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I’m tired.  I knew 3 marathons in one year would be a very tall task.  I’m at the point in training where my body wants rest.  It craves sleep.  It wants to take a break. My hip decided to make itself known again (now that I’m giving it love again it’s quieting down).

I need to mentally get into it – I know without that November 7th will not be a fun day.  I always hit this place about now but it never makes it any easier.  That said I’ve got some good stuff coming up.  I’m running Staten Island next weekend (first unaffiliated race!!!).  I’m not sure on my game plan on this race just yet.  I’m going hiking next weekend and perhaps apple picking. All fun things put together.

So what’s my point?  I’m trying to find that balance.  It’s tough with work being work (it never really ends) and the mileage increasing it starts to suck a bit out of you.  I know I’ll get through this and mentally I know I’m tough enough.  Help keep me motivated:)

This week was another big week.  I put up another 19 today on the same terrain as last week.  The trails are so forgiving on the legs and truly work your core/agility.  It also helps to have great company which make the miles peel away.  Good thing it’s the same company as race day in 5 weeks:)  Why I love the trails?  Even the same route is different every time.  Plus, you run into “friends.”

deer

Deer in the path.

We were running when all of a sudden I look up and saw these 2 deer. I joked that they cheat with 4 legs and will complete the trail run a lot faster than us.  Sure enough look who we saw a couple of miles later (sorry for the crappy picture quality).

deer againWe finished with an even 19 and most important, legs that didn’t feel beat up.  So much fun and so nice to have access so close to home.

Elevation chart - mmm cliff stairs and hills at the end:)

This afternoon I ended up having brunch on Smith Street in Brooklyn at 3:30pm.  Best meal invention ever and I love in NYC it lasts this long:) It is breakfast/lunch after all:)  Great to catch up with a friend that moved out-of-town and just relax.

Tonight finished up with random fireworks on the east river.  Oh, how nice it is to have them on the RIGHT side of the river.

random fireworksLast, congrats to all racers this past weekend.  Lots of great performances and it’s great to see all the hard work going to good use.  Good luck to anyone racing next weekend.

Time for some zzz.  Recovery run tomorrow.  Keep chugging…

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Six weeks

This week brought the first of the mother load weeks in the march to November 7.  Feeling completely back up to speed from Pikes, I’ve started to incorporate not just Tuesdays with @SpeedySasquatch but Thursday Tempo work.  I’m hoping to continue this to teach the body about what to do on marathon day;)  52 miles happened this week – no wonder I’m zonked.  What happened?

Tuesday I ran with the Tuesday crew which looking back wasn’t the smartest decision.  We did hill work and while I wasn’t sore from Philly my legs just didn’t have that ‘gear.’  I knew it right away and just set in comfortably and not pushing something that wasn’t there.  If there is one thing I have learned from 8 marathon training sessions, don’t push your luck.

Thursday I awoke and knew tempo was on the docket.  Warm up across the Brooklyn Bridge and rather than the WSH I headed east to enjoy the sunrise with my tempo.  I went by time and averaged 8:15s with a 7:35 last mile home (4ish miles of tempo total).  Felt good and legs were much happier than Sunday.

Yesterday brought another blast of summer.  I met up with MP by the GWB and rather than roads we hit the trails.  I missed them so much!  We stuck to the trails for all 19 miles and avoided the crazy heat.  While the time is slower than a usual long run, I find the trails work my core/stability quite a bit.  Not to mention it keeps things fun.  It also keeps the legs happy – too much roads makes for cranky legs!

Today brought the grungy bridges run.  What’s that?  My 8ish mile route that includes the Williamsburg and Manhattan bridges, Chinatown, and the Brooklyn waterfront by the navy yard.  It’s not very scenic but I find this route relaxing.  It’s not crowded and I’m able to just zone out.

After the run, I got to enjoy others use that speedy twitch in the 5th avenue mile.

Women's pro race

The pro men's race

Local elites - men

Local elite - women.

