Thursday, June 16, 2016

Race Report: Steamworks Half Marathon

In case the title of this post didn't already give it away... I ran the Steamworks Half Marathon last Saturday. My first half marathon since Abel was born. It went pretty well. It was my slowest ever half marathon, but it wasn't as bad as I thought it might be. [High praise indeed!] I definitely feel like I'm making progress.

This course is a point-to-point starting at Baker's Bridge 13 miles north of Durango. If you've ever seen the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, the scene when Paul Newman and Robert Redford jump off the cliffs into the river to escape the posse was filmed here. The course stays on the same county road through the Animas Valley all the way back to Durango. It is mostly rolling hills, although unfortunatley more of the downhill rolling is near the beginning and the uphill rolling near the end.

View from Baker's Bridge

This is the 5th time I've done this race. I used to come back from Denver to visit my parents and we'd do the race together. My previous times are:
     2010 - 2:01:57
     2011 - 2:03:59
     2012 - 1:57:30
     2014 - 1:57:15

At the start line

Mile 1 & 2 - 9:39 & 9:27. These miles are mostly downhill and I often start too fast, but today I felt really tired. My predominant thought was "Uh-oh... This is going to be a LONG race."

Mile 3 & 4 - 10:06 & 9:57. Thankfully I started to feel better during Mile 3. Not that the running felt easy, but it started to feel more mechanical. Like every step wasn't a conscious effort. One of my mental tricks during races is to imagine that I'm a machine. Tick Tock. Relentless Forward Motion.

Scenic View #1

Mile 5 & 6 - 10:10 & 9:49. My splits alternate between faster and slower miles because I'd walk through the aid stations every two miles. I also had a Clif Shot at Mile 5 and 9.

Mile 7 & 8 - 10:04 & 9:54. I remember being very surprised and happy at this point that I still felt so good. My legs felt loose instead of tight and crampy as is often the case in the later miles. Maybe my daily yoga is working!

Scenic View #2

Mile 9 & 10 - 9:40 & 10:14. I started to fade a little during Mile 10. I could feel my mind flailing about trying to think of something to think about other than everything that hurt. My knees. My left hamstring. My right hip. Mental note: Need more Pigeon Pose!

Mile 11 & 12 - 9:56 & 10:26. It was blessedly overcast at this point. There is not much shade during the last three miles and it's often very sunny and hot.

Mile 13.1 - 9:48. OMG, Let it be over!

Final time - 2:09:10. I placed 121st out of 246 finishers.

My goal was A) 2:10, B) 2:15, C) Finish. Always a great day when you meet the "A" goal!

I picked up another pint glass at the finish. Almost all the races around here give a pint glass instead of a medal. Which I suppose it more useful. I don't keep my medals. (Sacrilege!) But now I've got more pint glasses than we know what to do with!

Next up is a new race, the Durango Half Marathon, on July 2nd. Which is just three weeks away. I know I've gone a little overboard signing up for races this summer but I couldn't resist!

Would you rather get a medal or pint glass after a race? 
What's next on your race schedule this summer?


  1. Huge congratulations on your first post-Abel-birth half marathon! Great job and way to push through and meet your A goal!

    I love the idea of pretending to be a machine with relentless forward motion. I'm going to try that, too. I also relate very much to wanting more pigeon pose! I've dealt with piriformis pain for many years, and pigeon pose REALLY targets those muscles. I am glad the weather behaved for you, especially during those last few miles!

    I'm not a beer drinker, so honestly I'd rather get a medal, but of the two a pint glass is definitely more practical. =)

    1. Thank you! I was pleasantly surprised to come in under 2:10!
      I'm not much a beer drinker either, and if I do I rarely bother to pour it in a glass... I use them mostly for water & iced tea.
      Pigeon pose is my least favorite yoga pose. But I remember once a yoga teacher saying that your least favorite pose is probably the one you need to do the most. It's definitely true for me!

  2. Congratulations on a great half marathon! Looks like a gorgeous place to run too :)

    1. Thank you! :-)
      It is really scenic here but I do sometimes miss the energy from a big city race with more runners & crowd support.

  3. Nice work!! It's so beautiful there - I've never been to Colorado but it's high on my list of places to visit soon.

    1. You should definitely visit Colorado! Since my kids were born I'm much more into staying in the U.S. for vacations, but luckily there are so many great options!


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