Scatter my ashes here...

Scatter my ashes here...
scatter my ashes in the desert...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Follow the Blue Hole

This weekend we went to Fruita to visit our friends Kirk & Keith (aka Horace and Towanda), and I was signed up to run the Spring Desert 25 mile race. Towanda was also running the 25, and Horace was running the 50.

Driving from Fort Collins Friday morning, we left early knowing I-70 could get bad. The visibility was horrible from just outside of Golden to the top of Eisenhower tunnel. It took 2 hours to get from Idaho Springs to Vail, which is only 60 miles. Once we went down the other side from Eisenhower the roads were fine, even on Vail Pass. They must have closed I-70 soon after we got over Eisenhower because we heard there were a ton of people who were supposed to show up including some of the race staff and volunteers who were stuck in Denver.

It was a long drive but the Buffaloes needed a weekend out of town and they wanted to see their friends Boy and Bella, who own Kirk and Keith. By the time we got out of Glenwood Canyon and could see the cliffs above Grand Junction, there was one blue hole in the sky. Promising.

We saw Nick at the pre-race packet pickup in Fruita, and we introduced him to Kirk & Keith. They invited Nick to stay at the house. Nick had planned on camping out near the start. The weather wasn't great for camping, it looked like anything could happen over night with the thick dark clouds everywhere.

Maybe I should re-title this post, "I am an idiot". Before the race that morning I was thinking I'd be able to run the 25 in less than 5 hours and the sky looked dark and cloudy, even with the small amount of light there were not too many breaks in the clouds. I didn't want to carry the camera if it was raining and I thought, I won't want the weight in my pack.

Going up Moore Fun, the first part of the trail, the sunrise was outrageous, shades of blue and orange peeking through the edges of the dark clouds above the cliffs south of the river. I got to the first aid station only 3 minutes faster than last year when I ran the 50, and at that moment I was furious with myself for not bringing the damn camera!

And then on the second section of the course the juniper-dotted cliffs and mesas were lit up and the usual incredible views over the river were as incredible as ever. The day turned out to be perfect, the sky cleared out for the whole morning, and we stayed dry. Next year I will bring the camera, no matter what, no excuses.

I actually ran pretty fast on the trail in the whole middle section of the course, from about 6 to 19 miles. I powered up the steep long climb above Mack and when I got to the top, that was where I saw Nick in third place headed back on his second loop, and it was soon after that, my legs said, "We're done!". I was careful not to bite the trail in the rocky sections on the way down. I guess I was delusional, thinking I could finish faster this year when I haven't done anything remotely like speed training yet this year.

Nick finished the 50 in 7:44, in 2nd place, Kirk finished the 50 in 9:40 something, Towanda finished the 25 about an hour ahead of me, and I finished the 25 in 5:23 something. Slower than dog snot, again. I am so pissed about the camera! And Dennis says he's going to run the 25 next year. I need to get that in writing.
We waited around in the cold wind for Kirk to finish, it was blowing and getting dark again, like there was more rain waiting to dump out of the sky.

Kirk wore his pink gaiters, which did brighten things considerably.

Iris & Isabelle had fun playing with Boy and Bella.

After the race all of us went out for pizza and beer with two of Kirk & Keith's friends from Crested Butte. The pizza was amazingly good for being in Fruita, which as far as I can tell, is an evolving, formerly extreme redneck town that has given up resistance to a huge influx of yuppie visitors with SUVs, mountain bikes, and disposable income.

On the way home the road was clear the whole way. Looked like about a foot or more of snow in the foothills and some in Denver, but Fort Collins looked like it didn't get much. Maybe it rained here.

I am not at all looking forward to the Colorado Marathon in two weeks. I am hoping I am just tired from my tough 2 weeks of rock repeats and being in my usual state of exhaustion from work. I'll take it easy this week and see how I feel. But I doubt I will want to get up at 3 am and catch a bus up Poudre Canyon, plus get nauseated from fumes, just to run downhill on pavement for what is looking like at least 4 hours. I'd rather sleep in and do a long trail run.

Maybe I'll hit the sauna this week and get myself in Death Valley mode.


JeffO said...

At least you went out and ran. Good job.
I know how it is with cameras. if I had a dollar every time I regretted forgetting the camera, or deciding wrongly...
Good luck in the marathon.

Nick said...

Great run, Alene. It was a lot of fun hanging out this weekend. Amazing what difference two days makes. Driving back, it was as if that snowstorm had never happened.