Sunday, June 15, 2014

Race Recap: Biggest Loser Half Marathon - Las Cruces, NM

Biggest Loser Half Marathon 
Sunday, January 26, 2014 @ 9am
Las Cruces, New Mexico

At some point before the Tinkerbell Half Marathon, I decided that it was a good idea to do a back to back weekend with the announcement of the Biggest Loser Half Marathon in Las Cruces because it was a "local" (and when I say "local" I mean in the state of New Mexico) race only 5 hours away from home. I don't know what possessed me to sign up for it along with the hubs because I was still recoving from my ankle injury sustained while doing the Center of the Nation Series in September. Perhaps it was the fact that I hadn't been able to run and preemptively thought that I'd be running again by the time Tink happened but that was not the case.

Saturday, January 25, 2014 - Travel Day

The hubs and I settled the K9 family in for an overnighter without mom and dad and headed out for the 5 hour drive to Las Cruces. Now you've got to understand that this is one of the most boring drives possible between our hometown and the area of Hondo and Capitan where the mountains start so there's not much to say about the drive. We traveled through Lincoln National Forest, southern Ruidoso, past White Sands National Monument and through the Organ Mountains into Las Cruces.

We headed directly to the expo held at the Las Cruces Convention Center where I was expecting the bare minimum to be present but was pleasantly surprised by the fairly good number of vendors present. It was a small but well stocked expo. We picked up our packets and a couple of shirts that said, "I run. I walk. I finish" before heading out to eat a late lunch at what had been my favorite fast food Japanese restaurant when I used to commute to Las Cruces for school at the New Mexico State University once or twice a semester. I was bitterly disappointed as to how much the place had deteriorated since the last time that I was there that I have vowed never to go back again.

We then headed to the Motel 6  where we would stay overnight before the race. We checked in and unloaded and set up our gear before turning in for the night.

Sunday, January 26, 2014 - Race Day

Since the race was a late start at 9am (this was the middle of winter in New Mexico and it can get cold, but not so much on this day) there was no rush to get up early. We got ready for the race, packed up and checked out of the hotel then headed to Starbucks to pick up a light breakfast. We headed off to the Hadley Sports Complex where the starting area was and found parking to be easy and headed off to see what was in the starting area. We found the same vendors from the expo as well as a couple more area running team shelters. The lines for the port-a-pots weren't bad...maybe 15 minutes and then we just hung out until the start of the race. 

Once we lined up for the start of the race I happened upon a fellow Tinkerbell runner/SparkleSkirt sister (if you don't remember me blogging about SparkleSkirts you can see the blog here) and we chatted for a bit. I also met an Endurance Sports Connection member, another one of my Facebook groups, who was pacing one of the later group of athletes...I think the 15 or 16 min/mile group.


Once the race started, the hubs and I began with a slow jog with frequent walking breaks due to pain in my ankle. I thought I'd have to walk a good deal of the race but I'd say I probably ran about 1/3 to 1/2 of it. The race took us up from the Hadley complex to the Tiviz Avenue bike path and then west towards the Rio Grand. I was kind of surprised to see the first/last aid station at about the half mile mark for this race. I'd say about the first and last 5K were extended uphill runs on this out and back course. There was very little shade and this happened to be quite a warm day considering it was the middle of winter. There was a short section of dirt path as we ran along one of the arroyos and then around some railroad tracks. The middle section of the race was pretty much flat with just a bit of downhill enough so that I was able to run for a pretty significant portion of this area without much pain. The last 5K was pretty much and extended, long uphill climb and I ended up walking much of this. The hubs stayed with me and we finished together as per our norm (even though I tell him to go ahead of me if needed or I go ahead of him during the race as I did at the halfway point of this race). Here's a link to the course on Map My Run. Below is the course on Map My Run.

I did enjoy the route other than the lack of shade and the aid stations were well spaced and didn't run out of supplies at any point that I'm aware of. The finish line fare was pretty much the norm: bagels, bananas, oranges and Muscle Milk. We hung around for a little while eating some nourishment before heading to Ruby Tuesday's for a post race lunch. There were several other runners who had stopped there as well and as we left I decided to stop in front and do a few minutes of legs on the wall to drain my legs. During this time we talked to some runners who had just shown up and were waiting for a table about the race and other races that I had done.

After my little draining session we loaded back into the car and began the long drive home with no incident arriving home at around 6pm. All in all it was a good day and the thing about the Biggest Loser run/walks is that the pictures they take are free for download! Below are some samples (all marked by Biggest Loser) plus a couple that I took myself.

A view of the Organ Mts on the return trip after the turnaround.

Inaugural medal, the blue jagged area is an outline of the Organ Mts.

What did I like about this race?
Small, nice course other than a lack of shade. Diverse range of running/walking abilities.

What did I not like about this race?
Late start resulted in a very warm race even for the dead of the New Mexico winter. Lack of shade on the course.

Would I do this race again?
Yes, but maybe not right away.

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