Horsetooth Half Marathon 2013 – Post Race Recap

horsetoth half logo(Here’s another past due post. I started writing this post shortly after the run and am finally finishing it now. The Horsetooth Half was on April 21st of this year. I wish I had time to write this post sooner than now! I wanted my excitability to show through into this blog! I will try my best to recover my post race enthusiasm…it shouldn’t be hard, this was a great run!!)

I returned to Fort Collins to run the Horsetooth Half Marathon for the third time. This is absolutely, so far, my favorite race. It’s a beautiful course, love the half marathon distance, it’s put on by great people, and it’s challenging!

IMG_20130428_195136First and foremost, this race is most dear to me because about three years ago this was my FIRST EVER half marathon. I decided to attempt the half marathon distance my last year in college mostly as a way to stay in shape. I didn’t know much about racing, or half marathons in general, I had only previously done 5k’s (not even a 10k!). I bought one of the online training plans from

Back then, I was a newbie. I didn’t realize I picked a particularly difficult half. I probably had awful shoes (in fact, I think I was running in Nikes….GASP!), I didn’t know to train hills, and I didn’t have a clue as to what I was getting into! It was a big feat to attempt while working, going to school for my last semester of college (graduating), and juggling a social life (living with four rambunctious boys). But I did it. Actually, following a training plan for a race is probably the only thing that kept me exercising and in shape at that time. It gave me structure and kept me in line. I loved it! I remember I was working for a vet clinic at the time, Banfield Pet Hospital (the chain in Petsmarts), and the vet I worked for as well as another co worker were both really into running as well and motivated me to keep at it. The Vet himself had actually run the Horsetooth in previous years and offered me advice from time to time.

IMG_20130428_200236I finished my first half marathon on the Horsetooth Half course in 2 hours and 12 min. I didn’t stop running, not once, mostly for fear that I wouldn’t be able to start again but also so that I could prove to myself that I could run that long.

I returned to the Horsetooth last year, two years after my first, to start my Racing the States project. You can check out that story here. It’s good one, if I do say so myself. Still is my most popular/clicked on post.

The Course:

I love the course they have mapped out for this race. It’s starts at the base of Hughes Stadium (the Colorado State University football field) and goes up! You’re immediately subjected to a incline of 6.4% and then after a tiny level spot, back up at 9.2%! That’s only the first two peaks and they’re in the first two miles. There are still two more hills after that! If those inclines don’t get ya, those declines certainly will! Don’t be fooled by the down hill.

IMG_20130421_072807Needless to say, it is a challenging course, but it’s just challenging enough. After those four hills, the second half of the course is down hill and spits you right out at New Belgium Brewery. It goes without saying that the pain is worth it. New Belgium beer is still one of my favorites: mmmm…Fat Tire…..

This year, they added a full marathon to the list (and after checking out the website, they wont be doing it again next year with the Horsetooth Series). It started farther up in the mountains, and from what I was hearing, the snow wasn’t completely melted and the race was slightly less than 26.2 miles. The marathoners met up with us after a couple miles (luckily not having to do the first 3 hills) and finished the course at the Brewery as well.

The “race:”

My race was fantastic! I thoroughly enjoyed every second of it…well, maybe “enjoy” isn’t the right word for the hills, but all of us runners have some sort of crazy in us and view “fun” differently than the rest of the world.

I look so sexy when I run, i know, but check out that view behind me!

I look so sexy when I run, i know, but check out that view behind me!

I’ve already said how dear to me this event was, and this year was even better. I knew a handful of other racers. One, was a Newton Running Coach/Sponsored Runner. Nick is his name. I actually met him at a previous race. Actually, it’s a weird story. While at the Erin Go Braugh 7.77K (which I still have yet to do a post on), there was a Newton Shoe booth for people to try on and test the shoes. Post race, I just wanted to know about the shoes. I had just been introduced to the Newton line (working as a shoe sales(wo)man) and wanted to know what it was all about. I went up and talked to the Newton ambassador. Later that day, while I was updating my twitter, I noticed a picture was in my Twitter feed with the caption something like, “after party dance at the erin go braugh.” It was tweeted by a runner I had recently followed, randomly, probably referred to me in the side bar of twitter. Turns out it was the same guy I had talked to about the shoes.

At the horsetooth half, I was minding my own business when a bright yellow Newton vest crept up beside me at while running. I turned, becuase of the brightness, and noticed who it was. I called out his name and we began a nice frienly conversation about running. Actually, talking to him helped me run as well as I did this whole race. You see, we kept playing tag. Once we approached a hill, he would surpase me as I fell behind, but on the downhills and straights, I would catch up, run with him a little then push myself harder.

