HW: Road to the Rim Rock Run September 23, 2008
Follow Lynn Lickers’ progress toward running the 22.6-mile Rim Rock Run through her monthly storie
After a restless night, I walked through the parking lot of the Ouray Hot Springs Park at 7 a.m. on Aug. 23 and heard someone calling my name.
I looked around wondering who I knew in Ouray that would be up this early in the morning to run 13.1 miles.
I spied my Grand Junction friends Judy and David Fox and their 15-year-old daughter, Allison.
“Hey! What are you guys doing here?” I asked before realizing Judy and Allison are dressed in running gear and are also there to run the Mount Sneffels Half Marathon.
Note: I love that name because it sounds like you’re actually running up Mount Sneffels, and the picture on the race T-shirt is equally deceptive. It’s actually a benefit race for the Mount Sneffels Education Foundation, and the route is along Ouray County roads 23 and 17, albeit at 7,760 feet elevation.
Allison was shivering as much from nerves as the chilly morning mountain air as she voiced her qualms about running her first half-marathon.
“I know how you feel,” I empathized. “It’s my first one, too!” I didn’t feel compelled to point out I was also more than three times her age.
The air crackled with excitement as we headed toward the starting line and met up with another Grand Junction friend, Elissa Stafford, and 177 other runners.
I invite you now to take a mercifully rare peak inside my mind as I relate to you first-hand.
THE ANATOMY OF MY HALF-MARATHON
Wait! What? Everyone’s running. Are we starting? I didn’t hear anything. Did they ring a bell, blow a horn? Did somebody yell go?
Hey, there are a lot of people passing me already and we’re not even out of the park, yet.
An uphill start. Great. Is there any oxygen in the air up here? Is anyone left behind me?
Whatever you do don’t stop, yet. Not in front of those three boys watching on their bikes. They better not be laughing at me.
Oh boy. This might have been a big mistake. I can’t quit. That would be embarrassing, not to mention a waste of time and money.
I wonder if I can put my entry fee on my expense report?
One down, 12 to go. Got a few people still around for company.
Like that old guy there. Man, he’s gotta be in his late 60s. Wait, is he trying to pass me?
I don’t believe this!
I’m starting to get my breathing in place. It’s really pretty out here. I’m glad the sun isn’t up quite yet because it’s already hot. It’s not supposed to be hot in Ouray.
Hey, here comes another old guy. Two of them, together. Maybe I can pace them, keep them just behind me.
The old guys are hanging tough with me. Good song on the iPod. I think I might pull this off.
Ten more miles. If I can finish in 2 1/2 hours, I’ll be happy. At mile 5 I’ll stop for a breather and fix my shoe, which has something in it that’s poking me.
Is that an aid station already? Cool ... wait! One of the old guys is passing me!
It is really pretty here. Look at that sparkling river down there. Look at those gorgeous mountains.
I haven’t stopped at all except to grab a cup of water to dump on my head back there. If I can make it to mile 8 by 9, I’ll be in good shape.
Hey, the mile 5 marker. Yippee! I can fix my shoe and catch my breath.
I wonder where Judy, Allison and Elissa are? Probably waaaay ahead of me.
It’s funny how I can recognize the footsteps of the people running around me. Kind of a comforting cadence.
Is that Dan (boyfriend)? Yahoo! A familiar face to greet me at the big turn. Getting kind of lonely out here.
I wonder how far ahead of me those two old guys are?
Oh good. A porta-potty at this aid station. Wait, some GUY is going in there? What for? He’s equipped to just step off the road.
Should I wait? No, that’s gonna screw up my time. Just keep going and don’t look at the river flowing.
Check it out. Mile 8, right on schedule. Time to try one of those energy gel packs.
I am so lucky to be one of only 180 people in the whole world to be doing this today.
Dude, don’t even think about passing me now. Get behind me where you belong, you porta-potty stealer.
Hmmm, Allison was right. That gel stuff tastes like chocolate-flavored snot. But it’s giving me a little boost.
I hear unfamiliar footsteps. Holy cow, look at that grandma back there. No kidding, she’s gotta be 70 if she’s a day.
I really have to pee. Oops. Did I say that out loud?
I must have because the lady beside me is pointing to a clearing next to the river. I hope there are no snakes in there ...
Alright, back in the saddle, so to speak. What a relief, but I’m really tired and it’s hot.
Are you kidding me with that hill up there? At mile 11? Is this some kind of joke?
Grandma is gaining on me. Geez, she must run every day up here. She is so steady.
That could be my new mantra. Slow and steady, that’s my pace, slow and steady, I’ll finish this race. I must be getting delirious.
The M&M’s at this aid station are melting all over.
I am perilously close to 2 1/2 hours, with a mile to go.
Do I keep running and go for time or slow down and make a good show at the finish? Thank heavens, a bunch of bushes to hide behind while I walk a bit.
Look at that pretty meadow. Oh man, I smell cow poop.
Woohoo! Out of my way granny. I am so ready to be done. Where is the darn finish line?
All I see is people yelling and some orange cones. Oh, that must be it. I did it!
Two hours, 34 minutes and 23 seconds. I’ll take it.
Allison had a stellar run. Way to go, girl.
Elissa and Judy turned in fine performances not far behind Allison.
I finished sixth in my age group, and they give awards to the first 5 finishers in each group. Go figure. My time earned me 131st place overall.
The two old guys? I never did get their bib numbers so I couldn’t check their times.
Grandma finished just over a minute behind me. Come to find out she is only 69 and lives in Telluride, so I’m giving her the altitude advantage.
She was an inspiration and made me smile when she crossed the finish line saying, “That was a lovely run, just lovely.”
Yes, it was.