Gothic is stunning right now with the wildflowers. The photographer in me wanted to stop and take pictures all along the way, but I didn't want to be that runner so I just settled for this picture near the start (and away from the wildflowers) instead.
The race begins at around 9,400 feet elevation before climbing to about 9,650 feet. These hills in the first few miles were definitely hard. Add in the fact that I have a cold, and it was downright brutal. This part of the race was on a dirt road lined with aspens and had the most spectacular mountain views, which helped a lot. I still managed to keep a good pace that I was happy with.
Fortunately, the course then winds down through Mt. Crested Butte into town and ends just below 9,000 feet. It was a nice downhill course, but definitely a steep (read: not easy) downhill. It was strange running downhill for so long, but it made the flat last mile and a half or so seem much harder than they would have ordinarily. I loved the view of town as we came in, and of course the mountain backdrop. With scenery like this, the race passed by very quickly and it was very enjoyable.
I ended up finishing in 1:08:36, which was a 7:52 pace (yay!!). Melanie and I ended up getting separated at one point, and she finished only about a minute behind me, which was awesome. Also my time was good enough to be the 16th female overall (I'm not sure how many there were, but usually around 500 people do this race) and the 2nd in my age group. I was thrilled with that!
This is most definitely a race I would like to do in the future...although next time I'll be better prepared for all the hills - both up and down!
Happy 4th of July!!