Sunday, November 8, 2015

Milwaukee Running Festival Recap


That was all my inner monologue was saying just over 4 miles into the marathon for the Milwaukee Running Festival.

Things started easy enough.  I drove up to Milwaukee with Jennifer after work on Friday. We got to our hotel then went and found food. On Saturday we got up and I got a short jog in on the treadmill before we headed over to the Harley Davidson museum for the expo and packet pickup. It was a cold and rainy day which didn't bode well. We caught Harry along the way and made plans for getting dinner together with him and Tiffany. Once at the expo we had to fight through a bit of a crowd as it had just opened. There were peoples still around from the mile run, plus they were having trick or treating for the kids.

The expo was in a smaller building on the Harley campus. It didn't take too long to walk to the far end to get packets, even with fighting through the crowds. After getting our packets we headed over to find Mo working at the Ragnar booth and got some goodies. I also met 2 of my future teammates. Soon Chris found us and we found out we got free admission to the museum so we headed over to check that out to kill some time.

From Terminator 2 and Easy Rider

We then got lunch at Marquette and did some shopping to kill time. After a stop back at the hotel to chill out for awhile we headed out to meet up with Harry, Tiff, and Chris to grab some pizza. We ate and a NYC style place called Brick 3 which worked out since it allowed everyone to enjoy their own preferences for slices. We then moved down the street for a drink and socialize some more. We wound up in a New Orleans bar of all places and I had a Chocolate Weisse from Abita.

Race morning came early, but not as early with the clocks rolling back. We decided to walk to the start of the race since it was less than a mile away. It was still chilly out, but no longer raining. The start of the race was near Summerfest and a bit chaotic. The lines for the bathrooms were crazy long so I didn't get a chance to go before the race started since I had to stand in a long line for gear check instead. I saw my old Ragnar teammate Krista just outside the corrals and talked to her a bit before lining up to start. I had optimistically lined up with the 3:30 pacers knowing that I was capable of that time, but didn't realize how far along my body was in recover from the 50 miler 2 weeks prior.

Once we were off and running I felt comfortable keeping with the pace group. Things ticked off pretty smoothly and I saw restrooms just past mile 2 and so I used them to much relief. Once I got done I may have unwisely picked up the pace a bit to re-gain some ground that I lost. It felt ok, and then past mile 3 we hit the first big hill of the race. I trucked up it, but it started to get to me near the top. My quads were crying out in pain and I already knew I was going to be in trouble for the rest of the race. From here on I slow my pace just hoping to survive.

The miles ticked off fairly steadily and I just tried to hold things together. The course definitely rolled which didn't help. We finally reached the split for the full and the half and I contemplated cutting things short, but couldn't bring myself to do that and so trucked on. After the split we had another long hill that I somehow managed to run all the way up. This would pretty much be the last hill that I ran up. The rest I had to walk.

As the race went on my pace just slowed and slowed. I had to walk more and more as my legs had nothing in them. I was completely spent. I finally spotted Krista and Mo while on one of the out and backs and knew they weren't too far behind. Krista passed me just before mile 20 and Mo caught up just after. We were at the 3 hour mark so I told Mo she only needed to run a 10k in less than an hour and she had this. That last 10K took me an hour and 14 minutes.

I really struggled to get the last few miles done. I could barely get the legs moving. I was at a point where my quads were so wrecked that even the downhills hurt. I grit my teeth and kept moving. I tried smiling for the cameras as I went past, but it was hard to hide the pain. I somehow turned a waddle into a jog for the homestretch and finished in my 2nd worst time of 11 marathons. I am human after all. There was quite the spread of treats in the finishing chute including water, chocolate milk, bananas, pretzels, granola bars, and even chocolate chip cookies. A lady tried to give me one, but I already had my hands completely full. That made me sad.

I was lucky enough to catch a pedicab back to the hotel and showered before checking out. The next mission was to get ribs. I was hungry and deserved it.

