So that is why I ran; I couldn't think of a reason not too...
But after my recent renaissances of eating and running like a caveman (sans club... for now...), I was wanting to put these disciplines to the test.
I had an awesome two weeks of training beforehand racking up an astonishing 8 miles!!! With a kid in the hospital and some gosh-awful prefinal tests, my training suffered. But in reality, it was more training than I usually do before a race.
So I ran down to Fort Collins to pick up my packet the day before. I told them I was Joe, praying they wouldn't ask for an ID this year, picked up the number and looked around the expo. I stopped by a booth manned by Marshal Ulrich. I was going to pass by but he cornered me. I am glad he did, we talked some running for a bit so I handed over a twenty and got a signed copy of his book. I am really looking forward to reading it (after finals). I then discovered that I would need to be up by 3 AM to make it to the race shuttle, so I hurried home and generally procrastinated getting my race nutrition and equipment ready.
Sleeping in til 3:10, I hurried and slogged up the stairs, noting the fresh coat of snow on my truck. I painstakingly got my Injinji toe sock around each digit, put on the lightest combination of light weight, warm running gear and made my breakfast smoothie. I also sucked down an Ensure meal replacement shake and grabbed my chia seed and Heed mixture. With the roads being good I made it down with time to spare.
I parked and jumped on the shuttle up the canyon. The full marathon is a breathtaking run down Poudre Canyon. The 1/2 doesn't get near enough of the canyon in, but it is still nice. After the canyon you take a left through LaPorte and finish in Old Town FC. Upon arrival, I was very disappointed to find there was no coffee!! GRRR!!! I sat around trying to stay warm, making new friends and finally the coffee showed up. I had a few cups, got all my equipment together (iPod, running belt and GPS). At 6:40, I started stripping off my warm clothes getting down to race clothes, and enduring the cold!
AND WE ARE OFF!!!
When the race finally started, my feet were numb, one of the unfortunate side effects of running in minimalist shoes in the cold I guess. The begiining of the race is where the majority of the downhill is. I tried not to take off to fast, but it is hard with that decline.
The race was what I remembered. A nice course, with way too many people. And very little uphill! I followed my normal strategy of looking ahead and trying to catch a runner about 100 yds ahead of me. As I ran, I was careful to keep sipping from my Heed/chia seed water bottle and avoiding cramps. I got some stiffness in my right Achilles, but eventually worked it out.
The race was going great, I had to stop to pee once, and another time to remove my socks (they were rolling). At about ten miles, things got bad. I can only describe it as my feet "dying." My previous high mileage for the VFF's was eight miles; no problem. Apparently ten is my new limit... With a mere 5k left to go, my run turned more into a shuffle as the miles wore down. I had to stop to pee one more time, and when I tried to get going again it was worse. I fought the urge to walk. I knew that the best way to end the pain was going to be to finish. My pace slowed to around a 10.5 minute mile, other runners flew past me. When I finally rounded the corner to the home stretch, I lost it.
There ahead of me was 100 yds of rock littered gravel road. The pain in my feet was too much. I had to walk it... Cursing my low pain tolerance every step, I finally got back to some good solid ground. I ran the last 100 yds. As I crossed the finish line, the announcer noticed I was the first halfer to finish in the VFF's. The smile came back to my face...
Having learned form last year, I carried my ID with me. I picked up my finishers medal (like graduating from grade school...), grabbed a banana and headed to the beer garden for a recovery drink. Seeing that they had Amber Bock, I made it two, picked up my pre-race bag and made it three. Walking very slowly around Old Town, I grabbed a coffee and headed back to Laramie.
I am very sore today! Way more sore than I have been from a race in a long time. I believe my feet are a half size bigger. Not joking. But I had fun! And I didn't cramp up. And for that I am very happy. I will continue to avoid road races, but maybe not as much.
Next up, I will review my equipment and nutrition for the race.
This should take you to my Garmin download site. You can see the course route and elevation.