Revel Rockies Marathon – Race Recap

Time to summon the beast within, it’s marathon morning.  It’s BQ attempt morning!

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As I rolled out of bed before 2am, I think I had myself talked out of a great race before my first cup of coffee was even brewed.  I tried and tried to get my head in the game early on that morning, but something just didn’t feel right.  Most of the time when I awake on the morning of a race, I start visualizing.  I start feeling that energy.  I get my game face on.  So here begins the struggle within.

I’m not sure if it was the pressure that I put on myself was what was taking a toll or not.  I think I was feeling just some overall exhaustion, too.  I just didn’t feel 100%.  You know, it takes feeling 110% to run your best marathon.  I think it was probably a combination of the two.

I knew, and posted about this previously, that I was really taking a lot on by scheduling myself such a whirlwind trip to Colorado to begin with.  I couldn’t leave well enough alone.  I couldn’t just be satisfied running one race (a marathon), I just had to go and schedule a second one.  Looking back on it, more than likely it did me in.  Oops, I’m giving away the ending already aren’t I?  Well, it’s probably no surprise, but I didn’t get my BQ on Sunday at the Rockies Marathon.  There, I said it.  I’ve admitted it.  Now I have to own up to it.  Here is what happened, and it may or may not have had anything to do with flying for four hours on Friday, then driving for four plus hours right afterward.  Going to bed at 2am, getting up and pacing a Half Marathon on Saturday morning.  Driving another four hours back to Denver….  Yes, it kinda goes something like that.  My hips hurt, my feet didn’t.  My hips rarely hurt.  My ass hurt.  I just drove 8 hours, and flew for 4 right before a marathon.  A BQ attempt.  DUH!

And so it began…  With a drive to Bandimere Speedway in Morrison from my hotel in Westminster at like 3:30am.  Total darkness, about a 20 minute drive.  Smooth, right?  No one else on the roads except for other runners heading to the same place.  Simple.  Well, you would think.  It was completely simple until I got to the exit for the Speedway.  Headlights streaming into view from the other direction, lined up for what seemed like miles.  I was on the easy side though, with just a right hand turn off the exit, and another quick right into the parking lot.  It was dark.  There were too many cars trying to merge into one lane.  It took far too long.  It added stress, that just didn’t need to be burdened on a marathon runner before the big race.  As I past into the parking area, there were two buses on the side of the road.  One was being looked at by a mechanic.  PANIC!  See?  Those words rhyme.

I finally parked.  Still with plenty of time to catch the marathon buses.  You see, the marathon and half marathon had different times to load onto buses since the races started in two different locations at two different times.  We started earlier.  6am, to be exact.  At an elevation of over 10,000 ft.  This meant we had about a half hour bus ride.  No portopotties that I saw in the parking area, but still plenty of darkness.  I say I’m sorry to that 2004 Pontiac Grand Prix that may have gotten accidentally splashed with urine.  Sorry, really.  I got into what seemed to be a three tiered line for the marathon buses which were already going.  Within about 5 minutes I was loading onto a bus which clearly was going to reach maximum capacity before I could find a seat.  Note to bus driver…. Count passengers as they load.  If the bus has room for 65 passengers, count to 65, and then tell the next person the bus is full before they get on,  argh!  Of course this didn’t happen, and I am on the bus with about ten other people, all standing there realizing there are no seats.  We all had to get off, and of course, lose our place in the bus line.  Ok, don’t get me started!  I just tried to roll with it.  I got into the line again.  And we waited, and waited, and waited.

Once another bus finally showed up, I found a seat next to a woman who was also going for a BQ.  We chatted away in the darkness.  Eating oatmeal bars, and hydrating.  We had a great conversation.  I told her I had paced in Aspen the day before.  She said, oh, I know a woman named Jill that paced up there, too.  Lol, yeah, same Jill I drove to the start in Aspen.  Small world.

After a long and winding journey up into the mountains, we arrived.  We arrived at about 5:30am.  Just barely getting light out.  The sun was rising.  It was chilly.  About 45 degrees.  I made my way to the table to grab some throw away gloves and a Mylar blanket.  A perfect race amenity that surely was needed on a chilly morning way up high in the Rockies.  This is what I saw.

