I love it when a plan comes together!
The long runs taper after this one so I thought I would make it special and really go for something harder and longer. I didn’t want to burn myself up by running 22M at near race pace so I decided to make it longer, slower, and further with a challenge at the end. This run would have been epic for me a year ago. Today, I didn’t think too much about it. I packed one extra GU and was sure to grab cash and a credit card. So I snapped a quick photo this morning while standing on our deck of the finish line: Green!
I left at 10 AM so it was nice and warm out. Held a nice pace for the first 10 miles as I made my way into Longmont and then through it. The wind was blowing from the south so about 1/2 of my distance was going to have a headwind so that didn’t help. I didn’t feel strong or fast today but I felt steady and was able to just zone out for good portions of the run. Held high 7s or low 8s most of the time and that was just fine. I knew I had a long day ahead of me.
Dropped into my kid’s school at mile 11 or so to refill my water bottle. Church was going on. That didn’t look fun. They probably thought what I was doing didn’t look fun. To each, their own. I dropped a bomb in stall #2 and snuck out like a terrorist. As I got into Niwot, felt hot so I took a break in their main park to re-align my socks and soak up a few rays. I wasn’t in a hurry so I didn’t want to be slave to the watch. Caught a slightly different route into Boulder than when I ran to Boulder last time. Like this one better. Straighter angles. I am constantly trying to figure out the shortest distance so I don’t have to run further than needed.
Got onto the Boulder Creek Path. This part was new to me. Never been on it this far east. Battled families on bikes the whole way. There were drinking fountains often but they were all still off — which I figured. But I was out of liquid and needing it bad. My pace feel way off and I was dehydrated. I was mad I let that set in but I didn’t run past any viable options and I didn’t want to go a mile out of my way to find one. Finally, got to a gas station. They only had 32 oz Gatorade bottles. I bought one and ended up downing it within a block. That helped.
Made my way through campus. Then through The Hill. Then up to Boulder Mountain Park. The Gregory Trailhead was packed. Cars along the road from the start to the turnaround. Geez. I was prepared to hike it in at this point. My legs didn’t feel sturdy enough to run over the sloppy wet snow. However, I had a few bursts of running — mostly when other people were on the trail around me. Ghey, I know. But its hard to not. They gave me motivation. As I passed them on the ascent, I couldn’t help but think to myself — you parked at the trailhead and I ran here from a different city and I still am going around you. This is not meant to be some rip on them. But more a reflection of where I am. How the hell did I become this person that can do this? I couldn’t run around my block 5 years ago. And while this is a “bigger effort” for me today, its not an event of a lifetime or anything yet these folks probably couldn’t fathom this, much as I couldn’t before I started this journey. Consistency pays off in this sport.
Crossed 26.2 on the ascent before the lodge. It was 3:49 on the watch. There were breaks in there but seemed like an OK time given current training loads. Anyway, the trudge through the switchbacks sucked. I started getting slightly colder in the shadows but I couldn’t help but leave my shirt in my pack since I didn’t want to stop and it was so fun to pass the REI-clad hikers who were just coming out of winter hibernation. I got to the 4-way and knew I had less than 5 minutes to go and that was refreshing. Hit the summit and saw 4:45 or so on the watch. Probably was about 50-60 minutes on the up today. Enjoyed the summit briefly while I thought to myself — how the hell am I going to do that approximately 2-3 more times come August in 24 hours. Ah, I have time to figure that out. Quickly my attention turned to my other big problem — how to get home!
Oh, I would like to pretend I didn’t have a plan but I did. I started my descent and was able to shake off the fatigue and pick up speed. Maybe that was the piece of the puzzle I was missing when I thought of Leadville on the summit. For the up’s, there will be down’s. I was able to fire up my legs for the down. Wobbly, but they ran. Near the bottom of the decent, I spotted a familiar 4-legged face — and her daddy. JV was on his usual Sunday cruise up. I had a hunch I would bump into him near the parking lot. He had the drop on my activity and asked if I ran from home. Yep! I was going to try and time my ascent with his but I felt I needed to get out of the house earlier this morning and frankly I wasn’t sure if I would make it or not. Wouldn’t want him standing around! We chatted and then I moved on. I had a bus to catch!
I ran back into downtown Boulder to the RTD station at 14th and Walnut. Got there and confirmed that the next bus to Longmont was in 25 minutes. All set! I went to the nearby gas station and got a big soda to soothe my gut. Drank that while waiting on my ride. Jumped aboard, paid my $3.50, and was so excited to sit back and let somebody else carry me home. In no time, we were back in Longmont. Kim and the kids met me at Chipotle where I inhaled a burrito and felt normal again.
Overall, this was a solid day. A bit tired after but that goes with the territory. The adhoc aid stations played a bit of a factor with the heat. Haven’t built tolerance back up yet. Plus, ascending 2,500 feet after running a marathon distance isn’t terrible. I had a good day out there and it was super to be out there for so long. I wanted to burn through all my stored energy as if I was draining a battery before doing a full recharge (taper). Overall, I knew it would be a bit trying on Kim back at home but I need to get a few of these longer runs down before Leadville. And sneaking in one before Boston felt right.
Thought this Google map would be cooler but when you cover so much distance, its not. Everything is small. Oh well.
Of course, I took my camera along for the ride today. Wasn’t sure if this would be anything but thought it might be fun to watch my progression over the course of the day. I don’t bring them to the marathon so you just have to get that 2nd hand reporting of “he looked like shit”. Plus, it gave me something to do! Fun to watch the mountain get closer and closer.
Home to Summit: I went 28.35 miles with an elevation gain of 3,484 feet in 04:44:38, which is an average pace of 10:02. Heart rate average was 142. View my GPS data on Garmin Connect.
Summit to Bus: I went 4.72 miles with an elevation gain of 24 feet in 01:00:09, which is an average pace of 12:44. Heart rate average was 125. View my GPS data on Garmin Connect.