Archive for June, 2012
At 7am this morning, we crossed the starting line of the Estes Park Marathon in Estes Park, CO. Since we’d driven the course yesterday, we knew that the first six miles of the race would take us from 7600 to 8100 feet above sea level. For me, these first six miles were slow, but easy. My energy was good and although I was breathing more heavily than usual, I didn’t feel fatigued.
In only a few more miles, however, the wind picked up and continued for the remainder of the race.
I wouldn’t have thought it possible, but a steady wind blowing about 20 miles an hour, interrupted occasionally by gusts of 35-ish mph, blew straight in our faces for HOURS!
At mile 13, I’d already been running for 2 hours and 50 minutes (my slowest first half of a race ever)! I knew right then that I’d be lucky to beat six hours. I felt my energy waning as I pressed through the wind over the hills in the hot sun at altitude. I had to make an attitudinal decision: Would I let myself become upset that this was going to be my slowest marathon, or would I make the best of the situation? As you’ll see below, there are worse places to spend six hours! I decided to buck up and push forward with a smile.
Bill tells me that the riders cheered for him when he came through this point (above). It was at right around mile 16 that I met a woman from Florida who told me she wasn’t impressed with the beauty of Estes Park or the Rocky Mountains. I left her in the dust. What is she? Crazy? This was one of the most beautiful courses I’ve ever run, maybe second only to the Rio de Janeiro Marathon.
Everywhere you look, the mountains!
Shortly after this point (above) another runner offered me a drink of the beer his friend had delivered to him. At the finish line I thanked him and he said to his wife who was standing nearby, “She had a beer.” I corrected him with, “He gave me a sip of his beer.” An exchange of looks between husband and wife ensued. Wonder what that story is!
Like I said, there are worse places to spend 6 hours! After this view I began to feel some nausea. I wasn’t the only one. At mile 25 I came upon a barfing runner and alerted the folks at the aid station that he needed assistance. Nothing like watching someone else throw up to soothe an already upset stomach (not!).
Bill was waiting for me at the finish line, as always. I finished in 6:09. Bill wishes that regarding his race I only say that I was right: The elevation, wind, heat, and hills insisted he take my advice and slow down.
**Note to anyone thinking of running the Estes Park Marathon: This is a well organized, well supported race! You won’t PR, but you’ll love it.
Tomorrow morning at 7am, the Estes Park Marathon will begin. Tonight Bill and I are sitting in our motel room watching the news of nearby fires and thumbing through the contents of our race bags. Our bibs are already pinned to our shirts; our chips are already strapped onto our shoes; and our clothes sit in little piles topped by energy gels.
The temperature tomorrow is supposed to get up to 84 degrees by noon. The air quality is good in spite of the fire raging only 43 miles away in High Park because the winds have blown the smoke north. All is well, except that… well, we’re 7500 feet above sea level.
The past few days have given us a chance to adapt to the thin air, but our experience in Park City, Utah last summer taught us that a few days isn’t enough time for one’s lungs to get used to running with lower oxygen levels. My expectations are that I’ll finish in a little over 5.5 hours. Bill’s expectations for himself are (s)lower than usual, too, (not only because of the elevation but because he’s been fighting some chronic pain in his right leg) but he’s someone who always hopes he’ll exceed his own personal goals, so I’ve been trying to teach him the Cami Ostman Running Philosophy.
Here’s a excerpt of one of our recent conversations:
Cami: Let me explain how you can be a happy runner tomorrow.
Bill: Tell me.
Cami: Just listen to your body. If your body wants to slow down, just slow down.
Bill: Cami, every runner’s body tells them to slow down. If you do that, you’re not running anymore.
Cami: No, just if you have pain. Just slow down if you hurt. And be patient. If you get worked up about beating a certain time, you’ll stress out.
Bill: You should be a sport’s psychologist in the “just slow down” philosophy. Your practice would be full.
Needless to say, Bill doesn’t see the reasonableness of my perspective, but I have a feeling the elevation will make my point for me. :}
Watch for a race report tomorrow evening after I’ve recovered with beer and pizza.
Yesterday I posted a few pics of the big creatures we encountered, today I post a few of the small living things who greeted us as we edged along the Eastern side of the Rocky Mountain National Park.
1. A Swallow Tail Butterfly
2. A Ground Squirrel (looking right at us)
3. A Columbine (the State flower)
4. A Morning Cloak Butterfly
Tomorrow we pick up our race bibs. I’ll post some course details and a weather report for those of you who’ve been asking about the air quality (due to the nearby forest fires).
We were out the door by 8:30 this morning to visit the Rocky Mountain National Park. Did you know that if you’re 62 years old (or older), you can buy a LIFETIME pass to ALL our national parks for only $10? We didn’t know this either. Guess who turned 62 this year? ‘Twasn’t me, but i can tell you that we snapped up that deal!
Here are some highlights from our trip through the park today.
1. The Rocky Mountain Ride was taking place this week. 2800 bicyclists made their way through the park just as we did. Very inspiring to watch these athletes climb the highest road in the country (and then fly back down)!
2. Did you know that the “Trail Ridge Road” climbs over 12,000 feet? That’s a couple thousand feet higher than Mt. Baker (and just about as high as Mt. Fuji in Japan).
3. You know I love animals! Today we saw elk, a moose, some baby coyotes, and some mountain sheep (not pictured).