Friday, October 23, 2015

DPRT 50 Miler Recap

Ever since I was reborn as a runner 4 years ago I've been on a mission to improve and better myself. The distances raced, the volume of miles, etc. have all gradually increased. I'm even racing with a greater frequency. Some would call me crazy, but I love it.  After a string of 6 marathons in 6 months spanning October to March I decided the next challenge would need to happen and that was an ultra.

I chose to run the DPRT 50 Mile event since I had some familiarity with the trails and the timing was pretty good for spacing my races out and likelihood of good weather. I fielded a lot of questions about why I jumped straight into a 50 miler rather than stepping up to a 50K first. I just thought why not? I put in a enough mileage this summer to not be too worried about finishing. I just had to deal with still recovering from being sick.

The race was to take place on Saturday, October 17th. I briefly contemplated going to the office on that Friday and then staying at the host hotel since that would be super convenient. Instead I opted to do my usual work from home and would just get up early to head up to Vernon Hills. I'm glad I did this since I know I would of forgotten something vital had I not. Although to be fair I barely used anything I brought with me, more on that later.

I didn't get nervous for the run until the day before. I think the enormity of it finally set in. I calmed myself by going around and gathering everything I need so it would be ready in the morning.
-Maniac shirt
-Under Armour shorts
-Brooks socks
-Maniac buff
-Roadrunner arm warmers
-Nike sprint gloves
-Cheap sunglasses
-Mizuno Inspire 11 shoes
-Nathan HPL 20 hydration vest
-Accel Gel (chocolate flavored)
-Honeystinger Waffles
-Simply Balanced Fruit Strips

I was up at 4AM and got myself together and then drove to Half Day Forest Preserve. Luckily the 50 mile runners were permitted to park near the start of the race while the other distances had to take a shuttle from a remote lot. It was cold out, just about 33 degrees. I had all my layers on as I made my way over to check in and pick up my packet. I used the facilities and then headed back to the car to stay warm and prep for the next 30 minutes. About 15 minutes before the start I headed back to the start area. All the runners were huddled around several fire pits and we received our instructions for the race. The race started in 3 waves a couple minutes apart to help keep the trail from clogging.

I was off in the 2nd wave. The early going was trying to find an appropriate pace. Eventually another marathon maniac came up beside me and we chatted a bit as we did an out and back south for the first 3.2 miles. These early miles felt easy, but I knew not to over do it. The one thing I didn't do was drink enough. With as cold as it was I definitely wasn't perspiring as much, but didn't realize the rigors that lay ahead. I finally parted ways with the other Maniac at an aid station 7 or 8 miles in. The aid stations were spaced pretty far apart, but were well stocked compared to most races. I kept doing shots of M&Ms since they would portion them out in little cups. There would also be things like pretzels, chips, trail mix, oreos, coke, mt dew, water, gatorade, pb&j, grilled cheese, and pickles. I was definitely overwhelmed and didn't know what to really do at my first few aid stops.

I continued to churn out miles at a pace I thought I could maintain. It was slower than what I had trained at all summer so I thought I was good to go. I didn't factor in the fatigue from the marathon 2 weeks prior, or the lingering illness in my system. As the miles ticked off I soon began to get excited for the prospect of Mo joining me around mile 15. I was sad when I came to the aid station around mile 15 and hadn't seen her. I checked my phone for messages and had none. I trekked on. Eventually I did find Mo waiting for me just past mile 16 and she was ready to jump in. The boost of energy and morale support was definitely welcome.

The miles kept climbing and Mo kept talking. We kept on pace and I was feeling good through the supposed first wall at mile 18. It wasn't until around mile 23 that I felt the first signs of fatigue. The other error I had made was a lack of walking intervals to keep the legs fresh. They were now being added albeit a little too late. I also started to feel the effects of not hydrating as well as I should have. Starting with 22 I began to wonder when we'd start seeing the lead runners heading the other way. We didn't wind up seeing them until much later. At the turnaround we realized I was probably in the top 20 given the lack of runners we saw going the other way.  I took my time at the turnaround, using the facilities, fueling, and trying to hydrate. I re-joined Mo and we walked for a bit so that my stomach could try and absorb all it had taken in.

