Thursday, May 14, 2009

Estes Park Marathon

Continuing on from my Colfax blog; last year at this time, I was in great shape after dropping out of Colfax, ready to run a PR marathon. Estes Park will allows have a place in my heart as my first taste of Colorado. Growing up, it was the first area in Colorado that my family visited and where I first discovered my love for foot and mountain travel. Also, I would have 3-4 weeks to retool and prep myself for the race. I signed up later the same afternoon of they day of the Colfax DNF. I hit my training hard - hill and mountain running in Colorado Springs - for the next two weeks, before starting to taper a bit for the Estes Marathon. Unexpectedly, a week out from the race, my grandfather passed away. Immediately, I was on a plane to Minnesota for the services and family-time requisite to death in the family. The air was filled with joy in my now widowed grandmother's house as we celebrated the life of my grandpa. Unfortunately, as far as running was concerned this was a major bump in the road for my final preparations for Colfax. I obviously wasn't able to run much at all and at that, it was at low altitude (and hill less). Of these facts, the running facts, I am not bitter or resentful. It was a necessary and good thing for me to return to pay my respects to my now deceased grandpa. I returned to Colorado, just a day or two before heading to Estes for the race.

Off the line, I hastily took off. Bad idea. My body had noticably lost fitness over the last irregular two weeks. My mind was ahead of my body. I held the lead for the first 5 mile climb. Near the top of the hill I began getting picked off. By the time I crested the hill, and began the downhill back to Estes, I was in 3rd or 4th. I was hurting. Of course, the downhill was a much welcomed break, but the lingering fact remained, I was out of shape. I cruised down through Estes, around the reservoir to mile 14 or 15, before finally throwing in the towel and opting for pancakes and wi-fi at a local cafe instead of the remaining 11 or 12 miles of the race. Another DNF. That was it for my heart for the summer. I couldn't take anymore quitting and the resulting discouragement that accompanied that act. Later that afternoon, I went out for a really fun 10 mile trail run up in Rocky Mountain National Park. That was a nice end to my time in Estes. I returned to Colorado Springs that evening down, but not out. Such is life. 

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