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Thanks Grandma!

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Back when I first started running I made a list of the iconic runs I wanted to participate in.  In less than a month I’ve crossed two of them off – the Bolder Boulder 10K, and now Grandma’s Marathon.

Now I’m two marathons and four half marathons away from my 5-4 goal (5 half, 4 full the year I turn 54).  Just like those stupid Eliquis drug commercials, I’m lying here with sore legs and wondering “can I up my game”?

I’m nearly 100% convinced now that I will run an ultra next year, that the remaining races are training runs with medals and t-shirts.

Recap of Grandma’s:  It’s iconic for a reason, come run it!   A beautiful point-to-point along the shores of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee.  I recommend staying in Two Harbors, the small, quiet town that hosts the start; a bus will pick you up and take you to the start 10 minutes away.

It poured rain from the time I stepped of the bus until the start 30 minutes later. Every possible shelter was already crammed to overflowing by the time our bus arrived and so I had to settle for the 30 gallon trash bag I’d snagged from the hotel room.  The rain stopped a few minutes into the race and stayed away for the time it took me to finish. 

Along the course we had magnificent views of the lake, a few small, very supportive towns that were perfumed by blossoming lilacs.

Aid stations were plentiful and extremely well staffed with volunteers of all ages offering water and powerade every 2 miles from 3-17 then every mile from 19-25.  Oddly there was only one Clif Shot station, at mile 17.

The marathon boasted roughly 7800 runners, it took me 14 minutes to cross the start line from the back (I was held up at the porta potties and didn’t feel like trying to push up to my pace group).

Grandma’s is definitely worthy of it’s reputation.

Gobble Wobble

Had a lot of fun running in the Littleton, Colorado Gobble Wobble this morning.  Good sized crowd too, 1,322!  The path was pretty narrow for a large community fun event that attracted a sizable number of strollers, dogs, and walkers.  I was hoping for less than 30:00 but the 5,500 for altitude got the best of me on the final 300 yards and I just didn’t have it in me to sprint.

Revel Rockies Half Marathon

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“Ran” the inaugural Revel Rockies Half Marathon in Denver last Sunday. I was pretty pleased with my time considering the amount of training I put in leading up to it.  It was advertised as a fast downhill course…. Once you got past the two uphill sections that began AT the start line, it was 98% downhill.  I was worried that the almost 2,000 foot elevation change would wreak havoc on my knees and thighs, I didn’t even think about what toll the steeply bank roadway would take.  Exactly at mile 7 I got a cramp in my left calf (the predominantly down slope leg) that I ran through for the entire remainder of the run.

After about a 40 minute bus ride to the start we arrived in Evergreen, CO where the temperature was a very pleasant 55F.  Unfortunately the porta potty lines were soooo long (nearly 20 minutes) that I didn’t have any time at all to stretch before the start which probably had nothing to do with the cramp.

The scenery was spectacular, without a doubt the most scenic half marathon I’ve ever entered.  The weather was perfect, hardly a cloud in the sky with the course mostly shielded from the sun by the towering rock faces that lined the roadway.

Aid stations were well placed and well stocked, staffed by enthusiastic and supportive people.

The finish was a little brutal, reminded me of the Marine Corps Marathon, with a 300 yard uphill section just prior to the 100 yard downhill dash for the finish line.  The finishers coral area had plenty of great post run snacks and water as well as a large water trough filled with iced cotton towels (that was a nice touch).

The other nice touch was the free can of beer from Upslope Brewing Company for each finisher.  I had the Belgian Style Pale Ale which was reminiscent of Celis White from many years ago.  Of course the volunteers had the ubiquitous American tip jar there… what runners do you know have tipping money in their running shorts?  What gall to even set out a tip jar at an event like this.  Makes me think that I should put a tip jar on the desk at the front of my classroom, everywhere you go in America these days you’re likely to find a tip jar – maybe Revel should put one at the finish line itself.

All in all, it was a great run.  I won’t do it again simply because of the extreme slope of the roadway, but it was certainly well worth the 8-hour drive from Omaha to be a part of an inaugural event.  

I forgot to mention the fact that my split time was only a 1 second difference!  How I managed to pull that off while running with a severely cramped left calf I don’t know, but that was pretty cool.  I know that I’m not very quick these days compared to when I was running 15 years ago.  I’m pretty happy in knowing that I’m even able to do it at all considering all the procedures my heart has gone through.  I did manage to finish 15 out of 39 in my age group, so that’s good.   In the future I’ll post a link to my garmin connect record of runs – here’s the link to this event.

Cancun bound!

So.  I’m off to Cancun for 5 days.  I really don’t have any plans for anything more adventurous than a commitment to enjoy a minimum of two cigars per day, swim in the ocean at least once a day, and read the book I brought from cover to cover.

I can’t remember the exact details of the book other than it is one of the “5 foot shelf of knowledge” books.  This particular one was published in 1921 (I think the year my grandparents got married! ) entitled “The Founding Fathers”.  It will be refreshing to read something that has a perspective that is 150 years past the events.

How much credit will be given to some of the men like John Taylor of Caroline?
In flight I decided that I would create another on-the-go playlist that you’ll be able to see what moved me while cruising at 30,000 feet.  It’s funny how the truck driver in me always needs to watch the land below to try and figure out exactly where I am.  I really had no sense of our location until we passed over Fort Wingate just east of Gallup, NM.

So now here I am in Phoenix drinking a Four Peaks Oatmeal Stout waiting for my flight.  My first beer since the 3M Half marathon 5 weeks ago.  It reminds me of the days when we’d get off the submarine after two months submerged; you could practically taste every ingredient and you swore it was the best beer you’d ever tasted (even if it was a Budweiser).

So I’ll post photos, experiences, playlists… Adios