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Views abounded through the pines.  I knew right then that this was going to be a masterfully beautiful run.  I took these photos on my cell phone, and aren’t the best quality, but you get the picture.

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I stretched, and took in the mountain air.  With a slight delay of ten minutes while we waited for the last bus to arrive, I shook out my legs, my nerves, my bladder.

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We lined up, got my Garmin set and soon I was running.

I ran free.  With abandon.  I felt good.  Wasn’t feeling my sore hips.  Was breathing great considering the altitude, was developing a nice fast pace.  For me, that is.  A pace I knew I needed on the downhill.  Not too much, but just enough.  Comfortable.  I never felt I was going too fast.  I had overheard a runner at the expo talk about three uphill sections later in the course that would be a test.  I tried to plan for them both mentally and physically.  I didn’t want to pour on too much sauce too early.  Been there, done that.

The miles ticked by.  Taking in the views of the sunrise, the gorgeous mountains in the distance, the fresh air.  I was happy.  I felt good.  I enjoyed myself.  I was going after my BQ, and things felt better than I though they would.  I was positive and smiling.  My pace was great.  Five miles in at about 7:25 overall.  Not too fast like Big Cottonwood last year, I told myself.  Keep it even.  Stay focused.

8 miles in…. 7:35 pace.  Perfect, I thought.  I was feeling good.  As the course continued it’s downward path, I enjoyed every bit of it.  I spent a bunch of those miles hanging out with, and swapping positions on the road with this woman.  She had Boston in mind, too.  Luckily a photog on the course caught us in a happy moment.

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She didn’t get her BQ either, and I never saw her again when we hit one of the hills on the course.  Thanks for keeping me company Denise!  Hope to see you in Boston one day!

Somewhere between miles 10 and 12, it happened.  BQ hopes and dreams went up in smoke.  I felt the first twinge.  Then another.  Then another, and another.  My calves were starting to give me trouble.  They finally set in, and pretty much out of nowhere.  Cramps that were just debilitating.  The kind of cramps that set you off the side of the road, in pain.  Waiting for the pain to subside.  Massaging it away, willing it to go away.  Stay away!

They didn’t.  Unlike any other race prior.  Mind you, this was my 20th marathon.  For the next 10 miles I struggled with these damn cramps.  Off and on.  On and off.  Terrible.  I struggled not only with those, but also the voice inside me saying “it’s over”.  It was over.  I knew it.  When the cramps didn’t go away after a few bouts, I knew it was over.  Ok, wrap your head around just doing the best you can.  I tried to make the most of it.  Hell, I even took some pictures when I was trying to walk out a cramp.  At least I had great scenery.

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The cramps were relentless.  I adjusted my stops at aid stations.  Trying just water, trying just Gatorade, trying a combination.  Eating a banana.  Well, bottom line is that they lasted easily ten miles, the most irritating ten miles I think I’ve ever run.  Irritating because of all of the starts and stops.  Knowing my time was slipping further and further and further away from my goal.  It was just excruciating.  The agony of defeat.  A bitter pill, for sure.

As my time slowed to a nonsensical pace at times, it took everything I had not to cry out of pure frustration.  Was it the altitude?  How was I dehydrated?  Did I overwork myself the day prior?  Why in the hell was I cramping like this today?  The day I was going after my BQ?  Why?  Bite the bullet and run when you can.  Try to salvage what you can.  I convinced myself that I would not give up, that I would still give it all I had.  What?  Now my nipple was bleeding?  Bloody hell!  What now?  I did my best to cover the suspect at photo spots on course.  What’s worse than free photos with bloody nipples?

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I tried to paste on a smile.  Every now and then.

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Sometimes it worked, other times, well, not so much.

But guess what?  This guy doesn’t give up!  I don’t quit, and I make the most of what’s given to me.  And I’ll be damned, I ran that final three miles and never stopped.  Sure, I struggled for what seemed like an eternity.  But you know what?  I didn’t stop.  I will never stop.  I won’t stop.  Nope.  I know it will take the perfect race for me to get to Boston, but it will happen.  One day.

