No lions on the course this year for the Garden of the Gods 10 mile and 10k, but there were plenty of runners and one bear. I did not witness the bear on the course but Don Sanborn snapped some pictures and those pictures went viral. Thank you to the bear that wondered out on to the course and helped make the Garden of the Gods race world famous. Each day I am seeing Facebook posts showing that the story was reported on as far away as Canada, Austria and Germany. This will be a story we all talk about for years to come.
I started preparing for this race in April by joining the Sunrise Striders. The group met every Tuesday and Thursday morning for runs through the Garden at 6am. I connected up with the mid pack group (8-9 minute miles). Runs varied from road, trail and a combination of both. Those initial runs were brutal. I remember having to power hike up some of the hills. Fast forward to the beginning of June and I found myself running up those hills that I once had to power hike.
These training runs gave me the confidence to complete the race without killing myself. I set a goal of completing the race in 1 hour and 30 minutes. The one part of the course that had me worried was mile 8. The start of mile 8 was one of the bigger hills and I was questioning how much I would have left in me to run up the hill. I turned the last corner before that hill and said to myself this is what you have trained for. I blasted up the hill(well at least I did in my mind) and towards the top I kicked it even more passing a few runners.
I completed the race in 1 hour and 22 minutes, crushing my goal. I reflect back to where I was a year ago and at that time I could not even imagine completing this race. My piece of advice to you is to get out there and start running and stay consistent. Consistency will pay off big time, regardless if you go for short runs or long runs. Every Tuesday and Thursday I was at the Garden running and that consistency led me to having a greats race.