This past weekend I ran #6.
A short 4.5 hour drive, brought me and my support crew to the western slope of Colorado. Grand Junction, to be exact. Our very own little wine country.
The boy and I, along with the bff and her main squeeze, drove out sometime late morning on Friday. We weren’t in any hurry to get out there, which afforded us the luxury of stopping along the way in some small mountain towns for coffee, or lunch. My legs appreciated the stretches.
We finally rolled into town around 4:30pm, and after checking in to our hotel, I insisted we drive the course. And I don’t mean just see parts of the course. I mean, I want to see the start, and drive the exact route until the finish. I’m particular like that. It doesn’t always work out, but when it does, I take advantage. While the early sunset foiled my plans of seeing the sights, I was at least able to see the uphill. Again, and again, and again, and again…. I tried not to get overwhelmed and intimidated. It was a relief when we hit the top and began the descent. I wondered how my legs would take it all the next morning.
At packet pick-up (one single table in a small conference room at the local La Quinta Inn; thank you small and unassuming race) I was astounded to see this:
Apparently, they give that number out to just about anyone!
I was up and at ’em at 5:30. “Sleeping in” by most marathon standards. I’m used to a 4am alarm, followed by hectic transportation getting to the start line for ample time to warm-up, stretch, and catch the loo before a 7am start. So, this 8am start time for Rim Rock, coupled with the fact that I was a mere 7 miles away, threw me off a little. Granted, it did allow me that much more sleep time. As if that’s possible the night before a marathon.
After my traditional race-morning breakfast of oatmeal, banana with pb, and a half of a bagel, I was off to conquer 26.2. I was lucky enough to have avoided any race-start-crazy, which would have ensued if I had followed the rules that strongly encouraged runners to park at the finish, and then take the 7am bus to the start. The boy, and bff, took chances and drove me straight to the start, avoiding the warnings that there was no parking there. We parked.
I mentally geared up for this fun run as I took off down the road for a warm-up. It was chilly, in the mid-30’s, and I had multiple layers on. All would be shed soon. Take this one easy. This race is in a category all its’ own. I knew I couldn’t expect to compete in this race as I had in previous marathons. I just wanted the experience. I wanted to feel the ascent in the first 1/2 and the descent in the second. I wanted to see how my body would respond. What condition my mind would be in. Yeah, I’m that sick and twisted. Just a little blonde masochist…
Rim Rock was a total throw back to my first marathon, Yakima River Canyon, in Yakima, Washington. A tiny little race that draws out an entirely different breed of runner. These weren’t the celebrity runners who run a marathon simply because Oprah did. These were the brute runners, who run marathons for the love of the sport. With their trail shoes, gaiters, and wide-brimmed-sun-blocking Outback hats, runners of all ages began collecting at the start, near the Colorado Gem and Minerals Club, on the east side of Monument Road. It was desolate. It was quiet. It was reverent. The perfect setting for a race with so many unknowns.
The boy and bff would try to meet me at the 3-4 spots on the course where there were actually cross-steets. But, like Yakima, I would be predominately tackling this one on my own. Me, my music, my legs, my mind, and the random, sparse, people I would encounter along the way. In such a small race, the majority is run in solitude. A race trait I have come to realize is enticing.
And with the simple call of “GO!”, we were off…