We walked about 1.5 miles and had a number of people pass us. Mo was a real trooper. It was supposed to be her long run and here she was walking with me instead. We finally got to the point where I was feeling a bit better and we did intervals of jogging and running. The pace was much slower this time around. By the time I hit the 50K mark I told Mo that my legs felt the same as they typically do the day after a marathon. This wasn't going to be easy to finish. We kept going at this while walking any incline and then enjoying any little downhill. Finally we were back to where Mo parked and I was on my own again. Not long after I got a low battery warning from my watch. I was at mile 37.5 so I turned my GPS off so I could at least have a watch for the rest of the race. I'd have to gauge distance by the aid stations and memory.

I actually picked up the pace for a bit. I was getting a 2nd wind and feeling strong again. The grilled cheese and pickle that I ate most definitely helped. This lasted for a couple miles until my hydration pack ran dry. I had an offer to get it filled at the previous aid station, but had not realized how low it was so I passed. Here I was without knowing how far the next aid station was and bone dry. I chose to start walking to prevent any problems. I started to panic as the aid station seemed further than it should have been. I eventually figured out that the sign marking that the station was a mile away was missing. I refilled my hydration pack and definitely downed some additional water and coke. The station actually had some hidden beer that another runner asked for, but didn't seem all that appealing at the moment. I walked and sipped for awhile more. We now had single digit miles remaining until the finish line.

A lot of the last 10 miles were a bit of a blur. I remember a guy passing me and then seeing a skunk run across the trail right in front of him and about 20 yards from me. I kept trading places with the guy for awhile before passing him for good with 1.5 miles to go. I did some jogging, but most the last 6 miles were closer to power walking with what little I had left in my legs. I must have drank more than enough to re-hydrate because I started to have to pee like every 10 minutes. I'd duck off to the side of the trail when no one was around and go. I was almost caught once, but was quickly able to play it off like I was using a tree to stretch. Another stop I heard some rustling in the trees near me. I look up and I'm staring eye to eye with a deer. It's eyes were completely fixed on me. Oddest moment peeing ever. A bit later I saw a rabbit darting through the woods so either I was turning into Alice or the Bambi trifecta was now complete.

I could sense the end getting close. I could even smell the cookout happening and hear some of the music and cheers as runners came in. I was highly encouraged to finish strong and somehow found what I had left and jogged into the finish. I crossed in 10:09:27 which was much higher than my optimistic 8-9 hour goal, but it didn't matter anymore. I got a handshake and a belt buckle.

I didn't think I'd be all that hungry, but I took my burger anyways, along with gatorade and a bag of fritos. It tasted so good after being on my feet for so long. The other maniac finished about 18 minutes after me and joined me to share the experience and talk about various races. Soon I cooled down and began shaking. I took that as the sign to head home so I did. I managed to catch the awesome end to the MSU vs UofM game in the car and probably looked crazy screaming in traffic, or not, it is Chicago.

The rest of this week has been spent recovering. I don't think I've ever felt this beat up and sore, but I did bounce back pretty quickly. I was running pretty normally again by Wednesday, albeit still much slower than normal. I still have another week to recover before my next marathon at the Milwaukee Running Festival on 11/1.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Volunteering at the Chicago Marathon

  I know I'm pretty crazy when it comes to running, but I wasn't crazy enough to schedule marathons on back to back weekends followed by a 50 miler so this year the intention was to sit out the Chicago Marathon. I realized I didn't entirely want to be on the sidelines so I figured I'd volunteer. Rather than work at aid station I decided I want to be in the thick of things at the start. I signed up to be an info person in the start area.

