Sunday, June 13, 2010

Garden of the Gods 10-miler, let's run it

Denver’s been very dry this spring; that is up until this weekend. Scattered rain moved into the state on Friday afternoon and continued to saturate us through the entire weekend. Along with the rain, cooler temps arrived and brought highs that looked a lot like February and early March, not mid-June.

Don’t be all jealous now, mid-90’s with wind and our famous sunshine are suppose to return by Wednesday….

...but living in a semi-arid climate where water is practically liquid gold (just look at my water bill each summer month!), we Coloradoans soak up this rainy weather (get it?? SOAK. Bahahaha) since it’s such a rarity we get it. At least we don’t have ungodly humidity! Just sayin'.

And what a perfect morning for a little hilly 10-mile race. And when I say HILLY, I mean HILLY!!!!.
Yes, that is the (crappy image) profile for the Garden of the God’s 10-miler I ran this morning. Which resembles a roller-coaster. And I felt like I was on one, only running it. I can honestly say there is not one level spot on this entire course.

Let’s recap last blog up Mt. Evans: I AM NOT A HILL CLIMBER! Yes, I insanely will run most things that will probably kill me; I’m a sucker for putting my body through physical punishment, but I do not do anything “up” fast. Today was evident of that.

A little geology lesson for y’all (I’ve been out of school for a week now, need to get my little fix here): Garden of the Gods is a little park in Colorado Springs full of really cool geological features called hogbacks. These hogbacks are ancient sedimentary sandstone beds which were once shallow ocean seas. The seas left our state, for whatever reason, a bazillion years ago, and in its place, the mud and sands of the once seafloor turned into sedimentary rock. Over time, another bazillon or two years, the once horizontal sedimentary rock was tilted vertically and faulted by the immense mountain building forces, and then we add a little erosion to the mix and whaalaa, we’re left with these geological gems.
Yep, they be pretty all right – and mighty challenging if you want to run 10 miles through them. But that’s ok. I had no goal time, no desire to “race” this race, no ambitions of finishing anywhere high in my age group (this race brings out an insane number of very competitive hill climbers….I’m not sure where they all come from but they only show up for the really difficult hilly, altitude, races. And win them all!). No, my goal was to get some tough hill work in … and not walk. Mission accomplished (though I’m not sure you’d consider my slower than molasses shuffle up mile 7 any semblance of a “run”)!!! And what actually proved to be most difficult for me in this little race was the extreme downhill at mile 7.5 and 8.5 when my heel was totally revolting the sharp pounding (remember Mr. Agonizing Heel from Boston?? Yeah, he’s still not very happy. In fact, he’s pretty UNhappy on any run over 8ish miles). I finished somewhere around 1:32...I forget exactly and it doesn't really matter at all. I finished. I ran strong (for me right now) and I fought the hills and won (no matter how slow).

It was a great day and I’m totally glad I ended up registering late Thursday evening and running the beast. I was contemplating a couple different races this weekend but in the end, figured this was the one that would give me the most physical benefits. It definitely did not disappoint in that! I rode down with my friend, Bob, from the group I occasionally run with; he is super speedy and after he was done, he ran back to find me on the course and ran the last mile in with me. Which was really nice. I wasn’t exhausted or drained or dead (but I’m most likely going to ache tomorrow morning), I just ran in and got my medal and stuck around for Bob to get his AG win:
and then hooked up with Kathleen from Happy Trails for brunch at a yummy place called Pike Grille. It was so fun to see Kathleen all squeaky clean without running cap and ponytail; it’s interesting how we runners “clean up” and look so different (and cute!) than in our running attire. I’m certain I wouldn’t recognize any of you on the street out of your running clothes and sweat-less. Which reminds me of a story I’ll have to share with you at some time about a high school friend who recognized me at a local race, donning a race hat and ponytail, who I hadn’t seen in about 23 years. Another time, perhaps….

Though I still do not have the speed, still working on reducing my weight to marathon goal, still have pathetic uphill glutes, my sinuses still annoying as all get-out, and my heel still giving me a very difficult time - I have to say that I FINALLY am starting to mentally come around and am feeling better with my running. I think it's in large part a thanks for the physical challenges I have set for myself - and conquering them (however slow). I ran Garden of the Gods, one of the most challenging road races in this state – and I didn’t die! There’s beauty in that alone for me for I love anything that is a good physical challenge!!! I’m not sure what the future holds with my running, my heel seems to be pretty unhappy with any distance over the 8-10 mile range, which makes marathon training a wee-bit difficult. I’m just taking it one day at a time and we’ll see what we see but in the mean time, I’m trying to navigate my life (and my running) with a compass that points towards excitement about what lies ahead. If I can’t do a marathon right now, I can’t….there’s plenty of other adventures waiting out there for me.

Yep, that's me in my orange shorts. If you recall a blog from past, these orange shorts are deemed poor performers and are banned from all important running events. So why do I have them on for a race then?? Well, first, this wasn't an "important" race, it was a race to get a great physical workout in and second, a blogger friend, Augie, was running his first marathon today and he likes the orange shorts....so Augie, these shorts are for your race (and thanks, Bob, for getting a great pic of my eyes closed!). But the best part of orange shorts today? A FB friend, whom I've never met, was able to easily spot me. Imagine!

