1st overall by 9 minutes in 1:22:05 (over great person/runner Chris Grauch, who recently finished 2nd at the Boulder Half-Marathon). Whenever I first come out to Colorado for the summer, I forget what it's like to race above 8,000 feet. Hint: it's not good when you can taste pennies. Hemingway said that's what death tastes like.
In olden times, I remember going up hills on the bike part of races, hating life/gravity, and swerving to hit every pebble in the hopes of getting a flat tire. Unfortunately, that is not an option when running. But there were tons of warnings about mountain lions at today's race, and I was ready to apply the same tactic if I saw a cougar.
"Is that your cub? Because it looks like Simba had a love child with Pumbaa."
/slaps lion with hamburger
|Each dolphin voted twice in the Russian Presidential election.|
I just started working at EarthJustice, which is an amazing/inspiring public interest environmental law firm. And it is decidedly better than EarthInjustice. However, the big-firm bros don't have to worry nearly as much about student loans, which are like IOUs. Well, they are like IOUs except that the person you owe might double interest rates every few years because of a dogmatic pledge authored by a person named Grover. NEVER TRUST ANYONE NAMED GROVER.
|What is he hiding under that faux manchu?|
Anyway, the People's Republic of Boulder is amazing. This can be quantified by my handy formula:
CITY AWESOMENESS = (# of Whole Foods' within a 10-mile radius) - (# of Confederate flags within a 5-mile radius X infinity)
As you can see, Boulder scores 7, and Mississippi scores lower than Syria.
Okay, the formula might need some work. But Boulder is great, and the people/places are incredible. Jogging has been great as well, so I was really excited to race. XTERRA half-marathons are often very competitive, and there is something about being on Colorado trails that makes the taste of pennies delightful. (Note: Initially, I posted this with a very unfortunate typo in the last sentence).
So I traveled to Balarat (about 20 miles N of Boulder) off of some really exciting track workouts, and really filling trips to Whole Foods. I eat enough kale and quinoa that if I can ever afford a Prius, I will be banned from ever driving into a red state. Even if my driving is disturbingly quiet.
Warm-up, see some long-lost friends, ask one of said friends to dump ice water on my back, AND THEY'RE OFF!
|Those are piglet Hokas.|
It was hot and sunny in the high-country, introducing a very high probability of sunburn. If there is anywhere to get burned, it's in Boulder, because melanoma sounds like something that the locals would treat with trips to one of the many dispensaries.
Anyway, the race started up a 500 foot climb, with bunches of switchbacks. I was able to do some reps up a local hill (Mt. Sanitas) on Memorial Day, so I fell into the somewhat familiar rhythm of taking small, bouncy strides. Chris stayed on my tail for the first bit, then he dropped off slightly (probably water dumped on my back + hot sun = squiggly smell lines that may be strong enough to open up a wormhole, thus proving string theory).
|Irrelevant, but important.|
When I couldn't hear his breathing, I decided to make a go of it. That is probably not a smart thing to do halfway up a hill, a half-mile into a half-marathon. But racing intelligence is not my strong suit (girl, my strong suit is hearts), so I turned it up to eleven and red lined. After a quick, treacherously switchbacking descent, the course opened up on a dirt road. As the course continued down, I tried to use the good footing to get as close to 4:30 pace as possible. By the mile 3 aid station, the awesome volunteers said there was no one in sight, so I let off the gas just a little (that is not to say I wasn't farting every chance I got).
After some rolling single-track, the course bottomed out around mile 5, with an 800-foot climb on the horizon. Dehydration began to kick in, and I started to feel very warm on the uphill. At that moment, dazing off in my own little world, I missed the aid station. Poop! I thought. However, the amazing volunteer cut a switch-back, and handed me a refreshing cup of water.
Of course, I dropped it. Oops. I survived the long climb, and continued the sprint downhill/survive uphill tactics for a couple miles. By mile 9, we joined the 10k course, and some awesome encouragement made me forget about kidneys doing a prune impression. The final climb was over a recently burned-out pine forest, and the sun got a little crazy. I survived to the finish because of some over-the-top cheers, and crossed the line in 1:22. Hopefully I will be able to pee sometime today.
Thanks so much to the volunteers and spectators at XTERRA Balarat. You guys really helped when the going got tough. Sorry if I hallucinated and slapped you with a hamburger. And thanks to you for reading! You guys are awesome :)