I was up at 2:30AM so I could get down to Grant Park for my 4:15AM check in. I got down there in the nick of time and followed the masses through the dark where I got my credentials and then was hooked up with a jacket and hat.They had some light snacks for us and then we met up with our coordinator for our assignments. I was going to be in Butler field. We grouped up and were placed all around the area by Buckingham Fountain and along Jackson. We would be directing runners with questions. We only had a 5 minute overview and given a map. Good thing I was familiar with everything so that was all I needed.

At 5:30AM the runners started streaming in. The most common question was for gear check. It was funny seeing a lot of runners just blow past us with only the VIP tents behind us and asking those guys where gear check was. I'm wearing a vest that says "Ask Me" and those guys were big burly bouncer types. Go figure. I guess if you're so focused you lose sight of other things.

The time flew by pretty quickly. Luckily my insight as a prior participant was a help. I knew the front corrals had port-a-potties in them so I started directing runners that way once it got later. Some people were hoping I had some magic hidden restrooms I could point out. Sorry, there's only so many. Once it was 10 minutes until the wave 1 corrals closed it turned into total chaos. People were running every which way. I don't get why after all this training and planning that you rush the last minute details.

Soon  after the corrals closed it got pretty quiet. We directed a few lost wave 2 people and started to head back towards the volunteer tent. We all gathered near the fence to watch the runners head up towards the start. Once the runners went through and the clothes were being gathered we headed back to the volunteer tent to check out. I then headed down just past mile 23 to do some spectating.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Twin Cities Marathon Recap

This past weekend I completed my 10th career marathon and 6th this year. It was supposed to be my goal fall marathon, but everything that could go wrong seemed to.

I drove up to Saint Paul from Chicago on Friday. I elected to stay near the expo and finish line. The course is a point to point starting in Minneapolis and ending at the capitol in Saint Paul. Even though I arrived in the early evening I elected to hold off on going to the expo and instead getting some food and taking it easy. I had been sick in the week leading up to the marathon and was feeling marginally better. I had barely run and was feeling pretty drained. I did some reading on my kindle and watched a bit of TV and called it an early night.

The next morning I got to the expo minutes before it opened and joined the crowd waiting to enter. Once it opened I was able to pick up my packet with minimal wait. The expo was pretty typical and I would compare it in size to that of the Shamrock Shuffle. I walked up and down the aisles, but didn't find anything to my liking. For lunch I headed to Surly Brewing to meet up with the R/iver R/unners aka my track night friends. I had a couple beers. This may have been a bad idea as I felt a little out of it by the time I left and fell asleep for a nap when I got back to the room. A got some Italian carry out for dinner and made it to bed at a reasonable time.

The next morning I got up with plenty of time to head to the race start. My stomach wasn't happy as has turned into routine now. I took care of business as much as I could and then took some immodium and headed out the door. I walked out of the hotel with a group of ladies and decided to follow them to the start. I had intended to catch the light rail over, but the ladies led me to a nearby hotel where there were free shuttles. After a short wait in the lobby we were on a bus and on our way to the start area. I arrived an hour ahead of the start and had time to use the facilities twice more before the race started. There were plenty of port-o-potties there. The start area was in the shadow of the future home of the Minnesota Vikings. Finally I dropped off my extra layers at gear check, a UPS truck, and went to my start corral.

Things were pretty informal at the start. I just walked into the corral and found a good spot to line up.There were some announcements, the national anthem and then we were off. We wound through the downtown area where we had some twist and turns early on. It felt a bit crowded in the early going. I know at some point I had stepped into a pothole a bit awkwardly. I shook it off and kept going. I felt the urge to pee more than anything. I finally stopped at a port-o-potty just before the 3 mile mark. Other than this brief delay I was running pretty much on track for where I wanted to be. My pacing was good.