As we neared the end, with about 3 miles left, he crepted up behind me again. “Uh oh, I caught you again. That means it’s time for you to pick up the pace!” I did. And I finished strong, ahead of him.  (Turned out, with gun time vs chip time, he beat me by a minute or so! Darn!).

The "medal" this year was a plaque/trophy thing and the commemorative glass

The “medal” this year was a plaque/trophy thing and the commemorative glass

There was another friend of mine that I met through twitter (not in a creepy way, I swear). Ryan, the photographer at CO2 Photography had posted pictures of 2012’s Horsetooth Half on twitter and I stumbled upon them while searching. After staying in touch through the blog world and twitter, we finally met at a race the end of last year, the Pelican Lakes Turkey Trot. This time however, he was pushing a wheel chair up the crazy steep inclines of the Horsetooth Half. I called out my hello as he zoomed by me on the course, behind his fellow racer of the Atheltes in Tandum program.

If you have never heard of this program, you should relaly check it out and some how get involved. Basically, this program allows athletes who otherwise can’t run to particpate in big events. A lot of the runs I do benefit this great cause and support the athletes. I’ve declared that once I’m strong enough (and maybe on a flat course), I would love to help out!

There was also as handful of people I knew from contacts through my school and potential job leads. It was very nice to know others around.

IMG_20130428_200526Oh yeah, I forgot about MY actual race! There’s nothing too notable about my run itself. I felt pretty confident and in shape. I was generally pretty distracted by talking to people while running or looking at the scenery. I beat my course record by about 10 minutes with a time of 1:57:18 (last year’s time was 2:07:59)!!! Not my half PR, but I’m damn proud of the course record!!!

The Post-race party:

Always a blast. I met my mom at the finish line and we promptly entered the beer garden and got our New Blegium Beers. There was a live ska band to entertain the delirious runners. I met up with a friend of mine from Fort Collins and he hung out with us as well. I even managed to catch some free swag they were throwing in the crowd: a brooks drawstring bag and Saucony arm warmers!

The Swashbuckling Doctors...or something like that

The Swashbuckling Doctors…or something like that

running for angels shirt and medalThe most important part:

I had also run this race in conjunction with a virtual 5K, Running with Angels. I had won a free entry, and in response, I promised to promote the race. If you remember, I had posted about this event in my blog and on Facebook. Maybe thats why I ran so fast, I was running with angels!

Special Thanks to my biggest fan/sponsor/driver/photographer/support team/psychologist/nurse/doggie day care/cheer leader/MOM. She always has been all of those things and even came with me to the Horsetooth on her bday weekend (the Horsetooth Half ALWAYS falls on her bday weekend).


Additional Information:

Last Years Horsetooth Half Post

Horsetooth Half Marathon Website

Tim’s, the one who put on the Running for Angel’s Race, Blog

Tuesday Newsday – 4/30 – The Last THREE Weeks

Well, the last two three weeks have been interesting. And yes, I started writing this post last week.

In regards to the events two weeks ago: A lot of things have happened. A lot of things have changed. But most importantly, a lot of things HAVE NOT changed. We are all still runners. Still doing what we love which means still running. It may even mean more to us now. #runforboston

Lately (probably about a few months now), and especially due to that week, I haven’t been as excitable and as energetic as I normally am. I’m usually a very happy, excited, fun loving person. I always pride myself on my uncanny ability to look at the bright side of everything.

In the recent months, that hasn’t been me. I’ve been grumpy and tired and emotional. My schedule has begun to wear on me: never catching up on sleep.

My birthday was uneventful/disappointing: most of my friends either ran away, blew me off, or didn’t even reply. (Although, I had a wonderful time catching up with Steph and Amanda and my Mom treated me to a wonderful dinner as well).

Work is not everything I hoped it would be: I thought getting a job at a gym would be a perfect situation for me to be in for when I’m finally a personal trainer; however I’ve gotten to see exactly how the personal training world is inside a big box gym. Not gonna happen…hopefully.

School is just getting tedious: I’ve already done 5 years of college, I’m ready to be done again.

Home life is not a safe haven: I feel like a burden.

And don’t even get me started on my more personal life.

The events two mondays ago did put things a little more in perspective for me. Running is was I love and it’s dependable. And I know that my future will definitely have to be involved with the running community; whether that means I become a professional running coach or maybe even a low-key sponsored runner, or even working for a race series, I HAVE to be involved with this community.

IMG_20130421_072807Then last Sunday happened. I returned to good ol’ Fort Collins. Home of my alma mater for my return to the Horsetooth Half. And I had a fantastic run. In my head, I ran with thoughts of the victims of Boston and for the Running for Angels virtual race. In the end, I was in such a good mood; maybe partly due to the runner’s high and the free beer, but my excitability had returned a little more! Stay tuned later this week for a post race recap!

