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Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Steamboat Half Marathon!

So as you all know by now, I am training for my first 100 mile ultra marathon, which is set to coincide with my 100th marathon. Since my schedule is pretty much set, I have had to cut back on marathon races (or should I say not add anything new to the schedule) to ensure Arkansas Traveler 100 will be my 100th.

For this reason, I have taken to filling my schedule with half marathons. Since I hate to pay for a half marathons (I need to save that scratch for marathons and ultras) and I LOVE pacing, when Sabrina from the Maniac Fanatic Pace Team said they were in need of a 2:30 half marathon pacer at the Steamboat Half Marathon, I signed on to do it!

Steamboat Springs, Colorado is about a five and a half hour drive from Salt Lake City, so I thought it would be a fun weekend to just get out of town. Rob has been itching to do travel a little, so I asked him if he would like to come too? He just bought a new FJ Cruiser and wanted to take a trip in it, so I ended up tagging along with him.

Rob and I on the road to Steamboat Springs!

Rob and I both had to work on Friday, so our plan was to leave by 3:00am Saturday morning and try to get to the expo by 10:00am. I was the pace leader and had all the pacing signs with me. So I had to be there on time.

Rob is not a runner and the thought of getting up that early to drive almost 6 hours was not very appealing (it wasn't on my top ten list either), so we decided to leave after work Friday and drive half way, get a few hours of sleep at the cheapest, clean hotel we could find and make the second half of the trip early in the morning.

We rolled into Vernal, UT about 11:30pm, got a room at the Studio 6 for $55 and was out the door again at 6:00am. We rolled into the expo about 10:20am.

This was the first year that the race had pacers, so we were excited to be there and talk to people about their goals and how we could help them achieve them.

A few pacers at the pacer booth Saturday morning.

Later in the day, my pal Dave Bell got to the expo to pick up bib number 400. Dave would be running his 400th marathon!

As I said earlier, Rob is not a runner, but hanging out with runners rubbed off a little and he signed up for his very first 10K!

We worked the expo until about 2:00pm until some of the other pacers came to relieve us. Rob, Ed, Othman, Liz, Jay and I all headed to the pub after the expo to get a drink and a snack and after checking into the hotel (The Steamboat Grand) and taking a quick nap, we met Liz and Jay for dinner and was back at the hotel by 10:00pm.

Just a few cougars out on the town after dinner! Ha Ha!

As I started getting ready for the race, I remembered that I had not run for the day yet! I immediately got my running clothes on headed to the hotel gym to get 1.5 miles on the treadmill. When I walked in a hotel employee informed me that the gym was closed.

She was folding towels so I explained my dilemma and asked her if I could just run on the treadmill for 10-15 minutes while they finished up. She was nice and said yes! I got 1.5 miles in at 10:15pm then went back upstairs to finish getting ready for race day! That 4:30am alarm would come fast!

1.5 miles on the treadmill means the streak is safe!

Flat Angie ready to go!

I woke up at 4:30am, got dressed, and headed downstairs to get the hotel shuttle bus downtown where the buses would take us to the start. All the pacers were meeting at 6:00am to get a photo before getting on our buses.

Ready to go!

Pacers at the bus pick up.

All of the half marathon pacers took the bus together to the start and got one last photo before getting in our places.

Half Marathon pacers at the start.

Runners getting ready to start.

Before we knew it, we were off. The weather was cool and clear and the course was lovely!

The course offered breathtaking views.

Let's go!

Pretty flowers along the course. 

One reason I love pacing, is that I get to meet the greatest people! Sophie and Olivia were both running their very first half marathon and they wanted to stay with me as long as the could. They both did AMAZING!

Sophie, Olivia and I had time for a quick selfie on the course!

There is some nice downhill on this course, but around mile 8 we have some nice rollers. I had one minute in the tank and gave my group some tips on running hills, but told them to walk a little if they needed. They could always catch me on the downhill if they keep their walk breaks short. This allowed some to conserve the energy they needed to make it to the finish!

Olivia was used to running with her father, who was pretty fast, so she had some gas left in the tank to take off and leave us at mile 12. Sophie stayed with me for that last mile. When we had the finish in sight, I told her that when we got about 200 yards away, I wanted her to run as fast as she could to finish strong. At that point a guy ran past and told her that she had to beat me. I agreed and she gave all she had to finish strong!

Checking my time as I get to the finish! 2:29:08

I was so proud of everyone in my group. They accomplished everything they had trained for and I was so glad to have played the tiniest part in helping them!

Congratulations Sophie and Olivia! They killed it on their first half marathon!