The race winds around several lakes. The course isn't quite easy for those of us used to running around Chicago. There are several rollers of hills that can be taxing if not approached properly. The course was also scenic and featured pretty good crowd support. I saw some familiar sights at several spots on the course, including a couple of people dressed as yetis. By mile 8 my ankle started to ache. The step in the pothole earlier wasn't so innocent. At mile 10 I was starting to struggle as my form began to suffer and my energy wane. I wound up powering through the halfway mark in about 1:40 before deciding to drop off the pace. I knew this wasn't going to be my day and that I just needed to get through it in one piece.

Even as I slowed my pace after the halfway mark I continued to struggle more and more. I definitely wasn't over being sick as my lack of energy was evident. As I would find out later when I checked my Garmin stats, my heart rate had been elevated as well. I contemplated phoning it in and walking to the finish, but couldn't bring myself to do it. I knew the real challenge was yet to come from miles 20-23 where the course gained 200 feet. I finally took a short walk break at mile 18 and did so about every half mile from that point on. I was motivated by wanting to just get done and off my feet as well as the desire to continue my streak of sub 4 hour finishes.

The home stretch was mostly downhill and featured a giant American flag being held up from the ladders of two firetrucks. Barriers were erected on each side of the final half mile or so since there had been a previous threat from Black Lives Matters protesters who said they would obstruct the course and prevent the runners from finishing. The threat never materialized as the protests remained peaceful and I never even noticed by a majority of the runners. I finally crossed the finish in 3:55:29 meaning my second half split was around 2:15. All said it was only my 4th slowest marathon so still impressive given being sick and twisting my ankle. It was still deeply disappointing given all the hard work I put in this summer. I'm capable of a massive PR, but it will have to wait until another day.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Oktoberfest 5K and Lung Run 10K

After behaving all all summer when it came to racing I wound up running 2 in a 36 hour stretch. We'll just ignore the fact that breaking my no racing rule was a marathon back in July. To be fair though, my training did call for a race on Saturday and that was the only reason I did the Lung Run.

I've run Oktoberfest on an annual basis so I signed up again like the routine is has become. I had hoped to have a solid showing to see how my fitness has improved since finally cracking 20 back in July. It turned out to not be the best of nights. Heavy storms rolled through the area Thursday afternoon and night. It was drizzling up until race time. It was warm and extremely humid with a solid wind on top of it. I do horrible in humid weather. The course was also all torn up and muddy. Long story short, I turned in a solid, but not great effort for myself of 20:43. I started the race right where I needed to, but faded over the 2nd half as I had trouble regulating body temperature and overheated. It was by no means a goal race so the only goal was really to make it out injury free which I did.

Saturday morning was the Lung Run 10K starting at Montrose Beach. I actually ran the 3 miles from my home to the start as a warm up. The weather was much cooler in the morning, but extremely windy. More rain overnight also did not help the trail conditions. I knew going in that I was a shoo-in for a new PR, but didn't know by how much since it had been 2 years since I really raced a 10K.

I started near the front of the pack since I saw that puddles would cause an immediate narrowing of the course. I was behind about 15 runners at the start, but began passing people almost immediately. About a half mile in I surged past a group of 4 guys and found myself in 5th place. I could still see the lead runners, but they were pretty far ahead already. This meant I now had to take the brunt of the wind myself instead of using other runners as a shield. After another mile I was passed by a female runner. I wouldn't be passed again until over 5 miles into the race.

The course was a bit tough given the wind and the mud, but we were also sharing the path with the CES training groups and normal Saturday morning traffic since the race started later at 8:30AM. I'm sure this cost me some time, but I'm not going to fret about it too much. I fell into a steady rhythm and was running pretty well. I had a slight positive split since I think I lacked a little motivation to really push it in the 2nd half. The runners in front of me were too far away to try and reel in. I wound up finishing in 41:55 and 7th place overall. This was a PR by over 5 minutes for me.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Checking in on Training

It's been awhile since my last post. I've been pretty busy between crazy projects at work and running like a maniac. There has also been a complete lack of racing which is completely foreign for me.