Anyway, training is still going…not sure about how well. There’s only about 26 days left until my big race. And I’m nervous as fuck. Excuse the language. I wasn’t really nervous until last week. I got pretty sore and tight after my horsetooth half and have been taking it easy. One of the trainers at work keeps freaking me about about my flexibility – telling me not to finish training because I need to get more flexible or I will tear a muscle (what does he know, lol jk, although, NOT gonna happen). I also gotta stop listening to people!!! Some of my classmates are freaking me out becuase they think I should run close to, if not over, 26 miles before race day, even though a majority of plans out there stop you at 20 miles! AAAHHH!

Lets recap training for a sec before my brain explodes:

vermont city marathon logoTraining Week 12 – April 8th through April 14th

Monday: Rest day.

Tuesday: 5 miles due. 5 miles complete. I got super mad at my work and went to the competitors gym (24 hour Fitness) and ran a nice easy 5 miles on the dreadmill (it was a snow day). I was super distracted, my mind going crazy, so the miles just flew by, even for being on a treadmill. I followed up with a soak in the hot tub.

Wednesday: 8 miles due, 4 miles complete. We also did muscle fiber testing in school. No, we didn’t take biopsies of our muscles; but there is a way to figure out what types of muscle fibers your major groups of muscle are (i.e. endurance, strength or hypertrophy) through lifting.

Thursday: 5 miles due, 3 miles with fartleks on the treadmill.

Friday: My bday. It was supposed to be a rest day, but it was my bday, and I wanted to do things I loved. So I went for a casual 4 mile run. It was a beautiful day for it. Followed up by a massage and then this:

new ink 4-12-13

Yep, I finished by tattoo. : ) One of my best friends, Steph, hung out with me and then took me to dinner after the work was done. This project took 4 hours of needle work. I’m not sure how many of your have tattoos, but needless to say, I was in pain. I made it through the whole process, and then once it was finished almost passed out. BUT I didn’t – I was pretty close – and luckily Steph is a nurse 😉

Saturday: Sport Performance Enhancement Elective for school. We did a lot of running drills – sprinting – so I got a little bit of time on my feet. Followed up with dinner and drinks with my friend Amanda (who I’ve known since  we were 3 years old —- that makes our friends ship 23 years long now) at a new bar in town.

stephs bridal shower

The bride and the maid of honor

Sunday: MMM… not gonna lie, I didn’t do anything running wise. I didn’t feel like it. Instead, I slept in for the first time in a LOOOONG time and then went to Steph’s bridal shower. (This is the bridal shower for the wedding that I’m the maid of honor in, in May, in Maine). Then my mom took me to a delicious meal at The Green Briar in! Fancy Schmancy!


Dinner with mom

Total Miles Week 12: ~16 miles

Training Week 13 – April 15th – April 21st

Monday: Well, we all know what happened this day. I actually had run 2 miles on the treadmill on lunch while I flipped notes cards over to study for my test. It was when I hopped off that I checked my phone and learned of what happened.

Tuesday: #runforboston. 4.09 miles.

Wednesday: I didn’t feel like running. Not sure why. I was pretty grumpy at work so I did kickboxing so that I could punch and kick things. Exactly what I told my co-workers I was going to do: punch and kick things.

Thursday: 5 due or something like that but two got accomplished.

Friday: I was going to make up some lost miles, but man did I feel tight and sore. With my co-work freaking me out at work about tearing muscles, I spent an hour foam rolling and stretching.

Pre Race, trying on my glow-y stuff!

Pre Race, trying on my glow-y stuff!

Saturday:  3.1 miles. I accomplished some chores around the house while I waited for my cat do be done at the vet (I had to get her sedated and shaved, poor kitty, because she was really matted). Then, I last minute decided to do the Rave Run here in Denver! One of my co-workers had volunteered and got me a free entry. I didn’t get a tshirt but I did get a bib (so I didn’t have to be a race bandit) and some fun glow-y stuff! It was actually quite

Me and my coworker. Finished! So many people!!!

Me and my coworker. Finished! So many people!!!

fun. It started at 8:30pm, when the sun was fully down, and everyone had lights with glowing glasses, gloves, bracelets, etc. There were lights, lasers and fun blow up glow-y things along the whole course. Not sure if I’d do it again but glad I did it. Maybe I’ll write up an official review.

Sunday: HORSETOOTH HALF! (13.1 miles) And the day I got my running excitement back.

