shapeimage_121.jpgshapeimage_418.jpgshapeimage_515.jpgshapeimage_610.jpg We traveled down to Pueblo again this weekend for another race, and to visit with Michelle, Ron and Sam. This time the race was a 10K (6.23 miles) and it was the final one of the series. We went down on Friday night and visited a little before hitting the hay. On Saturday, Troy and Ron had planned to go on a hike to some dinosaur tracks, so they disappeared early and were home for dinner. They had fun on the 11 mile round trip hike to the tracks. They were really proud that they were the only people that walked there that day, the rest were mountain bikers. Ron wasn’t real happy about the final hill up to the car but he survived!

Michelle and I took the kiddos to the park where they had a lot of fun. Annie went down the slide all by herself about 15 times and it was one of the big-kid slides. Sam enjoyed flinging rocks with a stick he found. Then we were back home for naps and chatting. It was nice to get a day with Michelle to catch up and talk.

Sunday was the day of the race, and I think it’s safe to say we were both a bit nervous. Troy and Annie came to the race, and Ron stayed home b/c Sam was still sleeping. Ron and Sam arrived a little before we finished the race.

The race was really neat. There was a lot of small town spirit and the hispanic culture was well represented. There was a Mariachi band performing at the start line and a team of runners from Chihuahua, Mexico had been hosted by local Puebloans and were running the race. The race benefited the at risk youth in the community so it was a great cause as well.

The gun was off and so were we. The course was one huge loop through the fair grounds and the City Park, passing by the zoo and the playground we were at yesterday, and weaving through some residential areas. I tried not to go out too hard, but around a mile there was a woman (who I had finished ahead of two weeks ago) in the lead about 30 seconds ahead. I was a little shocked, but I didn’t want to go out too hard so I hung back and ran my own pace. BOY WAS I GLAD I DID. I had forgotten that people could have entered a 5K division, which she had and at 1.06 miles she turned right with the 5Kers and I turned left with the 10Kers, thus putting me in the lead for the women. We headed down a big hill and at the bottom, low and behold, Troy and Annie were waiting, and cheering, and waving, and clapping, and being generally silly for me! They had driven the car over and I was expecting them around mile 4 but they made it all the way to mile 2.5 about.

At this time I sort of hooked up with a runner from Chihuahua, and it was great to have someone to pace with. He would pick it up and I would go with him, and visa versa. I saw Troy 2 more times, he was really getting around the course well with Annie! At a little over 5 miles there was a hill and I took a little bit of a lead on my running mate, from there it was just a strong push to the finish. Troy, Ron, and all the kiddos were there. They announced my name as the female winner, and it was really heart warming to see all the people looking at me with smiles, and looks of WOW on their face. One of the volunteers wrapped a yellow t-shirt around my shoulders, which made me feel special. It turns out that the man from Mexico that I ran with was 59 years old!!! He was in wonderful shape and I will always remember running this race with him. I can only imagine the stories he could tell me if I only spoke Spanish!

I don’t like to stick around the finish, especially when I have friends running, so I started jogging backwards along the course cheering for everyone that passed and looking for Michelle. Her goal was to be under an hour and 10 minutes. Troy and Annie came with me on my jog, Troy laughed most the time because I cheered like a rock star for every person that came in. We turned a few corners, and there came Michelle, booking it like usual. She looked great, nice and strong for the finish. I jogged with her for a few seconds and then left her to run to the finish so I could cheer there. It was AWESOME to see her come down the final stretch. She had really great upper body form, she was relaxed and smiling. I got chills. I strained to see the clock at the finish and noticed that it was somewhere around one hour and ONE minute, so she was 9 minutes ahead of her goal!!! She finished in 1:01:18, which was 9:52 pace. Two words: ROCK STAR.

The official stats for my race are the following: Mile 1: 6:35 Mile 2: 7:01 Mile 3: 6:54 Mile 4: 6:56 Mile 5: 7:41 (hill) Mile 6: 6:52 Last 0.2: 1:11 Final Official Time for 10K: 43:14 Female Winner.

Also, as a added benefit, they gave me a huge engraved beer pitcher for my 10K win, and I also ended up winning the series for the women, so they gave me a $100 gift certificate to Runners Roost for some new shoes! YIP! Michelle was also a champion, she took 3rd in the series for her age group. WeeHoo!

Photos courtesy of Ron!