Ft. Collins Half-Marathon Report


What things in life are good? 13.1 miles, a full squat & a full beer.

This past Sunday I had the pleasure of running the Colorado Half-Marathon in Ft. Collins, CO.  My official results are as follows:

  • Final time: 01:47:26 at a 00:08:12 pace.
  • Overall place: 204 out of 1529 in the HALF MARATHON.
  • Division placing: 13 out of 68 in class M35-39.

I’m not too terribly disappointed in those results.  I came in in the top 20% of my age group and top 13% overall.  That sounds kinda cool… Makes me think I could actually be competitive.  Too bad they don’t do standings by weight class.  I wonder how I did among men in the 200 lbs. range?  I know I could’ve done better though if I’d been a little smarter.  More on that in a moment.

Early morning & a perfect day

I couldn’t have asked for better racing weather.  It was dry, clear and temps were somewhere in the low 40s at the start.  Cold but perfect for a vigorous run.  The pre-race meal consisted of some Bulletproof coffee and a bit of beet/celery/apple/cucumber/kiwi/kale juice.  About a half-hour before the race I had an old-fashioned Powerbar which always seems to agree with me.

Start time was 6:30 am.  Getting up at 4:30-ish was a little tough but being that I get up early most days, it wasn’t anything freakish.  Racers boarded buses for a ride up along the Poudre River to the start.  The scenery was typical of Colorado’s Front Range: mountainous, beautiful and powerful.

The race: I’ll be smarter next time.

My goal time was 1:47 and change. I did in fact hit my goal time so that’s fine, but the course was a fast course and I thought I could finish faster.  (Maybe 1:45? Sounds like a nice almost-round and realistic number.) The big issue is I started off too fast. Every runner who’s ever raced more than one race has done this.  The results always confirm that we are just as human as everyone else.  No matter how good you feel at the start of a race you’re not going to feel that good at the end.  Hold back.  Feel like you’re going slow at the start so you can maintain speed at the end.  Lesson learned (again.)

I planned on running with a pace group.  There was a 1:40 group and a 1:50 group.  I started with the 1:40 group with the idea that I’d stay with them just a little while, slow a bit and maintain my goal pace of 8:11/mile.  Bottom line, it didn’t work out exactly.  I slowed down near the end.  If I had it to do over–which I will–I would’ve maintained even splits the whole time. Fortunately, there was beer at the end which in all truth may not be the ideal post-workout/race recovery drink but it still takes a special prize.  To paraphrase Robert Duvall in Apocalypse Now: “I love the taste of cold suds in the morning.  Tastes like…. I ran 13.1 miles.”

The final word

I have great affection this race. Ft. Collins is a delightful place and I love going there for any reason. If you get a chance to run this race, do it.  (There’s a marathon, half-marathon, 10k and 5k–a distance for everyone.) Register early though because the marathon and half- fill up fast.

It’s tempting to think about running the marathon, but training for a spring marathon during the Colorado winter sounds less-than-enjoyable.  I’ll have to think on it.


Drinkers More Physically Active Than Abstainers


Who’da thunk it??  Science Daily reports on a study in the September/October issue of the American Journal of Health Promotion indicates that drinkers exercised more than abstainers–and those who drank more exercised more!

“Among women, those currently using alcohol exercised 7.2 minutes more per week than those who abstained. Relative to abstainers, the more alcohol used, the longer the person exercised. Specifically, light, moderate and heavy drinkers exercised 5.7, 10.1 and 19.9 minutes more per week. Overall, drinking was associated with a 10.1 percent increase in the probability of engaging in vigorous physical activity. The results for men were similar.”

That outcome might be surprising to a lot of people.  However, it’s interesting to note that for 2008 Colorado was the leanest state in the nation with an obesity rate of 18.4% yet a recent Men’s Health survey listed Denver as the most dangerously drunk city in the nation.

What does all this mean?  It seems we might see parallels between alcohol and medicine.  Too much of either will sicken and/or kill us but the right amount might be healthy.  It certainly seems clear that some degree of alcohol consumption works well for a lot of people.

In my experience the drinking culture here in the Denver area is one that is strongly balanced with vigorous exercise. Hiking, skiing, kayaking, mountain biking, and/or running is often followed by a loosely reasonable amount of the region’s superb beer.  Combine these habits and you get a fairly healthy and happy population.