Steamboat Half Marathon (June 2, 2013) Review

My boy comes home tonight (yes he’s only been gone for 3 nights, but I am excited to touch his little face again ūüôā so I’m not sure how much time I’m going to be able to dedicate to an evening post tonight.

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Because of that, and because it’s slow at work, I thought I could write a random post now to give you all a little peek into my passion for running.

On June 2 of this year, I ran my second half, The Steamboat Half Marathon. ¬†For those of you who haven’t heard of this wonderful little town and/or race, please do me a favor and look into it.

I had a tough training session, 12 week which were preceded by 4+ weeks off running due to a bad case of runners knee. ¬†Literally up until the week before the race – I was unsure if I was going to run it. ¬†That is until the Saturday BEFORE the race…

We happened to be home in St Louis for my good friends wedding. ¬†I made a deal with myself that weekend: ¬†if you can run 10 miles, you can do the race (the race itself was paid for, but it is a 3.5 hour drive and we’d have to pay hotel). Well, because my lungs and legs are used to Denver and altitude, I was able to bust out 10 and decided I was going to do it, and do it I did.

Thank god I have an amazing fiance who was along for the ride, through the entire roller coaster of a training session down to the actual race finish line.

I’m SO thankful I did this. ¬†The race was honestly one of those moments I will never forget in my life. ¬†It rekindled my love for running, and reminded me that I am stronger than I give myself credit for.

After the race, I really wanted to hold onto those emotions and feelings I had crossing the finish line. ¬† I wrote it down in my journal (I carry a notebook around with me at all times to document my exercise/food, as well as any notes I may need to take through out the day. It’s helpful and I recommend it if you have space!)

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Anyways — as long as you can dismiss the poor grammar and emotional spewing of the entry, I’d love to share with you all my recap of Steamboat ¬†Like I said, it was an amazing moment and one that I hope may inspire others to step out of their comfort zone and push the boundaries of our own personal expectations!

I did it.  

I wish I could remember more . . . but¬†I’ll start from the very beginning: The wake up. ¬†One snooze and a tummy full of butterflies later, I was anxious but ready to DO THIS.¬†I got dressed (easy as I prepped it all the night before), prepared and drank a cup of coffee, quick bathroom break, and then we were off. ¬†

The bus to take us to start was waiting, warm and ready for the runners.   I ate my Larabar on the way up and watched the same course Zach and I had just driven 12 hours beforehand.   We got to the start with about 45 minutes to wait.   It was almost surreal, freezing cold, uncomfortable, but we were all in it together. All for 13.1.  

While I froze and searched for sun, I was motivated!  I put my bag in the van, and hoped to see it again at the finish.  With about 3 minutes left, we all lined up.  I put in my music, and with the countdown, we were off.

As to be expected, I was stoked at GO! ¬†The first few minutes were great . . .I was warming up and just being with all the runners was amazing. ¬†I do remember the early hills, but mile 1 came fast. ¬†930 pace…good but there are hills, save it!

By mile 2 I had some anxiety about how far I still had to go, but another 940ish mile. At least I knew at the 5k point I’d get water and start to fuel. ¬†Continuing the under 10 minute miles through out the first rolling 5k, I hit the downhills right before mile 4. ¬†I think this was the point I zoned out and just RAN. ¬†I used the runners around me to help with pace, but this really was my race. ¬†

There were still some rollers, especially by mile 6, but I was so in the zone. ¬†I knew this was going to be tough, but I also knew by this point I’d finish. ¬†After the 10k, I knew shi* was about to get real with the major hill. ¬†I had begun fueling at the 5k, slowly taking bites of gu when I needed it. ¬†

I hit mile 8, the 2 mile incline, and planned to start a walk/run method.  I saw the aid/water station, and began to walk through it.  I knew I had the uphill coming, but also knew following that was a major downhill at 10.   I began running 1 minute, walking 1 minute (I wanted to save my legs).   I surprised myself as this method had me passing consistent runners.  

I really think this method is what helped me PR, as it kept me at a higher overall general pace and allowed me to slam the downhill at mile 10, which was actually my fastest mile of the race at 9 minutes flat.   I knew I was getting close to the town, so I banked that downhill through mile 11.  

The aid station before the turn into town at just past 11 was great: music, water, energy. ¬†I knew I was closing in. ¬†The town run was kept to a shoulder of the road, so cars were VERY close. ¬†It was also around this point that I remember hearing “Come on Ashley! One mile left!” ¬†See, Steamboat is a very small half, and hardly any crowd support until you reach town. ¬†If’s really you and the mountains up until that point, which is surreal and a memory I will cherish forever.

There was a downhill right before the final up hill to the finish line, and I was STRUGGLING at this point. ¬†I knew I was in for a PR, and just wanted to walk it in. ¬†Until I saw my boys. ¬†Zach and Gus were waiting for me, right before mile 13. ¬† Zach and Gus were that emotional push that kept me on my feet and pushed me to end this amazing race as strong as I had begun it, 2:10 hours before. No I didn’t come close to winning, and no I’m not crazy fast. ¬†But that didn’t matter. ¬†This was my race, and I DID IT.

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The beauty of the course, the amazing runners, everything about that race was an amazing experience I will never forget.   To this day I feel the effects of this race, and am motivated to keep pushing.  I hope you all enjoy this recap and if nothing else get the message that

It really is amazing what we can do when we put our minds to it.  

QUESTION OF THE DAY:  Share with me a life changing experience?