Scatter my ashes here...

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

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Colorado Marathon 5K: Catching Up

I don't know what I would do without my friends. As one of them said this week, when you think about things alone, you get into this vortex, and you keep coming back to the same place. When you share your ideas and thoughts with others, you can find tangents to throw you out of the downward spiral.

I'm picky about my friends. I like intelligent, creative people. If there's no spark in there, when I look in someone's eyes and soul, I'm not going to pursue it.

When I take down time from running, I also use the time to catch up with a lot of people I haven't seen in a while. My running schedule can limit my ability to socialize, especially with my non-runner friends, simply because I don't have the energy to stay awake when most people do things, in the evenings or weekends. I'm either running or sleeping.

I didn't run a step for myself for two weeks, I did jog with the girls several times but never more than 2 miles at a time. I went for one bike ride. I decided earlier this week that I wanted to run in the Colorado 5K or 10K held with the marathon this weekend, so I went to the expo and signed up yesterday. My friend Connie, who wrecked on her bike last weekend, is home and recovering from her fractures and surgery.

Earlier this week, Dennis Vanderheiden, who runs Athletes in Tandem, and Connie's running partner Dan Berlin, who is blind, decided to push Connie in one of the strollers Dennis uses for challenged athletes. Connie has been Dan's guide many times in marathons and other races. They planned to run the 10K. I wasn't sure I could keep up with them, even pushing the stroller, and 10K was a bit longer than I wanted to push myself if I had to run hard, so I signed up for the 5K and waited around until they came through the finish line.

It was a cold morning and I warmed up a bit along the Poudre Trail after the buses dropped us off at the start. I did a few strides and felt awkward and clunky on my feet, but I didn't think I'd be running very fast. I just wanted to get out and move, run as hard as I could, with no goal, no expectations.

When the gun went off I was close to the front of the pack, and I only saw maybe 5 women ahead of me. In the entire race, only one guy passed me, no one else. I followed the nearest woman I could see for the first mile and scared myself when I looked at my watch at the one mile mark, it said 6:56. I didn't even think my legs could do that right now.

Of course my pace went downhill from there, progressively slower 7 minute plus miles to splits of 14:22 and 22:07 at the next two mile markers. But I was completely surprised when I could see the finish line and the clock was ticking 22 minutes and change, and I got in under 23 minutes. 22:51, my watch said. It was uncomfortable, but I wasn't dying...a pleasant surprise, I guess you could say. I won't start working on speed again for a few more weeks yet. Next week the plan is to get all of 20 easy miles in.

As it turned out I was 6th place overall woman, and 18th overall of everyone. There were a couple of women at the bottom of the 40-49 age group, like 40 and 42 or something. But I don't think there were more than one or two women under 20 minutes.

The race seemed well-organized, it was the first year under new management and I was impressed that they seemed to have put it together seamlessly. It's always been a good event, looks like it will continue like that.

I stood with Connie's husband Doug and her daughter Marissa waiting for the team of Dennis, Dan and Connie to come across the finish line.

Soon they did, and we stood around and talked a while, it was freezing and the sun wasn't warming us up very fast. I waited for my friend Joanne, who is a psychiatric nurse with the VA, to finish her half-marathon, and then we went for coffee along with her husband Hunter while I waited for Wheaties Boy, who was pacing the 3:15 pace group, to finish.

Joanne and Hunter are planning to crew for me at the race in Oklahoma City this fall. We talked a little bit about North Coast, and about Joanne's marathon plans, and of course the topic of nursing came up. Joanne has been a nurse for 35 years and she's seen the same cyclical changes and the same problems over and over, and things never change.

It's the theme that keeps repeating itself. This past week alone, I have spoken at length, literally for hours at a time, with four different nurse friends, and had shorter conversations with as many non-nurse friends, about nursing. It's disturbing as hell, yet somehow comforting to hear the things other people have experienced, not much different than my own, and it validates what I'm seeing, feeling, and experiencing. We're all fighting dinosaurs. And we all know what happened to dinosaurs.

What was said about the definition of insanity?

Soon it was close to the time I expected Wheaties Boy, so we went outside, and in a few minutes, I saw him flying in with the 3:15 marathon banner. As he approached the finish line chute, I yelled "GO WHEATIES BOY" and I could see him crack up.

After hanging out for a bit longer with Hunter and Joanne, and Wheaties Boy, I went home.

Refreshed. Caught up. Ready to push forward.

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