Lacy Jaye Hansen

Runner, writer, wife & mother

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Breck Crest 1/2 Mountain Marathon

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Boston Celebration Jacket, “My Intimidation Factor”

I left the condo to a beautiful crisp morning. It was about 45 degrees at the start. I wore my Boston Celebration jacket. I jokingly told Kenton that it was my “intimidation factor.” Kenton walked down with me and we chatted in the cold morning air until it was time to line up. Thanks to social media and specifically, The Daily Mile, I met a “friend” who was running before the gun went off. Brian is from Nebraska and he was just as ill prepared for this oxygen as I was. We chatted a bit and then began the race. One thing about mountain racing is that there’s not much talking on the way up, no one can breathe, they’re all saving what air they have.

7:30 Start

The course quickly ran past our condo and Great Great Aunt Faye was waiting on the balcony to wave at me. I’ve got the best 92 year old aunt in the world!

Heading up to mile 5

Once we passed the condo it quickly hit the trails. It was beautiful and tree covered. I huffed and puffed and did my best to hold a pace. Eventually the steep grade gave way to the opening mountain range and my first “I give!, I’m walking.” I wasn’t alone, we were getting high. After the mile 5 aid station there were a few more tree covered yards and a tricky creek to cross on a log.

Water crossing

From mile 5.5 to about 6.5 it was all up hill above tree line. There was no running from anyone at that point. It was just a power hike in the strong winds.

Heading out of the trees about mile 5.5

The sights were amazing but if I looked too long, I’d trip. I pulled off and snapped several pictures. All the while I was in shock.

Walking runners

 I did not realize that I was going to be climbing a mountain when I signed up. I couldn’t breathe, the wind was literally blowing me around, and it wasn’t even half way yet!

Looking back at the runners (tiny ants)
Pictures don’t do justice!

Looking down at the tiny ants

I finally made it to the top. All the people below looked like ants, but I was glad to be above them and see the trail ahead. I looked down to Breckenridge and then immediately I began to enjoy my run. It was “all down hill from there.”

Looking up at the tiny ants

The very top, about 12,500. Around mile 6.5
One more peak, the it’s all down hill

Breckenridge down below

It was tricky not to lose control, but it was so great to be flying down the mountain.

The path turned to service roads and they were very rocky. As long as I controlled my pace I was fine. The huge loose rocks were a little painful on my feet, but my mood had turned to pure joy. I was up in the mountains, taking in the amazing views, and enjoying every step. What a blessing.

Finishing happy

The course ran on roads and finally ended up on some great wooded trails. I had breath to talk with the other runners who were just as happy as me to be heading down.
Finally, we hit paved roads and crossed a few streets and it was over!
I had already forgotten about how tough it was and was just so pleased that I had such a great morning. No spills, no major issues, and a joyful attitude.

I was whipped!

Officially I was clocked at 2:34:10. That’s about an hour slower than my flatland PR, that might give you some idea of the conditions out here. I was the fourth in my age group, about 1/2 an hour behind the top female. I’ll take it. Not too bad for a little Kansas girl running from 9,600 feet up to 12,500 and back.

My Daily Mile friend, Brian from Nebraska (Happy to be done!)
A smile is better than a trophy!

10 Comments

  1. Very nice summary of the race Lacy, it was an incredible experience :-)

  2. what a great place to be running (or walking)…great job..

  3. My husband was just there Saturday and Sunday (doing the four 14ers in the area Sat) and mentioned that there was a half going on I should've come over to run. Now you've gotten a little taste of our mountain races, how beautiful they are, and how you just have to disregard your road PR's and do what you can do at the altitude and terrain. TERRIFIC job. (You should think about the Imogene Pass Run next year :D).

  4. Nice! Looked to be a gorgeous day to be in the mountains.

  5. Nice job!! Trail races are tough and mixed with altitude its double whammy…but totally worth the hard work!

  6. Oh and you've been tagged for the Happy 101 Award!

  7. Great pictures Lacy! I've run at altitude before and it's a real BIT(* !! You did fantastic. We missed you on Saturday. See you next week.
    Dave

  8. Thanks everyone!! I'd probably do it again, now that amnesia has set in about how hard it was! The sights were worth the effort for sure. However, it's three days after and that downhill killed my quads! I still can't walk!

  9. haha…that intimidation pic makes you look ever so slightly psychotic ;) Sounds like one heck of a beastly race. Hope your legs recover soon.

  10. Mark?! What do you mean? You've just never seen me without my glasses, I ALWAYS LOOK PSYCHOTIC! :)
    (Sheesh! I really do though don't I?)

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