|Boston Celebration Jacket, "My Intimidation Factor"|
The course quickly ran past our condo and Great Great Aunt Faye was waiting on the balcony to wave at me. I've got the best 92 year old aunt in the world!
|Heading up to mile 5|
Once we passed the condo it quickly hit the trails. It was beautiful and tree covered. I huffed and puffed and did my best to hold a pace. Eventually the steep grade gave way to the opening mountain range and my first "I give!, I'm walking." I wasn't alone, we were getting high. After the mile 5 aid station there were a few more tree covered yards and a tricky creek to cross on a log.
From mile 5.5 to about 6.5 it was all up hill above tree line. There was no running from anyone at that point. It was just a power hike in the strong winds.
|Heading out of the trees about mile 5.5|
The sights were amazing but if I looked too long, I'd trip. I pulled off and snapped several pictures. All the while I was in shock.
I did not realize that I was going to be climbing a mountain when I signed up. I couldn't breathe, the wind was literally blowing me around, and it wasn't even half way yet!
|Looking back at the runners (tiny ants)|
|Pictures don't do justice!|
|Looking down at the tiny ants|
I finally made it to the top. All the people below looked like ants, but I was glad to be above them and see the trail ahead. I looked down to Breckenridge and then immediately I began to enjoy my run. It was "all down hill from there."
|Looking up at the tiny ants|
|The very top, about 12,500. Around mile 6.5|
|One more peak, the it's all down hill|
|Breckenridge down below|
It was tricky not to lose control, but it was so great to be flying down the mountain.
The path turned to service roads and they were very rocky. As long as I controlled my pace I was fine. The huge loose rocks were a little painful on my feet, but my mood had turned to pure joy. I was up in the mountains, taking in the amazing views, and enjoying every step. What a blessing.
The course ran on roads and finally ended up on some great wooded trails. I had breath to talk with the other runners who were just as happy as me to be heading down.
Finally, we hit paved roads and crossed a few streets and it was over!
I had already forgotten about how tough it was and was just so pleased that I had such a great morning. No spills, no major issues, and a joyful attitude.
|I was whipped!|
Officially I was clocked at 2:34:10. That's about an hour slower than my flatland PR, that might give you some idea of the conditions out here. I was the fourth in my age group, about 1/2 an hour behind the top female. I'll take it. Not too bad for a little Kansas girl running from 9,600 feet up to 12,500 and back.
|My Daily Mile friend, Brian from Nebraska (Happy to be done!)|
|A smile is better than a trophy!|