The Summer Roundup was a lot of fun and great to see the rest of the team again. For six people who just came together by chance, we’re a fun bunch if I do say so. At the end, there was JT, looking dapper in his lucky Schlitz hat. Anyone else remember Schlitz? He had this amazing, Emergency Energy Recovery and Rescue Kit. It resembles a cooler. Ahh, that ice could be so soothing on the knees but it serves a higher purpose of cooling down the even more soothing barley-pops nestled between the frozen cubes. Just for old time’s sake I had to remind my taste buds what a wake-me-up, pick-me-up a carbonated beverage could be at 9:30 in the morning. I also had to honor my alma mater, Ohio University and the great education I received there. It was OU that taught me that beer isn’t just for breakfast anymore. So I returned home with the second leg of the Triple Crown now propping me up in my quest for the Ascent and another medal of course. I made my family get the step-stool out and stood atop that while one of them placed the medal around my neck and they played the Olympic theme. Well it was something like the Olympic theme. Kazoos just don’t quite do it justice. When I get that third medal I’ll ask for a taller podium. This has been a great experience so far, a learning experience and a lot of fun. It’s fun learning just what a body is capable of, even when you’ve known that body for six decades. I’ve been pleased with the way the old carcass has responded to the first two runs in the series. The Summer Roundup is not easy, some consider it more challenging than the longer Garden of the Gods 10-miler because of the first half of the Roundup is pretty much of a climb for most of the 3.7 miles out. That’s why I can’t say enough about hill work. Once again I’ll say that I believe everyone will have and should have their own way of training. One size doesn’t fit all approach. I don’t need to taper before a race because, for better or worse, I just don’t push myself in training. Oh, maybe a little but I’m very good at slacking. Instead of tapering, I slack. While I keep track of my times during training runs I’ve come to the point where I don’t try to lower it every single time out. Yes, a slacker. Consequently I come to the day of an event pretty relaxed and rested. Sure I look at all of the finishing times after each event and, in the case of the Summer Roundup, I see that another 49 seconds and I would have moved up 3 spots in my age group. On the other hand, I also was faster than quite a few people younger than I. I’m just happy to finish well, finish with a good kick, feeling good and pain free, no injuries. So, with the caveat that what works for me might not work for someone else, I’ll tell you that just pushing a leetle, a very leetle bit on hills during training makes a big difference to me during an event. Having run the Summer Roundup course a few times I knew that High Drive presented a challenge, as its steady climb came almost two and a half miles into the run. On the day of the event I handled High Drive with a nice, steady, rhythmic pace. As I was climbing it occurred to me that what had helped me the most in preparing for this was my weekly runs at my aforementioned favorite trail, Spruce Mountain, 3 miles north of Palmer Lake. There’s one hill there, about a half-mile long, that, in some sections probably has a 40% grade...or so. In the little mind games I play during a run, as I was chugging up High Drive I kept thinking, well, this grade isn’t as bad as Spruce. More on hills another time. Right now, having used the word chugging reminds me that I should be looking for JT and his emergency kit.