I was supposed to run the Rocky Mountain Lab Rescue 5K today, put on by some good friends of ours. I was all set, mentally, to go out and just destroy my legs, my lungs and possibly throw up in under 24 minutes. You see, the 5k is not a distance I experiment with. I am afraid of that much pain. It’s uncomfortable. I won’t just go out and casually run it. I am a marathoner so I *expect* that to run only 3.1 miles, I will do it fast. Like, super fast. I thought the same of the half-marathon and that blew up in my face. Take away 10 miles and I’m screwed. It takes me at LEAST 6 or 7 miles to get warmed up. So, when the opportunity knocked on my door at about 1:15PM yesterday, I answered it and gave a giant hug to what was on the other side. An entry to the Colfax Marathon, which just so happened to be, well, today. I had to gracefully and regrettably bow out from the 5k.
With my longest run since Boston being 8 miles, I had my doubts at what kind of time I could put down but it didn’t deter me from starting out strong this morning. My hopes were to come in around 3:50 to 3:55. It was cool (38) and rainy (later turning to snow) and cloudy. It made for a muggy and somber run. Unbeknownst to me, the race organizers changed the course. Again. And I didn’t like it at all. Too many twists and turns, no rhythm could be found. I loved the hills and there were lots of them, mostly long and grinding. Bring on the challenge.
I stopped looking at my Garmin as I felt myself continually slow down. No sense in actually seeing how slow I was getting. My iPod crapped out at mile 14. My legs shortly after. BUT my feet felt great. I mean AWESOME! A few weeks ago, I visited the Boulder Running Company and after a harsh discussion with owner Mark, I was forced to change my stride and my shoe. I have been striking mid-foot for years, which was a huge contributor to all of the foot pain/numbness/bone spurs that were limiting my performance. I am now a converted heel striker. Not heel to toe all the way, but landing more on my heel has begun to alleviate and “erase” all of the issues I have been having. I am back to Adidas Supernova - the shoe I started in 13 years ago. However, I am now in the stability version versus the cushion. What a difference!
At about mile 24, I met up with a guy who was walking up the same hill I was. One in which I have never walked up before, as I have always prided myself in running up those suckers no matter how steep or slow. But today I didn’t give a shit. I didn’t have anything to prove and I was clearly not properly prepared to run a fast marathon. I know I can run a marathon anytime I want, it’s just how fast do I want to do it which will predicate how I train for it. Anyways, back to the hill and the guy. We got to chatting and this was his 11th marathon. I shyly told him this was my 51st. I don’t mind “writing” about my accomplishments but I don’t go around boasting or blabbing about them. It embarrasses me. We ended up run/walking our way to the finish line. I didn’t realize how close I was to coming in to a sub 4 because I stopped looking at my watch hours earlier. Had I know, I may have stepped it up a notch but again, for what? Nothing to prove, not today. Well, I did have one thing to prove. That with little training, I can still go out and do what I love most…run 26.2 miles.
I finished in a whopping 4:07 and change. Marathon #51 is in the books!! Considering the weather and my (lack of) training, I am quite pleased. And remember the whole “what now?” comment previously, yeah…next up is the Estes Park Marathon on June 12th. However, Vineman training begins 1 week from tomorrow. That's when the real fun begins...