Steamboat Springs

This morning I did the Mountain Madness half marathon at Steamboat Springs. It was a low key event and I made it my goal not to finish last. There were 60-70 runners. My legs felt good and I was able run ok even though I have only run once this week (yesterday 7 km at Grand Lake where I saw a moose very close up). Steamboat is lower altitude than I've been but it's still high at over 6500 feet.

The race was on mainly sealed roads around the outskirts of the town. We followed the river for a while then climbed a very long hill for over a mile. That was tough, but the downhill was enjoyable. It was a perfect still day. I had been worried about it getting too hot, but it was only 3 degrees at 7am and probably just over 20 degrees when I finished.

I pushed as hard as I could and I knew I was somewhere in the middle of the field. It was rolling countryside, nothing too steep but also nothing flat. I found the uphills increasingly challenging. I had expected the last few kilometres to be primarily downhill, as we retraced our outward route, but  the downhill portions seemed brief. I followed the same runners for all of the second half, and I was delighted when I saw them finally turn into the finish area. I tried hard, and succeeded finally, in chasing down a guy who had assured me before the start that he would be following my dust! 

I was a bit disappointed with my 2:07 time because that's the same as I ran last weekend when I was totally unacclimatized, but I guess this race was much harder.

The post race food was different from last week but still very American - cookies, brownies, crisps and small sandwiches (all with meat). It was nice to laze about in the sun for a while.

Last time I came to Steamboat was ten years ago when I ran their marathon in June 2007. That marathon and the one I did the following weekend at Port Angeles in Washington state were a kind of watershed for me, because a lot happened in my life shortly after that trip. I look on the time before then as my faster era and the time after as the time when I got slower. Just wanted to mention that.


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