Steamboat Springs Race Report

Now that it’s been three weeks, I figured that I should write a quick race report about the Steamboat Springs Marathon. It’s amazing how much I have already forgotten, but here is what I do remember:

Seth has a new job where he works every Saturday, so the boys and I drove up to Steamboat that afternoon and poor Sethy and to drive by himself later that night.

The boys were super stoked that the hotel offered free cookies at check in. It’s the little things.


Even better than the free cookies was the fact that the hotel had both indoor and outdoor swimming pools and hot tubs. We stayed at the Holiday Inn and I used points for a free night. We will definitely stay there again – the room was clean, the hotel was quiet, and the restaurant attached to the hotel was good.

Best of all, the hotel offered a free shuttle to the bus loading area behind the courthouse so Seth and the boys didn’t have to get up early to drop me off.

We swam for half an hour before supper where the boys had root beer


and deep fried cheesecake with a  Fruit Loop crust.

Jackson really enjoyed it…..obviously.


After supper, I let the boys swim until 9:30 and then they got to stay up watching TV and eating Doritos in bed. They thought they were really living the dream.

Race morning came way too fast but I wasn’t as nervous as last year when I had no idea what I was doing and was undertrained. I still have no idea what I’m doing, but at least I put in my long runs this time!

I, along with several other runners, boarded the shuttle and rode into town together. Most of the runners were running the half except for two high school boys, me, a 60 something year old from New Zealand, and man in his 50’s who lived in Cheyenne and said that he always runs Steamboat when he wants to qualify for Boston. The rest of us all looked at him like he was nuts. Steamboat is not an easy course and, although I haven’t been able to find much online about other runners’ experiences with it, I have been able to find out that it’s not recommended for a first marathon or for a BQ. I checked later and he got his BQ, so I guess we shouldn’t have thought he was nuts after all.

The shuttle dropped us off in a parking lot where the buses for both the half and full were lined up along the street behind the courthouse. Half marathon buses were on one side of the street and full on the other. They were clearly marked and there was someone at the doorway of the bus being loaded making sure that each runner got on the correct bus. I got to ride in a nice coach this year instead of a school bus which was awesome.

After the bus dropped us off at the start, I would have stood shivering in the cold wind blowing off the lake like if not for a nice woman named Atsuko who walked past and told me she was going to wait on the bag drop bus until the start. I followed her to the bus and we were soon joined by another girl named Kate. Atsuko had run Steamboat over 20 times and her race times were anywhere from 3:30 to 4:30 but we were all planning to run around 4:00 this year so we decided to start together. We chatted until the bus driver kicked us off, hid in the outhouses to stay warm until the start and then lined up.

The gun went off and, just like last year, the entire pack of runners took off; streaming past me. Atsuko and Kate went with them but I was determined to stick with my planned paces and not speed up until after mile 10.


The race offered pacers this year so I wanted to stick fairly close to the 4:00 pacer but he took off like a bat out of hell around mile 3 and I didn’t see him again until mile 17 before losing him again. I did catch up with another runner that he had dropped and, being the creeper that I am, recognized her from the Internet and introduced myself. Please tell me that isn’t completely creepy. She was super nice about it though, and we ran together and talked until around mile 10. She was getting over being sick and still killing it which was completely inspiring.

There were so many parts of the race that I wanted to be sure and write about, but it’s been so long that it all merged together into one happy blur. I do remember gradually speeding up but trying to hold back every time that I got a really solid rhythm going because I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to sustain it, trying to decide in my race-brain fog if it would be a good idea to start walking up the hill around mile 23 because I was the only one running and I didn’t want the other runners to feel bad and then realizing that I only had 3.2 miles to go and it was all downhill after that and taking off as fast as my tired legs would go. Two girls stopped to walk right in front of me after the last aid station and I turned around yelling at them to catch me – I was a little bit excited to be so close to the finish.

I knew that I was really close to getting a sub 4:00 but forgot about that pesky .2 when I was consulting my watch and seeing how close I was to 26 miles.

Meanwhile, Jackson and Tucker were holding up signs at the finish for the runners. Jackson’s sign said, “Touch Here for Power” and Tucker’s said, “Getting up early to make this sign wasn’t easy either”.IMG_7866

Jackson had fun getting runners to hit his sign for a final burst of speed before the finish.
IMG_7864The boys ran the last few yards to the finish last year and planned to do that with me again this year.

I made sure to run over to Jackson and pause long enough to touch the sign for power.


Then, we all three ran toward the finish line as fast as we could.


My official time was 4:00:02. Pretty sure the 2 seconds were the time that it took me to stop at Jackson’s sign, but don’t tell him that.

Bottom line: The race was a blast, the weather and course were beyond beautiful,the aid stations were well stocked and the volunteers at the aid stations are the absolute BEST. My name was on my bib and people encouraged me by name at each aid station which made me feel like a million bucks. Also, missing getting a sub 4:00 means that I just have to go back next year – oh darn. 😉

Up next: training for the Equinox Half starts tomorrow!

6 replies on “Steamboat Springs Race Report”

  1. Absolutely love Steamboat Colorado. My parents have a place out there and I think one day I will have to run the half marathon out there! 🙂

    1. Oh man! I wish my parents had a place in Steamboat! It’s one of my favorite places. You should totally run the half! The course and volunteers are incredible. Thanks for stopping by!

      1. I absolutely love it out there. I might have to meet up with you if I do end up running it because that would be totally awesome. To be honest I don’t know a lot of people that know where steamboat is. I am planning on being in Steamboat in August with my parents and I am EXCITED! 😀

        1. Yes! Let me know if you sign up! I’m planning to run the full next year in an attempt to get it done under 4 hours! If you’re in the Fort Collins area in August, let me know and I’ll take you out for a run. 🙂

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