Sunday, October 4, 2009

20 Miles of Awesome

After taking some time to recover from the last long-run disaster it was time for another (hopefully better) long one. My wife suggested that she could come with me and read in the car while I ran (I think she was worried after the temperature issues I had before). I thought about what locations would allow me to run 20 miles and allow her to be involved. I had hoped that we would’ve had enough time to go camping over this weekend but it didn’t happen. Maybe a day in the mountains would be the next best thing? I decided that I’d run on Gold Camp Road and she could be my crew. Gold Camp Road is an old mining road that goes from Colorado Springs, CO to Cripple Creek, CO. I had travelled the road hundreds of times in a truck and, in my mind, the road was very steep in the beginning and then leveled off after a few miles.

There was a low cloud cover in Colorado Springs that morning and as we travelled up the steep road we eventually broke through and had amazing views looking down on the clouds from above. We arrived at the point where I thought the road leveled off and I put on my gear to get ready for the run. It was still early in the morning, that combined with the elevation produced temperatures in the 30s. Luckily, I had all my winter running gear in my bag.

We had a plan. She would drive ahead 5 miles and I would catch up. That would provide her about 1 hour of reading time in between pit stops. This turned out to be perfect. Not having to carry all my gear was a huge relief and allowed me time and energy to take in the surroundings. As it turned out, the road was far from level. I endured extreme elevations changes in both directions over the first 5 miles but I hardly noticed. I loved the mountains, I grew up camping and fishing in them regularly. I felt so at ease, so at home, that I hardly even noticed that I was running. The ever-changing views gave me something to focus on other than the pain my legs were starting to produce. I caught up to the truck, drank some water and continued on.

I continued to knock off the miles and I felt better than I had for any previous long run. Other than a few other cars, mostly filled with people taking pictures of the aspen trees changing for the fall, we hardly encountered anyone. That mountain road turned out to be better, in every way, than any track, trail, or road that I had ever ran on. The views, the fresh air, the freedom, they all combined to provide me with a spiritual run.

I finished the last few miles of the run through the small mountain town of Victor, CO. A man stood on his porch sipping from his morning coffee that steamed into the mountain air. He greeted me with a lift of his cup. I politely returned a nod. To him I was just someone out for a morning jog. Little did he know that I was in the last mile of an epic 20 mile run that just months ago I never thought I’d be capable of.

This run in the mountains, in the cold, and the warm, the trees, the grass, the wildlife, the terrain...has re-fueled and intensified my desire to attempt an ultra-marathon.

No comments:

Post a Comment