It should be noted I walked along CP South after the race.  I definitely thought about what it will feel like in 6 weeks…

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Admit it.  You have something you do before every long run, race, or event you take part in.  I do.  Though I’m a numbers girl at heart and understand that pretty much everything is black and white (sorry English majors!), there’s certain things that I feel are left to a higher power: superstitions. For me, habits form and I have a good race which means that it must be due to the extraneous factors, not the work in the race, right? 😉 

So what are some of mine? 

Bib number.  This is crucial.  There’s something to be said about a nice, symmetrical number.  Take for instance my PDR Bib number last year: 3404.  Nice number.  MCM? 8155 (notice the 9 squared and double 5s).  Two PRs. Two nice numbers.  Yep, I never claimed to be normal:)  This year? 4011. Eh.  Just not as fun of a number. NYCM?  16753.  Jury’s out on this one.  Trying to find the significance.  Although I find it fun that I was writing this post the day of bib numbers being posted. Hmmm… 

Clothing.  Yep there’s something to be said about race day wear.  I had been with a running team for my previous marathons but still opted to not wear my team’s wear in most races.  Why?  I had success with my Penn State singlet, blue Brooks shorts, pink hat and Mizuno Inspires at MCM (both times).  It’s become my official marathon jersey if you will.  Guess it worked out I’m doing NYC this year as a free agent. 

post-hills

Cruising through Beantown

 

Food.  I get finicky on this one.  My stomach has a mind of it’s own and it doesn’t take much for it to freak out.  That’s why the night before MCM both times I ate at  Facia Luna in Virginia.  It also is located in Happy Valley.  So it gave me the Penn State love…or at least that’s what I think!  Before a race I stick to bread and peanut butter.  I don’t curve away from this.  OK so maybe for a marathon I go crazy with a bagel and peanut butter.  If it’s a half marathon I can stick to one piece of bread and peanut butter.  Longer? I up it to 2 pieces.  Nothing fancy. 

I heart PB & Co.

 

Music.  Can I share a secret? I’ve got a certain song that I play before every big race.  I’m not telling you what it is because the power of the song may diminish.  I told you I am superstitious;-)  I also have certain other songs picked out based upon the type of race.  I guess that’s the math/science geek coming out. 

Post-race? I’m a burger, fries, coke and black&white cookie kind of girl.  November 7th you know what I’ll be indulging post 26.2 miles. 

burger and fries 

black and white cookie 

I also do not run the day before the race.  Whether it be the mile or a marathon I just don’t do it. 

That’s just a few.  There’s more but that’s a start to how I tick. 

What are some of your superstitions?

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An open letter to rock ‘n roll series

Dear Rock ‘n roll,

I come to run races.  I come to enjoy a race atmosphere and enjoy all the feelings that encompass getting from the start line to the finish line.  Simple, right?

It was. Then came the need for you to enter the party and destroy an economical approach to running.  You see, I first ran the Philadelphia Distance Run in September 2004.  This was my second half marathon ever.  I remember going down to the start with my dad and his friends.  They kept raving about how great this race is and what a tradition!  As I crossed the finish line that day (with a new PR – ha), I remember thinking how it was a nice race. 

Then you entered the picture.  You bought the rights (Elite racing to be exact).  While you tried to be indiscrete the first year (no name change, not much change), the cost started to show.  It wasn’t a large increase but I should have known what was to come.  In 2004, I paid $45 to run this half marathon.  Legit. The streets have to be closed down.  No real frills which is fine.  I come to race. 

It started with having to schlep down to the convention center to pick up your number, no more day of pick up.  Entering online I got to pay an extra $6 stupid fee online (that’s the processing fee that I still do not understand).  Peeved but the name remained and I still enjoy the race.

Then last year it became “rock n roll.”  Bad news.

The cost jumped to $75. ING threw their name in front of the Philadelphia Distance Run and I knew the inevitable was coming.  This year.  No more PDR but “Rock ‘n Roll Philadelphia”. Blech.  You threw out tradition faster than the MTA rising the fares on the NYC subway system.  You also managed to throw the cost into outrageous zone.  $90 for a half marathon? Really?  I ran up and down a mountain, received a really nice tech shirt, awesome support on the course for $5 more!   Absurd.

