It's the day after the day after the race. The dust has settled and the DOMS has settled in. OWWWWWWWW !!!! I hurt. I ache. I hurts to sit, to walk, to stand, to lie down, to go up stairs, to go down stairs. But I can't stop smiling. It is soooooooo worth it.
Boastfully speaking - I rocked the downhill. I'm proud of my race and especially proud of the results. While trying not to come across as so selfish and prideful - it's hard not to write a race report or blog post in which the main focus is yourself - and not have it read by others and received as a guy saying "look at me, I'm awesome". I'm really not. So, some random stuff about other things that went on over the weekend in Manitou Springs and on Pikes Peak.
I'm not awesome. Race winner (Kilian Jornet) beat me by 99 minutes. In a post race interview he said the ".....the race was really hard because it was flat....." Great Googily Moogily.
Kim Dobson had the most awesome race of the weekend. To not only beat a 31 year old record, but to beat that by 8 1/2 minutes not only is deserving of the $8,000 prize money - but probably more recognition. I'm curious to think what time she could have made if she continued and did the marathon course. Sub 4 hours seemed likely which would have beaten that record too.
I'm also curious what kind of time Kilian could do if he ran the way he wanted to. As in, straight up / off the trail above treeline. It was clear and not too subtle in pre-race interviews that he is not a fan of the switchbacks. I really don't blame him as that is what he is used to in the European Mountain races. Trail-free, I'm sure he could go under 2 hours for an Ascent.
At the pre-race news conference it was kind of funny that he and the Womens Marathon winner (Emelie Forsberg) both noted that they were surprized to see the Summit house at the top of the Peak. Thinking about it - it is a little odd that on the Summit of one of America's most iconic peaks - is a store selling t-shirts and donuts, with people walking around outside who have not hiked up it - and are smoking a cigarette.
Full disclosure - I don't smoke but have bought and eaten plenty of donuts there. They are greasy, I'm sure they are full of fat, oil and other bad stuff for the body - but they taste great, especially after a run. No doubt I will eat more donuts there - and enjoy them.
Back to the race. Here is a Marathon result that is as impressive as just about any other on the weekend. I don't know her, have never met her, likely never will meet her and was not there when she finished. I wish I was there to see her finish. Kathleen Morrow, 69 years young, finished with a mere 3 seconds to spare before the 10 hour cut-off time. She has finished either the Ascent or Marathon 10 times. Mrs Morrow - you are awesome, congratulations.
It was also awesome at the finish line for me to see some awesome people. While my wife and kids couldn't make it due to a Soccer tournament, people showed up and cheered - for me? Coming down Ruxton Avenue towards the finish line the crowds got bigger and the noise got louder as the runners get closer to finish. Were they cheering because they knew each of the runners? Unlikely. Were they cheering because of what we had just done? Sure, some of that. I'm not much of a cheerleader - but on race day I was super grateful that hundreds of people were yelling and cheering as I finished. It was such an encouragement.
Brad (who had PR'd in the Ascent the day before), as well as Steve and Kathleen - who had literally finished a trail run and then driven many miles to watch the end of the race.
Thanks to Steve and Kathleen not only for this and other pictures, but to have run with Steve on several training runs, covering many miles and hours and then to come out and genuinely be as excited as I was about my race - that meant a lot. Brad, Steve, Kathleen - thanks for being there.
After the race I was a mess - I looked like a mess, I spoke like a babbling 2nd grader, an emotional basket case almost crying several times, I felt like crap and yet I was feeling like I just conquered the world.
I laid down in the finishing tent and was royally treated by 2 wonderful Physical Therapists. As they rubbed my aching calves they got to listen to me ramble on about the race. I must have seemed like a clown, or a flirt or just an idiot - but they kept at it and really helped me get back on my feet. I saw somewhere that about 600 people volunteer over the weekend. There are not enough thank you's to be said to those who had any part in the races. Thank you so much.
After staggering out of the tent and chatting with Brad, Steve and Kathleen, picking up my drop bag and finishers shirt, getting some photos, and then seeing the initial results posted - and being instantly more upbeat with my placing - I wandered across the bridge to the Park Pavilion where the food was, where the awards were given out.
I didn't win any awards, didn't expect to. I was there to eat food. However, I really wasn't very hungry and I'm kind of wondering why in the 2 days since the race I have not had much of an appetite. I have almost forced myself to eat because I know I need to. Probably just the beat up system needs time to readjust to the enjoyment of food - and being able to chew and swallow while not running. Trying to eat during the race was adventurous, certainly not easy. It's necessary I know and I should try to figure that out better.
My mind is wandering and Jelly Beans seem very appropriate also. I may have to mix them in with a salad later. Let's just skip the salad and go straight to the sugar.
Back to the after race scene..... I had met George for the first time about 3 hours earlier that day. It was mid race, about 12 miles up the Mountain and 7000 feet higher. He was cruising downhill and I was leaning uphill. So, it was good to finally meet up with him in the Pavilion and sit down and chat for about an hour, along with Jeff V (5th Master) and Dave M (7th overall) who GZ introduced me to. Thanks for chatting and the encouragement George, was great to finally meet you and I look forward to doing it again.
Finally I staggered back to my car - only about a 1/2 mile away but what a long, slow and painful walk. My family called me as I was walking - my son spoke first and congratulated me (I had texted them shortly after I had finished w/ quick results). As I am walking down Manitou Ave, with tourists and some other runners wandering around, me looking like I had just bathed by a snotty Camel (think: a slobbering mess) - I started crying. My race was complete.
I drove home, hugged my family, lay on the floor for a while, took a shower and hugged my family some more. My running is taking some time off now. Kids Soccer games just about every Saturday (and 1 Sunday) for the next few months. I've spent hours and hours running these past few months. I've missed my family and they get priority now. When you have a wife and 3 kids as great as mine are - I'm looking forward to spending so much more time with them.
I don't know when I will run another race. Nothing is planned. I will not run for at least a week as my body needs to recover. I'll probably just run a few times a week in the months to come and will look to get out with some fellow runners to enjoy the local trails when I can.
As for next year? Pikes Peak Marathon 2013? Dunno. This post has gone on long enough. I'll save those thoughts for next time.