So what's been up? I started August with a bit of an injury scare. My hamstring tightened up and became extremely inflamed. I wound up having to scale back to barely running for a week. I did just enough to keep the streak alive and became very familiar with squats and other exercises to keep up a good workout. I carefully rebuilt my mileage and laid off the speed and was able to close out the month with my highest mileage week ever at 71 miles.

As part of my peak mileage week I also ran my longest ever training run at 22 miles. This run is important in the Pfitz plan since if it is run correctly it should take about the same amount of time as you would for the marathon. This means starting slow a building up until you are running 10% slower than your planned marathon pace. I finished the run in 3:07:30 which would represent another huge improvement if I do finish the marathon in that time. I've had other workouts that seem to indicate the time could be possible, but I'll be ecstatic with anything below 3:15 so I can automatically qualify for Chicago next year. I still think it'd take a miracle to get the 3:03:30 that it would probably take to get me into Boston for my age group.

I've put in crazy mileage this year. I've already blown past the mileage I put in last year. One can hope it will only pay off big time. I'll need the resilience and ability to run on beat up legs to get me through the fall schedule. I'll be running 5 marathons+ in 8 weeks. I say + since one of them will be my first ultra, a 50 miler. I'll basically be going for broke at Twin Cities since the 50 miler is 2 weeks later. I won't be able to recover in time for any of the other races to run for a good time.

I've also started looking ahead to next year. I know that I have to survive this fall, but I've become determined to earn a jacket and a spot in the oldest marathon. Unfortunately my budget will be a bit smaller for travel after all the expenses this year between Disney, Colorado, Vegas, and buying a condo. I may have to settle on more road trip races next year. I already signed up for back to back marathons in Kentucky Derby and Flying Pig to cross off 2 more states. The following weekend I head out with family for a cruise so I'll get to recover in style. I still need to pick a goal spring marathon. It'll probably be in March or April. I wish I could find a cheap way to do Phoenix since that would offer a fast course and cool, dry weather.

Upcoming Races:
September 17th - Oktoberfest 5K
September 19th - Lung Run 10K
September 24th - Sprint and Stride 5k at work
October 4th - Twin Cities Marathon
October 17th - DPRT 50 Miler
November 1st - Milwaukee Running Festival Marathon
November 15th - Rock and Roll Las Vegas Marathon
November 22nd - Route 66 Marathon

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Aspen Valley Marathon Recap

While trying to plan my races for the year I decided I needed to visit my family that moved out to Colorado a few years back.I hadn't been out there yet and figured that I can add a race and kill two birds with one stone.After weighing the options as well as the proximity to my family I settled on the Aspen Valley Marathon. I also wound up deciding to get there and get it over with rather than trying to adapt to the altitude.

I flew out for my race on Friday and landed in Denver bright and early. From there I took a shuttle to Vail. Then my cousin's coworker picked me up and then my cousin took me to his home. His girlfriend then took me to my aunt's place. Finally my aunt took me to the airport to rent a car to make the rest of my journey down to Aspen. It was a long day to say the least.I made it to town with about an hour to spare for packet pick up. Aspen itself was very walkable and full of characters from what I could tell. I wound up just getting my packet, a quick dinner, and then crashing.

Race morning came much too early. I was definitely sleep deprived. Luckily this wasn't a goal race.I got to the race site a bit early and walked around to stay loose. Oddly the race didn't have any port-o-potties at the start, but instead relied on a public restroom. I know there were only about 250 runners, but 2 stalls isn't going to cut it. Being there early enough helped and I took care of business with plenty of time. I also met and chatted with some fellow Marathon Maniacs at the start, including 1 who was pacing for 3:40 aka the fastest pacer for this race.