I made it to the finish on Sunday.  I ran with pride into the town of Morrison.  Not a soul passed me the final three miles of that race.  The cramps subsided, and I made the most of it.  I may not have scorched the finish line that day, but I ran my way to my best marathon finish of the year, despite the trouble I had.  It goes to show that part of my race was good anyway.

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I crossed the finish line in 3:46:46.  Tired, but holding on.  Marveling in another marathon finish, really, what can I not be proud of?  Sure, I didn’t get that BQ I had hoped for, but I still finished strong.  My calves did me in that day, but so hard to complain.  I made it to the finish, in one piece.  Breathing, alive, and mostly happy.  It would take a few minutes for the sting to wear off, but it did.  Looking back on it now, I wish I had a second chance.  That is such the perfect course for a BQ.  I know in my heart that if I hadn’t dealt with cramping issues that day, I could have done it.  It just wasn’t meant to be that day.  But, there will be more opportunities.  That is what I love about our sport.  The opportunity is there tomorrow, if you want to redeem yourself.  Really, the opportunities are endless.

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When I had a chance to sit in the grass afterward with this ginormous medal around my neck, my thoughts turned to this…. Where to next?

The Long and Winding Road

It just occurred to me.  My trip to Denver this past weekend could easily fill about five blog posts.  The trip out there alone could have been one post, but I chose to abbreviate it to just the hightlights and combine it with my first race recap.  It certainly was an epic first day!

From the time my plane took off in Raleigh until I had finished a Half Marathon in Aspen, the time span was a mere 17.5 hours. Crazy!  It was all worth it though.  Nearly four hours on the plane, four to five hours in the car, three hours of sleep and a race.

Ok, deep breath.  Moving on.  Like I said in my previous post, I had an expo to get to four hours away, so hanging out after the race for more than an hour was really unrealistic. Since I had come into town the night before along a different route, I wanted to take the shorter route back to the Denver area.  This meant driving from the race finish in Basalt, through Aspen and on through Independence Pass.

Once I started driving this route it became abundantly clear to me that I was actually glad that I hadn’t tried to drive this route the night before.  It was a winding road to say the least.  It was incredibly high up in the mountains, and barely one lane in spots.  It WAS beautiful though, just incredible.

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Little did I know that I would be driving along The Continental Divide.  I guess I really haven’t given much thought to what the Divide really is, so I’ve had to read up on it.  Yes, there is still snow up there.  I didn’t stop to take many pictures, but what a great place to do some sightseeing, hiking and even rock climbing.  I saw a ton of folks doing each of those things.

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The Continental Divide- the principle, and largely mountainous, hydrological divide of the Americas.  The Continental Divide extends from the Bering Straight to the Straight of Magellan, and separates the watersheds that drain into the Pacific Ocean from those river systems that drain into the Atlantic Ocean.

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It was an amazing drive!  I still can’t believe the elevation of over 12,000 ft.  Maybe that’s why my ears kept popping.  Eventually my route took me back down through the Rockies and on into the Denver area.  I desperately needed a shower, so finding my hotel was the first order of business.

I stayed in Westminster, CO, about a 25 minute drive from the Revel Rockies race expo in Golden, and about the same distance to where I needed to catch the race buses in the morning in Morrison.  After a quick shower and a few minutes to relax I got back in the car and proceeded to the expo.  I completely forgot to take one single picture at the expo, but it was easy to find, and laid out perfectly.  There weren’t a whole lot of vendors at all, so after grabbing my bib, bag and shirts, off I went back to the hotel for some much needed rest.

Although there were many options for group dinners with other ambassadors, run groups, etc., I was so overtired, I just needed some quiet time, and an early bedtime even more.  I grabbed some food from a local restaurant and ate it in my hotel room.  Starting to fade very early in the evening, I mapped out my drive for the morning, got my gear ready to go, and set a very, very early alarm.  Like, isn’t 1:50am a bit too early?  Well, with needing to be at the parking lot for the busses leaving for the marathon between 3:30-4:15am, I felt this would be best.  I think I was fast asleep by 9:30pm.  Wish it had been even earlier.

