though, which is the same route where I took these pictures when I ran it for practice last month: basically, 1500 feet up in 3 miles, a little rolling trail at the top, and then the same back down. The official distance is 6.6 but I suspect it might be a little shorter than that. Anyway, it was a tough run, I came in at the bottom of the top third of women, 1:11:45, just behind the woman who has been just beating me at trail races all summer. Incidentally, she won the series on points, so I think that means I came in second!
ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (marathon)
I managed not to die horribly during the Telegraph Trail 10K, but it was a near thing. I am not sure who made the bone-headed decision to schedule this race to begin at 10 am (and then, 15 minutes late...), but it was 74 degrees, and sunny, and the course is unshaded desert and quite hilly - altogether a miserably, brutally hot experience. My calves began to cramp almost instantaneously when I started heading up the major ascent (Telegraph Hill) and my HR climbed faster than I did - I ended up walking quite a bit of this ascent, which was kind of a bummer. Then again, lots of others were walking it as well. I passed a few people but got passed by more.

Then the screaming Anasazi Descent, about 500 feet in half a mile. I used all my technical downhill skills on this one (i.e., "a more or less controlled plummet") and passed four people and somehow avoided going over the edge of the cliff or tripping over any of the rocks. After that, the course was mostly rolling, but mostly rolling uphill, damn it, and I drank a bunch of water and dumped the rest of it on myself and walked a little and ran a little until I finally got to the second summit and bombed downhill to the finish line.

Because of the winding and switchbacky nature of the course, my Garmin read low, although I wasn't sure by how much during the race. When it beeped 4 miles at me, I looked at the time - 50 minutes - and thought, shit, no way can I make it under an hour (which was my personal goal). Then after running another 5 minutes I recognized how close I was to the start/finish and thought, oh, maybe I can make it if I hit the afterburners! So I blasted the last (downhill) bit and made it in 58:07, not a fast time, but hey, I survived. Yay.


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

April 2019

14 151617181920

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

You can reach me by email at heyheyilana @



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