Writing, Running, Being.

The finish line is a shifty Thing and what is life, but reckoning?
Ani DiFranco

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Ponderous Posterior 50k

I sort of let my blogging goal go down the crapper toward the end of the year. It's definitely been awhile! I set the timer for 15 minutes because well, I can do anything for 15 minutes right? So I'm going to push through and type until it beeps.

Running has been going well for me. I don't have any known injuries right now so that is exciting. I am going to run the 50 miler at Rocky Raccoon on the 5th of February. It's coming up quickly! On Saturday I got to run an awesome event called the Ponderous Posterior 50k right here in Colorado Springs. The event was part of a Fat Ass 50K series which means it is sort of an unofficial race, or run. I wasn't sure if this was supposed to be a race or not but it doesn't really matter for me anyway. When I run long distances, I have one speed. Finishing speed. There is no difference between a race effort and a training run effort when I run ultras. It's all just...slow.

The PP50K was organized by Tony Krupicka and a local ultra running group called CRUD. I believe it was Tony who chose the course. It was great! It started at a local runner's house and went through Garden of the Gods. I hardly ever run there so right off the bat I got to experience new trails in my own town. We were running through the park at sunrise so the rock formations were all red and glowy. It was beautiful. I enjoyed hearing the comments from the runners who had come from other towns. We climbed up Rampart Range Road which is a long but fairly mellow climb. Then we dropped into Williams canyon. This trail had snow and ice and I fell behind the group I was running with here. I am pretty inefficient at getting myself down a mountain, especially in those conditions. Gotta work on that. We connected Williams to Waldo Canyon (which has one of the BEST views in town) and ran that loop, ending in the trail head parking lot. Here I met Brian who refilled my water and gels and took the layers I had shed. The next section was brutal. We crossed Hwy 24 and climbed up Long's Ranch Road. Long's is both steep and long. It is about 3 miles and climbs 2000+ feet. And it also happened to have about a foot of snow. That climb is really hard without snow, but with snow, it almost made me cry! The faster guys, who started an hour after I did started to catch me on Long's. First to cruise by was Matt Carpenter, making it look easy. I cursed to myself as I watched his skinny butt scurry up that hill without visible effort. Then a couple of other really fast guys whose names I don't know. Then my friend Doug, who was running his first ultra-distance and keeping up with some amazing runners.

The climb up Long's was worth it because it led to one of my favorite trails. First we got to descend through the Experimental Forest which was another new trail for me (yay!) and that trail shot me out onto Barr Trail, about 3.5 miles from the bottom. This is one of the most popular trails but it wasn't crowded this time (also yay!). I actually went really slow down Barr Trail because it was icy. I could have just stopped and put on the yaks but I thought "nah" and just slowed down over the ice. From the bottom of Pike's Peak, I took the road down to the Iron Spring where Intemann Trail started. I met Brian here to get some more water and gel.

The next section, Intemann Trail traversed Manitou Springs over to Red Rocks Open Space. I had run sections of this trail, but much of it was new to me. I was super grateful for the course markers the CRUD people put out because the trail led to a couple neighborhoods and then picked up again in some inconspicuous spots. I most likely would have gotten lost without them. Finally I started to recognize the trail and made my way into Red Rocks Open Space. There are tons of trails in Red Rocks, and you could take any number of different routes to get to the same place. I was doing great, following the course until the very end. The trail I was on connected to the main trail (the one with all the sport climbing routes, I'm not sure what it's called) and I looked around for a course marker that would tell me to go up or down. I didn't see one, so I figured I was over-thinking it and I should just take the obvious route. To a super tired runner with 29ish miles already in for the day, the obvious choice would be DOWN the hill rather than up. So I ran down, crossed the parking lot, Hwy 24 and Colorado Ave and took Pike's Peak back to the house. Apparently I had taken a wrong turn and cut about 1/2 mile off the course. Oops! I felt kind of bad about that, but it was a pretty laid back, informal event and they told me not to worry about it.

After I finished, I was looking forward to seeing Tony K. and Scott Jurek and their fast buddies come in and hopefully get to meet them and thank Tony for the awesome event, but Brian and Jonas were there to pick me up and they were tired and hungry. So instead of meeting some ultra-running legends, I decided to pick up an order of food poisoning at Rudy's and spend the rest of the weekend with my head in the toilet. Ew. Nothing like food poisoning when you're already dehydrated, right?

Anyway, it was a great day. One of the things I love about Colorado Springs is that you are never done exploring the trails. Like many other outdoor enthusiasts that now call themselves Coloradans, my husband and I are transplants. Not particularly stoked on the political/religious climate here; there are times when we feel like shaking Colorado Springs and saying "Look what you have! Don't destroy it!" There are times when we've even threatened to leave. Then it's a run like this one that lets you know you couldn't. A run that assures you you're in the right place.

::I stole the picture from the CRUD email. Hope that's ok! I tried to take a video with my cool new Flip camera going up Long's but apparently I need another lesson in turning the thing on! Oh and results: I finished my abridged version of the 50K in 7:08. Garmin read just over 30.6 mi, and most people had just over 31. The course had over 7000 feet of climbing so don't judge me too harshly on that time! The fast guys of course added extra miles just for fun and they finished around 5:20. And my friend Doug? Who's never run more than 20 miles? Finished in 5:43! That guy needs to sign up for some ultras now! Oh and the blog's time? Went way over 15 minutes! But I needed that timer to get me started.::


doug johnson said...

Don't underestimate the power of a few simple words and poorly taken photos to motivate people to get out and practice the fine art of feeling connected to the earth. You're one tuff mother! Ever race mountain bikes?

Brian said...

Doug, Marny's mountain bike is almost finished. Never know, maybe she will be the one who wins the CTR on one of my bikes?

Marny said...

Better give it some wings or a motor or something, Brian!

dannie chOOng said...

hey hey, congrats for being nominated as one of the "Best Running Blogs 2011" hope to read many more of your fantastic running stories. sending you greetings from Malaysia...

Jessie said...

Stopping by to say hello! I found your blog on cafemom! I love your quote "I can do anything for 15 minutes". That has recently become my philosophy!