I’ll end this post with a photo of my team and race shirt.

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Race Day post coming soon…….

Aspen Valley Half Marathon – Race Recap

As I sit here on the couch, still in complete recovery mode from an epic weekend of running, my thoughts are now gathered and ready to recap the first of two races.

The Aspen Valley Half Marathon – Colorado

My plane ride to Denver was uneventful, and arrived right at 8pm local time.  Since I traveled from the east coast, it was 10pm, “my time”.  I took the shuttle out to the rental car pickup, and within a speedy 20 minutes, was off and driving west.  I had mapped out my journey west prior to getting there, but included none of the necessities like finding somewhere to buy a drink for the trip, and also stopping for a bite to eat before the epically dark trip into the mountains.  I knew it would take about four hours to drive from the airport to Aspen, without stops.  Once I found a place to stop off and grab some food and drink, I was on my way.

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Being completely unfamiliar with the area, I tried to stay focused on the road.  I took Interstate 70 west.  I’m sure the drive is tough enough during daylight because, let’s face it, you’re driving through the Rocky Mountains, but driving it in total darkness added more interest and intrigue.  In other words, stress!

I had to come up with plan “B” more than an hour into my trip, because in the darkness, I completely missed the first exit that I needed to take.  Once I noticed it, I decided I would just go up to the next exit, and come back around to make the correction.  Well, the next exit was too far away to double back around so I just decided to keep going and take the longer interstate route.  It was a long drive!  Making it worse and even more stressful were two incidents.  The first being a car fire.  Not mine.  As I was driving west of Vail, I started seeing smoke in the distance.  As I got closer I realized that a car on the side of the road was completely ablaze.  I mean, ON FIRE!  Luckily there were already a few cars stopped to help the passengers of that car, and I could see the fire trucks coming in the opposite direction.  I slowed down, and carefully passed, although for a moment I thought, watch it explode as I drive right next to it.

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Another 1/2 hour later there was road construction happening, where the interstate was closed in my direction for repairs.  That meant we were merged into one lane for eight miles.  Complete agony!  I was so tired, and this wasn’t helping.  Needless to say, the trip was long, and taxing on my body, after having flown for almost four hours to Colorado.  My ass was killing me from all of the sitting!  I finally made it to my hotel at 1am.  (3am, “my time”). Exhausted, I fumbled around getting my race stuff ready for morning, and hit the hay about 1:45am.

I woke up about three hours later to get ready for my Half.  I was thanking my lucky stars that I was only running a half marathon and not a full.  Plus, the fact that I was there to pace the 2:15 group, I knew that even being so tired, I could still manage that.  After meeting up with fellow pacer, Jill, from the Denver area, we made our way to the parking lot about five miles away to get ready, and wait for a shuttle to take us to the start.  Jill had never paced before, so I gave her some advice while swapping running stories.  Jill, if you ever read this, it was a pleasure meeting you!

We met up with other pacers for the Half, and I took a few photos before we boarded the shuttle.

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I have never been to Colorado, and since I arrived in the dark the previous night, I was just in awe of the natural beauty of the mountains.

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The starting line was just so picturesque.  I knew it was going to be a beautiful run from Snowmass to Basalt.  I got rid of my drop bag, and we all got lined up to start the race.  I met up with a bunch of runners who wanted to run with me.  Tricia was the most vocal.  She was a part-time resident of Colorado, part-time New Yorker.  She told me she would be running the New York City Marathon, so maybe we will bump into each other there later this year.

The run was beautiful.  My plan was to keep an even pace, so once we broke out of the crowd, I settled into a 10:14 per mile pace, allowing a tiny cushion just in case.  I had no issues with the high elevation, the air was so crisp and clean.  Chatting with runners all around, we made our way down the Rio Grande Trail toward Basalt.  Even pacing, perfect pacing and company, it was a very enjoyable run.

