Collegiate Peaks 50 Miler

Collegiate Peaks 50 Miler
Collegiate Peaks

Start of Ultra Season – May 5th 2013

Started ramping up the mileage and the net elevation gain in May. I kept a 90-mile a week pace all through the Estes Park winter to be ready for the Collegiate Peaks 50 miler in Buena Vista, Colorado. I believe the training paid off because I felt comfortable throughout the race and managed to jog around a bit before taking the long drive home.

I arrived in Buena Vista Friday afternoon, May 3rdand took a walk/jog along the trail paralleling the Arkansas River. Took in the view of Mount Princeton and scouted out the trails I would soon be racing on. After a few hours wandering around the area I picked up my race packet and was lucky enough to get a race elevation tattoo from a guy stationed at the headquarters.

Then I headed down to Salida and got a restful sleep and high calorie breakfast before toeing the start line.

The race started off extremely quick, and as usual I got wrapped up in the moment and took off much quicker than I should have. However, I managed to pace with someone doing the 25-mile race and we kept a comfortable speed for several miles. I arrived at the 25 mile mark in around 3:35 minutes and immediately turned around and headed back out to run the loop in the opposite direction. As I was coming into the start/finish I noticed I was in about 5th place and I wanted to improve on it.

As I got to around mile 35 I realized I would not be improving on my place, or even holding on to it for that matter. Six people reeled me in, in the second half while I was walking up many of the rolling hills. It was a warm day in the Banana Belt and it was taking its toll on me. I jogged the final 6-8 miles but it was a pedestrian pace and as my final time indicates I ran nowhere near my first 25-mile split.

I took my first fall in a trail race; it was an intimidating stone protruding about 2 inches out of the trail. As I was lying there bleeding I fantasized that it could have been something intense that caused this, like jumping down a rocky hillside or fighting off a mountain lion, but I looked behind me and barely even noticed the culprit. Either way I jumped up, took a quick glance to see if anyone was hysterically laughing in the brush somewhere and continued on the trail.

I was happy with my first 50 mile race, albeit was somewhat anticlimactic because I had already done a 100. Regardless I had a good time kicking up dust with some of the most beautiful sights the Sawatch Range has to offer as a backdrop. My final time was 8:25:39 and I finished 11th. The victory for me was being able to run the very next day and not lose a beat in my training.

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