49 comments:

LMC said...

I would run away screaming if I saw an elevation chart like that before a race. So, kudos to you for getting it done!! Thanks for the quick lesson on the hogbacks, amazing huh?! Glad to hear that you are taking things "one day at a time". Perfect. Have a great week!!

Johann said...

That’s not a bad time for that route! Well done! Beautiful pictures, I’d love to run there. I must admit I enjoy hills.

Teamarcia said...

Gosh you live in such a beautiful state. And I so admire you for seeking out and embracing challenges like those. The puke is coming up in my mouth just thinking about those hills!

Jamoosh said...

I feel smarter already for having read your blog today!

ShutUpandRun said...

Nice job Jillie and glad you're getting your mojo back; I know that couldn't have been an easy race!

Julie said...

Hi Jill,
God, I don't know how you do it....running in Colorado with all of your crazy hills! You did a great job on that very hilly ten miler:) After running in Colorado you could come here to Minnesota and kick big time butt! It would probably feel like a walk in the park for you:)

If it makes you feel any better, college boy still has his crap laying all over my living room floor..still hasn't moved! It is most likely going to stay there until he moves out at the end of August:)

You got to see Kathleen again...lucky! It must have been fun to see her again and catch up:) Have a wonderful week Jill!

Dan said...

The way I look at it, any race is a good race. Nice effort! Beautiful scenery.

Jennifer said...

Wow what a beautiful place! Running in locations like that is what it is all about. I think the orange shorts are quite becoming, but I bet that has more to do with the amazing woman wearing them! Great job on the race! Cheers!

Run Jess Run said...

Holy hills!! Good for you!!

C2Iowa said...

You write great posts. I like that you have an inner peace with your running. I would like to run- not race- Garden of the Gods some day. Looks awesome.

Great job and good pics. Godspeed.

Anne said...

Wow! I'm definitely impressed...you are amazing for getting through this! Great job and I love the pics and the geology lesson :)

Suzy said...

I think you may be completely crazy!! Those hills look like pure torture. Congrats on running them all (yes, shuffling up them is still running). Love the pictures.

Anne said...

Looks like a gorgeous course, if very tough. Is that true that there was an aid station every 1.5-2 miles? Pretty impressive for a 10-miler. Hope those sinuses clear up now that the weather's hot and arid. And how cool to be spotted by someone with those underperforming orange shorts!

Stephanie Nichole said...

What a fun post! I just learned SOO MUCH! I always thought those rock things were pretty but never knew they were once the sea floor! Very cool. I don't know how ya'll breath AND run UPhill in CO, but more power to you. Great job, great race!

Laura said...

holy cow... I don't 'mind' hills but for a race...that is nuts. Great job!!

Glenn Jones said...

Any day running around in the hills is worth it! I'm stuck down here in the lowlands. I hear the local mountains calling....

Christi said...

Great job at GOG run! It is a killer race. I often train at GOG both on my bike and running. I really enjoy it when the tourists are not around!

I hope the heel starts healing soon.

Marlene said...

Those are some serious hills! Sounds like a great "training" race... and nice shorts!

Katie A. said...

You are soooo cute! I love the orange shorts :)
You are hard core on finishing that crazy hilly run! That elevation chart looks daunting and you finished strong! I hope it boosted your confidence for SF, and that the heel didn't cause you too much trouble!
Loved talking to you Saturday - sorry we didn't chat yesterday, craziness was the story of the day!
Love ya! xoxoxoxo

shellyrm aka jogging stroller mama said...

It is so beautiful there. No wonder you wanted to run that. So proud that you braved those hills. Way to KNOW that your body could do it!

I am so glad you did it. And I LOVE those shorts! Wait till you see the ones I just got my daughter, they are even brigther!!!

RunnuRMark said...

I remember visiting GOG when I was a kid (probably somewhere around 13 years old). Neat place. And I'm pretty sure all of those crazy good hill climbers live in the area...which is why they're crazy good :)

And hurray for making use of the orange shorts! Even the unlucky ones need a little race love from time to time ;)

DRog said...

Nice Roller Coaster Hill work! Hope your heel gets better Soon! Again I am lovin the CO pics...that area reminds me when I used to golf those nice courses in Castle Rock!
-D

HappyTrails said...

"you fought the hills and won" - YAY Jill! You still did it and come on, for all your beatin' up on yourself, had a respectable time for such a challenging course. Give yourself a pat - you did a good job. All you can do is take one day at a time - each of those hard miles you put in is just like savings in the bank - it starts to add up after a while. Thanks for the fun visit yesterday - good food and good company - life is good (bonus: you had a good race, too!). I will be glad to accomodate your "need" for a running beat down. I am scheming on a route as I type (he,he). Have a great week!
K

Mikey B said...

Lots of hills + high temperatures = crazy run!

Congrats on the great run, although I hope the heel improves soon.

Mikey B

ajh said...

