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I thought I was done with road races for the season.  I said I was finished after the Denver Marathon.  Always quit while you’re ahead, right?  Wrong.  When Jen offered free long-sleeve t-shirts, emblazoned with her State Farm logo, to my neighborhood’s deep pool of athletic talent, I not only signed up – I signed up Ellie and Karen too.  This pic is of Ellie running strong in the 2 mile event at the 36th annual Longmont Turkey Trot.  Prepared for the chilly morning, Ellie wore Under Armor Cold Weather Gear for Girls black running pants and violet mock turtle neck jersey.  And she covered the Under Armor with a “Smiley Face” hooded sweatshirt from Justice.

I was motivated to run this 10K by more than the promise of a free shirt.  I began the season with the Bolder Boulder 10K, but haven’t run another 10K since.  Instead my other races consisted of 10, 17 and 26 miles.  So this event provided me with an opportunity to measure my fitness progress with an apples-to-apples comparison.  Same distance and same altitude – separated by five months of my most intense training in over 20 years.  So how’d I do?

I ran the Bolder Boulder, the event that marked my return to road racing, in 49:52, an 8:01 mile pace.  I was happy with the time as it was about what I expected to run.  I felt comfortable the entire course and ran a consistent pace throughout.  I expected to run faster in the Turkey Trot and was hoping to push myself enough to demonstrate decent improvement.  My time Saturday was 47:02, a 7:35 mile pace.  Plus I should mention I started a half minute behind the starting line to hang with my neighbors.  I’m happy with a 3 minute improvement.  For this year.  But I’ve got the racing bug and I want to run faster next year.  I want to be competitive in my age division.  Currently, even in these little local races, I’m far behind the leaders.  In fact, a 64 yr old man sprinted past me in the final quarter mile of the Turkey Trot.  My buddy Dave told me I should be satisfied with what I did in a marathon, running an 8:17 pace.  And I am.  But you understand don’t you?  As long as there is someone doing better, running faster, exhibiting stronger athletic fitness at an older age – I’ll want to beat them.

I met my goals this year by returning to road races, and completing the Imogene Pass Run.  I didn’t totally achieve my objective of a flat stomach, but the marathon was bonus.  My goal for next year is speed.  I’m also planning to run my first ultra – a 50 or 100 mile mountain trail event.  But my focus over the winter will include weights and calisthenics that strengthen my core and speed muscles.  And when spring rolls around, I intend to add speed to my runs.  I might even hit the Niwot track for some 400s.  I’ve said this before; muscles have memory and mine remember running fast.