Sunday, September 12, 2010

Imogene Pass Run

I suppose I'll start with how I'm feeling today and then get into the nitty gritty of the race.

I most decidedly raced yesterday.  The laundry list of achy muscles includes but is not limited to:
  • Glutes
  • Quads
  • Calves
  • Abs
  • Biceps
  • Delts
I'm also somewhat dehydrated, but I expect that has something to do with my choice of recovery beverage once I arrived home as much as it does my effort yesterday.


Imogene is an interesting race.  It could probably have affiliations with companies like Brooks, Montrail, or Hammer Nutrition, but for some reason the organizers don't seem to court those kind of associations.  Aid stations are therefore stocked with a real hodge podge of things.  Fig Newtons, bananas, M and M's, oreo cookies, gummy bears...  Water and Gatorade.  At the summit:  Gummy Worms.

I think this is really pretty good.  "Tech Food" is really hit or miss.  For instance, at the Steamboat Marathon, the aid stations were stocked with Honey Stinger products.  Let's just say:  they're not my bag.  By going with a mixture of things at aid stations, there's going to be something for every one.  Not only does Imogene offer worms at the summit, but hot freaking soup too.  So good.

Onto the race then.  I stayed in Montrose Friday night.  General lack of organization had me scrambling for lodging, and I didn't really want to shell $120 for one night.  Montrose is only 45 minutes away and staying there saved me more than one dollar per minute.  I did go into Ouray Friday to pick up my race packet and meet my cousin for dinner.  We ate at Buen Tiempo Mexican restaurant.  I had Chile Rellenos.  Good food.

Got to the motel in Montrose around 7:30 and laid out my gear for Saturday morning.  The weather forecast was for cold in the am so I went with a long sleeve tech shirt, shorts, light weight gloves, buff, CU visor, and wind breaker.  I pinned my number on my shorts, but left it un-crumpled because this year the race went with disposable timing chips.  No ankle bracelet > smooth moving race bib.  Got settled in around 8:30, set the alarm for 5:35 AM and had the lights out by 9:30.  I think I woke every hour on the hour just long enough to check the clock.

I ended up getting out of bed at 5:20.  Got dressed and drank some coffee.  After losing a little weight (thanks coffee), I grabbed my bags and headed downstairs.  Picked up a couple of bagles and a sweet roll and got on the road to Ouray.  Almost immediately, my cell phone rang.  Deneb and Nataly were calling to wish me luck.  That was really nice.  Didn't expect it.

I parked the car about 2 blocks into town and got down to the serious business of girding myself for the run.  Gloves, check.  Water bottles with enduromax, check.  Buff and visor, check.  All systems go and there's a half hour to kill.

At the start with Dave.
It was freaking cold out.  Temp probably 32?  I hit the lav one last time and met my cousin with about 15 minutes to go until race start.  The minutes clicked by fast at this point and before we knew it the gun went off.

One of the nice things about Imogene is there is only one climb.  One of the bad things is the climb is 10 miles long and gains over 5000 feet.  The nature of the course also puts the racers in the shade for hours.  I mentioned it was cold at the start, I mentioned the course climbed 5000 feet, I should mention it got colder as we got into the run.  I was in and out of my wind breaker until we came out of the shade.

The first 7.5 miles or so are pretty much all "gentle" grades.  "Runnable" albeit slowly.  I wasn't really paying close attention to my timing through this part of the course.  I was going alright, but looking at last year's results, I'd picked up 14.5 minutes over the previous year's effort.  While I was out there, I didn't really think I was going that much better than last year, but I guess I did.

Dave and I ran together for the first couple of miles, but I grabbed some water and gatorade at the first aid station and I don't think he did.  He didn't gain much on me, but we were unhitched at that point and it stayed that way.

I suppose the "Buff" logo looks like...
it might be there on purpose, but I promise it is not..
The final 2.5 miles of the ascent are where the real grunt is.  We run out of the old glacial valley and climb it's steep sides.  At some point along this way, I started to realize I was going pretty well.  I had hoped to take 10 minutes out of my last year's time, but thought there might be more to be had.  There was indeed. Through this section, I was 7 minutes better than last year and I was feeling pretty good.  Total time up:  21.5 minutes.

Along the way, I had 1 fig newton, 2 oreo cookies (mistake), a fistfull of m&ms (which I ate in place), some soup, 2 Hammer Gels (which I packed for myself), and about 1 24 oz bottle of Enduromax.  At every aid station on the uphill side of the pass, I had a random selection of 3 cups of fluid (water and/or gatorade).  I skipped all aid stations on the descent.

People I'm about to pass.
Once on the summit, I paused to shoot some final video and I started downhill.  The descent is pretty technical through the first bit and I wasn't able to really get it going.  I felt like I was slower by quite a bit through there.  Once onto smoother roads though, I started to realize that 3 hours and 30 minutes were an attainable goal and I opened it up as far as felt safe.

I was passing lots of people.  Lots.  My results say I was 151st fastest on the descent.  This is the only section I beat Dave on.  Woo Hoo!

This is something of a good news/bad news result though.  I had a couple of hot spots in my shoes.  Ended up with blisters on both heels.  That'll be fun next Saturday.

And, as I was nearing the finish, mile 15 or so, I noticed that timing wise 3:30 was nearly in the bag, but it was going to be close.  I pushed the pace.  I gave it what I had left.  I was flying and...suddenly I was flying - literally.  My left foot had clipped a rock.

In slow motion, my brain registered the problem and remarkably diagnosed a solution.  I dipped my shoulder and rolled, just like my kung fu instructor taught me how.  I ended up right back on my feet, almost as if I meant to do it.  I was staggered with cramps in both legs, but they loosened up quickly and I was moving again, but this time I was somewhat more cautious.  I started thinking about next week and just eased back.  As I crossed the line, I the clock said:  3:30:03.  FRAK!

Even with the unfortunate accident, I somehow went better over the descent this year than last.  In total, I went over 27 minutes better.  I think, had I not crashed I might well have been close to 30 minutes better.  Oh well.

I had a fantastic time and even got reimbursed for all of the money I spent earning my black belt.  Not that meeting your future wife isn't compensation enough, but my kung fu has never actually seen a practical application.  Sweet!

Until next time Imogene.  Thanks for having me.
And thank you for reading,

I didn't declare myself "Longmont, CO" rather I went with something stupid - 2nd consecutive Imogene Finish.  Had I declared myself "Longmont, CO", I'd've been the first finisher from my humble little berg (who declared themselves as such).

1 comment:

  1. Nice work. Hope the recovery goes well so you are ready for the distance in a week.


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