May 26: On what is traditionally a hot day to start off the summer season in Colorado, the temperature at 5 am sits around 50 degrees. Most of the time, we would just throw on a sweat shirt for the annual expedition up to Boulder, Colorado. But a morning like this is unusual in the fact that its raining in the morning. An anomoly to start off the day when people will see the end result of all the blood, sweat, and tears that they have spent on their training over the past few months. The superstitious would see a dawn like this as a bad omen, while most others give thanks for the fact that they won't have to burn up bottle after bottle of sunscreen.
I'm travelling with family for this years race. My wife and brother-in-law decided to walk the race this year for the first time. (He had participated in alot of dirt bike races when he was younger, and had injured his right knee many times. Just this last December, he had to have a total knee replacement.) My sister and her son were running it for the 2nd time, and I was joining this mob for the 5th time. I do have to say, the first few times I went, I was by myself. It is a LOT better travelling with friends and family.
By the time we get up to Boulder, the temps have sky-rocketed up to an astonishing 55 degrees. The sun's out, with thin clouds overhead. And now, everyone's getting ready for the race. Entire packs of people that are in coaching groups, are seen stretching together, while others go through their pre-race ceremonies in solitude.
While some are literally running to get to the start line in time to get to their wave before it leaves, my group is going through our own pre-race warmups. Finishing coffee, taking our gels, last little bit of water, and laughing at some of the costumes that some are wearing. Thing 1 and Thing 2, Superman, Wonder Woman, Spartans, and rabbits have all shown up to do their best to beat the clock.
The race itself tends to be a blur for me. I seem to be at that point in my very amateur career, when at times, I can't hear my body. Now, I can still feel that nagging blister thats waiting to break my stride, or the muscle tissue that doesn't seem like it woke up with the rest of the body. But its more like a voice in the distance, that you can barely hear. While I knew that today would be a new PR
, I had a higher goal in mind.
For those that don't know me all that well, I absolutely savor little victories. I didn't discover this until I started running. But now that I've had a taste of it, I look forward to the opportunities that life presents me for little victories. Its almost like my mouth starts watering at the prospect of another personal victory.
Mile 1: 7:48. I figured I needed to average 8/mile to safely hit my goal, but ****. Did I hit ground too hard?
Mile 2: 8:12. Whoa. Let off a little too much, and the hills are coming up.
Mile 3: 8:14. Come on! hurry up and hit 3rd gear, already!
Mile 4: 8:04. OK. Now I just need to trim out a little.
Mile 5: 7:54. Nice. Now I'm getting to where I can do this right.
Mile 6: 8:16. Oops. Forgot that last hill getting into Folsom Field.
As it all turns out, I finished in 50:09. Although I didn't hit my goal, I came **** close. (I still shaved over 4 minutes off my previous PR
.) Nice little victory.
But, the most memorable part of the day, was before the elites came into the stadium. The last person to cross the line, was a little girl. She couldn't have been more than 9, but when she crossed the finish line in her wheelchair with her mom, the entire stadium exploded with noise from the crowd, cheering her and her family.
For her not so little victory.