Imagine running through snow in May.  The forecast this morning seemed questionable for racing, but at 36°, no wind and softly falling snow, running the Colorado Marathon 10K in Fort Collins could not be more pleasant.  Chris is running the full marathon distance and started 30 minutes before me.  He might have been miserable waiting for the start, but I suspect this is perfect marathon weather too.  He later reports that running through Poudre Canyon in the snow was ideal.

This is my first race in five months.  I scheduled it to qualify for a fast Bolder Boulder starting wave.  I’ve given up on that plan since I didn’t get into racing shape but this event will still be really good to see where I’m at.  I’ve been running my workouts in an 8:30 minute per mile pace.  I figure I should be able to break 8 minutes per mile today, and am hoping to run 7:30.  I’ll be embarrassed if Chris runs a faster mile pace in his marathon.

The 10K is not the main event and so only has maybe 500 runners.  It starts in front of the Rio Grande, which opens their restaurant doors for the runners to stay warm.  The field thins out after a mile.  I’m running by myself after two miles.  I warmed up with a mile run and feel really good from the start.  I’m super surprised to be running near a 7 minute pace.  I don’t believe I’m anywhere near exceeding my lactate threshold but I feel like I’m running fast.  Feels great.  The course winds through gorgeous Fort Collins neighborhoods for 3 miles before returning along the Big Thompson River, flowing fast from three days of non-stop snow and rain.  This run is postcard perfect.

I’m able to pass another runner the final mile, 52 year old Bradley Wood from Ludlow, Nebraska.  I beat him by 4 seconds to finish second in my 50-59 year age division in 45:01.  I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this run, because I’d lost sense of my pace not having raced for half a year.  This helps set my expectations for the Bolder Boulder in four weeks.

Chris 26-4Chris ran a spectacular marathon.  He finished third in his age division with a 3:19 finish.  He ran an extraordinarily even pace of 1:40 for both the first and second halves.  His 7:37 pace qualifies him for Boston by over 5 minutes.  This of course leaves me wanting to qualify for Boston too.  I wasn’t planning to run a marathon this year, but now I’m considering one.  The top photo is of me eating breakfast at Snooze waiting for Chris to finish running after my 10K.  Next time, I plan to be a marathon participant rather than the spectator.