After I finished I met up Rob (who killed it on his first 10K), had some post race food and hung out with the other  half pacers while we waited for the full marathon pacers to come in, 

Hanging with the pacers!

Me at the finish!

So proud of Rob! He did such a great job on his first 10K!

Always so great to see Lacey and Paul (who had just got married a couple days before)!

Just relaxing and catching up on social media!

After all the pacers came in, we loaded all the pacer signs into the FJ Cruiser and headed back to the finish line where my fellow Maniac and 50 Stater pal, Dave Bell was expected to finish his 400th marathon at any time.

My schedule had 15 miles on it, so I decided to run out with Amy (the owner of the timing company and also a Maniac and 50 Stater) to find Dave and run him in.

We ran out 1.5 miles when caught him and ran the last 1.5 miles to the finish with him (which gave me an extra 3 miles)! He was met by lots of friends who joined us to make quite the celebration!

Dave Bell finishing his 400th marathon!! CONGRATULATIONS DAVE!!

After Dave came in, we headed back to the hotel, showered and met Dave and others at Big House Burgers for a post race lunch and celebration!

A few of us at Dave's post race celebration!

After lunch Rob and I decided to take a walk in downtown Steamboat Springs. Steamboat Springs reminds me a lot of Park City. There are a lot of nice restaurants, shops and bars downtown. There is also a nice walking,/running/bike path along the Yampa river as well.

The things you see in Steamboat Springs! This guy was going up and down the street like this! CRAZY!!

Rob and I headed back to the hotel, got some food and hit the hay! I was so tired, I don't even remember going to sleep. I got in my PJ's and was out like a light! 

I got up at 6:30am and went out for a five mile run along the river. It was so beautiful!

A quick runfie along the Yampa river!

Here are some of the sights I saw on my run:

Really Steamboat Springs? A hot air balloon? Now you are just showing off! Ha Ha!

After my 5 mile run, I went back to the hotel, packed my stuff and Rob and I loaded up the FJ Cruiser, and went to find breakfast. We found the cutest place called the Creek Side Cafe. We sat outside next to the river and had a lovely breakfast. 

The Creek Side Cafe was a wonderful find!

This is the light switch in the ladies room. Cute or creepy? You decide.

I was really wanting to get 5 more miles on my legs, so Rob and I decided to hit the trails and head up to Fish Lake Falls. It was recommended to us by our waiter at dinner the night before. He said there is a 5 mile trail up there that is not an easy hike going up, but run going down.

Our waiter at the Steamboat Grand gave us this fun fact about Fish Lake Falls!

Fish Lake Falls is SPECTACULAR!

Um, yeah. This will be tough!

The trails were well groomed, but tough. There were lots of rocks and roots at parts and which made going up not that bad, but going down was a recipe for some good trips and falls when you are a shuffler like me!  

Some parts were very rocky!

Some places were very rooty!

We hit a fork in the trail and (of course) took the wrong way and ended up off the main trail onto what was probably an animal trail bushwhacking it with Rob's trekking poles! 

There are bears in them there wood's so, I did not want to get lost up there, but we did get the most spectacular views from up there.

Two another waterfall!

Me on the trail!

The view from the top of Fish Lake Falls!

We decided to turn around so we would not get lost in the woods and saw where we took the wrong turn and got back on the switchback.

More roots!

And again, more roots!

Sitting by the roaring water!

Just a little video from the bridge half-way into run #2!

Tiny waterfall!

The trees were so beautiful!

A little flower growing out of a rock!

The circle of life!

After our amazing hike/run, we loaded up, got some lunch, changed clothes and started the 6 hour drive back to Salt Lake City.

On the way back, we stopped at the local convenience store called the "Kum & Go" (insert Beavis and Butthead joke here) and stumbled upon the greatest road trip find ever!!! Kum & Go trucker hats with a built in bottle opener!! Rob and I both HAD to have one, so Rob was sweet and bought me one!

Rob and I sporting our new head wear!

Gotta love a bottle opener on your hat. You can pop a cold one (Diet Coke), WHILE running! 

We made it back to Salt Lake City by 10:00pm. I picked up my car at Rob's house and headed home. It was quiet without Zoe there. I missed her.

So, the Steamboat Marathon and Half Marathon is AWESOME! I had no issues on the half marathon course at at, but ALL our pacers had issues on the full course. Between the altitude, the heat and the infrequent aid stations in the first half, everyone seemed to have a bad race. I just hate to see what would have happened with less experienced pacers out there.

It is totally worth doing, but if you do the full, carry water (if they don't add more aid stations next year), train at altitude (or come in early to acclimate yourself) and plan on slowing down if the weather is warm. This is a fast course if run smart.

The course map.

The swag!

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