Blue Sky Marathon Race Report
Warning: If you hoping to find inspiration or pointers on how to successfully run a fulfilling marathon, this posting will definitely disappoint.
I haven't been running much since Leadville. In fact, I don't think I've ran 100 miles since the race. I signed up for this race quite some time ago. I figured it would sellout quickly (which it did) and race is very friendly to transfers and such so knew I could probably find someone to take my spot if I didn't want to run.
I have been working tons the past several weeks so I haven't had a lot of time to dedicate to running, and even when I have the time I'm too exhausted to get meaningful training accomplished. That's life though.
To recap- Overworked. Undertrained. That was my situation. So, should I go run a marathon? Obviously the answer is no.
I decided to run the marathon. The plan was to head up to Ft. Fun on Saturday afternoon with Jeremiah, do some camping and get up and run this trail marathon on a beautiful fall morning. This plan got side railed as I was forced to work the majority of Saturday afternoon and into the evening. Plan B was getting up at 4:15am in the morning, pick up Jeremiah, get some coffee in me somehow and get this race done.
I had this strange dream on Saturday night. I was competing in some weird running race and I was winning! At some point the race entered a school or some other similar building and there was an aid station right in the entrance. After the aid station, the course ran up this 4-5 story staircase, and then you were supposed run down some other staircase. I ran up the staircase like an animal, but when I reached the top there was no way down. After searching for what seemed like forever, I returned back down the staircase to tell the AS personnel about my dilemma. They lectured me and told me the course was well marked and that I didn't look hard enough and directed me to go back up there. Of course, when I got back to the top there was no where to go. Repeat about 3 more times and then I woke up. I was on edge all morning because of that dream. I felt mentally exhausted from being lost on my imaginary race course.
I probably should have just stayed in bed.
Th early morning is a blur, but Jeremiah and I found ourselves with water bottles in hand at 7:00 am at the beginning of the race.
I saw a dude wearing a bright yellow singlet similar the ones I saw last weekend and knew I was gonna get beat by at least 1 person. I also had a pretty strong feeling Jeremiah was gonna have my number as well. Throw in an additional 3 or 4 random strong runners that always seem to show up in CO trail races and I was thinking that a strong effort would maybe end in a top 5 placing.
At the gun (or some dude yelling GO), the bright yellow singlet and another guy were off to the races. I found myself running in third. I kept up a decent pace and everybody behind me seem content with our placing for the first several miles before the big climb up Tower Rd. The climb up tower road was a decent challenge. Long and steep, but pretty straight forward. I tried to take it easy knowing I had a goo 20 miles after the climb and wasn't in the mood to deal with jello legs for the remainder of the race. I did make the goal of running the entire climb. As I was slowly running up the climb I got passed on the right by a nice duder who offered some encouragement in a strong english accent. Do English people pass on the right on trails?
After the climb we headed back down this loose rocky single track. I was having a blast and bombing down the trail. Soon re-passed the accent guy (on the left) and was really enjoying the day. I came back into the start area (9.2 Miles) in 3rd place. I slowed a bit to refill my water bottle which allowed a different guy to catch up with me. The two of us set out on the long traverse to the indian summer aid stations, the guy hanging on my heals nearly the entire way. Once the aid station was in sight, he stated that he'd 'lead' for a while. He took off. After the Indian Summer North aid station (13M) there's a decent climb up the side of the foot hills, before a decent into the Indian Summer South aid station. Somewhere along this climb I started to feel a bit off. It was nothing to0 unfamiliar to me. I just didn't feel 100%. As I was descending down into Indian Summer South another runner came bombing down the trail, putting me into 5th at the AS (15.4M). I came into the AS looking and feeling pretty good if I don't say so myself. Check out the pic...
On the way out. Fresh as a daisy
All the happy stuff is over now folks. Shortly after that photo my race headed in a different direction. What happened? Good question. Did I 'bonk? No. Did I go out too fast? I don't think so. Did I get dehydrated? I highly doubt it.
There's always a point in a marathon where things start to hurt and you get tired. For me that usually happens somewhere between 17-20 miles. This race was no different. I found myself 18M into a marathon and I was tired and hurting a bit. In every marathon I've ever ran I've been able to deal with this hurdle somewhat respectably. I'm not saying that my races weren't effected by it, but I took it for what it was and pressed on.
I didn't do that this time. I straight up quit. I decided I didn't want to run another 8-9 miles and deal with the necessary discomfort associated with a solid marathon performance. Why? I don't really know. I quit because I felt like it. I was tired.
"I'm pretty tired... I think I'll go home now"-Forrest Gump
Slightly altered race course map
My truck's transmission has what they call "limp" mode. When something is wrong it switches to this mode which essentially allows you to go from point A to point B, but you lose a lot of power an such. I went into 'limp' mode. My 'limp" mode consists of a light jogging like cadence. Not walking, but not particularly running either. I kept up the 'limp' mode effort until I got back to the Indian Summer South AS.
On the way back. Compare and contrast.
I was most likely still in about 10th place or something at this point (20.3M). I decided that since I was taking it easy, I might as well see what they had to offer on the buffet. What I found took my race even further into the doldrums.
Queue 'hiking' mode. There's not much more to say about the rest of the race. I ate this delicious cupcake, and convinced myself that I was just some dude out for a hike on a nice autumn morning. I picked up a bunch of trash. Said hello to lots of people as they passed by. It seemed to take forever, but eventually the finish line was in sight.
I thought about gamely jogging it in across the finish line, but I didn't even want to pretend that I was trying. I had given up. In reality, the only reason I was actually finishing this race was because it was the easiest way to get back to my car. I ended up in 30th place, but with a memorable experience none the less.
I was greeted at the finish by a concerned Jeremiah, who had finished nearly an hour ago (in 3rd place!!!!!). He was convinced I had dropped out somewhere.
We headed to the bar for some beers. Jeremiah was awarded with a flannel hat and a nice picture for placing 3rd. I won a $50 gift certificate for an otter box. I don't know what that is, but its a Major Award.
After the awards we were gonna head to New Belgium to fill my growler up with some brew. It was closed. I failed again.
After dropping Jeremiah off, I drove to The Hole and drowned my sorrows in a $2 PBR and doughnut special.
Beer and dogunuts: Much better than running a marathon.