Well there is a lot to update. For starters I pulled my hamstring in late March and had to take April off. After what seemed like an eternity I was finally able to run consistently again by mid May. I know coming back from an injury is always difficult. Finding the right balance of rest coupled with challenging the body can be difficult. I pushed the boundary for recovery and was able to get back in. But... then on June 2nd, Lynnette and I were told that our youngest daughter Annalise was diagnosed with Leukemia. Lynnette and Annalise have been staying at the Denver Children's Hospital (in Aurora, east side of Denver). Katrina and I have been mostly staying in Monument with Lynnette's parents and driving up to see them every other day. Luckily school is out for the summer.
The race: How would my body respond? This was to be only my second race of the year and the first back from injury. I knew I was getting fit and would be able to contend. My goal was simple: break 3:40 and win. Going out and up the first hill I knew I that this was going to be a tough race. Matt Daniels and I jockeyed for the lead, with neither wanting to relinquish it. We ran mostly together until 3 miles in he took the lead going up the Burro Road and he flew. I did not panic and resigned to let him set the pace until Mosquito Pass. For the next 4 miles we yo-yoed back and forth while I waited. Finally at the base of Mosquito Pass I put in a small surge and caught Matt and then tried to keep the pace going. A long mile later I finally pulled slightly ahead. Around the steep switchbacks of Mosquito Pass I could see I was slowly making headway gaining a few seconds here and there. I kept pushing it only walking 4 times on the steepest sections for about 20 yards per section.
The last mile to the top of the pass I was tossed around like a rag doll as 50 mph winds swept around me. Finally I topped out at the top of the pass with about a 90 second lead. I turned and head down. Conservatively I dropped down from the pass. I wanted to descend in a controlled safe manner. At the bottom of the pass I ran on trying to maintain my lead. I continued to eat even though I definitely did not feel like it. Finally I reached the dreaded hill at mile 21. This hill is wonderful or horrible. I managed to get up to the aid which as always was a welcome sight. I figured my lead was only 2 or 3 minutes. I left and quickly started the long decent to the finish.
I turned onto 6th street, the finish line in sight. I knew I'd win... I just had to run the last 1/2 mile of the course. I ran down the course not pushing the pace. Because of the wind I had dropped my awesome hat earlier in the race (I gave it to a spectating friend). Consequently, I pleasantly surprised the race announcers. I crossed... the race was finished. Some notes: During the race I ate about 550 calories and drank about 90 oz of liquid. I wore the Hoka Challenger 3.
Results are here:
I soon found myself resting and contemplating the race.
It had been a tough race: Physically I had to push and dig deep. I had managed to come back from the nasty injury in March, that thankfully is now gone. Mentally, I was overwhelmed: It was my 20th year in a row of winning a race. It was my first race back from injury and the first race run after Annalise was diagnosed with Leukemia.
Annalise is getting better every day. Katrina has a hectic whirlwind summer going on. Lynnette takes amazing care of both of them. They inspire me. Next race is the Leadville Silver Rush 50. See you then.