Quiet start area

Now this course likes to advertise itself as fast. The race shirt itself even bills the race a Boston Qualifier. This isn't without reason since the course has a net loss in elevation of nearly 1500 feet. The problem is the race starts at an elevation of nearly 8000 feet. Unless you're adapted to the altitude, you won't do nearly as well. I came in the day before so you can see where this is going.

Nice downhill for 20 miles

Soon the race started and we raced our way through downtown Aspen. I hung in behind the 3:40 pacer who may have shot out a little quick himself. I struggled to breath for the first mile or so and figured this was going to be a long day. After a bit we hit the Rio Grande Trail and I settled into a comfortable pace. By about mile 3 I was actually running quite relaxed with my heart rate and cadence both slowed down to training run efforts. Perhaps it was the scenery or running along the river that calmed me.

I eventually fell in with a group of runners for the next 8 miles. We broke off from other nearby runners, but couldn't lose each other. I finally started talking with the others and found out that one of the girls was shooting for a BQ after failing a few weeks prior and the guy was running his first marathon with only a long run of 16 miles under his belt. They were from Fort Collins and shocked that I was holding my own so well on my first high altitude run. I eventually lost them around mile 11 as I surged a bit and they faded.

Around mile 14 I felt a familiar rumbling in my tummy. One of the aspects of being at high altitude is that it can also upset the stomach. You would think by now that I would learn to take Imodium before a marathon, but haven't quite grasped that lesson yet. The downside of this race was that the aid stations were pretty far apart i.e. only 2 in first 7.5 miles and not all of them had restrooms. I had to wait until mile 16 to use the facilities. I wound up losing around 4 minutes here, but felt much relieved after.

Once back on the course I really picked up steam for a bit. I guess I was a bit determined to get back that 4 minutes I had lost. I passed a lot of runners and eventually re-passed the group I was running with before. They had broken apart as the girl was struggling and knew a BQ was out of site. The guy was still going pretty strong when I caught him, but soon started to fade. I also caught and passed the 3:40 pacer for the time being.

After the first 20 miles the course turns into rolling hills. I managed to keep strong until mile 22 when I finally decided I didn't like running uphill anymore. At that elevation I was getting winded just climbing stairs, so running up a hill felt like having a heart attack. I eased off and went with a walk/run approach from there to the finish. The temperature also had been rising and we no longer had the shade from trees on the path.

The final stretch of the race involved running into downtown Basalt. There were more people around here and I picked my pace back up. I also was nearly hit by cars twice in this stretch. First a guy making a right out of a parking lot kept looking left and never looked right to pull out. He decided to pull out when I was within feet of his car. I screamed at him and fellow onlookers couldn't believe it either. I also managed to capture this all on my GoPro. Then when nearly to the finish there were people directed traffic and apparently weren't paying attention since they directed a car to cross the intersection right in front of me. I did make it to the finish without any further incident.

At the finish line we got our medals. I got a fist bump from the 3:40 pacer who congratulated me on a job well done. I also got a wonderful cold and wet towel to wipe down with. I guess I missed it in my initial post race haze, but there was also champagne at the finish line. I wound up heading straight for the beer line and got an Orange Shandy from Aspen Brewing Company. Definitely the refreshment I needed. The race also had a salad bar, but who eats salad after a marathon?

I liked the race other than the few bumps with the bathrooms and near misses. The course was absolutely stunning. I'm glad I had my GoPro on me and took clips throughout the race. The people were all also super friendly. I don't think I've ever talked so much to fellow runners as I did during this race. After spending several days with the family it was determined that I had to make this race an annual thing, an excuse to come back and visit. 

As for the final results - I finished in 3:45:48 and 33rd out of 226 finishers. If you course correct for the conditions and altitude, this time would be the equivalent of around a 3:25-3:30 in Chicago. I'm extremely pleased with that result given that much of the race was spent running conservatively. All that downhill did do a number on my quads and toes though. This now gives me 8 marathons in as many states in the last 10 months.