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Most of the course is downhill, but a few uphills on the final miles were just enough to test your legs.  I had no trouble, but many folks were having to walk the uphill portions.  I guess my hill work paid off!

Nearing the finish I started thinking about having to race again the following day.  I was happy I was getting in the shake out run I wanted, but worried that it was too much.  I didn’t have any leg issues, and no trouble breathing.  Pacing the 2:15 was really a great warm up.  I hope I felt that way later in the day.

Coming through the finish line, I grabbed a medal and water, and waited to welcome in folks from my pace group that had faded along the course.  We high-fived and chatted before heading over to a nice picnic area set up as the finisher village.  There was all sorts of food from custom made salads, to donuts, coffee, beer and more.  There was music and friendly runners everywhere.

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My finish time was 2:14:41.  19 seconds under the goal.  I thought I ran it perfectly.  My pace after mile 1 never wavered more than two seconds from my goal pace.  What a great, relaxing atmosphere to soak up an achievement.  I relaxed with some other pacers for about an hour before we hit the road back to Denver.  I had an expo to attend, so I needed to get going.  That is a story all itself, as I traversed through Independence Gap, and over the Continental Divide.

Wow!  What an amazing and tiring trip so far.  I wouldn’t have done it any other way!  The Aspen Valley race was very well done.  If you ever find yourself in Colorado in July, I would surely recommend this race.

Runcation Commences NOW!

I don’t go back to work for another 176 hours.  That’s a full week off!

I needed it desperately!  It’s been damn six months since I could say that I am on vacation. This kind of vacation is the best kind, too.  It includes not one, but two races.  It includes air travel, a rental car, and all the fun I can have packed into a few days.

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I am officially on RUNCATION!  I actually don’t leave until Friday early in the evening, but I am officially on break.

First order of business is a short run this evening when the suns brilliant rays duck down behind the trees.  I need a shaded 90 degree run, since it’s going to be hot regardless.  After that?  Not much.  No plans the rest of the night.  Unless you call laying on the couch with my two chihuahuas date night.

I have had a serious lack of sleep the past three nights, and I plan on remedying that tonight and tomorrow night.  You see, I need to catch up.  This weekends trip to Colorado won’t offer me much down time, or sleep, so I need to catch up with myself and bank a few hours before I leave.

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I actually won’t arrive in Denver until about 8pm on Friday evening.  Then I have a four hour drive to Aspen before settling in for the night.  I won’t get much sleep, as it’s an early wake up call to pace the Aspen Valley Half Marathon on Saturday morning.

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After running through some absolutely picturesque scenery, it’s a drive back to Golden, Colorado.  Marathon #20 on Sunday morning before traveling home that evening.

I just can’t believe this runcation is finally here.  Seems like it’s been in the works for years.  I’ll try to keep my blog updated the best I can over the next week, since I have two races to recap afterward.  Luckily I was smart enough to not return to work next Monday morning.  I will have two days to rest and recover from an epic running weekend.  Plenty of time to rest my feet after 39.3 miles of racing in the Colorado Rockies.

I think it best, now that I am really starting to soak it in, that I plan a runcation every year.  One that’s not just a weekend getaway.  Don’t get me wrong, I love those, too.  It just really feels amazing that I have this time off, and get to do what I love (running) at the same time.  Yes, a week long runcation is necessary for my mental health.  How about you?  How often do you take vacations?  Have you ever taken a vacation just because you wanted to run?

Wrapping up June

With only one more day in the month I’m left wondering what happened.  Where did it go?  With the a Summer Solstice already passed, the days now are already getting shorter.  It feels wonderful though at this time of year to still have daylight at 9pm, and to have the sun rising so early.

I started the month with a 10k race, but have just been training since.  Dealing with pure heat exhaustion almost every run, summertime here will certainly add an extra level of effort needed to crank out the miles.  I’m fresh off of four days of runs in a row, which is my best effort for the whole month.  I haven’t logged nearly enough miles considering I have a Half and Full marathon back to back in under three weeks, but I think I am giving it the most I have.

