Second half marathon at altitude----WHAT??
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
I dont know what you have to do to be considered a runner, but after this race on Saturday, I am as close to calling myself a runner as they come. Because I do not know anyone in their right mind who is a 'recreational' runner who would have enjoyed this weekends half marathon!
So, I ran the 'Beat the Heat' Half in Westminster, CO. Let me tell you, we beat the heat for sure!!! It was a whopping 38* for this run. BRRRR. Oh, and it was wet. Cold and wet. Cold, wet and MUDDY. You might as well have called this the tough mudder take two!
Let me paint the stage for you!
Up early. Really early. It's cold. We just had snow, so I was expecting it to snow for this run. Praying it wouldnt, but you know. Unpredictable Colorado weather!
I get to the site with my Dad who is in town visiting. This is the first time he is going to see me run! Or jog, whatever you want to call it. I get to the start, I am excited, and then the gun goes off. I take off happily thinking I am going to pull a PR this time through. About a tenth of a mile into the course, I end up in about 4" of sticky, stinky, wet, slippery mud. Thick enough to take your shoes right off your feet. So, I manage to collect a solid ten pounds of mud and gunk on my shoes. HEAVY, heavy feet. Think of running in wet sand with buckets on your feet. It was a super challenge.
Keep going and then about mile two, I realize that we have a HUGE hill we are going to be snaking up along side of. So, winding up this heavy, muddy, rocky incline for 3 miles. Mile 5, I hit the summit. GORGEOUS. There was a beautiful lake up there, the mountains were snow covered. It was so worth the climb. Mile 5-9 was all running at this altitude around the lake.
Enter rain/snow mix. Yep. Nothing about it felt good. Not refreshing. Not comfy. Not cozy. COLD. Sheer COLD.
miles 9-13 was a very slow and challenging descent down the hill/mountain/whatever. It's just never fun to run in mud and rocks down a slope. I kept thinking, Dear Jesus, please do not let me face plant in the mud. Please don't let me bite it and mud roll down this hill. Please knees, don't give out on me. Lots of praying going on inside my head.
The last two miles took everything out of me. That mud I initially ran through was my final few tenths of a mile back to the finish line. The last few miles were mentally challenging. I was exhausted. My muscles hurt from all the additional stabilizing I had to do to manage the terrain. My legs were heavy. They hurt in places they never hurt before. Muscles I did not know would hurt were suddenly in serious pain.
But, after all was said and done. I did it. I finished my second half at altitude. In one month. AND I FELT LIKE A BEAST.
You really never know what you are truly capable of until you do the personally unthinkable. And, I managed to beast out in a run that most recreational runners would have said 'no thank you' too happily.
So, again. When does one person actually start to consider themselves a runner?
When they do a half? When they hit a PR? When they sign up for more races? When they simply finish? Who knows....
I'll never consider myself a runner with the long, lean legs. The gazelle like grace. The ease at which they grace the land. Nope. Not me. My little, muscular body is built for speed, not distance. But after this weekend.....gosh darn it, I think I might just have this runner person in me after all!!!
Peace and love and many, many miles!