Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Colorado and the Power of 4

I started the trip by sitting out side of my house waiting for the mail carrier to drop off my shoes(which arrived the next day after I’d left). After the postal carrier didn’t have my package in his jeep I hoped in the fox den and headed towards Colorado. 30 minutes later I sat on the side of highway 80 with a flat tire and no functioning spare, waiting for the tow truck to drag me and my truck back to Reno. All of this was more than enough for me to rethink driving the thirteen hours out to Aspen to run a competitive 50k that I was thoroughly under trained for. Since injuring my ankle back in June I was only able to get in one (yes one) solid week of running before it was time to wind down and rest up for this race. So there I sat Thursday afternoon in the tire shop waiting room wondering if I should just stay home for the weekend.

The next day, after thirteen hours of driving across the western US, I arrived in Montrose, CO. I had decided the trip was worth it weather or not I was going to run well on Sunday. After Chris got off work we went for a run, and it was there, as I settled into a familiar rhythm of fox trotting a few steps behind a good friend, that my decision to journey out to Colorado for the weekend was validated. We ran on the local Montrose trails, making jokes and talking as if we still lived a few blocks away. 

The race, itself, was uneventful, other than it glaringly exposed holes in my rigorous week of training. I felt great on the uphills all day as the steep climbing played into my non-running strengths (hiking), but months of riding bicycles down hill and taking care of my tender ankle while running had left me completely void of downhill running muscles. So, after loosing sight of just about everyone on the first downhill I resolved to work as hard as I could on the ups, but not worry too much about the race results. I finished the race in 6:19.xx, about an hour behind first place. In the past I might have been super bummed about my lacking performance, but this race was different. I was happy to be back on my feet, pushing hard in the mountains, and to be with friends.
Steep Start

Running by myself after getting passed by everyone on the down hill.

After the race we all went back to the camp, ate some store bought fried chicken and macaroni, drank beers and stared into the fire as dusk turned to darkness. It was as perfect as any day could end. The next day I shuffled my beat up legs after Chris on the way up to Maroon Pass. We talked, enjoyed being out in the mountains together; I apologized for moving so slowly, he pretended like it wasn’t that slow…just like old times. Soon it was time for me to head back to Reno, feeling like I hadn’t gotten enough time with Chris, Elisa, and Penny, but living with a renewed vigor from sharing a few days together. 

Me struggling.

Why do we run in the mountains? Why do we do anything at all? There must be an infinite amount of individual answers to these questions, but for me, at the root, is the possibility to share our experiences with others, and for these experiences to foster deep seated relationships that ultimately help to define ourselves. 

Race/ Weekend Gear List:

Patagonia: Strider Pro Shorts, Cap 1 (cutoff) tank top, DuckBill Trucker Hat.
Inov-8: Terraclaw 220’s (even though I already put 500 miles on these kicks, they still felt good and snappy on race day!)
Julbo: Aeros - feels like I’m wearing nothing at all.
Drymax: Max Protection Trail Crew Socks - Kept my feet happy all day.
Naked Running Band - held all my water and gels keeping my hands free to power hike the ups and flail on the downs
VFuel: Started the day off with Ginger Twist in the bottle, and ate a smattering of Peach Cobbler and Cool Citrus the rest of the day. 

1 comment:

  1. HI Erik. Glad to see you are back running again. Ankle sprains are a pisser. I have had to deal with a lot of these during my 40+ years of running and like you, that is when the bike comes out. Here's to injury free running from now on.