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Garden of the Gods 2010Nice run today in Manitou Springs.  I under-estimated just how mean the hills would be.  I couldn’t count all the runners vomiting during the first two miles.  Reminded me of when I ran my first marathon at 16 in Dallas.  I drank beer the entire night before with my buddies, Mike O’Neill and Rob Graham.  I made it 15 miles before spilling my beans.  Finished in 3:10 though.

I finished today in 1:25 – an 8:30 pace.  It really surprised me because when I was crawling up some of those hills I expected to finish closer to 2 hours – if at all.  There was not a single mile of that course that didn’t contain massive hills that would have been impressive at sea level let alone 6000 feet.  By the 3rd mile though, the torment of the hills and grandeur of the vistas coalesced into oblivious forward movement while REM lost their religion on my Plantronics 903 Bluetooth for iPhone headset.

The half way point marked the top of the terrain where we went off road to run on a paved trail.  The setting was spectacular, like running on top of the world.  It was even relatively flat for  a half mile.  I nearly forgot all about the hills while the Eagles sang, “You’re losing all your highs and lows.  Ain’t it funny how the feeling goes away?”.  Then I became disoriented around mile 7 when I was certain that I was running downhill; but it felt as if I was running uphill.  I determined there was a strong wind assaulting my chest.  It kept me cool though.  The weather was actually quite nice for running.

I’m happy my neighbors talked me into running this event.  It gave me a great sense of what I need to do to prepare for Imogene Pass in September.  I like to joke that I’m considering a medicinal marijuana card; but what I really need to do is lose about 20 pounds.  That should keep my knees from hurting.  More importantly, running 10 miles up to 13,000 feet will feel much better at 165 pounds than 185.  I need to schedule a few more events to prep.  The Georgetown to Idaho Springs half marathon sounds good.  And I want to run up the Manitou Springs Incline.  Probably run back down on the Barr Trail.  The summer is shaping up nicely.