Sunday, August 07, 2011

Saturday long run goodness!

Hi, my name is Erin and I have two little girls - 2, 4...On vacation without said girls and you know what I wanted to do? Get in as much running as I could!

I was thinking about doing a long run so on the second day I got here I borrowed Nick's car and went to Evergreen (elevation 8,000) to run. Boy, I wanted to get in 9 or so miles, but that elevation just killed me and I wasn't acclimated yet. I did finish 6 miles around a 9:50 pace, which was good for me since the altitude was killa. Read gasping for breath on the hills.

My friend Jess warned me about doing a race and I was like, "no, I got it." Wise Jess. Very wise.

So, I started looking up running clubs on Yelp and google and found Runner's Edge of the Rockies, a running group in Denver that lets you have a free complimentary long run. They train people for marathons and half marathons and have speedwork sessions.

Hello! I called up the guy, Dave, and waited for the long run e-mail about the time, place etc. and met them in Golden at 6:15 am on Saturday morning. On the phone Dave had warned me that the group would be smaller because people were doing the Boulder Ironman and I thought, okay, this means like 30 people? No....I get there and there are many, many runners heading to the center of the park to warm up, break into pace groups and finish their business. At least 100, easy. Maybe 120.

It was such a beautiful morning and a hot 75-plus degrees. Getting out of my car I saw a lady and we actually ended up running the last 5 miles or so together in the same pace group!

Runners Edge of the Rockies breaks runners into pace groups starting at 3:10 marathon pace and goes upwards to walkers. Since I have been doing long runs around 9:20 or so, but wanted to make sure I was okay for the altitude, I joined the 1:57/4:10 pace group. It was the perfect group. They warm up slow for the first two miles and then do negative splits (faster second half) the last part so you are dying, but in a good way. It helps simulates race conditions.

We joined up in our group and I ran beside the nicest girl named Sonia. What a great running buddy! Then we headed out behind the 1:52 pace group and ran for two miles until we got to the aid station with water (you bring your own cups to help curb waste) and then started again. Some people would turn around at certain mile markers if they only wanted to do 7-8. I said goodbye to Sonia at her turnaround. I was on vacation what fun to get to do 10 and not have to worry about time or being late somewhere.

The turnaround had some killa hills that literally had me bending over to suck up as much oxygen as I could. I mean, I was dying. I just kept watching the lady I had met by my car (God is funny like that huh?) and her feet and then our other pace leaders feet to slog through the last couples of miles. Instead of my usual GU, I had 5 gummy bears, but they didn't really help that much. I def. need more fuel.

And at the end, after punching it up those last killer hills I thanked the Lord I had toughed it out because we got to soak in the Clear Creek full of icy mountain goodness.
That soak made the run, I mean, where in the world do you end a run with a mountain water soak?

I would recommend this running group to anyone who is in the area or visiting--super friendly and social group with loads of helpful information and great aid stations.

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