This was the race I wanted to do this summer in CO but school wouldn't be out yet so Trail Round Up it will be. I picked it (GG) for the scenery. Wow! It looks so tough!!

Tara said...

I can't believe you wore those damn orange short. Tsk. Tsk. Just kidding of course since I LOVE orange! I can't believe you ran all of those hills for a second week in a row. YOU ROCKSTAR! :)

What was up with the weather? I wore a coat to take my dog to the dog park yesterday.

Meg said...

I'm still loving the orange shorts, Jill! I don't care what anyone says, orange is the new NEUTRAL. I once did The Garden of the God's loop...once. It was SO HARD since I've never run in altitude. My friend dropped me off and picked me up two hours later and I was basically crying and sniveling. I did, however, see about 100 Quakers or Amish walking with their brood over the hills and that was definitely something I never see in Calif. Sounds like you had a nice run, I'm so happy to hear you're back to feeling strong and happy!

Anonymous said...

First I desert the Somewhat Pickled, then I encourage you into the heel beater course, then I snap the shutter when your eyes were closed. Yep, definitely cause for blog banishment…

But before that happens for good, let this little thank you enter in: Thanks so much for the race ride, and for introducing me to your friends and allowing me to introduce mine to you, for the telephone-booth use of your car, and for sticking around ‘till the almost-very-end of the awards (can’t get much older…). Lisa and I rendezvoused at the Twin Spring (our favorite) in Manitou to fill a month’s worth of water bottles, then had an adventurous afternoon on the rocks near Canon City with my OSU Geology friend, all that thanks to not having to shuffle cars to get Lisa out of the house which really really helps accelerate recovery. So, again, many thanks for the ride and the company Sunday morning. I will return the favor with a non-sweat-drenched hug. And maybe even help you convert the bazillions to millions and seafloor to alluvial plain .

Hope your heel is recovering,
Bob

Heather said...

Great job on the race - looks like a fun one. I love the orange shorts!

Adam said...

Nice work!! That place is one of my favs in the world.

My mom used to live 3 miles away from G of the G. Now, she lives right off of academy. Not exactly as pretty :(

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Miz said...

WOW that elevation chart and this newbierunner? would not have worked :)

love the shorts----but Im a rebel that way :)

MizFit

Kenley said...

Wow, that chart proves that this race is definitely not something for me right now. Your time is still rocking though. Garden of the Gods left by the seas. Something mystical about that. Well, glad you got a good hill work out in. Is your butt sore today? I did hills for the first time in forever yesterday, and although I have been putting in some good mileage, my ass hurts. lol. I use to live in NM and I miss the dryness in the air. Humidity sucks! Thanks for sharing your racing adventures. I hear you on the marathon thing. There are plenty of good races out there if you look around that can be funner. But every serious runner needs to do at least one marathon. Take care. Cheers.

Molly said...

Great job on that scary 10 miler, those hills look huge, and I just realized that your altitude is different so that's an extra challenge! And there's nothing like reaching a goal you set for yourself!

Megan said...

This weeks forecast is hilarious. Thats quite a swing from Mon to Wed.

lindsay said...

Oh look. Jill has problematic running clothes that she keeps. I don't feel so bad about my annoying things that I keep to wear when the laundry is low :) Whew!

Deep down, you're jealous of my humidity. I know.

Christy said...

I love the Garden of the Gods! Great job tackling such a tough course!

Jim said...

I'm another one of those who visited GoG as a kid on a family vacation. That whole Colorado adventure fueled my still active interest in geology, which you obviously share. I'm sure it's a lovely place for a scenic run and a great workout, but no PR!

Sherri said...

Oh My Goodness! That is a gorgeous run! And I for one LOVE your orange shorts and I am sad they are banned! If you want less hills....come race with me in Iowa! =)

All Things Jaime said...

I need to borrow your hills to train on! Posted pics from SD, go check them out!! :)

gary said...

I dunno, Yvette's shorts are so much brighter.

obxrunner said...

I say put them in the bonfire
or maybe I should have worn them Sunday

marathonmaiden said...

whoa to those hills. what a challenge but you totally beasted it :)

and did it in style with those orange shorts

AZ said...

I'm glad your running is finally coming around and glad that you broke out the orange shorts. Good or bad, you are stronger than any article of clothing and your running is all about you and what you put into it.

Scott Keeps Running said...

I'd like to visit the Garden of the Gods someday. I've heard much about it and it looks beautiful. Strong race!

DRog said...

Thanks for the well wish and comment! Reading it I remembered your Boston run a couple months ago and what a GREAT attitude you had leading up to and running the race especially considering your condition! This morning (Friday) throat and nose are the worst, its going to be a battle tomorrow but Ill make sure to remember Im grateful I have the ability to run, and enjoy it
have a great wknd
-DR

Matty B. said...

Very cool. Super-jealous that you get to live in a great state like Colorado. I lived in Denver for a year and would always head to Red Rocks and back towards Evergreen, CO.

elaine said...

Great job, and I think you look GREAT in your orange shorts, very cute picture.
E

Whitney said...

Love your orange shorts and you Park City marathon shirt!