In the car on the way home from this race, I told my family this race is my favorite race. This race and Leadville. I guess I'm not getting any faster. I don't very often test myself against my previous times. However I've done the Rattlesnake Ramble in Eldorado Springs, CO a couple times now and my times are 39:44 in 2005, 39:31 in 2011, and this year 39:54. It's a 4.2 mile race that covers the main (but not the climbing access) trails in Eldorado state park. This year was the first time that I'd run it in an even year, therefore the race is run in a different direction than my past experiences.
The honorable John Prater said go and I knew my body was about to hate me. We took off straight uphill that makes everyone annoyed. It's really tough to manage the start when the start is uphill on a serious false flat. I tried to keep everything in check but my watch was mad at me and beeping "heart rate too high," which is funny because I've never seen that error before. I think it was getting a false reading and within another few seconds it settled into 175 which was the lowest it would be for a while. I kept motoring up the road hoping to save a little for the real climb ahead. We hit the eldo trail and mile 1 done in 11:36 and I started power hiking as planned and just kept my position. I passed a runner here or there but for the most part it's just follow the leader for the next half mile.
I got my first view at the frontrunners and before I knew it was already at the end of the park/turnaround. I took the downhill pretty easy trying to lower my heart rate which was high 180s at this point. The road connector to the Fowler trail was tough as it felt very slow, is open and non-technical so road runners take off here and I was now in pretty serious anaerobicity. The savior was the amazing view running out the fowler trail with the Bastille wall and the wind tower in a little haze with sun shining down. It was glorious and I forgot that I was running a race. I need to go back at this time of day to grab a picture of this view.
Oh yeah, serious hurtin' here. I did my best to keep my stride short and fast, but the turnaround didn't come fast enough. I started getting passed by a bunch of women. No guys though. On the way back I gave in and walked about 2 steps, but then threw it back in gear because I knew the downhill finish was about to arrive.
Once I rounded the curve, I was super glad to see no one right behind me or slightly in front. I was pushing as hard as I could go and didn't need external motivation to hold someone off or catch anyone. I was pushing a 5:30 pace for the last 1/2 mile as it's all downhill and again got the warning alarm about my HR. I looked down and saw 195. Ouch. Through the chute and I'm done.
Again it's better to be lucky than fast as the top few runners got their pick at the amazing prizes on the award table and then race director Bill Wright pulls raffle numbers out of a box and almost everyone walks away with some additional prize. I was hanging out here with a bunch of friends and friends of friends and I got called in about 5th place and picked up a fresh sharp pair of Kahtoola Microspikes to go with my cool tech shirt. $32 well spent.
Maybe I outta do some trackwork or something. My mile splits did get progressively faster though 11:36, 11:00, 8:23, 7:50, and 5:47 pace for the final 0.2 mi. Average HR 184.