Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Lead King 25K Charity Race in Marble,CO Recap

Mike Aish Sent Me His Sticker!! 

My Garmin Plugged In

A few days leading up to this event, I hydrated like crazy, every free moment was filled by drinking more h2o. I ate bananas, any kind of fruit I could get my hands on, & relied on my training.
Around 3am, not like anyone can ever sleep before a race, the odd feeling of sleeping in a strange bed, mountain dogs barking into the deep darkness of night, I awoke with a full bladder, standing on the porch for some relief, the blanket of stars covering the night was breath taking. The night sky was relaxing & more comforting than I realized. I totally crashed out until the 5:05am alarm awoke me. Shadow Boy & I did our usual routine of belly rubs, turning on the coffee maker, scooping the yogurt, adding the granola, & stretching out while Mr Sun bearly makes its presents known that today is September the 14th & 15 plus miles awaits me. I headed out the door just after 6:30am, after handing out biscuits, a relaxing walk towards Beaver Lodge. I met the Race Director Craig & did my best to stay out of his way. We showed me the general area for drop bags, which I had two of them, while I noticed that the temperature was perfect. NOAA claimed that we would see low 40's but it felt more like a warm high 40's for this time of year. Our hikers group was supposed to have a 6:45am meeting, quick discussion, & would start of at 7:00am. Well, that meeting was very brief indeed & before I knew what was happening, they were off & running. No Battle Cry, No Cheering Fans. Needless to say, I was in last place before I knew it, the group was charging their way around Beaver Lake. So I started off on a very comfortable pace walking along a snapping off a few photos of Beaver Lake & the "fog" pouring off the chilly body water. As I looked at my Garmin, I noticed that I was at a 12min mile pace, reminded myself that this was way too fast. Backing backdown to a relaxed 14min mile pace, I could see the first group of 3 ladies ahead of me. They were talking among themselves & didn't really acknowledge my presence & I continued on my way. The next 2 gals were more warming as we hit the first ( above photo ) water crossing. The one lady was from Marble & the other was from Fort Collins. We chatted & walked until I noticed my Garmin was at a 21min mile pace. I wasn't rude but picked up my pace & embraced the pain before me.

Then, it was this guy. I was slowly eating my banana as I crossed paths with, get this, TRAVIS from Arkansas!?!? I couldn't believe!! He was a ball of sweat & I asked if he wanted some of my banana which he politely said," *&%^ no thanx" but he thought weirdo?!? After making sure he was OK & had water, my pace was picked up again. Though miles 2 - 4 I kept finding my Garmin under 15min mile pace. I was stoked because I could feel the sub 15min mile & could recall feeling like crap around the track doing my best to walk under this time mark this past winter. My goal was to stay under 20min per mile during the climb to 10,000ft & I was doing it with ease. I looked down to see 17min, 15min, 17min, etc. At the mile 4 marker, I totally hit an awesome rhythm, passing folks, feeling relaxed, shoulders loose, knowing I only had a mile left, & I would be up & over.
And this ( photo to the left ) was the rush that propelled me to the top!!! I had made it!! My mind was filled w/faces, Sadie Girl, Shadow Boy, my family, my friends, YES, Penguin, other bloggers, I hadn't felt this alive in a long damn time!!! I was cruising along, hips were rolling, my posture was slightly forward, ankles had full range of motion, cardiovascular system was in check, my eyes were falling out of my head because of the pure beauty of this place. The peaks had a dusting of snow, the meadows were lush, & the wild flowers were full of brilliant colors. Then, I looked at my Garmin as I peaked over the highest point of 10,914ft, 5.37 miles, & it only took me 1 hour and 46 min!!! STOKED!!!
I carried the profile print out, so I knew that I could soon drop off my gel trash & banana peal, 7 switch backs as I descend from this high. As I was falling forward, but NOT running, my pace was on fire. I noticed the pace was a squeak above 10min mile pace but it was difficult to slow down. At some point during this decent, I turned ( iPhone 3G Speaker NOT headphones ) on the String Cheese Incident 10-31-2003 Vegas show, which was my first Cheese show, the next thing I knew, the Crystal River was guiding my way back to town. My Garmin pace was near 15min per  mile every time I glanced down. The road was welcoming in deed. Massive tall pines, Aspens that created cooler temps, & scuba oak that was the most amazing rusty red color that added all kinds of depth. An real BoB Ross painting folks that included little stripped chimp monks scurrying on by. 
During the miles of 8 though 10, I was in awestruck by the beauty, like a tourist in NY, looking up, looking around, & I had a bead on a lady in front of me from Denver that had the most gorgeous legs. I was at a pace just over 14min per mile & she was "running" along at a slightly slower pace, duh!! We hit the aid station at mile 10.36 together & walked & talked during the next decent in unison. We held this pace together until the ghost town of Crystal & the MOST PHOTOGRAPHED historical sight in Colorado, The Crystal Mill. From mile 10 to about mile 14, the road became so technical & challenging for sure. And along about this time came the RUNNERS flying by as if it was a 5k fun run. This was inspirational & I shouted out words of encouragement to each & everyone!! These runners with their gazelle like legs & cheetah like speed where effortlessly dancing across the stones & the false flats were nothing for them.
Along about mile 12.3ish, I hit a very rocky climb that only showed up on my profile sheet as a bump, I was faced by a straight up 4x4 road, loaded with loose rock, & a clear cold Crystal River flowing down below, I charged this beast, my Garmin read 16:22min mile as I crested this son of a biscuit eater!!! Quickly, I checked myself, still more than 3 miles to go, another climb on my sheet to go, but it was so easy to get caught up by the runners pounding on by with very little distress. The rest of my "race" was accompanied by the beauty of Sheep Mountain, the sounds of clear water pouring over boulders that where high above years ago, awesome volunteers, & a Colorado Bluebird Sky.
 I wasn't passing anyone by this point & the mid pack runners were passing me & really seemed to be more engaging after my words of " Stay Strong" " What A Beautiful Place" or " Gr8 Job Today" & I couldn't have been any happier!!! Those last few miles were some of my happiest miles, again, you were all their with me!! I tear up just thinking about it. Many Thanx To All Of You!!! When I passed the 15 mile marker, I wanted to explode with speed, I wanted to run, I wanted to scream with joy, I wanted to dance, I wanted to do the loop again!!! As I reached Beaver Lake, the cheers for the runner ahead of me were unreal. I mean they were LOUD. I glanced at my Garmin & saw a 13:40min mile at mile 15.04 miles into this awesome Charity Race. I covered the 15.57 miles in 4 hours and 27 minutes and 56 seconds at an ave pace of 17:12 per mile. Totally Out Of My Skin With Excitement!!! 
The video above was mixed with music from EEK-A-Mouse, Khaki King, Dhammal Soundsystem, & Ziggy Marley & remixed to 720HD quality. Click HD, Full Screen, & Turn It Up!!!

