Okay, this is getting a little bit ridiculous. It’s been nearly three weeks since I ran the Steamboat Marathon and, while I have a few failed attempts saved, I am yet to actually write about the race. In my defense I haven’t had time to write about anything but what’s really holding me back about this race recap is the gigantic gap between the important parts I want to share and coherent writing.
The race was important to me for a few reasons - it was a road race I had a few time goals for, my mom + friends + Jeremy spent the weekend in Steamboat for this race and because, at the end of the day, I learned how to have fun even when I was hating life. But for some reason I cannot figure out how to put the experience into words — not necessarily because it was so profound but because my brain is so exhausted with EMT training/medical jargon the thought of trying to process the experience into words freaks me out.
So, rather than stumbling through a [long over due] drawn out recap here are a few facts about the race…
…I did NOT want to race, at all. If a bagel sandwich stuffed with fresh eggs + homemade bacon had not appeared on my pillow race morning I would have stayed in bed.
…that bagel combined with the friends I ran into + people I met throughout the day made getting out of bed worth it. I had no idea I knew so many people who were racing the full marathon! Originally I thought being at the start an hour before the start was too long…then I started catching up with old running buddies. Before we knew it the race started and our stories were cut short as we let gravity pull us down the first big hill.
…while on the course I met Anna, Bobbie and Madeline [aka, Austin in my run-drunk head]. They all played crucial roles in keeping me moving! Anna was there when I was still feeling good, chatting on our descent, before she shot off to earn herself a PR. Madeline/Austin was the person who refused to let me quit no matter how elaborate my excuses were. Bobbie joined Madeline and I after mile 20 and joined in on our “we’re finding the fun!” party all the way to the finish line.
…I tried to quit, at ever aid station I came upon from mile 13-20. The volunteers gave me a lot of crap because I looked fine and laughed out my excuse of “I don’t like running anymore” while Madeline told me I wasn’t allowed to leave her out in the blazing sun alone. I never quit, thankfully.
…my body was fine, aside from normal “26 freaking miles on pavement” aches but my head was NOT in the race. When things got hard I checked out and started making excuses for why I needed to quit the race.
…I didn’t quit. Instead I hung on, gave up on the numbers and somehow found a way to actually have fun while hating the act of running. It was, hands down, the people who made it fun. I may never see them again but those ladies + a multitude of other runners on the course - along with the amazing volunteers + spectators - were the only reason I didn’t sit on the side of the road and cry.
…race volunteers + spectators are seriously my favorite people! They make a huge difference, whether it’s simply putting a little pep in my step or straight up telling me “you’re too damn happy to quit” while I”m whinig [like the guy who overheard my whining at mile 13 that stopped to say “congrats” when he saw me at the finish…I must make one heck of a whiny impression!]
…I finished the race with an official time of 5:16:17, less than 60 seconds shy of my first/PW marathon. Honestly, from the physical side of things I’m really disappointed in that number — my body could have done so much better than that. However, when it comes down to where I was mentally the time doesn’t matter — I figured out how to have fun and smile while hating life and failing miserably at meeting even my weakest goals.
At the end of the day, I’m glad it’s over but I’m also really, really glad I started the stupid race. It didn’t necessarily change my perspective on running but it did make me realize that, right now, my priorities do not include racing and that’s okay. [that doesn’t mean I’m not racing, that simply means I’m not racing all the races all the time…if you haven’t already picked up on that]
Plus, the race was a great excuse for my mom + friends to come visit for a long weekend in the mountains and we did all of that right! We managed to explore Boulder, go hiking 3+ times, watch the sunset/moonrise over the Strawberry Hot Springs, laze around a fancy condo, camp in the dirt just outside Nederland, indulge in ice cream every day, roast hot dogs + s’mores and wander around Steamboat in just 3.5 days! I might not be that great at running marathons but I know how to make the most of a few days in the mountains…