Defn: a human male displaying evidence of devolution - exhibits distinctive "caveman-like" tendencies. This man often dribbles in public places; cannot drink a beverage without spilling it on himself, the floor or someone else; may also run into objects like lampposts & bushes; has a definite "sloopish & short legged" running style that is slow and low to the ground, often resulting in the dragging of knuckles.

These throwback neanderthals, along with their questionable diet, should clearly be avoided.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Garden of the Gods 10 mile Race Report

In a word..... Success. 

In a nutshell..... 3 mins, 24 secs better than last year's time.

In specific...... Official time 1:19:00, 215 / 1564 overall finisher.  28 / 128 age group.

In detail......Several factors prior to starting the race contributed to the outcome.

* The day before was a 3 v 3 Soccer tournament for our oldest (10 yr) daughter.  The team ended up playing 6 games, making it all the way to the final - where they ran out of gas, plus got beat by a better team.  Still, a great effort.  Almost 9 hours though in the sun, much of it standing - left us all a little weary.

* I had not run in 5 days - was a necessary thing to do in order to get my knee to a place where I would be able to run on it.  The tradeoff of not running was going to be interesting.  Little chance to be race ready shape, but hoping to be at least physically able run effectively - still hoping to do better than last year.

* 3 weeks prior to today's race I had run a marathon (Ogden, UT) - I would call myself fully recovered from it and hoping the effort put forth in training for it had banked some endurance and stamina in the tanks.

Race day..... cut it a little close to get to the start, stopped to get some shot blocks on the way.  Then parked about a mile away from the start.  I wasn't rushing too much to get there, made it w/ 6 minutes to spare after a comfortable warm up jog, during which I was feeling okay.  No noticeable aches.  A good sign.  About 50 degrees at the start w/ just a few clouds and no wind.  (Was about 60ish by the time I was done = fantastic running weather).

I started much nearer the front today - last year I wasn't thinking and was about 2/3rds back in the pack, today it only took about 8 or 9 seconds to get to the start line from the gun.  Settled in to a fairly comfortable 7:40ish pace to get started.  The plan was - if the body held up - to keep under 8 min avg for the first 5 miles - which was the more hillier half.  Then if able, to try and improve on the second half.  To achieve this I wanted to push some on the uphills, to be careful on the downs to not pound on the knees too much and maintain on the level sections.

So, for the first 5 miles I passed people frequently on the ups, was then passed frequently on the downs.  I had a mental note of where I was on the course last year when the runners in the lead came past me on their way back.  That came and went and I was about 2 minutes ahead of that spot when (eventual winner by 3 1/2 + minutes) Mario Macias came by all alone.  At the North parking lot where the out traffic meets the coming back traffic (after a lap through the center of the rocks) - only about 6 or 7 runners coming back had passed me.  So, I knew I had improved on my last years race to this point.

By this stage it was 4 1/2 miles or so in to the race and the legs / knees seemed to being doing good - this was nearing the highest point of the course.  The lungs were being worked and I was feeling fatigued somewhat - I think the day before was most influential there.  But I had been taking the fluids well and a couple of shot blocks to this point.  At the time I crested the high point I looked at the watch and I was at an 8:02 avg.  Was happy with that, even took a moment to enjoy the view overlooking the garden - full of runners, great sight.

Maintained a good pace for the next couple of miles - which was more downhill than uphill and I allowed myself longer strides going down as it wasn't appearing to impact negatively the knees.  There are a couple of doozie uphills on the way back.  Coming up to mile 7 is a good long hill, lasting over a 1/2 mile - that felt long and not so good.  Then the one coming up to Balancing Rock is the one that gets me (and it seemed like many others) every time.  But that is just over a mile till the finish, so the effort to crest it is worth it. 

From balanced rock to the end it was a case of trying to hold it together.  The people I had "in my sights" from about the half way point, I had mostly passed.  So, I had settled into another somewhat spread out group of 6 to 10 people.  The last mile doesn't have much to speak of in the way of uphills, but they are enough to keep your attention - I was not able to pass anyone for the next half mile.  The "1/2 mile to go" sign was a welcome sight and from there on I knew what to expect: a slight down, followed by a level section, then a slight rise that brings the finish line into sight, then about 100 yds of flat.   The group I was (barely) hanging onto the back of was now about 6 - 8 and I stayed where I was through the down and the flat section. 

As the uphill hit us I went nuts and lost my mind - in an out of body experience - I started sprinting, rounded that last corner and could see the finish line and clock.  As this was not a chipped race - that was the time that counted - it was 1:18:40 something.  Maybe I could beat 1:19.  Still out of my mind - the sprinting continued and I passed the whole group as well as a couple more people just before the line.  1:19 on the button.  At that point the out of body experience stopped and my lungs, legs and gizzard slapped me upside the head and said enough is enough.

Maybe a little dramatic emphasis was just added - but hey, I was really pleased with what I had just managed to achieve.  I felt like I had run the 10 miles, hills and all had taken their toll - but my knees were actually okay, I had beaten last years time by almost 3 1/2 minutes.  In the hours since the race I seem to be recovering well - with no noticeable issues with the knees.  

There are some thoughts circling of "what might have been" if I had been able to train "race specific" for the race today - maybe next year the goal is 1:15.  In any case, on to (much more enjoyable) trail runs.  Probably will come up with a revised training plan for those, involving some vertical training up, walking down (to protect the knees), maybe some Mtn biking also.  Will figure it all out in the next day or so - and take a few moments to enjoy todays race and results also.


  1. Congrats! Enjoy that result ... and get those legs healed up! Well done.

  2. Thanks GZ - have a great prep. week for Mt Evans.

  3. Congrats on the 3 1/2 minute PR!

  4. Great job Craig - that's a great PR and a tough course! Enjoy recovery time and take care of those knees!

  5. Thanks Brad, Steve / Kathleen. Revenge (on last years race effort / result) is nice and sweet.