Friday, September 10, 2010

Oops! I did it again. (Marathon #3)

I traveled to Colorado Springs last weekend with some fantastic friends, and their families, for the American Discovery Trail Marathon. I hadn't planned to run it until a few months ago, when I got that brilliant idea to do my first 6 marathons in 6 months. I invited myself along on their trip, and ended up having a great time as an adopted member of the family.

Many people told me the altitude would be awful, and that I'd die a terrible, lung-bursting death. Thankfully, that didn't happen. After lots of discussion with Coach Scott, we agreed that any running difficulty on marathon day were due to the sun, more so than the altitude. 

The race was set to start at 6:30am. And, it did. However, there was a porta-potty issue, and there were still people in line to go after the gun went off. Coach Scott made the start by 30 seconds. I ran with my friends Jenn and Amanda, and we think we probably started 4-5 minutes late. Not chipped timed, but we weren't concerned. Just out to enjoy a run in the mountains. 

Amanda and Jenn, all smiles early on.
We chatted away and enjoyed the gorgeous sunrise. Jenn yelled at Amanda and I about 27 times to slow down. I'm so glad she did. I typically don't have any issues at all slowing down. For some reason Colorado made me more zippy than normal. At the half-marathon mark, I knew that setting a PR wasn't going to happen that day. It wasn't a big deal to me, as I went ahead and planned on finishing in around 5 hours.

We went back and forth with the 5 hour pacer for most of the run. He'd pass us uphill and during water stops. We'd pass him not long after. He was fabulous. He'd yell and encourage and was generally a great guy. And, he had no one running with him. Jenn said she doesn't like pacers who talk. However, this guy changed her mind. 

Hannah (me!) and Jenn at mile 11+ 
Despite losing over 1,200 feet during the race, there were hills on the trail. I walked some that were too steep for my wimpy self. The hills were an interesting thing - I am just not used to them, at all. Going down was brutal on the knees, so I finally gave up trying to take them slowly. It felt much better to let my body go.

Around mile 18, Jenn said "Peace Out" to Amanda and I. She was dehydrated and knew she wasn't going to keep our pace. Despite how craptastic she was feeling, she really had a fantastic run. Congrats to her on her first (and only, she says) trail marathon! 

Amanda and I hung together the next 4 miles or so. We had picked up our pace a bit. I suddenly started calculating and thought about that PR. We kept pulling away from the 5 hour pacer. I wasn't at all confident that it would happen, but at the same time, I felt like if I was going to abandon one of my lovely ladies (Jenn) then I better make it count. 

Around mile 22, Amanda sent me on. She told me I looked good, and to go get that PR. Still wasn't sure it would happen. I figured I'd miss it by at least 5 minutes. That, and with our start being late, I knew I had even less time to work with. Again, I knew if I was abandoning a friend (a second friend. I feel like a total jerk, for the record) then I better make it count. 

The lovely moutains.
The last 4.2 miles went by quickly. I knew my heartrate was sky high (the one time I checked it during the run, my heart rate monitor showed me a sucktastic 184. Ouch.) and I'm still not confident enough in "how" to run a race, that I was conservative. Still felt great, and very excited to finish. 
Mile 24+  Almost there. Whoohoo!
With a mile or so left, I caught up to Amanda's husband, Steve. Poor guy. I didn't realize how upset he'd be by me catching him, so I say, "Steve! How fun! We can totally cross the finish line holding hands!" Ha.  He was feeling terrible. Poor guy. At one point he said, "I feel like I'm going to $#!@ myself and throw up at the same time." Ouch. 

Finishing strong.
He and I kicked it in as best we could (with me feeling about 110% better than he did), and I finished with a PR by 59 seconds. Whoooot! (4:47:48) Sure, it was probably 4 minutes faster based on our late start, but I'm going by "official" time. I'm such a rule follower...

One of my best friends from high school lives in CO Springs.
Here we are after the Finish! 
My heart rate average was 181 for the run. Not awesome. But, I had a truly fantastic time running. And, how awesome that my PR is so slow, I can walk multiple times and still beat it. Bam! (Coach Scott did say his Grandma could have beat my PR that day. Sadly, I cannot refute that fact. Slow is sexy. Right?!) 

Next up: Prairie Fire Wichita Marathon on 10/10/10, Rock 'n Roll Denver Marathon 10/17/10, and Rock 'n Roll Las Vegas Marathon 12/5/10. 

The weekend was incredible. Especially when we (Jenn, myself, and Scott and Jenn's nephews) convinced Coach Scott to stop on the way down Pike's Peak for a little photo shoot. Why? I don't know. But I think the pictures were amazing. Bam.

Coach Scott.
For more shirtless pics of this beast, visit his blog.