Resume Home About Me Photos Outdoors

HOME > Outdoors Home > Trip Reports

Greenland Trails 50k Ultramarathon - April 14, 2007

Quick Details:
    Date: April 14, 2007
    What: 31 mile trail Ultramarathon
    Where: Between Monument and Castle Rock, Colorado
    Weather: 20-65F, sunny, warm, snow packed trails initially, very muddy later
    Distance: 31 miles
    Elevation gain: 2,316'
    Technical Difficulty: Class 1
    Physical Difficulty:3 out of 10
    Time: 5hr:41min:55sec (new 50k PR)
    Calories burned: 6,229
    Map: Click Here for GPS Trackfile Map
    Photo Gallery: Click Here for Photos.
    Additional Links:
        Charles Danforth's Trip Report
        Eric Lee's Photos
        Greenland Trail 50k official race website

The Greenland Trail 50k Ultra was stop number two on my 2007 racing calendar. I had planned to run this race as another long run tune-up for the San Juan Solstice 50 mile in June. I am trying to schedule long runs and races at 6 to 8 week intervals, leading up to the race in June. The Moab Red Hot 50k+ in February was the first such event. Peter and Yasuyo were planning to run the 25k as a final hard run before they do the Big Sur Marathon in late April. Eric Lee was on the fence for the 50k, waiting to see what the weather was going to do. As the race approached Peter injured his back pretty badly and was forced to withdraw from the race. At the last moment, Charles took Peter's spot in the 25k race since they are same age and Charles is about 3 minutes per mile slower (ie, no one will be displaced in their rankings by this switch).

In the days leading up to the race the weather forecast took an ominous turn for the worse. Weathermen were predicting a huge blizzard starting two days before the race! Storm totals were expected to be 12-18" of new snow on the Palmer Divide! Thankfully, the storm tracked south and most of the Front Range was spared any accumulation. The race course, being at 7000-7500 feet, received a couple inches of fresh snow.

Eric crashed at my house the night before the race so he wouldn't have to drive down from Ft Collins the morning of the run. On race morning Charles, Eric, Yasuyo, and I left my house at 6am and carpooled down to the Greenland Trails Open Space in Greenland, CO. The Greenland Trails are part of Douglas County's excellent open space portfolio. We arrived at the start around 7:15 am and were greeted by bright sun, fresh snow, and frigid temps near 17 degrees! Eric registered for the 50k and the rest of us picked up our packets. I decided to wear two long sleeve layers up top and shorts and nylon pants for bottoms. I took a lightweight fleece hat, fleece gloves, and two hand bottles (one for water and one for my proprietary electrolyte drink). I also took a fanny pack with 4 Hammer Gels, 2 packages of Clif Bloks, and my new Canon SD800 camera. As we prepped at the car, I noticed none other than Anton Krupicka (Leadville 100 and Rocky Racoon 100 winner) parked next to us. It's amazing the talent that shows up at these small races (Ultrarunning ultra runner of the year Karl Melzer won the Moab Red Hot)!

We gathered at the start line shortly before the scheduled start time of 8:00 am. Since the promoters were running a 50k, 25k, and 8 mile, there was a sizable crowd of several hundred people lined up to take the start. The sun was quickly warming the day so I shed my nylon pants and hid them near the start line. This would later prove to be a big mistake since I hadn't put any sunscreen on my legs!

Chris and Yasuyo at the start of the Greenland 50k/25k        Charles and Yasuyo at the start

The promoter rambled incoherently through a megaphone for a new minutes and then we were off. The huge field all filed into a narrow double track trail. The large crowd kept the pace at the back very slow, which was a blessing in disguise as I tend to go out too hard in these things. Yasuyo took off quickly and I only saw her once, briefly, at the 12.5k out-and-back turn around point. Charles, Eric, and I settled into a nice rhythm and enjoyed the morning and leisurely pace. After a while, we let Eric go ahead, as his pace was keeping me in the 81-83% of max heartrate range, which was a little too high for me to maintain for 6 hours. Charles stopped for a nature break under a storm drain and caught back up with me at the first aid station. Since I had two bottles I didn't take any aid here. The crowds thinned out and we began the first big climb... a long gentle grade that gained about 500 feet in a mile or so.