HIGHLIGHTS: Goal was to finish in under 5hrs, CHECK!!! Goal was to thank volunteers, CHECK. Gave them all high fives & some aid stations only had 2 people working their A$$ off filling cups & picking empty cups!! My goal of a sub 15min pace wasn't reached but I am way cool w/that because I stopped to pee ( X3 ), stopped at aid stations ( X6 ), and never ran even when my mind said, " Lets Go, Its Down Hill From Here!!" 
GEAR: Mountain Khakis Shorts, Mountain Khakis UV Long-sleeve Shirt, HITs Ironman 2013 Shirt, Salomon 3DX Ultra Trail Running Shoes, & Wright Sock Socks.
NUTRITION: Yogurt w/fruit/granola & bananas for breakfast, Chocolate Vi Fuel Gels about every 20 -30 minutes or when I thought about it, & as much water as I could take or when I thought about it.
AFTER RACE: The food was awesome!! About 7 different pasta dishes, green salads, smoked brisket, pulled pork, & about 6 different chillies to choose from. And a ton of raffle prizes which yours truly won a free night stay at the Beaver Lodge Resort!!! SCORE!!! Race packet had a killer shirt, beer glass w/a free beer coupon inside, gel shots, and some other cool swag of gifts.

PARTING SHOT: Put this race on your bucket list!!! The Race Director was awesome & on his game, the course is rewarding, the meals before & after were wonderful, & ALL proceeds benefit the school of Marble Colorado. Complete Win Win!!!

Could I have done this any faster??? Totally!!! BUT….. Starting with the hikers is the way to go!! Seeing the runners fly by is ridiculously cool!! I am running this next year AND will set a goal of 3:27!! I can climb w/o stopping for aid stations of photos, I can keep the same pace on the decants, & I can run the flats back to Marble Colorado. I have new training goals, new reasons why, & can't wait to see you there!!! Now, go tell someone why you love them.


  1. My video didn't upload??? Its the best part!! Leave a comment & I will share my CrackBook page so you can see the video from my perspective. Its way cool. Cheers

  2. Those trails look gorgeous! WOW! I am adding to my bucket list! Thanks!

  3. I wanna see the video!

    Also, I think this is where I call you a rock star! Well done!!!