Saturday, September 12, 2009

Imogene Pass Run Report

I finished!
Here is the scoop:
Distance: 17.1 miles
Start point: Ouray, CO at 7,810 feet
Highest point: Imogene Pass at 13,114 feet
End point: Telluride, CO at 8,820 feet
Cumulative elevation gain/(loss): 8,201/(7,111) feet.
Course: 10 miles up to Imogene Pass, 7.1 miles down to Telluride, CO. Most of the elevation gain is in the first 10 miles. Mostly rocky, rutted jeep road.
Finish time: 4:38

My friend Christina (on the right) has been trying to talk me into it for a few years. I always said, "No way! Too much elevation! It would kill me." All of a sudden, this past year it seemed like a good idea. :)

Here we are at the start:
There are some runnable spots on the 10 miles up to the Pass, but it was mostly a LOT of hiking. My Mt. Lemmon run/hikes helped to prepare me as much as you can prepare for a race at 13,114 feet elevation!
These are the pics from the start of the race to Upper Camp Bird (7.6 miles). As you can see, it is quite a slog!Occasionally, I would look back towards Ouray at my progress towards the top:
The first cutoff is at 7.6 miles (Upper Camp Bird). It must be reached in 2.5 hours (if you don't make it in that time frame, they will not let you go further in the race). I arrived in 2:06. I was glad I made that cutoff.
View of Upper Camp Bird aid station as I'm leaving: Now for the pics from miles 7.6 to the top of Imogene Pass:
The second cutoff is at 10 miles (Imogene Pass summit). It must be reached in 4.5 hours. I arrived in 3:12. I felt so good about that! It is really a good idea to get up there as fast as possible before a storm hits..

The last mile to the summit was a death march. Nobody seemed particularly chatty at this point. Lots of grades over 20%. Not much oxygen either....

Some things that kept me occupied the last mile:
There was a guy that was playing the theme song to 'Rocky' on his ipod. Whatever it takes to get you there, dude - I loved it! Also, I saw a guy hiking close to the top with cheesy, cheap flip flops on. Crazy. Here he is. Another guy passed me wearing those minimal Keds sneakers with the dressiest pair of linen shorts. You see it all out there.

Looking back from the top, way above treeline:Greeted at the top with a theme (is it supposed to make it feel warmer up there?)...the volunteers are great.
I stayed less than a minute on the summit. It was COLD and breezy.
Here is a pic that the photo company took of me as I started on the downhill.
The downhill from the summit was screaming steep, with lots of scree!Soon, though, we were back below treeline, and it was so green and beautiful! Social Tunnel, near the last aid station at mile 14.3: The town of Telluride comes into view almost 2 miles before the finish. It gives you the idea that you are almost there. That last 2 miles felt LONG. I arrived at the finish line and Kenny was there to greet me. Thank you, Kenny! I had a Colorado peach and some chicken noodle soup, which was wonderful. The weather held out, with only a few sprinkles of rain at the end. The weather is really unpredictable in these mountains. I lucked out again on the CO weather.
I finished 53 out of 88 in my age group (60th percentile), 287 out of 484 female finishers (59th percentile), and 788 out of 1,127 male and female finishers (70th percentile).
One of the hardest things I've ever done.
Yes, I'll be doing it again next year. :)
And, by the way, I got into the Ghost Town 38.5 mile race, which is on January 17th, 2010. Troy is doing it, also. They only let 75 people in. It is held in NM in the mountains. Woohoo! Kind of appears that I'm on my way to training for a 50 miler, doesn't it?


Joyce said...

You're amazing Renee! Congrats on another wonderful accomplishment. Looks like a TOUGH race!

HappyTrails said...

Awesome run, Renee! Thanks for sharing the great report and photos. Looks like the weather held out for you. That is one I need to do one of these years. BTW, where is your SKIRT???!!! :-)