GJ’s Jensen training for Boston Marathon

In the predawn hours, all you can really see of Ray Jensen is a strip of reflective tape across the back of his running jacket and bobbing reflectors on his shoes.

Jensen, 43, is training for a January marathon in Arizona. If he can run the 26.2 miles in under 3 hours and 20 minutes, he’ll qualify for the Boston Marathon. And running in the only marathon in which racers must qualify would be a dream come true.

To reach that kind of nirvana, Jensen did Thursday morning what he does most mornings.

At about 5:30, he takes off from his home overlooking the Uncompaghre Plateau, running past homes with sleeping residents, making a loop near St. Mary’s Hospital, where he’ll go to work when the sun is much higher in the sky.

Sometimes while running, Jensen thinks about how lucky he is that his body functions well, something he’s often thankful for after seeing folks in the hospital who have come in because of sports injuries and accidents.

Maintaining a consistent workout schedule keeps him young, he said, and able to participate more in the world. For example, if friends asked him to do an activity never done before, like snowshoeing, his level of fitness would make that possible.

“Too many people are held hostage by their bodies,” he said, breathing heavier, a few miles into his morning run.

At other times while running, Jensen’s mind goes blank, as he falls into the rhythm of his feet hitting paved streets with quick steps.

On one of his favorite routes, the Holy Cross trail on nearby public land, Jensen takes a moment to think about his aunt and grandmother who died recently.

He’ll pause again at the starting line Saturday in Moab at the Winter Sun 10K run.

It’s work he’s used to after running three Ironman triathlons and countless other events, often training with friends in the triathlon training group, the Tri Dogs.

On his way out Thursday morning, Jensen waved at a fellow runner, Liz, though she didn’t seem to see him across the street in the darkness.

As Jensen rounded back toward home, low-lying clouds blanketing the horizon turned rosy and lights flickered on in the valley below.

This story first appeared on GJSentinel.com Thursday morning as part of “Mobile Junction.”


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