Saturday, September 13, 2008

Running Hot and Cold at the Colorado Relay

Well, the Colorado Relay has now come and gone. Talk about a workout! The relay consisted of several teams of 10 people each running 174 miles through central Colorado beginning in Georgetown, CO and ending in Carbondale, CO. There are a total of 30 legs and each person runs three, each leg ends up being run about 8 hours apart. I ran legs 9, 19, and 29. Each three leg set is rated in difficulty from one, being the easiest, to 10, being the hardest. My series of legs was rated an 8…Yea!

I began my first leg and 4:03 p.m. on Friday the 12th and it was 5.9 miles. The leg started at 9800 ft. and ended at 9300 ft. It was almost all gravel road and it was clod, windy and drizzling. My average HR for the run was 172 and I could hardly breathe the who way down. I covered the distance in 50:12.

My second leg began at 2:00 a.m. on Saturday the 13th and it was 10.8 miles. The leg started at 7000 ft and ended at 6800 ft. It was all on pavement, Colorado Hwy 6, and it was again cold but it was clear and dry. There was a full moon out and highway 6 ran right alongside the Colorado river so every once in a while I would round a bend and get a long view of the river flowing down the valley with moonlight glinting off its surface. It was a beautiful night run but once again I was working hard to pull my share of the team’s workload. I covered the distance in 1:37:05 and maintained an average HR of 166, a bit lower since I was at a lower elevation.

By the time I reached my third leg my own legs were brutalized from 15 miles of downhill running. My final leg began at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday the 13th and it was 5.1 miles. The leg started at 6500 ft and climbed to 7200 ft. It was all on dirt road and it was the most beautiful run of my series. I ran through a high mountain valley with soaring red cliffs enclosing acre after acre of verdant green pastureland. At the far end of the valley in the direction I was running was a monstrous snow covered peak. The morning was crisp and clear and the sky was a cobalt blue. This is one of the many reasons I do this crazy stuff, there is just no better way to see the beauty contained within our nation. Despite the climbing and the condition of my legs I worked it hard and covered the distance in 51:21 maintain an average HR of 164.

Overall the Outlaws were happy with their performance. I think we covered the entire 174 miles in 29 hours and 25 minutes. In other words we averaged a 10:08 pace for the full distance, not shabby.

The Colorado Relay, or any similar long-distance relay, is a very unique event and well worth doing but you need to make sure that you and your team-mates get along as well as the Outlaws do otherwise I suspect it could be one hell of a long night.

I am completely burnt but it was one hell of a workout and I think it will serve me well at the Arkansas 100 once I recover. Now it’s time to enjoy some beer and pizza with good friends. Mighty Mike just put in our order for Newcastle Brown Ale, Fat Tire and Blue Moon….mmmmmmmmmm, carbs.


  1. And very well earned carbs, at that!

  2. Man what an awesome adventure...Can't wait to do it again.

  3. Are you doing Elephant man.

    How did go?