It’s not just the cost but the whole experience which gets lost.  15,000 people loses the charm of a race. It was a bit odd to be passing mile 4 and seeing people starting the race!  The music? Pfft.  AC and I joked about being $10 a band (and a cover band at the end?). Then cytomax? Really?  This isn’t a triathlon.  Total fail. The course gets reversed. The number pickup consisted of smoke entering?  It costs to utilize runner tracking? Charging money to pick up packets race day (which the pickup was over a major holiday)? Fail fail fail.

I will have a hard time signing up again which is a shame.  I truly love the PDR but I feel each year it will drift away into more of a corporation haul than the PDR charm.  I’m sure you’ll find someone to take my place and those that follow me.  Fine.  Rake in your money.  Make your profits. Bring in crappy bands.  It is the American way. 

I’ll take my business elsewhere.

Respectfully yours,

Bridges Runner

PS RIP PDR

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Welcome back speedy legs

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve tried to find my speed.  It had gone MIA over the summer as it’s been all about endurance running with minimal  speed work.  This brings us to now.  I’m changing my approach to NYCM slightly than my usual plan.  I’m really trying to incorporate a little more speed and a couple less long runs.  I know the endurance is there!

So that brings me to this week.  Tuesday night I decided to run home after a super long day at the office.  7:40pm I packed up my stuff and headed out the door for home.  The rain had just stopped and the sky  had an orange glow to it with the sun set already.  I love the run home as I get to run away from midtown, not to it!  I intended to just do a normal run but after a cyclist decided to share his feelings with me for no particular reason I guess it energized me.  I arrived home 6.2 miles later realizing I had just run a sub 8 pace (6.24 miles/48:38).  Oops.  I didn’t feel bad but intended to do speed work on Tuesday with the race on Sunday.

Last night was “official” speed work with @SpeedySasquatch.  The assignment? 6 x 800 around the Great Lawn Oval (actually .52).  For me, I wanted to hit 3:35-3:38 for .5 so I figured around 3:38 was fine for today.  As I told my friend ES, famous last words.  What happened?  Pacemaster has returned!  As well as the legs!

Time Pace
1 3:36 6:55
2 3:33 6:49
3 3:34 6:51
4 3:34 6:51
5 3:34 6:51 (pacemaster anyone?)
6 3:28 6:40 (Helllooooo!)

Post speed of course we did the usual core with the mosquitos. Sigh.  Apparently they were very hungry!  As was I…I woke up ready to eat everything in sight!

Sunday brings a return to the racing world.  Let’s see how the legs respond.  Ultimately it’s just another step in the march towards November 7th.  I’m excited.  After last year, who knows what will happen?

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8 weeks til showtime

8 weeks. Crazy talk.  I was originally worried about running another marathon this fall after the year I’ve had thus far.  Would I be able to amp back up for a big push towards November 7?  Would I find that will to want to run a road marathon?  Well, after this week of training, I think I feel safe to say YES.  I’m finding that groove in training and getting assimilated back into the hectic lifestyle of New York.  I admit it – Colorado definitely made it tough for me to get back in the groove.

Speedwork.  While I’ve run since Pikes Peak, I hadn’t really tried to find the speed gears.  I was a bit nervous about pushing too much, too soon.  However, with the Philly half next weekend (the day after Yom Kippur – eek) I figured I’d should make sure the speedy legs haven’t left me.  So Thursday night I headed out after work to run home with a side of tempo down the WSH.  Goal?  Hit slightly below HMP and see how it feels.  I needed to get some confidence in my speedy legs – that they did still exist.

Good news – 3 miles – 7:31, 7:34, 7:29.  Felt good and was wearing my daypack on a fairly windy night.  Finished off the run with MP at around 8:10-8:15 pace. 

Long run I tamed down this week with 18 last week and 15 miles in 12 hours between Thursday/Friday.  I headed uptown and ran the VCP rails trails. 11 miles in around 1:36.  Nothing crazy.  Legs felt fresh.