Work has been absolutely grueling, but at least I’ve been getting really good sleep because of it.  Add a four or five mile run to a 9-10 hour day working on your feet, and you will truly appreciate how I’ve felt the past six weeks.  I’m in much need of a break.  A vacation!

I do get a mini break in mid July, as I fly out to Denver for a weekend of racing.  I can’t wait to see Denver, and Aspen!  The Rockies!

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I recently joined the Beast Pacing team, and will be pacing the Aspen Valley Half Marathon.  I have paced a bunch of races in the past, but this will be my first as part of an official pace team that paces races all over the country.  I love to travel, so I will be pacing more events for them in the near future.

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The next day is Revel Rockies, where my goal is a Boston Qualifier at this beautiful marathon.  I cannot wait for the challenge.  Last year I ran 5 marathons in the first five months of the year.  I’ve only run two so far this year, and I have to say, I miss it.  My last marathon, New River, was almost row months ago, and I am missing the marathon high!

Just a few weeks after my trip to Denver, I finally get a vacation.  Yes, I love Las Vegas.  I’ve been there once already this year, but by the time this trip comes, it will be six months since I’ve been there.  I cannot wait!  I repeat, I cannot wait!  A full 10 days off.  I need it!

How is your Summer going so far?  Any big plans for races, or trips coming up?  June is almost over, so don’t wait too long, or the Summer will pass you by quickly.

Rocky Mountain High

Travel plans are all set, and I am ready for another crazy running adventure!

July 17th will find me on an airplane heading west.  First stop?  Denver.

I’ll grab my bag, hit the rental car desk, and head out.  Destination?  Aspen, high up in the Colorado Rockies.  I am so looking forward to it, although I’ll be driving it at night, and I won’t have a bunch of views until morning.  Probably won’t get much sleep, but it will be worth it.

I am pacing the 2:15 Half the following morning at Aspen Valley.

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I am utterly beside myself, it will be so much fun!  Love pacing!  Have never paced a half over a two hour finish, so this should be a nice warm up for the big show on Sunday morning.

After Aspen on Saturday morning, I will be heading back east toward Denver.  Stopping off in the foothills for the Revel Rockies marathon expo.  Yes, I should probably change my clothes first, and douse myself in cologne and deodorant since I won’t have the chance to shower first.

At the expo, I will be meeting up with a bunch of other race ambassadors, and grab my team shirts to pass out.  To date, I have had 20 runners from all around the country sign up on my Revel team.  One had to drop out due to injury, and others may still join, but right now the number sits at 19.  The race offers custom team shirts for team of 12 or more.  I can’t wait to see it, and show it here on my blog.  I’ve seen the mock up, and it’s going to be really awesome to run in it.

After the expo, hopefully a quiet night in preparation for my marathon the next morning.

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I ran Revel Big Cottonwood last Fall, and it was incredible from beginning to end.  The Rockies event will be just as amazing I’m sure.  If I’m feeling good, I will be going for a BQ.  If not, there will be other races. Not going to stress about it, this crazy weekend is all about having fun.

I don’t plan on indulging in any cannabis, but these two races back to back should give me a Rocky Mountain High like no other!  After the marathon on Sunday, I’ll chill and relax with my team and other ambassadors before heading back to the airport in the early evening for the non-stop flight back to Raleigh.  Just blogging about it, is getting me so excited.  Looking at the calendar, I head to Colorado on this epic adventure just five short weeks from today!

No PR, No BQ, No Big Deal. Run Happy!

Could this old guy be slowing down?  Well, lately I’ve felt like my fastest running days are over.  Does it have to do with age, or does it have to do with guts and determination?

I turned my focus this past week on speed work.  Running distance in this heat (91 degrees right now), can be very daunting.  So, a nice change to my training has been shorter distances, and speed work.  I’m testing myself, to see if this aging guy still has what it takes to pull a PR at any distance.

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My immediate attention is on a 10k in a few weeks.  I am not gunning for a PR because it’s just not that important to me right now.  I haven’t PR’d the distance in a few years, but I don’t run 10k’s often at all.  But the distant focus is on a pair of races this Summer.  I’ll still go all out like I want a PR, that’s just my nature.

