Scatter my ashes here...

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

Monday, September 1, 2014


I'm not even sure where I should start with this post.

When I woke up this morning it was September. I've been looking forward to it, even though it's been one of the best summers I can remember in my adult life. I got to travel, run races, do the things I love to do, and I feel good, I have the time to be at a peaceful place in my life, I've been healthy, and I am excited about upcoming plans.

My biggest worry has been about running lately. And that was just the fatigue that I've been feeling for so long. Last week I only ran 30 miles, actually 29 to be exact. After my run with Wheaties Boy on Wednesday I started thinking more about what I need to NOT do before my race. So I've cut back and I've been taking it a lot easier. And then as I was walking yesterday, I had an epiphany about my race plans that helped even more.

I wasn't even sure if I should run this race today. But I figured it would be a decent workout no matter what. I set my sights on a sub-2 hour finish so as not to be disappointed. My short races this summer have all felt disastrous from a pace and finishing time standpoint. I know I don't need the speed for the 24 hour event, but mentally there's something that nags at you when you're not performing in "short" races. But I signed up for this one last week, and I needed to do a run anyway.

So I dragged myself out of bed at 5:30 to do the Colorado Run half Marathon, which started at Poudre High School and wound through the west side of town and on dirt roads and trails near Hughes Stadium until it hit the Spring Creek bike path and finished at the Fort Collins Club.

The weather was about as perfect as you could ask for, about 50 degrees, which feels cool to everyone after the warm summer. Perfectly clear skies and a slight breeze.

Waiting in line to pick up my race packet, the crowd was energetic and happy. Lots of young people, probably a lot of CSU students who are back now.

I hung out with my friend Joanne at the start, she is tapering for a marathon in two weeks, and I am tapering for my race. We shivered for a while until we went down to the track to warm up. The race started on the Poudre High School track. It is now modern and rubberized, twenty years ago when I was in graduate school at CSU I used to run a lot of quarters on this track, when it was dirt. Back in the day...

There was an issue with the gates being locked so there was about a 10 minute delay for the start, not bad.

Steve announced the start on the megaphone and also told us the news that just yesterday we lost a much loved and admired member of the running community. I will wait to say more in a future post...

We lined up on the track with seconds to spare before a voice said "Go" and we were off. I was still messing with my iPod. I hit the button on my watch and got my act together in the lap around the track before we headed out on the course.

I checked my watch split at one mile and it said 7:56. I wasn't struggling either. The next two rolling miles were just over 8 minutes, then we turned onto the dirt road, hill, and trail section that lasted 3 miles before we headed for the Spring Creek bike path. My slowest mile was uphill on the dirt at 9:10. I had my racing tunes on and tried to concentrate on turning my legs over as fast as I could. I kept thinking at that 8 minute or so pace I would eventually poop out, but I didn't, and by the time we turned onto the bike path and there were 6 miles left, I realized I might be a lot faster than 2 hours. I put it in fast autopilot and kept pushing.

The bike path is slightly downhill and I kept passing people, and holding an 8 ish pace was not that bad. My legs were turning over and I was working hard. At 10 miles I was at 1:24, then I ran 8:11 and 7:56 for my next two splits. At the 12 mile mark, precisely, I felt like I was going to puke. Really. So I pulled over onto the grass, had a quick dry heave that brought nothing up, and I got back on the path, starting slowly, but then picked it up when my stomach didn't complain. I was able to bring my pace back down in the 8s again and finish strong in under 1:50.

Like any good Fort Collins race, when you cross the finish line, they hand you a beer glass. I ended up getting two beer glasses today because my age group award was also a beer glass. Cool. I think I'll fill it with beer later after I get my work done. Joanne also won her age group.

I was very happy with this finishing time, not because I am satisfied with the time itself, but because I ran nearly 20 minutes faster than I did two weeks ago in the first half of the marathon, and 13 minutes faster than I ran the second half of the marathon. And this is the fastest half marathon I've run all year. After just one week of rest, it has already made a difference.

I am so thankful for Wheaties Boy saving my ass again, talking sense into me. Sometimes it's easy to get caught up in your own...orifices? and forget what you're doing. It really helps to have a second opinion from someone who knows!

Hanging out at the woman cave is on the agenda for the afternoon. I have some work to do, and then I'll be breaking out those beer glasses.

Back to taper mode...

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