Today I headed back to the gym for core/strength training.  This part of my training program has been MIA.  I really do want to bring this back in for the final push to NYCM.

This week?  Mini taper with the Philly half on Sunday.  I’m not sure what to expect since I won’t be loading up like a normal race the day before.  I’ll know pretty quickly how the legs respond.

Finally, I leave you with images from 9/11/2010.

Sunset from the promenade.

Sunset and Lady Liberty under a reddish sky

The NY Skyline with the towers of light

Love the clouds in this one.

There’s more but these are a few of my favorites:)  have a great week everyone!

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18 before 10am

A few months ago I created a google calendar of NYCM long runs for runnin’ around uptown and I. I bring this up because the surprise was on me when I realized today had us scheduled for 18. Who the heck made this decision? Ohhh waiiiit…;)

Brings us to this weekend. Uptown delayed her departure to the shore in order to get the long run in. Awesome. I definitely wanted company for a 16-18 miler! She asked if we could start early as in before the sun made an appearance. Not a problem. 6am is early but having company is worth it! I’m always on time…

Oh, this morning. I woke up at 430 first and realized ooh 40 more blissful minutes. Then I felt like I’d been sleeping a while. Sure enough the clock read 550am!! Crap. I was supposed to be at Columbus Circle in 10 minutes. I ran around my apartment turning it into a resemblance of a war zone in minutes. Out the door at 555, in the subway at 557 only to see the train whiz by. Argh. Out to another train and text to notify that all is ok. Get to the other train line only to see another train whiz on by. 6:10 now. Finally a train arrives at 6:20 and I’m up to columbus circle at 6:40 having no food in my stomach and not even emptying my bladder! Oy. Disaster right?

So after a quick visit to the men’s room in the time warner center (yep, that’s right the women’s was locked!) It was time to conquer 18!  Aren’t you jealous you weren’t there to run with me;)

Once we started the run immediately commenced into a standard LSD where the legs just rolled along and the conversation helped make the miles fly by.  Before we knew it, we were down at Battery Park City where we passed @dnorton.  Then around the tip by the eyeball statues (sorry but they DO NOT look like eyeballs!) to the Brooklyn Bridge.  My legs felt great! We ran by @lady_southpaw on the Brooklyn Bridge.  The next part took us through the industrial part of Brooklyn, my typical tempo route.

Next up, we passed through Williamsburg and Greenpoint.  Before hitting the Pulaski Bridge, we crossed a road with a stop sign and no car stopped.  At this point a fat, bald man started yelling out of his SUV that we should stop.  This is as he was still pulling to the intersection at the stop sign!  Idiot.  So we continue running and stop at a STOP LIGHT.   This is when he pulls into a gas station and continues to yell at us! Dude, get over yourself!  When we were a little further from him we commented that he wouldn’t be able to run this far.  Yeah, we’re mean.  Oops.

Next up: Queens.  My empty stomach was getting RUNNNGRY.  AC had mentioned the swedish bakery that we’d end at with UNBELIEVABLE cream puffs.  The buildup was extreme.  As we began our ascent on the Queensboro we passed an Orthodox man probably on his way home from synagogue.  After we passed him, he started running.  I commented “and this is what I attract.”  This drew a laugh;)

He caught up to us again on the Manhattan side as we reached several red lights crossing town.  He commented it took him 17 minutes to get across the bridge.  Sigh.  Really.  This is the best I can do in NYC?  *doh* hehe.  Finally we were able to break free as there’s no traffic lights from Central Park South to our finish line, the Swedish Bakery:)  Sadly the bakery didn’t sell the cream puffs we salivated over for the last 6 miles:(  Sad. We settled on different pastries though:)  And can I say I think it’s ridiculous that it costs $2 for a bottle of water on the street.  Ridiculous!

Totals: 18.2 miles
Time: 2:41:54/8:53 min/mile
Course: was able to get in a couple of key components I’ll face on November 7 – the Pulaski Bridge and Queensboro – both at about the same point as in the marathon

The route - a small tour of NYC

Quality run with good company.  This run was about the miles not pace – I’m planning to get in a couple harder runs in before the Philly Half in a couple weeks. 

