Did you know it’s 46.58 miles from Highlands Ranch to Boulder?
Yup, found that out yesterday! Yesterdays run was really hard to prepare for mentally. It felt like such an endeavor. I mean really, running 46 miles to Boulder in the dead of winter? What was I thinking? After trying to wrap my head around the run, I finally gave up and went to bed. I slept really good and that morning decided that I was just going to not think about what I was trying to do. The plan was to just start running, stay in the moment, and keep running, until I happened upon the town of Boulder. Yea the average temp that day was 22 degrees, but geez I have all these great cloths from Beyond and Core Concepts, so I can do cold.
I woke up quite sore from the previous day of skiing at Vail (most fun EVER, video to come in a couple days). Troy helped me load up the car and we were off to Steve’s. The plan was to have Steve, and Anthony, and I’s food/cloths/etc in the VW with Troy following us the entire day. Lots of people had mentioned they would like to run with us along the way, but it was 17 degrees out that morning and you just never know who is going to decided to stay home. We were all prepared to do the whole 46 with each other, assuming nobody would join, and Troy was ready to drive the car to all the aid stops, shlep Annie along the way, and field all necessary phone calls.
At 7:05 the three of us took off. It was quite chilly and took some time to warm up, but as soon as the sun came up we warmed up a bit and got cruising along. We were giddy and excited and I almost peed my pants a few times from the jokes that were being thrown around, always a good start to the day. 6 miles in we encountered Troy and Annie at the first aid stop. We grabbed a few things and rolled right through. I could tell Troy was going to be great support throughout the day.
A couple miles later we see someone running towards us and it’s Rob. He’s here to run the next 8 with us, and it was super fun to have him along. He’s a really chill dude and kinda silly too. I liked his company for those miles.
Aid stop 2 and Troy was proving to be quite the SAG! He was pulled into this little gap in a wall behind a box store right off the bike path. The back of the VW was open and we only had to veer off the trail 30 feet to grab some aid. He was quite the scout. Annie waved ByeBye to me and didn’t cry at all (I think Troy has been working on that) and we were off again. This time I grabbed some rice cakes and potato chips. I figured potato chips were totally allowed!
The next few miles were really nice. We got into quite the groove and the bike path took a break from being right next to the highway. So we talked without the traffic zooming by all the time. It was a nice reprieve. We rolled into the Conoco on Morrison Road just ahead of our projected 10 minute pace and Troy was there waiting. Rob was done here and Tyler was waiting, but told us that he would hop in at 20 miles. It was nice to know that in 2.5 miles he would be with us. I love training with Tyler and today he was going to attempt to run 26.58 miles. His longest run before this was under 20, so it was quite the goal!
The next few miles things started to happen. We broke into a pace line where each person takes a turn leading for 3 minutes. This is supposed to allow the other two people to shut their brains off and just run mindlessly. I was game for it. So we got it going and you know…it’s stunk. We had been so social up to this point and then I felt like we all just went into our own world b/c we were running behind each other. At mile 20 we grabbed Tyler and Steve asked how the pacing was working. I said I hated it, he asked why and I told him my reasons. One of them was that when we are all talking the time flies by, but when we are in pace line, something is happening every 3 minutes and it makes me feel like I have to be more conscious. So Steve asked if we could switch it to 5 minutes. Oaky? I started fishing out my iPod. The next 7 miles were really hard for me. I spent 2 miles just staring at a little circle on the back of Tyler’s shirt. I felt like we were running really fast and I asked Steve if we had picked up the pace (I don’t have a Garmin) and he said “no”. So, I started to tell myself that it wasn’t my day. I wondered if the skiing was too much on me the day before. I continued to feel like I was going to get dropped off the back of the pace line. I tried to take my pulls so that I could slow things down but after every stoplight someone else would take the lead and start pulling. I was just hanging on, barely. Troy had paused at mile 24 to make sure we were okay and I wanted to stop so bad for some aid, but the group wanted to continue on, so on we went.
