The Colorado Relay begins in Georgetown at 6am and ends in Carbondale whenever you get there. Each team has ten runners who cover between 14 and 23 miles total over three legs. My leg assignments were 9, 19, & 29.
Leg 9: Tiger Bite was a 5.9 mile moderate run that started where Johnny handed off to me at the base of the Georgia Pass leg and ended at the Breckenridge golf course. It was a nice gentle downhill that began at about 3:30 in the afternoon. It was a nice warm-up leg. Here’s the elevation map:
Leg 19: Long Shot was a 10.8 mile run that began at about 2am, began somewhere along Hwy. 6 and ended in downtown Eagle. Long Shot was by far my favorite leg. It was 50 degrees with almost a full moon and no clouds. I used my headlamp sometimes as a safety precaution so cars could see me, but it was just as easy to see the road when I turned it off. Running down Hwy 6 in the mountains, in the middle of the night, under a full moon, by myself was one of the coolest experiences I’ve had. Downtown Eagle, lit with street lamps, in the middle of the night was quiet and chilly. I didn’t even recognize one of my teammates giving directions at an intersection and thanked my boyfriend “for being out here” because I thought he was a volunteer. He didn’t realize it was me either: “Is that you, Lindsay?” he asked, when he must have recognized my voice. He ran legs 10, 20, and 30 so I gave him a little advice about running in the dark and sent him on his way. Elevation map here:
Leg 29: Dry Park was my final leg, beginning around 9:30am, about 6 hours after I finished Long Shot. Dry Park was brutal. It was 5.2 miles long, almost entirely uphill, and already hot outside. Most of the time, it was a slopping uphill, maybe about a 6% grade, but then it would pitch up so steep that I would have needed to walk even if I was fresh. Considering I had already run about 17 miles in the last 24 hours and hadn’t sleep more then a couple of hours the previous two nights, I was far from fresh. I still managed to average 12 minute miles, but I did much more walking then I was hoping to. At about 4.5 miles, I saw two people standing on the hill in the distance. Johnny and Paige, two of my teammates, had walked out to cheer me in (I had an awesome supportive team) but at the time I was super excited because it meant that I was almost done. Finding people standing on the route = runner is almost at the finish.
Everyone in my van was a huge believer in the Galloway Method of running. The Galloway Method is based on the idea that most runners will record significantly faster times in endurance races when they include walking breaks early in their runs because they don’t slow down at the end. The method argues that when a muscle group is used continuously it gets tired relatively soon. The weak areas get overused and force you to slow down later. By shifting back and forth between walking and running muscles, you distribute the workload among a variety of muscles, increasing your overall performance capacity.
The ratio the people in my van preferred is running 7 minutes and walking 1 minute. Johnny pointed out that when walking for just a minute, your breathing and your heart rate doesn’t slow down very much. My Ninja added that while your breathing and heart rate only decrease by a small amount, and your muscles are resting, then they are probably getting more oxygen and flushing any lactic acid build up.
The Galloway Method also states that taking walk breaks will significantly speed up recovery because there is less damage to repair. I figured that if there was anytime speedy recovery was important, it was during the Colorado Relay.
Typically, I average about a 10:00-10:30 minute per mile on runs longer then 5 miles. Using the Galloway method here is how I did on my first leg:
My second leg was a little slower, but it was almost twice as far. At the end of the run I was slowed down to enjoy running through town.
I didn’t use the Galloway method on the final run, unless you count walking 6 minutes and running for 1 minute. Never the less, I don’t think it ended up being too bad considering:
Christopher McDougall, author of Born to Run was speaking at the Boulder Book Store this week. In his book, he discusses how human beings used to be hunters. As a tribe, we could literally run animals to death by taking turns chasing and recovering. During the Q&A I asked him what he thought about programs like the Galloway Method to increase your endurance and milage. His advice was, “Don’t run like the thing you are hoping is going to die.” Good advice.
A pic of My Ninga and I at the finish line. That line behind us is for beer.
Team What About Ed: