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.