August 13, 2013

And finally ... a race report!

Well, it's been a bit of  gap between race reports given the fragile fibula status.  Since pulling out of Vancouver marathon in early May and then 10 days later finding out I had a stress fracture to my fibula there has understandably been a big fat zero racing miles.  Well, not unless you want to count the 160km Gran Fondo cycling event that I did in Langley, BC back in July, which was more of an effort to make it to the finish line under cut offs rather than a race per se... and despite adding a bonus 12km, I made it to the finish line in a very pedestrian 6h44.  That's slow, very slow, but it was a great day out and fun to do an event given my running race calendar for the year had been scrapped.

Telluride, CO
But this past weekend I jumped at taking part in the Telluride Mountain Run Hill Climb, a first year event put on by Dakota Jones and Reese Ruland in awesome Telluride, Colorado.  My main running weaknesses I consider to be:

- uphill
- sub-marathon distances
- anything at altitude

Cool down run with a pre-Leadville-mid-Grand-Slam Ian Sharman
So given I am at nothing like normal fitness and training volume it was fun to try an event which I would never normally contemplate - 10 miles total, 5 up, 5 back down and a total of 1200 metres of climbing so we'd top out at a lung-sucking 3823 metres!

Rainy runners at the awards
The main sell-out event was the 40-miler Telluride Mountain Run, so it was a chilled out affair when about 30 of us began the hill climb at a leisurely 10am.  I'd grabbed a Clif Bar and a coffee for breakfast, hung around chatting to Cam Clayton, who being more used to these shorter distances runs than me suggested that I might actually want to do a warm up, and I had survived the altitude with a 10min jog along the riverside bike path in town.  Ok, ready to charge up the hill!  Well, except there was not much charging going on, more of a steady jog until the grade steepened and very soon I switched to a power hike, and resolved that there was not going to be much uphill running at this oxygen-deprived elevation.

RD Dakota Jones surveying his domain
I had zero expectations other than to hike as fast as I could and where the path levelled out a bit to try run if my legs and lungs would allow, and soon I settled into a pushing yet comfortable pace and was pulled along by the lead woman in front of me as well as looking enviously ahead at a guy who'd had the smarts to bring trekking poles.  Soon our efforts were rewarded with stunning mountain vistas, made all the better as this was my first trip to Colorado and the first time I'd seen Telluride in daylight.  Immediately I knew why the San Juans are a trail runners paradise.  It was just stunning!  But there was not much time to admire the views as on I trudged until we reached the final 1/2 mile or so scramble to the top; hands on knees, up on my toes and just keep moving, however slowly.  The very top flattened out and I forced myself to run around the summit cairn despite the air seeming exceptionally thin.  A quick look at the stellar mountain scenery around me and then time for the fun part - bomb back down the way we had come, 5 miles of down down down.  Suddenly the uphill climb definitely seemed worth while!  I knew that 5 miles of 100% descent would be maybe a bit too good of a test for the still-recovering-stress-fracture but I soon drew past the lead woman and I got into race gear.  There is nothing more fun than hammering downhill on trails and I hammered almost as fast as I could.  There was little time to look up, I just kept pushing and knew my quads would be complaining later but it was definitely worth it for the fun of going full tilt down the trail.

Sean Meissner post-race modelling
And before I knew it I was back at the bottom, a souvenir race glass in my hand, a keg of beer and awesome homemade soup at the finish line and having fun hanging out and cheering the 40-mile runners in.

A really fun race, definitely the first of many trips to Colorado, and I'm already figuring out an altitude training plan so I can race the 40-mile event next year :)  Big shout out to Dakota Jones and Reese Ruland on a fantastic first-year (of many, I hope) event as well as all the local volunteers who helped this event happen.

There might not be an ultra for a while yet but in the meantime I could get used to some shorter mountain racing :)

Simon, 13yrs, I passed him just at the top of the climb.  Congrats on a great race Simon!
Telluride from the Gold Hill climb
Towards the top of the Hill Climb
RD Reese on the mic
Classic Colorado


  1. Thanks for the kind words Ellie.. Hopefully I'll see you around! Come back t CO soon!

  2. Congrats on the successful return to racing, and I hope you make it back next year for the 40 miler. I plan on returning, and may actually finish the course next time as a bonus.

    It was nice to meet you Ellie, and my boys thought it was cool to meet a 'famous runner' (I'm turning them into running nerds). It was quite the coincidence how you live on my wife's old North Van street.

    Oh, and if you take the citizenship test, you'll need to know:
    - It's 'back bacon', not 'Canadian bacon'
    - Who Paul Henderson is
    - The correct pronunciation of 'Bombardier'
    - How to interpret the sentence: "After cleaning the eaves trough, I had to wipe my hands on a serviette to avoid getting the chesterfield dirty"
    - All the words to Ren and Stimpy's "Royal Canadian Kilted Yaksmen" anthem

    Take care!

    1. Ha, thanks for the Canadian info :) Hope you're recovering well.

  3. Hi Ellie. It was nice meeting you at T-Rad and a pleasure hanging out with you after the race with the Durango gang. Come back to Colorado soon. Best of luck and hope to see you at another race down the road.

    -Aaron K.

  4. Thanks for letting me hang out with the Durangotans, great to meet you!