Sneak peak at my horsetooth race

Sneak peak at my horsetooth race

Total mile for Week 13: ~24 miles

Training Week 14: April 22nd – April 28th

Monday: SO SORE! REST!

Tuesday: Still pretty sore and tight. I chose to rest most of the day. Did have to workout at school.

Wednesday: Easing back into it. I ran 1.26 miles at school for a cardio assessment.

Thursday: 4.5 miles at work. Felt alright. Just slow.

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Day two of the Sport Performance elective I am taking. Did a lot of agility drills.

Sunday: 19.5 miles. Dear god was I painful after. The run wasn’t that great either. I made sure to foam roll before, because I’ve still been very tight especially my hamstrings and hips. I made it out, half way, just fine. Not too much to report. I brought along my new fuel belt that my mom got me for my bday. I filled the bottles (I got the two bottled one), one with water and one with a Nuun electrolyte tab. I stocked it with a granola bar and a stinger energy gel. When I was about 9 miles into the run, my Strava running app quit on me. I knew I needed to go a little bit further to make it halfway and turn around. I tried Mapmyrun and that wouldn’t work and finally runtastic saved the day. At the halfway point, I decided to give the energy gel a try.

stinger energy gelsGROSS. I had the strawberry stinger energy gel. And it tasted like strawberry flavored hooka. I’m not sure if any of you used to smoke hooka (yes, back when I was in college, I did that a lot), but that’s exactly what it tasted like, and is NOT something I wasnted to ingest!!!! AT ALL. I literally almost puked at the smell and taste. I’m hoping the other flavors are better. I wasn’t able to finish it, so I ate a few bites of my granola bar, which I had brought just in case, because I know I can eat that on runs. I am trying/testing different energy gels so I know what I want to bring for my marathon.

Even though I had only finished half of it, it still gave me a little bit of energy. But then my legs started to cramp. At mile 11, I was in a lot of pain and had to walk on and off. It was awful. It also didn’t help that it one of the first HOT days of the year…up in the 70’s. I had finished my water by mile 13 or 14, still having 6 more to go. None of the water fountains at any of the parks were working either! Finally, I passed a family that was sitting by a fountain, asked them if it was on, and they said no but offered me one of their bottles of water! I probably thanked them 5 times more than an appropriate amount. I was so thankful for that water. I trotted, off and on, the remaining two miles. My calfs were hurting and my hamstring were hurting. It was ridiculous. Like verge of tears. They were just tight, and I think the verge of tears was mostly due to frustration. But I made it the rest of the way home.

I stopped at the gas station and picked up a gatorade, chocolate mile (what!? It’s actually one of the best recovery drinks!) and a bag of ice.


I’m pretty sure I said I would never post a feet picture…this will be the only one. ever.

Ice? Yep….I finally had my first ice bath. If that doesn’t make me one of the toughest people in the world, than I don’t know what does. I also may have uttered a FEW profanities. I had never done an ice bath before (other than at the Tough Mudder a couple years ago, but that wasn’t directly by choice). I followed this piece of advice from Runlikealady. Although, I found that I COULD NOT keep my toes in. It was decently tolerable if I left my toes out.

Total miles for week 14: ~25.25

Some fun, new info for you all:

I officially registered for the race I will be doing in Maine. This is the same week that I’m out there for that wedding and also the weekend before my marathon. (I”m only a doing 15k, so it’s just in line with tapering). I will be doing the Sugarloaf 15k.

I also registered for the Dino Half Marathon in Vernal, Utah. This weekend! I know, I’m pretty random. But it’s only a 5 hour drive, and it was perfect timing with training, and I could use the mini-two day vaca.

ALSO, I’m officially doing the Tough Mudder again this year!!! This is my most exciting info for you all! I’m really excited for it! I’ll probably get my ass kicked, but it’ll be fun! A very special friend registered me, and I’m really excited about this event! June 16th!

Since it’s been awhile since I’ve had a post, I’ve been behind on reading my emails. A handful of the people I follow were actually at the boston. There are also a lot of other bloggers that have a better way with words than I do. If you’re interested, the following are links to my fellow bloggers’ boston posts:

Boston Participants (there was a handful more, I just didn’t save the emails):

Lavender Running (Parking)The Boston Post, One Week Later

The Boring RunnerBoston Marathon Bombs-My Thoughts 

Others’ Thoughts:

Run Nerds Rock! Running Miles for Boston


Dan’s MarathonOn the 2013 Boston Marathon

Horsetooth Half – Pre Race


I haven’t been very active in the blogging world since last weeks events, but this weekend is proving to be quite eventful for me in the running world.