Anyone else running the Philly half (or the Rock ‘n Roll Philly Half Marathon – gag me)?

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Free Agent

This is something that has been in the works  and I’ve given it ample thought: I am no longer running for the running club: The Reservoir Dogs.

It’s been a great 5 1/2 yrs and I’m thankful for everything the team has given me. Without TRD, I’m not sure I’d still be a resident of NYC. I’ve met some great friends – some still here, some moving on. So many wonderful things.  I discovered runs for food, speedwork as well as general fun times around town.

But…
I need a change. I’ve found myself hardly running with the team anymore. I rarely attend any social functions. There’s no coached speed work which I really want to use to continue to improve. I have friends but now there are so many people who I don’t know when I do attend runs. And finally, when I did tell close friends of my decision it was a huge monkey off my back. While emotional, I know that since it felt that way, I followed my heart.  Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to grow and embrace change.

I think the vacation was a great time for me to put it all in perspective. I look at it as a new horizon – a new beginning.  I think it’s good to mix up the recipe now and then. After all my year of 30 has certainly been anything but routine.

So with that, I’ve stripped my affiliation for NYCM and am officially a free agent. For now, I’ll run with friends and enjoy. I need to figure out what the right fit is for me.

So thank you TRD. I’ll still cheer for you at races and remain friends. You’ve given me so much; it’s the least I can do. It certainly has been a fun ride.

The plan is to be a free agent through the rest of the year and go from there. I’d like to research a bit and find a club that fits running and social needs.  So I guess follow along on my journey…

Team Champs 2009

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The following below is from Fern (@sitbones).  She has run the Pikes Peak Marathon and the Ascent 3x.  I’ve welcomed her thoughts and I think from my race report you’ll see I did start to understand the mystique.

I really started following  @nycbklyngirl on Twitter, when she mentioned that she was coming to Colorado to run the Pikes Peak Marathon. She started using the hash tag #Voldemort which meant to me that she was going to come to Colorado to defeat Pikes Peak.  I knew she was using this as a motivating factor for herself to mentally and physically get ready for this huge challenge.  She came, she saw, she accomplished her goal.  Now, as Paul Harvey used to say….I want her to hear the rest of the story.

Dear E,

Pikes Peak is one of the 53 mountains in our state of Colorado that have an elevation of over 14,000 feet.  Pikes Peak is considered one of our state “crown jewels” rising above Colorado Springs in all of its beautiful splendor and glory. As you have written, Katharine Lee Bates stood on the mountain top in 1893 and got the inspiration to write the words for the song, America The Beautiful. Because of the mountain’s location on the “front range”, there are probably more runners and hikers on this mountain than any other 14er.  We in Colorado treat this mountain as a treasure, one that always deserves our respect.

As one ascends the mountain, the beauty of mother nature is breathtaking. She must have used a paint brush because you see every color imaginable. The air is clean and fresh.  But, as the locals know, Pikes Peak also can show her fury. The weather can change in an instant. You learn to be prepared for rain, snow, hail, lightning, wind.  In other words, you pay RESPECT to the mountain at all times.  Some times she is very playful with you, you are running down the mountain and she decides to trip you with a tree root.  Everyone who has been on Pikes Peak multiple times has left a little piece of themselves on the mountain as they took a tumble.  But all know, this is part of the privilege of getting to be on this beautiful mountain.

We treat Pikes Peak with reverence at all times.  If you run to the top and back down, you thank the mountain for the privilege of the attempt. Going up and down this mountain is a lifetime experience that one will never forget.

So E, I hope you now see that in my view, you did not come defeat Pikes Peak….you were privileged to come and pay your respect to this wonderful mountain.

