Sunday, January 29, 2012

Frost Giant 5k/10k Double

The Frost Giant is a fun bit of wintertime racing up in Estes Park. The morning starts late with an 11:00am kick-off for the 5k, followed by the 10k at noon. The course is a mix of road and heavy cross country, with some good hills and a high point up around 7,800 feet - so not a PR course by any stretch of the imagination.

After a lengthy warm-up and some quality standing around time, we were off to the races. Through the first mile up the hill to MacGregor Ranch we had a lead pack of four, which helped a bit with the blustery headwind. Mark Saunders I knew could win it if he was fit, Rob Kosick looked sharp, and then the guy pulling us all up the hill I didn't recognize.

Frost Giant 5k Start. All pics: Lane Eskew
On the dirt hill to the high point of the course in MacGregor Ranch, I was laboring a bit and lost a few strides on Mark and Rob, with the early leader now considerably off the pace. I was able to bridge back to Mark fairly quickly on the treacherous and clumpy cross country section, but still had a good 10-15 meters to make up on Rob. The headwind running along the Devil's Gulch fence line was fierce so the going was slow despite the downward trajectory of the course.

As we made the turn back onto the road for the last mile or so of the race, Rob, myself and Mark were equally spaced about 20 meters apart. I might have closed a bit on Rob, but never really made much of a dent. Ended up maybe 10 seconds back in 18:22 and 30 seconds back on my time from last year when I was in much better shape getting ready for a February marathon in New Orleans.

Rob with a commanding lead coming into the finish.

And now onto the 10k.
After a bit of jogging and more standing around, I was suitably stiff as the gun went off for round two of a punishing morning. Both Rob and I were slow out of the gate, content to ease into the steep hill that begins the 10k course, letting a couple of guys who were fresh lead the early going. However, after a half mile it was Rob and me off the front again, and this one essentially played out much the same as the 5k.

We ran the road together and then Rob eased into a lead on MacGregor Ranch and proceeded to hold it. The wind was blowing even harder this second time around and I was content to get some harder miles in and not blow a gasket - or an ankle - trying to get back into the race. Rob looked strong enough that I knew it probably would have been futile anyway. I crossed the line a minute or so behind Rob and two minutes back on my time from last year.

Sarah, Slush and I jogged out a further four miles after the race to cap off a full 20 miles on the morning and then it was off to the Estes Park Brewery for beers and burgers with the FoCo gang, Dana and the kids.

Post food, Dana and I took the kids up to Lily Mountain to try and sneak in a summit (it's ranked), but the trail was an ice rink so we aborted half way up, which put me at 2 for 6 on the weekend's attempted summits. Poor.


  1. Had I known you were going to run a mid 18 I would have made the trip up there!

  2. Nick - great to see you back in Estes and congratulations on your double second! A good day for running despite that wind pushing us back on the fence line coming back down Devil's Gulch! Thanks to the FoCo crew for coming up and supporting the race - will keep you in touch with news on more racing up here and things trail!

  3. Terry - always a pleasure. Guessing I'll be in Estes/RMNP plenty as things begin to warm up. Looking forward to the EP Marathon festivities in June.

  4. Hi Nick, Thank you for your always inspiring race/workout reports . They fire me up and get me out the door... I can go and tag that summit a little easier. Your work load during a race is truly amazing. It's there to be seen how a strong work ethic can build an even stronger character. Just wanted to say thanks man.