Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Hell Froze Over

I won a race.
Naw, I'm not making this up.
Yes, it was a tiny event with no real competition.
I mean there were other ultra-runners there, but most of the people involved weren't even actual athletes. Some were soldiers recovering from grave injuries. Others were elderly parents of soldiers, lost or living.
It was the American Heroes Run in Longmont, CO. It's a fun, low-key event. There's only as much competition as you decide to have. There were only a couple other ultra-runner guys and a few ultra-runner women. The other ultra participants were not experienced as racers. The main theme was to commemorate the events of 9/11/2011, and all those who died that day and the decade since.
We ran for 9 hours and 11 minutes.
It began at 8:46AM, the same time the first plane hit the first tower.

The weather was clear and beautiful.
An Honor Guard was there in full uniform.
David Clarke and Emily Booth from Lifetime Fitness put the event on. There was a half-marathon, marathon, and ultra. There were also some team events.
As far as running, I was hoping to get a PR for 50 miles. I ended up not getting 50 miles within the time limit, but I kept going until I had done 50 miles. My new 50 distance record is 9:13.

The sky was almost entirely clear. Many stopped to take long breaks from the scorching sun. The temps were fine, but that relentless sun will microwave your noggin if you stay out too long. I just kept my cap wet and my sun-flap wrapped around my head.

Nobody was even paying attention to who was leading for most of the race. The other couple of guys were younger and faster than me, but I was the only one with a clear goal. My goal had nothing to do with other runners.
With less than three hours left in the race, Jeremy Ebel and I found out I had barely more than a 2 mile lead. He suddenly stopped horsing around and started running.
I had honestly lost interest in my 50-mile PR, and was interested in coasting through the rest of the time with more and more walking each lap. But Jeremy was trying to take this old, fat man's one-and-only win away, so I decided to give it a good go. He gained on me so fast I knew there was nothing I could do, but I couldn't resist making him earn it. Jeremy seemed to chew up nearly half a mile of my lead and then he was only barely gaining on me. And then he wasn't gaining on me. And then he just ran out of time.
By then, my 50-mile PR was back in sight again, so I kept pushing and made it.
I'm sure glad Jeremy was there to keep me honest.
Unfortunately, I was planning on taking it easy because my next race, 6 days after, is Steamboat 50. I hurt, and Steamboat is going to be "interesting". But it always is.

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