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Garden of the Gods 10 Mile Race Report

MONDAY, JUNE 11, 2012

Garden of the Gods 10 Mile Race Report

Courtesy Pikes Peak Sports and Anya Inman

So, yesterday was my first race longer than a 10K.  I don't think I could have picked a more beautiful place to run!  The Garden of the Gods 10 Mile is a race that runs through and around the Garden of the Gods, a beautiful park at the base of Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs.  If you'd asked me a year ago if I might run 10 miles, I would have laughed. At that time I was trying to get one lap around the track without stopping to catch my breath.  Leading up to this race I had not run more than 7 or 8 miles, and most of those on the trail, so last Monday I did run 10.5 at Waldo Canyon just to assure myself I could do it.  On that run, I did bruise my left foot a little, so spent the week fretting over how much it would bother me yesterday.

Getting ready to go
The race started at 7am in Manitou Springs, and the turnout was around 1600 runners.  Some were running a 5K that was being introduced this year, but most were there for the 10 mile.  As you may know, I am a slower back of the pack runner, and my goal for this race was 2 hours.  Second goal was to beat the 2.5 hour cutoff before the park was reopened to traffic!   Temp at the start was 57 degrees, and it even felt a little cool... I was glad, because I know this one would be tough with the hills, and even tougher if it was too hot. 
Courtesy Pikes Peak Sports and Anya Inman 

As a minimalist blogger/runner, you know I was debating what shoe to wear. I ended up opting for the Merrell Barefoot Trail Glove.  I was thinking of the Road Glove, but because of the bruise on my foot, I opted for the Trail Glove and the slightly better protection from the rock plate.  Overall my foot felt great. The pic above was around mile 4 I think...  a long grinder of a hill, and into a strong wind also. It was pretty windy in the park that day.

Courtesy Pikes Peak Sports and Anya Inman

So, I did see quite a few VFF's out there, and a few NB and Merrell minimalist shoes... and at least one guy going barefoot.  Would love to be able to work up to that some day.. he looked like he was loving his run.

Here are some of the pics I took while on the run... I apologize for the quality, but I took these with my iPod touch while running (I was focused on making my goal!).

First good climb towards Balanced Rock

Balanced Rock

yay.. a downhill!

Didn't realize the moon was there until I looked at this later

Another nice downhill

Courtesy Pikes Peak Sports and Anya Inman

The wind and hills were tougher on the front 5 miles, and I managed the first half in 59 min or so, and the last 5 mi in 56 min and change.  So I did 1:56 overall, and was happy to have made my goal.  And best of all, I finished knowing that I could go another 5K and call it a 1/2 marathon.  I'm signed up for the Georgetown-Idaho Springs 1/2 in August, so feeling pretty good about that one.  I just want to work on a better pace to finish that one in 2:15 if possible.  If you have any tips on getting faster, let me know! I am pretty sure for me its a matter of stride length.. I think I'm too paranoid about over striding, so am probably going too short. 
I also spent a lot of time on this run focused on this white line.  It reminded me of a great blog that I follow called Running on the White Line.  This focus came in handy on the hills as I imagined it as a magnetized strip drawing me up the hills, or a metal rail to ride on the downhills.  I know.. kind of goofy, but hey, I'll try any mental tricks if it gets me to the finish!
Courtesy Pikes Peak Sports and Anya Inman

This cracked me up and made me smile.  Each of the aid stations were staffed by local high school cross country running teams... they were all in costumes and did a terrific job of cheering runners on and keeping them hydrated. 
Photo courtesy of Out There Colorado

Although in the pic above this one (last 1/2 mile), I look like I'm going to die... I did finish it, and it felt really great.  Even got my first medal! (didn't realize they handed those out).   Anyway, I would highly recommend this race..  challenging yes, but the course was so beautiful and the event well run... looking forward to next year!
Happy trails (and sometimes road)! 

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Comment by Katie Benzel on June 13, 2012 at 8:46am

Awesome! You're quite welcome.

Comment by Jeff Gallup on June 13, 2012 at 8:25am

Just an update Katie... I ran Waldo Canyon this morning, and spent the time experimenting with a faster turnover..  I think that will make a big difference!  Granted, I'm going to have to condition more to keep that turnover going, but it certainly helped me make better time.. thanks!

Comment by Jeff Gallup on June 11, 2012 at 4:40pm

Thanks Katie!  I appreciate that feedback.  I'll give that a try..  I do try to focus on hitting a 180 bpm cadence, but I think I am probably short of that most of the time.  Next run I'll try the intervals..

Comment by Katie Benzel on June 11, 2012 at 4:36pm

Great race report and excellent achievement!

I would encourage you to work on quicker leg turnover before increasing your stride length. From what I've read and experienced personally, small, quick steps are the way to go to avoid injury. You just have to take REALLY quick steps!

Maybe try some runs where you focus on turnover for short distances, or do a structured interval workout. (Just because it is structured doesn't mean it has to be on a track ... you could run one minute hard, one minute easy up any trail, for example.)

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