I am extremely fortunate to be surrounded by so many people that I am confident under any circumstance would do just about anything for me. I am even more fortunate that so many of them share my love of early morning trail runs for nothing more than the enjoyment of getting out there, putting one foot in front of the other and sharing a bit more of their lives with each other, unloading a burden or laughing about something fantastically silly that may have happened the day before. What happens on the trail, stays on the trail…a therapy of sorts. Rarely do you meet a married couple that so wholeheartedly enjoy not only each other but the love for the outdoors, whether it be running, biking or basketball in the driveway with the kids that they will hire a babysitter for SEVEN hours to watch their four children to be able to drive to the top of Pikes Peak (where there is no oxygen) and do the so loved and so dreaded workout popularly known as a 3-2-1…TOGETHER. The workout that you can’t really decide if you want to be sick, pass out or cry…or all three…at the same time. Yep, they’re crazy and we love them for it.
I was determined to put the Summer Roundup quickly behind me and turn my sights on the Barr Trail Mountain Race just a week away. My goal was to approach the race as a training run and not taper, obsesses, worry, over-analyze the day at all (ok, maybe a little). I continued to spend my week chasing Susie and Dave uphill and on Saturday, the day before the race, I found myself in a minivan with the Susie, Dave AND Jim (Susie’s husband) heading to the top of Pikes Peak. Again, seems just a little crazy or maybe I'm just a glutton for punishment. I know altitude is tough for me and if anything just being up there was going to be helpful for the weeks to come. It never fails that tough runs filled with a hefty dose of group suffering always end in smiles and laughs sharing stories of each others adventures. (I call any run in which I can’t really run an adventure). Our first journey to the top of the peak was ACTUALLY fun. We found Cindy cruising through A-Frame, met some new friends at the top and everyone enjoyed a butt-kicking, injury free workout. We piled Cindy and Simon along with the original four tired runners back into the minivan equipped with enough peanut butter sandwiches for a week, watermelon, cantaloupe, jackets, water, Gatorade, a fountain soda…ok, you get the picture we were set. You would think that after finishing a workout like that and a bit of food and water there would be quite a bit of chatter in the car, especially with a crew where the gift of gab is shared by so many. Silence…eerie silence. Down we go….14,000….13,000…chatter….12,000…more chatter….11,000…can’t get a word in edgewise. Smiles and laughs with new friends, easy to see why Jim would want to jump through a few hoops to experience this adventure with his (as he so eloquently puts it) “smokin’ hot wife”!
I got home in just enough time to hop back into the car to go rescue Sonya and Michelle (fellow Sunday Barr Trail Mountain racers) from their double flat tires 40 miles into a 60 mile bike ride in Fountain, resting in the patio furniture section of Lowes. The ride back to the Springs gave us ample time to plan the carpool for the morning and obsess just a little about cut-off times. Sonya’s orders…hydrate, eat well and rest. I did just that.
Typical race morning filled with nerves, coffee, water, peanut butter and my typical checklist of socks, music, watch…etc. So far, so good! Met up with Sonya just as planned. Found Dave right away. Wandered around a bit and we were off. We watched the true mountain runners speed away and I tried not to get swept up in the ambitious mass of people that attempt to RUN Hydra. My goal was to push, don’t get hurt and finish as close to 2:30 as possible. If you have been reading all of my blogs you will sense a trend…Danielle and Susie are ALWAYS there to cheer me on, dole outhugs and smiles and provide me with another reminder of how lucky I am to have such amazing friends.Dave and Sonya too, but instead of cheering today they too were running their hardest in 96 degree heat to hopefully beat their goals for the day. Danielle and Susie had volunteered to help with split times at Barr Camp and both started their version of the Barr Mountain Race when we were all still in our warm houses drinking coffee, hiking as fast as they could with gallon jugs of water and Gatorade (the racers may have gotten off easy). What a treat to get a smile and a hug at Barr Camp from those two!
I finished fourth in my age group at 2:31. Dave knocked it out of the park as usual and Sonya got SECOND in her age group and we all joined her as she proudly collected her award at the Soda Springs Awards Ceremony. What a weekend!