Fern   @sitbones  on Twitter

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As I begin to reflect on the events of yesterday, it’s hard to even put in words all the emotions and feelings that occurred during this race.  Pikes Peak Marathon is nicknamed “America’s Ultimate Challenge” and they don’t lie. This race is not meant for the average joe that just wants to do a marathon.  It takes true heart, guts and determination to get up and down a mountain.  That said, I wanted this challenge.  I wanted it badly as I have been writing and talking about this for almost a year.  It actually started last year after my friend Andrea finished the marathon and I decided this would be my 30th birthday present to myself. There also was a tremendous metaphor in this as I feel like reaching 30 I’ve become a very different person than the shy girl that moved to NYC at age 22.  Mostly though, I wanted the challenge.  I wanted something different and Pikes Peak definitely presented a challenge and a very different kind of adventure.    

So race day.  I had taken the cog train (one of 3 in the US) to the top of Pikes Peak on Saturday to get a feel for what the conditions at the summit.  It should be noted I never had really been at altitude before so it was all new.  Anyway we drove down to the race and cut it a bit close to the start but honestly, did it really matter?  That’s the difference between this and a road race.  We chose to hit the bathroom first so I actually missed the official starting gun.  No biggie.  It meant as we started we got personal cheering;)    

I started out with my friend for the first mile before she took off.  I knew it was going to be a long day and my intentions were to finish with a smile on my face.  I remember running up the roads and hitting the trailhead.  That’s when it really hit.  I was heading UP UP UP.  I was stuck behind a lot of walkers right away which was OK for a little while but it was even too slow for my power hiking.  I was able to pass a few people but didn’t expend too much energy.  As so many Pikes veterans have told me, it’s about keeping the legs moving forward and don’t waste energy – you’ll need it!    

  As we hit mile 5 (8 miles to the summit) my legs felt pretty good.  However, I knew don’t take anything for granted the race doesn’t really start til you hit A-frame (aka the treeline).  I met some friends around Barr Camp and we stuck together all the way up.  One woman was from Kansas and had come to run this after overcoming breast cancer.  Another woman had run this 11 times and 75 total marathons.  It was a blast and really helped me pass the time.  I wore my camelbak which was a very good move – aid stations were about every hour on the ascent!  As we reached the A-frame, I remember the aid volunteers welcoming us.  This is when I looked up and went WOAH.  All I can say is it was a long ways to the summit – I was in switchbacks hell.  Again, I was pre-warned about this so I knew there was quite a while to reach the summit.  This is when things got a little sour.  My calves started burning worse than I had ever felt before.  It was awful.  Fortunately the women I was with comforted me and just kept helping me remember to keep moving forward.  I saw Andrea at this point and she was on her way down.  She asked how I felt and I lied that I felt fine…but didn’t lie that I’d see her at the finish line;)    

This is only part of the way up. The views just got better

 

As runners continued to pass, I knew it was one step closer to ending the burning calves and a faster down.  Again, I was told 75% of the race is the up.  Funny since I’m used to mile 20 being the beginning of a marathon!  Again I look up and all I saw were switchbacks of runners.  Oy.  Where the heck are these golden stairs?  The golden stairs are what are the last switchbacks up to the summit.  They really aren’t golden and you shouldn’t bother counting.  They’re rocky and it’s a last calf buster as you approach the summit.  By now, I felt like a snail and was getting encouragement from the other runners how once you turn around it’s a whole new ball game.  All that kept going through my head is keep moving forward.  One foot, now the next.  Refuse to quit.  Oh and thoughts of Katharine Lee Bates using the summit of Pikes Peak as the basis for America the Beautiful.  If there was a bit more oxygen, I may have started singing.  As it was, thoughts were all there would be at this point.  Finally, I reach a switch back and look to see a sign for the Pikes Peak Marathon.  I had made it…to the summit!  13.32 miles down…less than a half marathon to go;)    

A little taste of life on the trail

 

This was the ascent finish but Sunday this was my just past half way point

 

 Coming back down I felt like a new woman.  My calves were pleased to be put on a bit of a rest and let the quads take the next part of the show.  The plan for down was to run where plausible and allow gravity to take me down the mountain.  Don’t fight it.  Less fight means less quad pain later.  I stuck with the other two women all the way down the A-frame part of the trail.  So helpful as it made time fly.  As long as that 3 miles felt going up, it felt so much quicker going down (which it was).  When we approached the A-frame aid station I knew greenery was around the bend.  And..more oxygen! Major win.    

