Saturday, June 19, 2010

Joe Colton's Off Road Adventure Run

For someone who runs a lot, I don't participate in many races. Here in Colorado they cost too much. I like this race because of the longer distances measured in miles. There is a 5, 10, and 15 miles version. The race starts in Rollinsville, Colorado and goes west through an ever-rising valley toward the Continental Divide. The scenery is picturesque Colorado but I have to admit that my eyes mostly fell on the compacted dirt road.

It was already warm in Boulder when we left the house at 7:40; I said to Alex that if we get out of the car at 8400 feet and it doesn't feel cool, running is going to feel hot. There was no chill in the air when we stepped out, but maybe because of a slight breeze running was tolerable although we were under a cloudless sky.

All the runners started together, but since I was in the 15 mile race I was OK with starting toward the back. Also, with chip timing I would know my true time which ended up being 11 seconds faster. Even though I started toward the back I still found myself working my way through the crowd for a while. Alex started somewhere up toward the front.

Sadly, I came across Alex at about mile 4. He was struggling because of asthma possibly triggered by the altitude, although he had used his inhaler. Also he hasn't been sleeping well because of allergies. I was going to ask him if his deltoids and biceps were weighing him down because he has been doing lots of landscaping and his upper body is quite fit. He's had to deal with this on other occasions so I knew he would be OK although it would be no run. He stuck it out for the other six miles and ended up winning his age group and a $25 prize because he was the only one in his age group. No one under 20 ran the 10 mile race and nobody under 30 did the 15 mile race.

The course takes a gradual climb from about 8450 feet above sea level to 9200 before turning around. I felt good in every sense and enjoyed the running. After about six miles it seemed our positions had pretty much been settled; occasionally someone would go by me when I stopped for refreshments but I'd eventually catch them again. By the time I reached the turn-around it felt like I was alone on the road. I could see a person about a quarter of a mile ahead occasionally when the road was straight but I couldn't seem to close the gap. With about a half mile to go I did catch two people on a hill and then pushed on, feeling rather good, to the finish.

I finished in 2:18:37 which was a 9:16 per mile pace. It would be interesting to know how that would compare to sea level. I was 4th out of men 50-54, although I could also say I was last out of men in that age group. I finished 43rd of 73 overall. It may seem like nothing to be excited about. Running a race is always about competition with oneself, not with others, although I do like to think of myself as beating all the people who didn't run. That way, I feel closer to the top and not the bottom...but of course, that's not important either.

I encourage everyone to get out and put one foot in front of the other then repeat, and then do the same the following day, but either go a little farther or a little fast or both.


  1. You didn't mention that your pace was faster than you did the 10 in last year!

    Look at the results to the Mt. Washington race...tons of Coloradians.

  2. It was two years ago. This year did seem rather easy. Ran four in VFF yesterday with Alex and Elliott as recovery...not all that necessary.

    Anton could probably win that ascent. He does 2 to 3 times that vertical daily. His focus is the WS next weekend.