Me, coming up the big climb for the first time, near mile 4

Charles on the climb, near mile 4

The first lap was on packed snow and went pretty quickly. I finished the first lap in about 1hr 15min, and once again, skipped the Aid Station here (although I did take a Hammer Gel near the one hour mark earlier). Charles and I stayed roughly together for the next half-lap or so, but he was keeping a pace slightly faster than I was comfortable with, so I eventually backed off the pace a little and let him go ahead. I stopped at the back side aid station this time and grabbed a hammer gel, some water for my drink mix, and two E-caps. I finished the second lap in 2:40 (for a 1:25 2nd lap). By now, the snow melted and the course was becoming VERY MUDDY. My time at two laps had my hopes up that I'd be able to break a 5:30 for the 50k. I'd need to run my 2nd half of the race less than 20 minutes slower. I figured it was definately possible, but it was going to be close!

Headed out on the 3rd lap, 15.5 miles.

Lap 3 went pretty well and I was still feeling pretty good. The course had gotten really muddy though, and the going was getting slower and slower, and very slippery over much of the course. I picked up another Hammer Gel, a bottle of HEED, and a couple more E-caps at the 20 mile Aid Station and began the second to last climb up the big hill. This trip up had definately become slower, but I still ran most of it and felt pretty good. I finished Lap 3 in 4:08, for a 1:28 loop. I would have to finish Lap 4 in less than 1:22 to break 5:30, so it wasn't looking good.

I picked up some water and HEED at the turnaround Aid Station and began Lap 4 feeling pretty good, but noticably slower. The climbs were especially slow and I was walking most of the uphills at this point. I made an effort to run the first long climb, but it was very slow. The nasty mud wasn't really helping matters much either, but to be honest, I don't think even a dry course would have seen a sub-5:30 on this day. I reached the final Aid Station at 4:47 and grabbed a Hammer Gel, but they were out of E-caps. The last time up the long climb was arduous... my calves were starting to cramp a bit but I had dropped my fanny pack at the turnaround so I couldn't pop a couple of E-caps (and at this point it was probably too late to do much good anyway). I loped in the last few miles and wound up finishing in 5:41:55, missing my sub-5:30 goal by just under 12 minutes, but beating my previous 50k PR by over 17 minutes.

Eric coming into the finish in 4:46 for 12th overall and 1st place in the under-30 age division!

Finishing the 50k in 5:41:55 for 39th out of 91 starters.

After the obligatory pizza and Coors Light at the finish we cleaned up, took a group photo and headed for home. Charles, Amy, Susan, Michael, and I regrouped that evening for a more worthy celebratory dinner of Mexican food and margaritas in Old Town Louisville. Overall, it was a very well run race. The volunteers were really great and super friendly, the aid stations were stocked well, the entry schwag was decent, and the course (minus the snow and mud) was pretty scenic (very runnable although not super technical or challenging). I'm not sure I'd run it again because I'm not a big fan of running a bunch of loops over and over... but it was still a good race. One lesson I took away from this race was to put sunscreen on my arms and legs... no matter how cold it is at the start!

Chris, Yasuyo, Eric, and Charles after the finish of the Greenland 25k and 50k trail runs.

50k Results Place Name Age S City St Time Pace ===== =================== === = =============== == ======= ===== 12 Eric Lee 25 M 4:46:49 9:14 39 Chris Gerber 33 M Louisville CO 5:41:55 11:01

MALE AGE GROUP: 1 - 29 1 12 Eric Lee 25 4:46:49

25k Results Place Name Age S City St Time Pace ===== =================== === = =============== == ======= ===== 25 Yasuyo Kitano 34 F Boulder CO 2:10:07 8:23 69 Peter Sanders 36 M Lafayette CO 2:35:37 10:02 note: Peter is Charles :-)

FEMALE AGE GROUP: 30 - 39 2 25 Yasuyo Kitano 34 Boulder CO 2:10:07


Copyright © 2003-2012 - Chris Gerber
No portion of this site may be reproduced without express written permission.
Questions or comments? Feel free to Email Me.