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Cheyenne Mountain 50K

I have been really excited about this race from the get-go not only because it fits in perfectly with my training for Comrades, but because my friends, Andrea and Steve, were putting it on. Over the months I have got to witness them in their planning stages, research, give them feedback, help with a little design, etc. and so I was excited to be a part of the event and see it all come together for them.
Logo design. Not my strong suit, but I was happy with this one. :)
Even though Colorado Springs is only an hour away, we decided to make it a mini-vacay and have the whole family go. So Friday morning I woke up to Hunter in my face telling me HOW EXCITED he was to go to Colorado Springs. Friday afternoon it was off to CO Springs to pick up my packet, dinner at Rasta Pasta-- YUM, and then checking into/swimming the hotel.
The kids LOVE traveling with their suitcases. Even for a night.
Saturday morning we were up and off to the race at no other than-- Cheyenne Mountain! 
I figured this race would be a great race for my Comrades training due to the length (50K) and the climbing-- any race with "mountain" in the name is certain for some and this one did not disappoint.

The weather was a little on the chilly side, so we hung in the car till almost race time. Then it was time to go!
A little national anthem with the color guard. Very moving and patriotic.
Quick hug from Andrea-- friend and race director.
Ready to run-- so excited!
Off I go!
 We all took off and settled into a nice pace.  We were immediately winding up and while I told myself I would take it easy the first lap around, I was exerting a little more than I think was probably smart... but that is what I think racing will do to you sometimes.

The trail meandered up and up. The trail itself was nice. Not too technical but enough variety to keep you always aware. And... I can't help but say that I just love running out in nature. It's harder. It's slower. But it has its own rewards.

About 2.5 miles in we hit an aid station, fully stocked, but kept on running. The trail winds up some more, then down, then more up. It was constantly changing and that was nice. After winding up, you circle around and come back down, hitting the same aid station about mile 6.5.

While I was out and about on the trail, there were some other (equally as important) races starting down below. (1) the 25k, then (2) THE KIDS RACE.
Off they go!
Run, Hunter, Run!
Linc trying to catch his older bro!

Medals and certificates! Thanks for the fun times for my little men!
After making your way back down from the first section of the trail, you pass by the start/finish area around mile 8 (along with another aid station). I was happy to see Ross and the boys hanging out and playing.
I think my favorite picture from the day
 Then it is off to the second part of the first loop, another route up and around. As you headed out that way, the wind was brutal, but once you started climbing again, you were somewhat sheltered and the wind became less of an issue. Then, it started snowing. I tried to get a picture of this, but you can't see the flurries.
Windy, exposed part. Brutal, but beautiful.
 The second part of the loop you wind up, up (with a little rolling) till you reach the top of Tallyn's and then circle back around and down again. 
Winding my way up to Tallyn's.
More climbing-- yay
So after reaching the top of the second climb, it is mostly down to which my body, or rather my heart rate, said "thank you". Down, down, down. Mile 16.68 I passed by the start/finish again and off on the second loop.

The second loop was a pretty lonely loop in that I was nowhere near anyone. By this time, everyone had  spread out and evidently I wasn't doing anyone's pace. The good news is that I was doing better than most people thus far in that I was passing people without anyone passing me. My legs were doing ok, but I could tell by my pace that my nutrition was off. Real off. So I started playing with things till I found my Perpeteum solids and they seemed to be doing the job.

Before I knew it, I was on the top of the second climb and heading back to the finish. With only about 5 miles to go, I felt good... and fast. I think it is the only time all day that I saw some sub-8 paces on my Garmin... At the last aid station, about 2 miles from the finish, Beth was there with a walkie-talkie and I asked her to make sure Ross knew I was coming, so she did.

When I reached the end, the boys were there, waiting to run into the finish with me. 

I was happy to be done. The course measured a little long (33 miles vs. 31), but the longer run actually worked in even better for my training. And besides, it's not an ultra if it's measured accurately, right? It was a long day and I learned a lot-- basically about my nutrition, heart rate and climbing pace-- all of which I plan to focus on improving in the next 34 days.

The race itself was a HUGE success!!! It had an awesome trail and course, well-stocked aid stations, friendly volunteers, fun swag (did I mention the gloves and t-shirt I got!), plenty of activity for the spectators, just overall good day! I am so proud of my friends, Andrea and Steve, for putting it on and I look forward to many other great events by them.