Royal Gorge Rim to Rim 10K Race Recap

Monday’s Workout Wanda: Morning lift 1.B.6 and about 3 miles on the treadmill.
Tuesday’s Workout Wanda: Evening run of 1 mile with Chris – yes, Chris ran! *squee!*

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As I mentioned in my quick update the Rim to Rim 10K at the Royal Gorge Park was a complete whim. I saw a fellow running post online about the race on Friday morning, did a quick Google search and made the decision that I was running this race! After I made this decision I did the math and realized that I would have to be up at 4am…

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Oh well, I’d already psyched myself up for the race, screw you beauty rest! After a lot of excited fast talking I managed to get Chris confused enough to agree to coming along with me. I may have said “early morning” rather than “4am”…minor details.

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Regardless, he once again played super awesome husband man and crawled into the car at 5am to begin our 2.5 hour drive south. I think he was hoping to sleep on the way – nope, I was far too talkative. Seriously, who is talkative before the sun even comes up?! This girl apparently… It may have had something to do with a 4am shower and a steaming thermos of coffee.

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The alarm clock was not my friend but I was totally loving the traffic at 5am…loving it! I spend about 10 hours a week on the road just to get to/from work and am forever cursing the idiots I must share the road with. Not on Saturday morning – I actually enjoyed driving for the first time since I’ve had a real commute! We made it down to Canon City and the Royal Gorge Park with plenty of time to spare. I was getting excited.

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But my excitement quickly faded into self doubt when I realized that the road I was driving on was the road that I would be running on…I was coasting down one heck of a hill. I tried to convince myself otherwise “naw, we won’t run on this…its the main road into the park, too busy!” but then I say them. The 10K signs…with arrows distinctly pointing up the hill. Seriously?!

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At this point I started telling myself that we were just early and the signs weren’t set up just right yet…then I saw more evidence. Chalk on the pavement. Chalk pointing uphill. Chalk that can’t be rearranged. I was screwed.

We continued down the hill that seemed to be never ending, especially once I realized I would be running up it shortly and found ourselves a parking spot. Online registration was closed so I headed over to get signed up for the race and scope out the elevation map.

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I’d checked the map online and it didn’t look bad but maybe I was delirious with anticipation and excitement. Nope, the elevation map didn’t look too bad. The course began and ended with a big uphill, but otherwise it looked relatively level.

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I convinced myself that a race that started heading uphill was a good thing – there was absolutely no way for me to head out too fast!

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I powered my way up the hill imagining the relief of flat ground. I didn’t notice this on the drive down the road but when running uphill the road seemed very curvy. I kept getting all psyched up for the glorious flat ground just around the bend…only to find more uphill. Seriously?! Why did I move to be near mountains?!

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Eventually we made our way onto a gravel path and a teeny tiny stretch that did not go directly uphill. I suppose it was technically flat by my legs couldn’t tell…they just wanted to walk. No, they wanted to collapse onto the chunky gravel and play dead. I managed to amaze my whining legs and myself by being mentally tough on Saturday – there would be no walking and no playing dead. We {just my legs and I, there was no turd in my pants…} were running this race gosh darnit!

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While I swear the course never leveled out like the elevation map implies the views were pretty stellar. When I wasn’t cursing the hills I was running up I was able to take in the beauty of the hill surrounding me. The scenery and the occasional down hill reminded me of why I was so excited to move to Colorado…I love mountains!

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The course was an out and back with slow, rolling hills. The good/bad of an out and back course is the fact you can always visual how much further you have to go once you hit the halfway mark. This worked out good for me if I focused on the massive downhill at the very end but not so great if I thought about the rolling lumps of gravel I’d have to climb to get to that downhill.

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Eventually I made it to mile 5 and started downhill. The entire last mile of the course – with the exception of the bridge – was downhill. Amazing. I probably spent the first quarter mile being cautious and loosening up…then the hill got steeper and I let ‘er go. It felt amazing to finally run fast after feeling like a slug for 45 minutes! I was excited for the bridge – the whole reason I’d made the trip!

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{photos definitely don’t do the incline justice!}

When I hit the bridge I felt like I’d slowed down…a lot…but my Garmin said otherwise. I’d lost the downhill pull of gravity but I could see the finish line and there were quite a few spectators on the bridge. The surface of the bridge was boards and a few were a little loose so I had to watch my footing but I kept pushing it.

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I saw Chris near the finish and did a quick check of my form then threw a grin on my face as I neared. I still look a bit like a fool but I kind of am one so I’m okay with that.

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I scooted across the finish line, mashed my Garmin and was immediately met by a few volunteers that were less than excited about the fact I had blatantly ignored the “do not pin” instructions on the flap of my bib. After fumbling with the safety pins I handed over the strip of paper and wandered off to find Chris. Race…finished!

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See…the elevation doesn’t look that bad, but I’m telling you – it felt about 10 times worse! And the last dip is where I ran over the bridge…the Garmin mapped the elevation of the surface of the earth!

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My wasn’t quite awesome enough to PR but I can’t complain…about anything but the stupid hills. I beat the Panerathon 10K and I’m proud of myself for pushing through! I didn’t even walk the water stations which was a mental battle from the first 15 steps up the hill!

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On top of hills {a place I never spent enough time…} I had forgotten to eat breakfast on my 2.5 hour drive to the race. Who does that?! And I didn’t realize this until I was hungry about 10 minutes before the race. Awesome. I knew there was no way I could run for an hour with no food. I’d bonk something fierce. I ran back to the car to grab some Honey Stingers and a granola bar. I ate about half of the granola bar and two Stingers.

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I realized just how much my stupid “oops, I forgot to eat” mistake was just before I hit the second mile marker! Why, hello there side cramp from hades! It started as a lingering ache and I figured it was just from running up a massive hill without really focusing on my breathing. No big deal, I’d get my fish-out-of-water gasping under control and it would be all better. Wishful thinking.

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As I continued to stumble run the side cramp got worse. Now, I can’t be positive it had anything to do with nom nomming a granola bar just before the start. In most cases I’m fine to eat just before I head out to run. Heck, I’m known to head out the door with a cookie or two in hand to eat on my “warm up” walk.

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I think the fact I was constantly running up/down/up/down was the real culprit behind my aching abs. The side ache would worsen on the uphills when my breathing was all jacked up and simmer down a bit when I really focused on loosening up my lungs {and body} on the down hills.

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Regardless of how or why the stomach cramp/ache persisted it was a doozy. I woke on Sunday morning with an aching ab. Seriously, my right ab was sore exactly where my side cramp had been. That is insane! I’m more used to the “oh crap, literally, oh crap” intestinal cramps while running and not the side cramps but in my experience I only get a side cramp when my breathing is out of control and it really doesn’t take much to get back on track with breathing…when you are running stupid hills.

From Wisconsin…
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…to Colorado!
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This girl can still race. Slowly but surely I am getting my mountain lungs and legs! I am actually kind of excited for the 10 mile race I have this coming Saturday…longest distance I’ve run in months!

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**Question: Which type of bear is best? {just kidding, but awesome Office intro!}
**Real Question: If you’ve made it this far through the massive post…how do you feel about just bolded text and no color? Better? Worse? You tell me!
**Real Question: Did you see the new header? I finally found some fall colors out here so I thought I’d change it up!


Comments

Royal Gorge Rim to Rim 10K Race Recap — 6 Comments

    • Thanks! :D Oddly enough I didn’t feel the sway of the bridge at all when running on it but I definitely felt it when walking back. I don’t mind heights too much though…

      Bolded, color-less text it is! :)

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