2019 got off to a rough start as I couldn’t quite figure out some fueling issues that had my stomach in knots for a few races. Read up on the first half here. But as I kicked off the second half of my running year, things moved into a higher tier and I started checking off several good boxes en route to my 20th ultramarathon race.
2019 Running Recaps – Part 1
- Colfax Marathon, Denver (new PR)
- Hibiscus Half Marathon, Honolulu (new PR)
- Mueller Marathon, Divide, CO (2nd place division)
- Happy Camper Fun Run 52 Mile, Colorado (4th overall)
- Black Hills 100 – 50 miler, Sturgis, South Dakota
- Beaverhead Endurance Runs 100k, Salmon, ID (first 100k)
- Bear Chase Trails 50 Mile, Denver (20th ultra)
May – Colfax Marathon, Denver
Oh. My. Goodness! I honestly just signed up for this road race because it is Denver’s biggest marathon and 2019 marks three years in a row. I set out according to my plan just to enjoy the day and all the runners around me. The route takes you up historic Colfax Avenue through Denver’s Cap Hill, through the Broncos Stadium and up into Lakewood neighborhoods before returning to City Park.
I finished in 3:30:18 – a marathon PR by 15 MINUTES. I had no clue that was going to happen. At mile 13, I noticed I was well ahead of pace. But it wasn’t until mile 20 that I realized I had a chance at a PR. It was an unexpected day and proof that all my training on trails and hills was paying off. #ecstatic (Strava)
May – Hibiscus Half Marathon, Honolulu
No complaints about my vacation time aligning perfectly with this race. I landed in Honolulu once again for the Memorial Day weekend. This laid back half marathon takes place in Waikiki and Diamond Head, covering a portion of the Honolulu Marathon course. While Hawaii may be paradise, running there is hot, humid and sweaty.
I ran a 1:37:15, which ended up being a 5-minute PR. Nope, didn’t set out for that to happen, but once again my trail training proved to be an asset on a road course. #aloha (Strava)
June – Mueller Marathon, Divide, CO
Ugh. This race beat me up in 2018 and I was out for revenge on the course. This race takes place high up a (appropriately-named) Divide, Colorado on an old ranch. The course delivers a ton of climbing at high altitude, but balances out with a good amount of tree cover. Courtney Dewalter was there and chill as ever cruising to a win and stayed at the finish line to cheer everyone on. She is so freaking awesome.
I finished in 5:26:52 with 4,774 feet of elevation gain. That was good enough for 2nd place in division, 8th place male and 11th place overall. I was only 4 minutes back from a top 10 finish. How cool is that?!? It was a such a good feeling, not only to blow past my point of DNF last year, but also to crush the course. (Strava, UltraSignup)
June – Happy Camper Fun Run 52 Mile, Colorado
Looking back at this race, I was so close to a first place finish. And had the race director known what he was doing, I would have been first male and 2nd overall. Read about the frustration here. TLDR; the course markings were a mess and 1st place went to a 100-mile runner who dropped in distance and 2nd place went to a runner who failed to check into the final aid station because he cut course. The only person who rightfully finished ahead of me was a gal who killed it in the final miles. I do not recommend participating in any races with Sasquatch Running Company from Monument, Colorado.
I finished in 10:27:25 on a weekend where I had only planned to run 42 miles in training. It was a beautiful course in a suburban open space, but beware it’s almost completely exposed to the sun. (Strava, UltraSignup)
June – Black Hills 100 – 50 miler, Sturgis
When it’s 85 degrees at 4 a.m. waiting for the bus to the start line, you know it’s going to be a long hot day. And that’s exactly what we got in Sturgis, South Dakota. Again, I probably had no business running this race following to long efforts in the previous 8 weeks. But dang, it was a great experience. The Mickelson trail is such an awesome way to see the Black Hills. I’ve heard so much about this race, that I couldn’t help but go experience it myself. It in no way disappointed.
I finished in 13:11:21 (such a long, hot and humid day) with 6,503 feet of elevation gain in a net downhill course. Part of that time was spent trying to cool off at aid stations. I was SO dehydrated. I am headed back in 2020 to see what I can improve with a smarter approach. Who wants to join? (Strava, UltraSignup)
July – Beaverhead Endurance Runs 100k, Salmon, ID
GAH! This was my A goal race for the year and something I’ve been fighting toward for more than 2 years. I wrote about 2018’s big DNF at Beaverhead Endurance Runs and it seems that fighting for revenge on a course is really good motivation. It felt like I was cruising through mile 50, as if I was steadily chipping away at the course. Then at mile 52 I found myself atop a mountain navigating boulders and absolutely no business being there. But I ran into that finish line with a smile on my face and tears of satisfaction in my eyes.
I’ve tried so many times to articulate my feelings about this accomplishment, but really there are no words. I finished in 16:37:56 with 11,969 feet of elevation gain in a net downhill course. I will not be doing this course again in 2020, but it has set me up for my big goal coming up! (Strava, UltraSignup)
September – Bear Chase 50 Mile, Denver
You know that race you sign up for just because you needed a reason to get yourself off the couch? Yeah, that was this race following my high after the 100k in July. But, I might have been a little crazy making it the 50-mile distance. This race is four loops on single track within sight of downtown Denver. There are 3 very refreshing water crossings on each loop that were very welcomed on a hot day. My Achilles were killing me and I wanted to bad to stop after three loops. But I fast hiked the final loop and completed my day.
I finished in 10:38:58 (which really isn’t a terrible time) with 4,147 feet of elevation gain. I sat down with a sign and a “Well, that was fun.” It was good to know I can push through some pain for 19 miles and still persevere to finish what I set out to do. AND this was my 20th ultramarathon! (Strava, UltraSignup)
And that was the year. I took a bit of rest for the final three months of 2019. I bought a Peloton bike and tread and have enjoyed mixing things up with some training classes. I’ve already noticed an improvement on climbing hills and some speed after the first three months. I’ll have to find a few races to put that to the test this Spring.
I have my A goal race for 2020 already picked and a training plan mapped out. Stay tuned to learn a bit more about that. Be sure to follow me on Strava and Instagram to see more of my crazy running adventures throughout the year.
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