Getting close to the next aid stop at 27.5 I was pretty sure I was done for the day. I was sweating, and I was blowing up. The pace was too hard for me to keep and I was thinking “I’m done”. We rolled into the 7-11 and the tears were welling up in my eyes.
BUT, oh my goodness. I first see Hillary and Ben (Hill is my very prego great friend). Then there was Keith, Beth, and Nicole waiting to hop in with us. I was recouping a little and I looked around and everyone was smiling at me with these huge grins. Here I am feeling *really bad*, not wanting to go on and I could see how supportive Hill and Ben were, and how excited Keith, Beth, and Nicole were. I was telling Troy and Hill that I wasn’t doing good, but the looks on all of their faces was so supportive and compassionate that I knew I needed to keep going. I had to find a way to stall a little bit. So I got out my compression socks and proceeded to take off my shoes and socks and put on the compressions socks. That bought me time. Steve was raring to go, and Tony was ready, but they all waited for me. Once we were off again I knew things were going to go up from here. I knew that even if I fell behind, that I would finish and that I had people to run with me.
Tony and I chatted a little about the last section and we conferred that we were running faster. Tony said there was a few 8-something miles in there, and things started to make sense. I made sure to slow back down to 10′s and tried to allow myself to regroup. Steve came back to us and asked what was going on, I think that we was feeling so good that he didn’t understand why we weren’t right there with him. He finally figured out that any “quickening” he wanted to do, he was on his own. And…off he went. Kieth tried to catch him at one point and couldn’t do it. Steve put 20 minutes on the group in a span of 6 miles, and we were running 10 minute pace dead on.
Somewhere around mile 28 my friend Laura found us. We were running right by her house and it was during that time that I was trying to recover from my futile attempt at throwing in the towel. She came bobbing along with all the words I needed. Laura has competed in ultra mountain bike races so she knows about bonking and recovering. By the time she departed at mile 33ish I was back on track and feeling great.
The miles from 33 to 41 were awesome. I felt really good and we were pulling out 9:15 and 9:30 miles and it felt easy. Everything was “sore” but nothing “hurt”. It was a great feeling. Nicole, Tony, and I separated from Tyler and Beth, and Keith bounced in-between the two groups. We had so much fun during this stretch and when we came over the hill and could see Boulder spread out below us we all thought we had died and gone to heaven.
Mile 41 was the last aid stop. Hill and Ben were here and Ben was suited up and ready to run into Boulder with us. It was pretty fun to have him along, he had raced a 5K that morning, so he too was getting addicted to the Practical Coaching “crazy-bug”. John was here as well but waited to run with Tyler and Beth.
The last 5 was fun. Anthony was giddy and so was I. We just couldn’t believe we were going to do it. I had to make a stop in a Subway to use the restroom and the guy gave me a look like “No Public Restrooms”. I told him “I just ran 45 miles, I started in Highlands Ranch at 7am” and he just exploded with “Wow, oh my gosh”. When I ran back out of the bathroom all the employees were clapping. It was awesome.
Running the last mile was crazy-fun. So giddy, so happy. I never did wrap my head around running that far. I love to run and the miles seem to fly by. I still don’t quite understand how I made it, but I did, and I’m stronger because of it.
Thanks to all my friends that helped pace us. It made the run much more fun to have them along. Tyler came in 5 minutes behind us, tears rolling down his cheeks with Beth and John pacing him along. Troy was there with the seat heaters on and blankets to wrap around cold bodies. How can one man do so much for me? I digress.
So, we had a lot of people bring up the “Your crazy” comments on the run, but somehow, what we did on Saturday just felt like a good days training. The number sounds pretty big, but the experience was much larger, more fun than work, and more giggles than tears.
For your viewing pleasure (if you can’t view the YouTube video, go to YouTube and search on swieck).