Cheyenne Mountain Trail 25k
4 hours 10 minutes – 15.11 miles & 2,490 feet of elevation gain
In my normal transparency, I will let you know now that I registered for the 50k. The signup occurred back in February when I was cranking out 30 miles a week. It would have been hard to predict that I would get sick for 3 weeks prior to the race and get in very little running. In fact, for the month of April, I had logged 41 miles prior to showing up for this race. Most of those miles were on flat roads with my dog, so not really useful for climbing a mountain all day.
I arrived crazy early for the race because I needed to shoot a video with Mitch for the Colfax Marathon Relay Teams. We scouted out a spot down on the trail to setup the camera with the most incredible backdrop one could find. After viewing the video, it almost looks like we are standing in front of a painting it looks so awesome! Not sure if I’ll release the blooper real, but we had quite the blast shooting that thing. All we were doing was trying to get through a 2 page script in 2 minutes and I could barely hold it together. I think I was just giddy to be out running on a trail again.
Once we made it through all that, we went and picked up our bib and t-shirt. After attaching the bib, met-up with Jamie. We chatted for a bit about work, running, eating, and looking ahead to Leadville. Then we headed over to hear final words from the Race Director:
“There have been wildlife sightings. Specifically a mama bear and her 2 cubs. Really, only the person in first has to worry about running into them.”
People started lining up at the starting line and chatting about the hot sun. The atmosphere was upbeat and a good small field of runners. Not sure if there was a National Anthem sung as didn’t hear one, which is disappointing.
Signal went off and we headed out uphill the road to the trail. It quickly became single-file onto the trail … for about a mile. If you want to go fast or even just run, you need to get out ahead quickly to avoid the march.
About mile 1 I caught-up with Mitch and we chatted about lots of things. I probably talked more than I should as I tried to keep up with his power hiking skills up the mountain. Was nice to be out there with a friend and just enjoying the day. The temperature was rising fast and we were starting to feel it. There wasn’t much shade as you can see from the photo.
Mile 4: First aid station.
I didn’t spend much time here as just grabbed some pretzels and went on through. Didn’t need to take time filling up a bottle with another aid station 3 miles out. Great group of volunteers!
After this, Mitch took off down a hill. My stomach was telling me to hold up for a bit. Pretty tough to run downhill when your stomach feels bloated. Cut my leg, twist my ankle, or slap me in the face and I can run. Make it feel like someone is blowing up a balloon in your stomach, and life sucks. It’s the compression point of every step. It’s the area of your body holding you up. Alright, just a little walking.
Well, I no longer saw Mitch. In fact, I didn’t see anyone. This is where you start to wonder if you took a wrong turn somewhere. This is the first time I’ve been to Cheyenne Mountain, so I had no idea what was right or wrong. Just keep moving forward.
Mile 7: Halfway of loop 1
At this point, the math was still looking good. I hit the halfway at a reasonable time that made me believe I could still complete the 50k. Filled up bottles, passed to the right of the starting line, and heard them call out my name over the speaker to keep going. That’s when the sun really hit me. Just take a look at this view:
My stomach was pretty well done with me at this point. More climbing and overheating. Good training! I just kept on moving forward with the hint that day was going to end earlier than expected.
Mile 9: Aid Station
Great and enthusiastic volunteers can make all the difference in a race. Had my bottles filled and moved on through the aid stations. Looking back, I probably should have grabbed something salty.
Mile 10: I had to go pee.
That actually made me pretty excited because I was drinking enough. Well, kind of.
I pulled off to the side of the trail and out came what looked like ice tea. Uncool.
But nothing to worry as I brought along a salt cap for this special occasion. I forced it down with some water and ran on.
About mile 13 I ran out of fluids. I was putting down over 20oz of fluids an hour and it wasn’t enough. My mouth was dry and stomach still not improving. At that point, I knew the day was over. Now it was a matter of how quickly I could get to the finish line.
Mile 14: Aid Station
Volunteer: How are you doing?
Me: Dehydrated and downgrading to the 25k.
Volunteer: That’s okay I had to do that in the Desert Rats race. Need to do what’s smart. Live to run another day.
Yes. That is what you’re supposed to say.
I took a few extra minutes eating chips and pretzels. Tempted by PBJ, but stuck to the salt. Getting smarter in my dumb age.
Headed down the last hill and came to where the start of the 2nd loop intersection. Volunteer saw me coming …
Volunteer: Alright! One more loop to go!
Me: Nope. Downgrading to 25k.
Volunteer speed talks: No worries … go down this path, take a right, you’ll see the finish line, stay to the right, checkin at the table, and you’ll be all good.
Me: No idea what you just said. Go that way?
Volunteer: All good … yup just head that way.
I crossed the intersection and saw Jamie.
Me: Woah are you done already?
Jamie: No had to stop too.
Seems like a third of the 50k runners were stopping due to dehydration as well.
I stopped at the timing table, explained the situation, and crossed the finish line.
Finish medal was a small little plasticy dog tag. If this was my first race, I would be very disappointed. I get that it’s not about the race medal, but if there’s something you’re going to show friends, display, or look at to recall a race, it’s the medal. This little thing does not do the trail or the mountain justice.
Post-race food was provided by Carraba’s. I went up to the buffet table and they pulled back the covers to reveal caesar salad, chicken marsala, penne pasta, and breadsitcks.
Me: I’m not sure any of that food will stay down. No offense to your food, but that doesn’t look like a good choice.
I took a little of everything, grabbed an orange soda because not much else to choose from. Went over and plopped down next to Mitch. Yup, he had to stop as well.
Casear salad: not a good post-race food.
Chicken and breadsticks worked out well.
After drinking half the can of orange soda, my heart went into triple time.
Me: Mitch, do you see the medical tent anywhere?
Mitch: No. I really haven’t seen any medical people.
Me: Weird as there are a lot of people out there that are in risk of needing some help.
Mitch: Yeah it’s going to be interesting.
Me: Well, I don’t know if I’m having a heart attack or what but my heart is on triple time.
I stopped the soda and went back to water. That seemed to work. Dehydration combined with caffeine is bad. You’re welcome.
I must say that zero bathrooms on the course was a new experience. Well, at the halfway point you could run off the course to the starting line and use the bathroom there. Just strange.
All-in-all, a good hot day on the trails with some great friends. For not having run for 3 weeks, it was painfully pleasant to wake-up some muscle groups.
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