Well, to that I say both "no it's not!" and "well, that's my life right now!"
Actually, this is the last race for a couple of weeks. And it was a good one!
The Race to the Shrine 10K (and its 5K component) is a fundraiser for the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. Now, a number of you know my tenuous relationship with zoos at best, including this one (exhibits are too small, in my opinion). However, it's also one heck of a race, and I've considered it for a couple years now.
The 10K starts down at the Broadmoor Hotel, runs through the fancy neighborhoods, and then over to the zoo and part way up Cheyenne Mountain to the Will Rogers Shine of the Sun, then back down to the zoo. Local legend has it that the patriarch of the Penrose family (read: early rich family in town) was actually going to build the landmark tower high on the mountain to himself, but the bad press caused him to dedicate it to his recently deceased friend, Will Rogers. Anyway, Spencer Penrose is actually buried there, but it's called the Will Rogers Shrine.
So! Friday night I checked the weather. 42 and partly sunny. Score! Because we're at elevation (the zoo is at 6800 feet and the Shrine is at 8100 feet... yes, you climb 1300 feet in elevation to get to the highest point of this race... 42 and partly sunny is good weather - my favorite pair of capri's (the ones that didn't get shredded) and a t-shirt should do it. I set my stuff out because I would need to be to the registration by 6:15 to pick up my packet and be ready for a 7:15 start.
As has become quite the habit for me lately, I managed to wake up every hour on the hour overnight, and 5:30am was a teeth gnashing affair. I did however, decide at the last minute to grab a jacket since the sun wasn't up yet.
I walked out of the house and realized that 42 and partly sunny had transformed overnight to 38 and drizzle, with heavy fog. Good thing I brought a jacket.
Things had not improved much, weather-wise, by race start. The gun went off and we were on the road, out of the hotel property and winding through the neighborhood. There were only 315 racers for the 10K, which meant nice spacing and no overcrowding. The 10K also started and finished in a different location and at a different time than the 5K, which cut down on ancillary traffic.
I had looked at the route (confession: I don't always look at the race route before I run. I probably should, but I don't), but I had made the assumption that the neighborhood would roll up and down before we got to the zoo. I knew once we hit the zoo, there would be an uphill, and then we would really start climbing once we hit the road to the Shrine. However, I didn't count on the neighborhood being a consistent uphill as well, with no levels or downhill at all after mile 1. Whew. That meant a solid 4 miles up constant uphill, and overall at least 4.5 miles uphill over a 6.2 mile course. This was not going to be a 10K PR for me.
The slight advantage I had was that House 6 is located up the side of a mountain itself, and I can do at least one mile intervals of uphill at a time in my daily runs. These aren't easy or pleasant, but I'm doing them since I'm trying to eventually slog myself all the way up Pikes Peak later this summer. I haven't done 4.5 miles in a row in training yet, but at least I know I can do it now. Make no mistake. I am not fast, nor will ever be fast, uphill. Some people in front of me on the road to the Shrine gave up and started walking. I never walked, but I didn't necessarily catch up and pass them while they walked either.
|Not a great photo since it was taken while|
running, but there's the entrance to
Will Rogers Shrine
|Best finish line food? Definitely up there!|