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Winter Series

An annual tradition in Colorado Springs, the Pikes Peak Road Runners Winter series had several Thelen Coaching Athletes racing. It's a four race series at a variety of venues around town - from the hilly Cheyenne Mountain State Park course to the flat Pikes Peak Greenway race. Sometimes weather shows up for the fun, sometimes it's more summer like conditions. This year had both, adding to the challenges.

Race 1 - Cheyenne Mountain State Park. This is one of the hilliest of the courses, especially for the long series, with the climb up to the top of South Talon. Even the short series race isn't easy, climbing up Sundance and returning to the finish via Talon. Dianna and Brenda tackled the 3(ish) mile course and came away with decent times for the challenging course. Dianna set a new PR for the course, running 38:45 - taking over two minutes off her time. Brenda finished in 45:59, making a good benchmark for her return to running. In the long series, Dawn battled through some hip issues to run the 7(ish) in 1:29:45

Race 2 - Bear Creek Park. The short course at this venue is another hilly race, taking on some of the bigger hills in Bear Creek Regional park. With a new start/finish this year, the course was a little longer then in prior years for both the short and long course races. That didn't stop Dianna from running another PR of 46:14 - nearly 2:15 faster then the prior year. Brenda also had a good race, finishing with a time of 57:17. Dawn looked strong the entire 8 mile long course race, finishing in 1:28:36.

Race 3 - El Pomar and the Pikes Peak Greenway. Flat and fast for both the short and the long series, but Winter finally made an appearance with 15* temps and heavy snow at the start. Challenging conditions for sure! Since the course went North this year, it was a different course then last year. Dianna ran 1:01:54 which is a solid time for the conditions. Dawn had stellar race, turning in a 1:51:10 despite the snow.

Start of Winter Series III - just a little snowy!
Race 4 - Black Forest. The last remaining original course from when the Winter Series started. Black Forest can always be counted on for a challenging race, regardless of weather. The course is unending hills - either up or down. Road conditions range from snow packed to ice to dry. And there is always a wind blowing. This year, the wind was stiff, howling from the north west, raking across the course and chilling runners and volunteers to the bone. Dianna ran another course PR despite the wind, finishing in 1:21:18, about eight minutes faster then last year. Brenda was over the cold that took her out of race three and ran 1:36:69. In the long series, Dawn toughed out the wind and the last two miles that seemed uphill and into a head wind to run 2:36:03.

It's a lot of racing in a short time and a huge commitment. Everyone who finished the series should be proud of themselves. It's also a great way to start the year as a runner - building a solid distance pace for the adventures and races to come!