Labor Day Weekend means 2 Marathons
Who would of thunk that despite flying to Denver that I would put an additional 1621 miles on a rental car?
The weekend started by flying to Denver International Airport, standing in line to get a rental car (a Ford Fusion - a nice ride btw), and heading northwest to Pocatello Idaho. The Pacatello Marathon was Saturday, September 5th, 2009. There were 291 marathon entrants for this downhill event which started at a height of 6000 feet and quickly descended to a finishing altitude of 4500 feet in the first half. I had an opportunity to drive the course and was amazed by the steepness of some of the downhills and the constant turns especially in the first half. The second half, where the half marathoners started, was relatively flat or even uphill at certain points.
I soon discovered that running a downhill course can cause all kinds of physical ailments. First, I developed a blood blister on my right forefoot and blacktoe on the same foot. This shoe must have been loose but too late to notice until the damage had already occurred. Downhills also totally fatigued my quads. Beautiful rural course mostly on blacktop roads through the mountains around Pocatello.
This event did have perks. At the packet pickup I received a nice long sleeve tech shirt, a duffle bag and a bag of Idaho potatoes. At the finish they provided us with baked potatoes and pulled pork sandwiches. D-lish! and made for fast recovery when washed down with cold chocolate milk.
After returning to the hotel, showering and repacking, I headed back east for a night’s stay in Rawlins WY a mining town about midway between Pocatello and Cheyenne WY. I watched the Jerry Lewis telethon and fell fast asleep.
Sunday morning I continued east to Cheyenne and then turned south towards Denver and on to Colorado Springs.
At the host hotel I met up with Doug & Laurie Osterberg who came out to get another marathon in as a warm up for the Fox Cities Marathon. We decided to drive to the summit (14110 ft) of Pikes Peak to kill time. That is an adventurous trip. The road is half paved and half packed gravel for 19 miles to the summit. It began snowing on the top shortly after arriving. We dealt with snow, ice and finally rain on the trip back down. They even check your brakes for over-heating about half way down.
At 5 am on Labor Day, we were bussed about 25 miles north of Colorado Springs to Palmer Lake (~7300 ft altitude). We ran along a 6 foot wide path of crushed stone which slowly descended southward through the US Air Force Academy into American the Beautiful park near downtown Colorado Springs (6000 ft). This descent was much more gradual than Pocatello though a much higher altitude. I wish I could have done these 2 events in reverse. I was hurting so much from the effects of Pocatello’s steep downhill grades. Both Doug & Laurie felt the altitude and finished well ahead of me… and Laurie won her age group. I was so sore and annoyed with bicyclists who we were sharing the course with. My only complaint with the course was the amount of bike riders we had to dodge most of the second half of the course and finish area. Although nice for spectators, I really hate having to wait in lines behind them to get a slice of cold pizza and a drink. Nice finishing medal.
Aprroximately 53 miles on the courses and it felt good to be flying back to Appleton that evening with 2 more states under my belt towards my goal.
Idaho was state number 46 and Colorado state number 47. That means only Hawaii (9/20), Maryland (10/10) and Rhode Island (10/18/09) left to complete a marathon in all 50 states and DC. WOOHOO!!!