September 14, 2008

+101 ft, -3055 ft

This weekend was the Colorado Relay. This is a 170 mile running race that climbs over three mountain passes on the way from Georgetown to Carbondale. I was invited to be on the team for Josh's company again this year, even though Josh was not part of the team (because he is in Peru and has decided he hates running).

The weather this year was much different from last year. It was raining the night before in Boulder and continued into the morning of the race. However, rain in September in Boulder means snow above 10,000 ft. My first leg started at the top of Guanella pass at 11,700 ft where there was 3 inches of snow. This leg was odd because I started running in the snow, but descended enough that I was on wet pavement with no snow in sight by the end. A later section of the race was put on hold because the snow made the trail impossible to find. One teammate had to wait 30 minutes for search-and-rescue to find missing racers and remark the course.

The snow on the way up Guanella pass.

This is about 1000 ft from the top of the pass. At the top, even the road was covered in snow.

Views from Copper Mountain.

The almost full moon was nice light for the night legs.

My second leg was along the I-70 frontage road into Vail. This was a quick 6 mile downhill run at night. It was still dark for my third run on the bike path through Glenwood Canyon. Being on a bike path in the dark with only my headlamp lighting my way brought back some bad memories from a couple weeks ago. Fortunately, there wasn't any sand or major obstacles on this path.

My three legs of the relay totaled about 19 miles with 3055 ft of elevation loss and only 101 ft of elevation gain. All of this running downhill has made some very sore muscle. My first leg was one that Josh had last year and while I am not quite at the meat grinder stage, I still can't walk down stairs. As I still have some weeks of serious training ahead of me and even a tri next weekend, I have been doing all I can to speed the recovery process including dumping 20 lbs of ice into a bath and sitting in it.

The team had a blog that we updated during the race to allow workers back in the office to track our progress. Check it out for more details and pictures.

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