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I have decided that even though I am going to give it my best shot at the Rockies Marathon on July 19th and go for a PR, with high hopes for a BQ, that I will also run the day before.  A Half.

Too crazy not to try something I have never done.  Only once have I run back to back races.  Last Summer I ran a 10k and then a 5k 45 minutes later the same morning.  It was a 15k challenge which I gladly signed up for.  So, I’ve done that sort of race double, but nothing close to what I will attempt in July.

So, I am signed up for the Aspen Valley Half Marathon on July 18th.  I will be a pacer, and hopefully get in a nice much slower than normal pace for me type of warm up.  The warm up is for the next day, running the Full Marathon.  Going for my BQ.  Will I achieve that BQ?  Who knows, but I don’t think I really want to skip the challenge of back to back distance events like this opportunity presents.

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There will be so many opportunities to get my BQ, that I think I am loosening the reigns on the BQ wagon this Summer.  I would rather have a fun challenge of back to back races in two beautiful locations, than pinning all my hopes on one BQ race.  Sure, I am still going to give it my all, but if it doesn’t happen at least I won’t regret passing up on the second race to solely focus on the BQ.  Boston is not everything.  Sure, would I love to go and run Boston one day?  Absolutely!  But at least for now, it’s not the end all be all goal.

I had to do some soul searching of late, and figured out that I run because it makes me happy, makes me feel good.  I run for the health benefits, and for the mind and soul cleansing it provides me.  I run for the beauty around me.  I think if I run solely with a BQ in mind, that I lose many of the reasons why I run in the first place.  I don’t need all the pressure, running is supposed to relieve that.  If I happen to have the race of my life and qualify, then of course I will be thrilled.  If it doesn’t, I don’t want to be heart broken and full of regret.  If I run a 3:24:59 I will be ecstatic, but if I run a 3:50:00, I want to be happy for the experience of it all.

So that’s it!  I’m running a Half, then a a Full the next day.  I will give it my all, I will enjoy and revel in both.  It’s a pretty big challenge, but one I am happy about.  Have you ever tried a crazy running challenge?  Back to back races?  Back to back to back races?  I’d love to hear about your experiences.  Please share!

Running Quandry

I will be adventuring out to Colorado this Summer to run a race.  A big race, my BQ attempt.  Revel Rockies is a downhill course taking place outside of Denver in the mountains.  I’ve been looking forward to it for quite some time now, as I have never spent any time in Colorado at all except for a few times on the tarmac heading through to another destination.

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I have gone back and forth at least 100 times trying to map out this adventure.  Everything from flights, rental cars, accommodations, to length of overall stay.  I would love to spend a few days there exploring, seeing some sights.  It would also give me the opportunity to adjust to the altitude change.  You see, I live pretty much at sea level, and well you know, Denver is considered the mile high city.  The elevation there is almost exactly one mile above sea level.  That’s over 5,100 ft. of elevation.  The air is thinner and dryer.  They say to drink more water prior to visiting, as it helps you adapt better.  They also say that if you run 10 miles a day at home, to go for six in Denver.  That scares me a bit.  I’m running 26.2.

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The opportunity to “get my feet wet”, with running out there has fallen into my lap.  I have signed on to pace the Aspen Valley Half Marathon the day before my big race.  This gives me the chance to get a feel for the elevation.  I specifically chose a pace time well over my race pace (2:15 finish time), and it’s a net downhill elevation course, so it should allow a nice slow pace, and let me get a feel for the air and elevation.

I am trying to make all this work logistically, and am finding it very difficult.  The distance of Aspen from the airport, bib pickup, accommodations, everything about it is difficult to plan.  Well, if my pockets were much deeper, it wouldn’t be a big deal, but I am trying to figure this out on a budget.  Aspen is not cheap!  Even looking at AirBnB is not cheap.

What would you suggest?  Should I take advantage to my time there by running two races at all?  Should I just concentrate on the BQ race?  I really am torn.  Your thoughts would be helpful, I’m sure.