This is the only shot any of the photographers (in this case, Tim) managed to catch of me during the Garden of the Gods 10-Mile Race, as far as I can tell. As you can see, I appear to be having a one-woman party about half a mile into the race while everyone else is focusing on the task at hand.
I have never been a particularly photogenic runner, which is why I enjoy racing with the Attack Pack. The group's policy on showboating: "Showing off for a camera is much better than trying to look cool. No one looks cool while running." (Except, perhaps, this guy.) (Photo at left, from the Super Half-Marathon, is courtesy of John Garner. Something similar may or may not have run on the cover of the Long Run that month.)
So, back to the race. I woke up at 5 and heard the wind. It's hardly ever windy at 5 a.m. Excessive wind is not my best condition to run in. Grumble grumble. I fueled up with a slice of peanut butter toast and half a Vega Sport smoothie (1/2 scoop powder, 1 banana, 4 or 5 ounces of milk). When I arrived at Memorial Park, I slugged down some of Tim's "P.R. Coffee" at the PPS.us booth while waiting for the rest of the team to arrive.
Having never run this race before, a P.R. was guaranteed!
I didn't even have a real time goal going in, except maybe to beat 1:30. That wasn't a huge priority for me, because my wave in the Triple Crown was predetermined by my Ascent time from 2010; I just thought it would be cool. I knew I wanted to do the first 5 miles at a comfortable pace so I would have some gas left for the last half. When I realized the wind was coming straight from the north, which would mean it was head-on during the longest climb (or what seems like the longest climb, anyway), I was not encouraged.
Did I mention wind is not my favorite?
That aside, I had a good race. When you do the PPRR Garden training runs, running the actual race is like assembling a puzzle. You already know all the pieces; it's just a matter of putting them together in the right order. On my solo dress rehearsal, I had skipped the mile-plus bit between Memorial Park and Balanced Rock, thinking that would be the easiest part. What I forgot about was there is actually a little hill on the way back to the finish line, which was probably the most difficult one to push through all day as I saw my fake goal was close at hand.
So, as far as the numbers go, I made it to the 5-mile mark in about 45:50, then hit the finish line at 1:29:01, which my Garmin told me was about an 8:48 pace. For me, that's downright respectable, especially on such a hilly course.
Sharon touched on the community aspect of Colorado Springs in her post-race post, and I couldn't agree more. I bumped into former co-workers, current running buddies, past running buddies, and on and on. It was fun skimming the results afterwards for people's names. The running community here is great, and you never know what can happen during a race. I scored my one (and only, to date) freelance writing gig during Winter Series IV in 2011. (Another windy, hilly race, I might add.)
I didn't get a job this time, but I did find some of my PikesPeakSports.us Triple Crown Runners teammates consuming beverages out of someone's trunk on the streets of Manitou just after the awards ceremony, which Tim was also nice enough to document. (I think JT had already wandered off in the direction of the Townhouse Lounge.)
I like this team.