Yesterday, I last minute decided to do the rave run at 8:30pm knowing that I’m getting up early this morning for the Horsetooth Half! 

This is the 3rd time I’ve run the Horsetooth, and even though it’s a very challenging course, it’s one of my favorite events! 

I don’t have too many goals for this event except to maybe PR for this Course of 1:57. My half PR Is 1:51 about; but this course is so challenging that I’m just going to go for course records here!! 

Good luck, run hard to all of you racers this morning or just going out for training runs! 

Generic Post About Running

So, I don’t have anything too specific to write about right now. I guess that’s what’s called writer’s block. Probably because I’ve been super stressed about stuff going on in real life – and I don’t like feelings, so I won’t get into that. (I guess this blogging/running is not real life….??? I don’t know why I said that. lol) Anyway, this is just random stuff about running from this week.

First off, I feel even more like an actual runner. There’s been a lot of posts and tweets starting off with the phrase “you know you’re a runner if…” and you fill in the blank. Well, I read one the other day that was “you know you’re a runner if…you don’t know your toe is bleeding until you take off your shoes and socks.” I actually experienced this for the first time. And, I laughed! My socks had a big blood stain, and I laughed. Its so gross, but I laughed. Don’t worry, nothing major…I still have all my toe nails attached. In fact, one was digging into the side of another toe, and I have a nice small puncture wound. I think this officially makes me a real runner. Anyway….

I finally went to my doctor for my hip. Well, a new doctor. I hate picking new doctors, but I had to with renewed insurance and not living near my old doc.  I had a general physical done and told him about my running woes. Of course, my hip isn’t hurting at the moment, nor has it hurt in about a week….I felt like a car: they never make the noise you’re hearing when you take it to the mechanic. I also wanted him to check out an old injury from a sprained ankle I got last october (I sprained my ankle playing soccer – my own teammate kicked a ball really hard into my ankle – and even though it doesn’t hurt when I run or anything, it is still more stiff than normal and does hurt when I sit on it funny like in yoga or something).

That ligament – the circled one

As far as my hip goes, he said I have normal range of motion and to keep an eye on it…basically to contact him when “my car starts making the noise again.” My ankle though, he did say it is more stiff than the other one and told me that I probably injured/tore my anterior talofibular ligament (don’t worry I included a picture) which is the most common injury with sprains. He gave me some exercises to make it stronger and I stopped by physical therapy to pick up some resistance bands. Even though it has been a while since the actual injury, he still said it is repairable and I can make it stronger and thus – not hurt. So, we’ll see how all that goes.

Since I don’t have a race this weekend, I’ve just been taking it easy on running. I took monday off, but ran tuesday, weds, thurs and will run today. I actually woke up feeling shitty yesterday morning and wasn’t going to run, but as the day went on I felt better and my running shoes were mocking me so decided to lace them up and run. My runs have felt great all week, but it is getting hot outside mid afternoon; I might have to start setting my alarm to run earlier in the day even if I do get off work late.

On a side note, I picked up two running books at the store. One is the the “Runner’s World Complete Book of Women’s Running” (I love the magazine – I subscribe – and always get good advice from it, so I figured the book would be good). I mostly got it to see what they recommend specifically for women and because there are some training programs in there…..I *think* I’m going to start training for a full marathon!!! I’m still debating, and it seriously scares the shit out of me to start it. Mostly because  I hurt after running a in the world can I double the milage!?! Plus, right now I have the time to train, but what if I get a new job? Will I still be able to get in all the needed runs?? So it’s not set in stone yet, and I need a good marathon to set as my goal. Since I want to do a Rock and Roll series marathon, one of those might be my goal – either the Colorado one (late september) or to cross off Nevada from my list: the Strip at night (Early December)!!! Let me know any tips for training for a FULL marathon….any and all would be greatly appreciated.

I also got “50/50 – Secretes I learned from Running” by Dean Karnazes. He pretty much inspires me…he DID do all 50 states, in 50 days, and all full marathons! I’ve already started it (I’m only one chapter in) so I’ll let you know how good it is! But don’t look for my review too soon….I’m reading about 5 books at once. No joke.

Lastly, my Mom told me that Albuquerque, NM is actually HIGHER than Denver and is about the same elevation as Boulder, CO…so my PR is super awesome, and makes me ready/motivated to kick even more ass at the Bolder Boulder end of this month!!!

Ok ok, even more lastly: I got an email yesterday from the Horsetooth Half about official race photos. I’m actually probably going to purchase one because I think I look bad-ass er in pain…fuck it: BAD ASS! Here’s the proof from online:

Hard at work!

Hope everyones’ weeks went well! Does anyone have any races this weekend??? If so, GOOD LUCK!