The Blonde Runs

Colorado lovin'

…in the mountains


For awhile now, I’ve had some strong desires to run Colorado mountain races. Partly because I wanted more experience at higher elevation, coupled with trails. And partly because I wanted to take the pressure off of a “time” goal. I’ve always run/raced with a particular time in the back of my mind. While I might not vocalize it or write about it, I’m the type who has a plan. And I think that part of me that puts pressure and expectations on myself needs to take a break.

With such a variety of races to choose from here, I knew it wouldn’t be hard to find a few that stood out to me. Before I started training for Boston, I had considered a few, although I didn’t sign up for anything.

But the week before Boston, I registered for two half marathons. A day apart.

June 30Leadville Heavy Half Marathon
Called the “heavy half” because instead of the usual 13.1, this race is 15.46. This is run primarily on old mining roads and trails, peaking at 13,185 feet elevation (Mosquito Pass). There is an 8.5 hour time limit. Yikes. Luckily, Danielle will be running this one with me!

July 1Steamboat Mountain Madness Half Marathon
The following day, I’ll be running a true half. 13.1 miles. And this one is only at 6732 feet elevation. This race will be run along country roads, with some of it paralleling the Yampa River. I love Steamboat, and was actually offered a job here last year. But, I turned it down for several reasons. However, now I wonder what my life would have been like, had I taken a job in a small mountain town (~15,000 pop.). Likely, different. Steamboat also has natural hot springs, so I’m hoping to take advantage of that while I’m there. Plus, my friend, Erika, will be running this one too!

And then, I registered for this one yesterday:

August 11Georgetown to Idaho Springs Half Marathon
This race was named the Half Marathon of the Year by Colorado Runner Magazine 2011. It is run along Clear Creek, beginning at 8500 feet elevation, and ending at 7500. While this is a downhill course, I’m not necessarily expecting a half marathon PR. The boy and Erika will both be running this one!

I’m also considering registration for a few other mountain races in August and September.

August 25-Golden Beaver Half Marathon 8342 ft. elevation
September 8-Imogene Pass Run 17.1 miles over a 13,114 ft. elevation mountain pass
September 30-Bear Chase 50k

My goal now is to just trail run as much as I can. On the weekends, I am trying to get up into the mountains for higher elevation runs too. I’m not totally sure how to train for these races, other than this. I’m sure some hill work would be beneficial as well! Maybe even join one of the trail running groups in the area. Most of all, I’m excited for a new challenge. I’m happy with the distance running I’ve been doing the past few years, but this will bring a new element to it.


9 thoughts on “…in the mountains

  1. I’ve been trying to train more in the mountains too – we should get together for a few training runs!

  2. That’s some serious running this summer! If my ankles didn’t hate me I’d be in the trails too. Some day. We (yes, that’s plural) should consider running the Baker Lake 50k one year. It’s in October and I hear it’s gorgeous but hard (a lot of single track).

  3. ohh…ran across your blog and I like the list of the races at altitude. I’m a mtn biker that has recently acquired a running problem but I love racing at altitude. that steamboat race looks mighty tempting! Have fun on the dirt!!

    • My boyfriend mountain bikes too. He’s been looking for races off and on, but for now, he is just enjoying his new Specialized Enduro (or something like that). 🙂

  4. This is a GREAT list…. this motivates me to get myself signed up for some mountain races for over the summer. Just moved to the great state of CO and can’t wait to explore it!

  5. that sounds like quite the racing schedule!! i want to try some of those. that heavy half sounds crazy! whoa, you’re doing back-to-back. the steamboat one sounds fun for sure!!!!!!

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