|Half Marathon State # 15
Half Marathon #28
On Sunday, September 18, 2016 I ran in the Santa Fe Thunder Half Marathon in Santa Fe, New Mexico. This was my 15th state toward my 50 By 50 Challenge. This was also my 28th half marathon, and probably my most challenging. There were 1,372 participants with 1,155 finishers. The weather for the race was great. It was around 50 degrees at the start and increased to about 58 degrees at the finish. There was little to no humidity in New Mexico, which made it really comfortable. However, unlike most of my races, humidity was not the issue on this day.
Here is what I ended up wearing for the race.
I have friends Rachel and Aaron that live in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I stayed with them for the weekend, and we all ran the race together. I was lucky to have friends there, because they knew about altitude sickness and kept a close eye on me during the race.
The course was a point to point race that started at 7:30 AM at Fort Marcy. It was recommended that you park at the finish at Buffalo Thunder Casino and they would shuttle runners to the start. Rachel was an excellent forward thinker and booked us a hotel room right at the finish line. Man did that come in hand afterward!
Pre Race entertainment.
Earlier I said this was my most challenging. Here is why. The race started at an elevation of 7,000 feet. Within the first two miles, the elevation increases to 7,332 feet. After mile 2, the course gradually declined to 6,000 feet. The net elevation gain was around 300 feet, which was attained in the first 2 miles. That elevation really does a number on your cardiovascular system making it difficult to breath. You would think, and what I thought going in, that this would be easy, all downhill for the last 11 miles. However, with the high altitude it was a struggle. I will be the first to tell you that the downhill portion looks easier on paper than it was in real life.
In the area of Mile 5, we come upon the Tesuque Village. There were belly dancers entertaining us. Several places throughout the course was musical entertainment.
We started to experience some rolling hills after mile 7, even though they don’t show well on the elevation chart below. Then, at the end of the race is a steady incline to the finish line for about the last quarter mile. Cruel…Just cruel.
Here was my Garmin profile.
Here is the official profile on the website.
There was a lot of beautiful mountain scenery along the course. This made the run much more enjoyable. That was Aaron and Rachel ahead of me. Aaron ran the entire race carrying the POW flag! It was easy to catch back up to them when I fell behind because I could easily see the flag ahead!
At about the 9.5 mile mark we came upon the famous Camel Rock.
Here are some of the professional photos of us passing by Camel Rock.
As I said before, the last quarter mile of the race was an incline to the finish in the parking lot of the Buffalo Thunder Casino. Here we are coming to the finish. I was quite tuckered out.
During the race, they had aid stations about every 2 miles. They were good, but the first station did not appear ready for us. They were filling cups from the cooler as we arrived. I had to just keep going and pass this one up because it was taking too much time. At several of the stops they were also handing out Cliff Bars.
The expo left a lot to be desired as it was very minimal. It was in the parking lot of the Buffalo Thunder Casino.
This was quite the race. After crossing the finish line it took me about 10 minutes to get my breathing under control. I am so glad I had Aaron & Rachel to encourage me throughout the race, otherwise my time would have been far worse.
Living in Charleston there just isn’t anywhere to train and prepare for this experience. Even though I always have a goal of coming in under 2 hours, I was pretty proud of my time of 2:05:44.
That was one tough and challenging events that I am now exciting to have completed. Ever since beginning my 50 by 50 Challenge I have always looked to Colorado as being my most problematic race just because of the elevation. However, with Denver being a mile high in altitude (5,280 feet) and this race being over 7,000 feet I don’t feel so stressed now! So here are the spoils of my weekend, and my 50 States Half Marathon Club shirt with my 15th state colored in.
Here is a link to the race medal page for New Mexico.
CUPCAKE STORE REVIEW
As with all of my 50 state races, I try to make it a point to visit a unique (no chains) cupcake store from that area. On this trip, we visited the Cake Fetish in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I was very good with lots of filling inside the cake batter. For the altitude & lack of humidity which I hear is tough on baking, they were awesome. We got a half dozen.
Well State #15 is now in the rear view mirror. I only have a short turnaround until I am running state #16. On October 9th, I will be running the Portland Half Marathon in Portland, OR.