Cheyenne Mountain 50k Race Report

I went into the Cheyenne Mountain 50k with a very different mindset than is typical for me. This race wasn't about a PR or a podium, it wasn't about running was about finishing. Not because it was early season, I wasn't injured or burned out...nope this was just a different was all about forward progress and proving I could do it.
Podium finish at Cheyenne Mountain 50k

I stood at the starting line inching further back trying to determine where was a good place to start. I wasn't used to lining up like this. Hugged Sandra, wished the other PI runner, Josh, good luck and then we were off. As we climbed up the road a bit I tried to remind myself to keep my heart rate slow and steady. We filed onto the single track and I managed to find my rhythm. Sandra and Josh both went on ahead and I sat back ready for the steadiest day of running ever...or so that was my goal. I cruised up the first climb pretty well and then headed down a short downhill before the trail started rolling. Another little climb and a good downhill back to the start/finish. Okay so far so good. Not a stellar pace, but I was still feeling good and moving fairly well. 

As I left the aid station and headed out passed the little park I saw a guy standing on the side of the trail looking straight at me. I don't know who that woman is, but someone needs to pull her off the course. I would never let my wife be out here like that! I just smiled and waved as I prepared myself for the next climb. It was starting to get a big hot as we wound through some exposed terrain before the climb really got going. Really this climb isn't much, but compared to the rest of the course this is the big climb. After a couple miles we tucked back into the cool comfort of the trees. Just passed the next aid station I caught up to the woman in front of me. As we looped around back to that aid station we chatted a bit and I knew I was doing well. I could hold a conversation easily so my heart rate and breathing were right where they needed to be. A quick glance at my watch and I realized I was going to hit the mid-point ahead of my 3 hr goal time. But I felt good so I was going with it. Back at the aid station I left the woman behind as I easily cruised back down to the start/finish area. This was a perfect downhill. Soft trails, great grade everything that makes running easy. 

Dan and James were waiting for me at the mid-point. Briefly on the first loop I had begun to question if I was overdoing it and should I just stop at 25k and call it a good run. But I got into the 25k mark at 2:50, ahead of schedule and feeling like I could keep going. So I thought I'll keep going. If things start falling apart I can always stop at another point. Just keep going as long as you feel good and your legs can keep moving forward. 

I caught up to Josh a mile or so back up the trail. He was having stomach issues and I walked with him for a minute, told him puking was just part of it so get it out and keep going forward. No need to drop because of a little puke. By now I was still running okay, but I was definitely feeling it. I walked a few of the uphills and I began to wonder again if I should keep going. I did a once over check, heart rate still low, breathing okay, legs a bit tired and definitely aren't climbing like they used to be able to, but really no reason to stop other than that I was being whiny. And I know there are a lot of people out there who wish they could be in my shoes, who would love to keep moving forward no matter how uncomfortable it is so why am I here complaining? Its a great day, great trails, everyone other than the park guy has been amazingly supportive so just keep moving forward for all those who can't. So that's what I continued to do. 
Coming up the finish line

I was pretty sure I was in 4th with no chance of catching the next woman, but I was fine with that. Fourth was better than I expected and as long as I didn't come in last that was fine with me. So I just kept trucking along. Dan and James were waiting for me at the knuckle before I headed out for the last 8 miles. Nothing like a little James hug to motivate you to run a bit faster. It was nice to run a race where you could take an extra minute for a bear hug because you weren't worried about time. I chugged some coke, refilled my fluids and headed back out for the final climb. I hit the aid station at the top with lots of high fives, rounded the top loop and started the downhill. I normally would love a long downhill to the finish, crave it actually and just bomb down. But in my current state downhills have been reduced to a slow and controlled braking. I hate it. I just want to cruise like normal. But that was not happening so I made my way down the long decent and wound through the scrub brush before I found myself gleefully running across the bridge to the finish. 

I was smiling ear to ear as I crossed that bridge knowing I had proven I could do it. It wasn't fast and it wasn't pretty, but 50k at 30 weeks...check! And then Sandra came over with a hug claiming I was 3rd...what? really? no that's impossible...In any other year this slow pace would have barely put me in the top 10, but I guess you never know who's going to show up or what will happen if you just get out there and run. 

Since the race my motivation has dwindled and I've started my couple month taper. Not to mention the monsoon that has hit Colorado, wiped out trails, bike paths, roads, obliterated every trail runners motivation and left the trail running community in a pit of despair. Needless to say my mileage has been lackluster and I long for the day I can run smooth and easy again.

Week April 20 - 26
Miles Running: 46.0

Week April 27- May 3
Miles Running: 26.0

Week May 4 - 10
Miles Running: 25.5

Week May 11 - 17
Miles Running: 36.0

Week May 18 - 24
Miles Running: 27.8

Week May 25 - 31
Miles Running: 30.0


  1. This is awesome Siobhan! You killed that race, you really are super woman!

    Love getting to see the pictures of James too, I miss him a ton, and those hugs!

    Hope you all are doing wonderful!

    - Susie

    1. We miss you too Susie! Hope school is going well!


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