They had traffic lights at the aid stations for where the end of the trash zone was to contain cups and miscellaneous trash

 

At this point my legs said “ok, time to rock ‘n roll.”  And I’m sure it wasn’t really rocking that fast but hey after that painful expedition up the A-frame anything felt speedy.  I lost my two friends I had made at A-frame at the aid station.  I started passing people which was a nice feeling. I began feeling fresher and a pep to the step.  Very odd but I went with it.  I made sure to continue to eat and drink at each aid station to keep that pep in the step.  I got a few rocks in my shoe but I knew if I stopped to empty my shoe I may have issues moving again.  So blisters be damned I kept forging ahead.  As I got to Barr Camp, I remembered there were a few down hills on the way up so of course you know what happens on the reverse.  I decided to walk the uphill to save my legs and give my poor beat up calves a break.  Time was not an issue and I knew I was well within the time allotment.    

Doesn't even begin to justify my experience...

 

For the last 4 miles I tagged along with another girl cruising down the trails.  It was nice to have someone dictate the trail which took the pressure off of me thinking about direction.  After 7 ½ hours on your feet, it becomes tricky.  Finally I see 3 miles to the finish and know the dream is about to become reality.  I look up to see clouds forming around the summit.  At that point, I was thinking “time to bid adieu to Pikes for now.”  I continued running passing an aid station playing “Chariots of Fire” and finally reached the trailhead which emptied onto a roadway.  Ouch.  Roads at mile 25 after all that trail running feels AWFUL.  At this point Leo (@ex_cyclist) rode up next to me!  What awesome timing.  We chatted for a couple of minutes before he took a quick picture.  At that point someone yelled to me “just a couple more turns to go.”     

half mile from the finish and pumped!

 

I will say at this point I moved my sunglasses up to my hat so all emotions would show.  I saw Andrea on the sidelines waiting for me.  I yelled something to the effect of “this was fantastic” with a beaming smile.  As I was about to round the final turn I hear from Brooklyn, NY here comes Bridges Runner!  Thoughts flooded my head.  Most of all, holy crap I didn’t just run a marathon.  I got to experience one of the most scenic marathons in the world.  Then thoughts of all that have supported me through the training and in general.  It’s amazing what thoughts flood the mind during special occasions.  Finally, I cross the make shift finish line where they tear a piece of my bib off for a gun time of 8:28:28.    

Pikes Peak

 

I wish words could do justice for the experience I had out there yesterday.  I’m not sure they can.  I’ve stated that this is my year of 30.  While I’ve experienced so many great events, I will say it’s also allowed me to meet some pretty cool people along the way.  I’ve been able to reflect a lot about life in general and what it is I want out of it. Life is about experiences.  This now may be one of the top experiences of my life so far.  It was worth every mile, every twisted ankle on the trails, and every thought of “can I really do this.”  I do believe if you want it, you will get it.  Dreams are great but getting after them is even better.  Believe in yourself.  It goes a long way to making reality.  I made one of them happen yesterday.    

It’s great to look back and know I did this for the right reason.  It reaffirmed my love for running and experiencing things that simply cannot be justified by words.  I guess you have to be there to really understand what I exactly felt yesterday.  Sure, I may have said this about other road races but this is different.  There truly is something to be said about experiencing a day on a mountain and the views that go along with it.  As my friend mentioned to me, we spent a workday on a mountain!  I proclaimed “well, I can’t think of a better working day.”  It’s true.  So thank you, Pikes.  You gave me a very special birthday present!    

And thank you for all of your support.  It truly has been a magical time. This was marathon #8.    

The stats of elevation: start 6300’ summit 14,115’ finish 6345’    

the mountain

And this is what a mountain looks like on a garmin

 

To come? A guest post and more pictures,,,,

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