Santa Fe Thunder Half Marathon Recap

The four-months-ago race recap. Clearly I’m on top of my shit.

But I couldn’t go without writing a post about it….the whole thing was pretty freaking interesting.

The expo: It was tiny. It was outside. It was making us feel a little skeptical of the whole operation.

The guy in the background is one of the insanely speedy local Tarahumara tribe runners. Also competing in the race were several members of a local elite team of Kenyan/Ethiopian runners, living there to train at altitude, which was really cool to see as this was a smaller sized race.

But back to the Tarahumaras. Check out the shoes they run in!

Crazy, no? If you look closely, you will notice them on the above guy’s feet, and wrapped around his ankles. They were available for purchase for $15. A steal! I think the girl in the red dress was the one who blew by me somewhere on the first uphill. Wearing a dress. And those sandals.

Let’s take a peek at the course map.

Uhhhhhhh…….According to my Garmin, there was a max elevation of 7332 feet. The net elevation gain–most of which was in the first two miles–was 308 feet. After the first two miles, there was a net loss of 1317 feet. Piece of cake, right? I will be the first to tell you that the downhill portion of this map appears to be a little more friendly than it was in real life. Rolling hills from about mile 7-8 on. You can barely see this depicted on the map, but they were there, trust me.

The first two miles were brutal. I was sucking air. At least the humidity was low, so we had that going for us.

But then….then I felt FANTASTIC. The downhill was amazing. It was not the kind of downhill that immediately feels as if it’s trashing your quads, it was the perfect amount of downhill. I felt like my running was effortless for the next few miles. 7:30s were like nothing. Altitude? What altitude? At which point I thought, this is totally crazy, but I feel like I have a chance of PRing this race.

Yeah….that was crazy talk, alright.




Things flattened out around mile 6. My left hip felt a little tweaked, probably from the up- or downhill, but thankfully that went away. A couple miles afterward there were several rolling hills. You could see them coming because you could see the ribbon of color of runners’ shirts ahead of you as they progressed upward.

It all finally caught up to me between miles 10-11. That out-of-your-head, I-can’t-do-this-any-longer, I’m-fucking-done feeling. Obviously this is reflected in my splits below.

I did not realize how hard I was breathing until the finish, after which it took me about 10 minutes to really catch my breath.

Kelly and I at the start. Clueless.

I was super happy with this, as I really had no expectations going in. Official time 1:47:53; 8:14 average pace. 6th/70 in age group; 46th/435 overall females. The five ladies ahead of me were all from New Mexico. Not too bad for living at sea level!

My splits:
Mile 1: 9:22
Mile 2: 9:09
Mile 3: 7:34
Mile 4: 7:37
Mile 5: 7:51
Mile 6: 7:49
Mile 7: 8:09
Mile 8: 8:14
Mile 9: 8:13
Mile 10: 8:10
Mile 11: 8:18
Mile 12: 8:23
Mile 13: 8:05
.12: 1:04



These two photos were actually from our hotel outside of Albuquerque, but you can appreciate how incredibly beautiful it is out there.


After all was said and done, this was a very well-organized and unbelievably beautiful race. But running at altitude is no joke, people.

So, I’m thinking one day we’ll be back and run this race again. Right, Kelly?

This is a clip of the number one and number two men battling it out at the finish. Worth the watch.


  1. Did you buy the shoes? Maybe this is your answer. They look nice and supportive

  2. You make me want to attempt this in 2016!

    • Paul, you ought to if you get the chance–so amazing on so many levels. Hoping to do it again ourselves! Good luck!

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