Well, that was fun. I mean, it was as much fun as a marathon can be. I’m thankful that I finished. Not that I didn’t think I would…I knew I would…but somehow, I’m always surprised when I do. What is that?
I didn’t have any specific goals this time since I felt my training was all out of whack. I knew I was ready but in a different way than usual. Plus, waking up at 2:45 am to catch a race bus at 4:00 am seemed to be enough of a challenge. That and I ran a different pattern of distances every week, my strength training was different, and my long run was significantly shorter. C’est la vie. It all worked out in the end. It wasn’t my fastest race – I was shy of that by 3 minutes. It wasn’t my slowest race which would have been 15 minutes slower. It was just right. I felt good the entire race – no suffering (I also remembered my water, etc). Who can ask for more?
The Colorado Marathon takes place in Ft. Collins. Starting 17 miles into the Poudre Canyon, runners descend about 1,100 feet over the course of 26 miles finishing in the heart of Ft. Collins. Because the majority of the race is on a rather narrow road through the canyon and along a bike path, the race is peaceful and quiet – no bands and relatively no spectators. It’s the perfect meditative experience running along the Poudre River into the rising sun. The race is small with only about 1,400 runners. It took about 8 miles but, eventually, the runners spread out and everyone found their pace (pun intended).
I have only two suggested areas for race improvement: (1) starting line shenanigans; and (2) timing chips.
Starting Line. Before the race began, all the runners piled into coach buses (at 4:00 am) and were shipped off
into the darkness to the starting line. Once we were at the starting line, we waited a little over an hour for the race to begin. It was freezing. Literally. Most of us had jackets, etc, but it was pretty uncomfortable. I think it would have made sense to allow the runners to sit on the buses for a least 45 minutes before being required to wait outside. I heard quite a few folks offering this suggestion.
Timing. Timing chips were hosted in the runners’ bibs. This is great – no annoying shoe tag – hooray! Like most runners, I wear a GPS enabled watch. It tells me how fast I am going and how far I’ve gone. I start my watch when I cross the start line. Typically, I am not crossing the start line when the gun goes off. That practice is for the speed demons. Thus, my “gun time” and my “chip time” are usually different by a couple minutes. My gun time was 4:30 but my chip time (my watch time) was 4:27. In my experience, most races provide both results in their results listing. This race does not. I wish it did. I’m not sure if there is a reason for this – I assume those trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon must qualify by the gun time thus making that the only time of importance – but I like to save as many minutes and seconds as possible and know exactly how long it took me to run the race. Thank goodness for my little watch. He makes me feel faster .
Finally, I have one “self-suggestion” (aside from running faster!): know the course. I never looked at the course map. Classic. I found out, on the bus to the start line, that during the race, we would lose 1,100 vertical feet in elevation. Hmmm. I knew the course was a gradual downhill. In fact, I was told (by another runner) that the course was so gradual in its downhillyness that it would feel mostly flat. Um… nope. This race was downhill. It wasn’t steep but it wasn’t flat either. I mean, there were some flat parts and even a rather long uphill (hello, mile 18) but for the most part, downhill it was, folks. Downhill like a thighmaster. The temptation is use these downhills a little too much to one’s advantage. I’ve been there and made that mistake before. At least I knew better on that point. So, I routinely slowed myself down when I felt I was little too fast for myself. Just the same, I’m pretty sure that if my quads could have killed me they would have. Even with my post-race ice bath my quads were screaming for the post-race 48 hours. Interestingly, the rest of me wasn’t sore at all.
Another great Colorado racing experience! I’m not sure what is next. Maybe another go at Mt. Evan’s? What’s your next race?
My mom’s latest obsession is baby bok choy. And so, I thought I’d hunt down some new and interesting bok choy recipes to try. I didn’t have to hunt very hard. I adapted this recipe from one I found on tastespotting.com. It was relatively easy to make although it isn’t the best on the second day; it gets soggy. Next time, if I plan on leftovers, I’ll keep the sauce and salad separate and dress it right before eating OR put some sauce in the bottom of one of my mason jars with salad on top and mix later. I love my jars.
2 medium cucumbers
1 bunch baby bok choy
1/4 cup peanut butter (natural – I use Justin’s)
2 tablespoons maple syrup
juice of 1/2 lime
3 tablespoons of water
1/2 teaspoon garlic-chili paste (add more for extra heat!)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
cilantro chopped and chopped/crushed peanuts to garnish
1. In a small mixing bowl combine peanut butter, maple syrup, lime juice, sea salt, water and chili oil.
2. Chill in refrigerator while you prepare the noodles.
3. Chop baby bok choy into thin slivers.
4. Peel skin from cucumbers. Then, cut them julienne or continue using your peeler to yield strips or “noodles” of cucumbers.
5. Squeeze as much liquid out of the cucumber noodles as possible (you can wrap a paper-towel around them to do this), and combine with boy choy in a large bowl.
6. Add peanut sauce, a bit at a time, to cucumber noodles and bok choy (add more water to the sauce if needed, use more of less peanut sauce to taste).
7. Serve immediately garnished with cilantro and chopped peanuts
Adapted from A House in the Hills.