A good start!!!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Canyonlands Half Marathon #3

Canyonlands #3 in the bank. Another unforgettable weekend with wonderful people. Another great run through one of the most stunning canyons in The United States. Making this a habit? You bet I am. 

Building up to the race my life went on hold for a few weeks. My routine mammogram turned south on me in a big way. There was a concerning area (which I now call the “Mystery Spot”) that warranted further testing. And so I tested, and tested, and tested. More mammograms, ultrasounds, mammograms, back to ultrasound. It was nerve wracking - the damn Mystery Spot didn’t fit the mold of what I would expect to see - I deal with this at work every day. It was irregular (albeit, tiny) with some possible blood flow which is not good.

Finally, I had a biopsy. The next day I was at lunch with my very dear friend Ansley and I got the call. Everything was benign. Goodbye to the thousand pound weight on my shoulders and I was finally able to take a deep breath. 

And this is just the way life goes. Yes, we can do all we can to do the right thing. But that doesn’t mean things can’t turn a 180 on you. So keep working hard and take good care - but give plenty of slack and enjoy yourself. Don’t wait for a bad tomorrow, but don’t despair if it comes. Push through.

So two weeks and no running. A week after the biopsy I tried to run about 2 miles - spent the bulk of it holding on to my boob. Yeouch!!! Pretty funny, I’m very glad I was running at home. 

So, I had to let go of running for time in Canyonlands. The goal was just to get out there and finish my race. 

I drove out with wonderful, badass Cynthia. She is truly my ideal travel partner. Laid back, interesting, funny, easy to talk to, brilliant taste in podcasts, appreciative of excellent food. We had a great drive out.

Our hotel … was really something. Pretty grotty with magnificent shades of brown and yellow - though the room was perfectly fine and clean. Better yet, it was 2 blocks from our start and finish. Nothing wrong with that. 

Come play with us, Danny!!!

Race day had lots of potential. Chilly 30-40’s which is my perfect race weather. There was some musings of wind in the canyon. What’s new? We hopped on the shuttle for the long wait at the start. Shortly after arriving I found a bunch of my buddies from my running group. There were about 10 of us running and we shivered, chatted, and hit the restroom about 900 times. 

Me and my Columbines.

Go time and I was feeling fine. I got stuck in a herd of about a dozen noobs who were whining about how race starts are managed. Meh - you’ll learn kids, you’ll learn. It was about a quarter of a mile before I was able to weave away from all of them and then I was happy. Cool but warming up, gorgeous morning, no wind so far.

By mile two I was having a hard time finding my pace. I was fine with that, sometimes it takes me up to four miles to find my grove. I felt choppy and inconsistent but my time was fine so I kept at it. 

Mile four and I still couldn’t get into it. No real reason. Legs, lungs, and gut were fine. But my brain was all over the place. Squirrel!!!

By mile 5 I saw Cynthia ahead of me. Since I couldn’t find my flow I just turned up my music and focused on her. She was an excellent pacer bunny and kept me on track. By mile 8 I pulled up beside her and she gave me grief for not telling her I was on her butt sooner. By now the wind had found us and I had to hang onto my visor several times. There were white caps on The Colorado River. No negative splits today. Blech.

Well, if you're going to have a mentally tough run, do so in one of the most beautiful places on earth!

There’s a short and slightly steep incline around mile 9. We got hit by a hard gust and I walked to conserve energy. I was managing to walk faster than most of the people running up the hill. Definitely the right choice. 

Me and Cynthia. Even the tough runs are great runs. 

By mile 10 Cynthia pulled ahead and I was getting a little tired. So I ran slower to rest this mile. 

Happily, my least favorite part of the race that takes us out of the canyon and along a busy road gave us a tailwind. That definitely gave me a boost and I made my way into town running the whole way. 


Finish time 2:04:38. Better than I was expecting, all things considered. Cynthia was 30 seconds ahead of me. 

I touched base with the rest of my runner girls, looks like everyone did very well and had good runs. We headed back to the hotel to clean up and crash.

Cynthia, being the ever diehard, went to bike Slick Rock. I read a book. My plan was much better.

We were pretty beat by evening so we walked down Main Street for salty, fatty Mexican food and margaritas. Then we wove our way back to the hotel and both crashed by 9. Wild pair, aren’t we?

Give credit for depth here, the margs really weren't that big. 

And home again the next morning. 

So, now I have no clue about The Colorado Marathon in May. I need to run 16 this weekend - I suppose I’ll gage if it’s a go or not based on that. 

Oh, what the hell. It’s a go.

I may be a lot of things, but I am not a wimp. 


  1. Someday I'm going to do that race with you guys!! And then at least think about riding with (well, way behind) Cynthia afterwards.

    1. Truly, Kate!!! There's 'The Other Half' in October - Cynthia already has big plans for feet and wheels!

    2. Kathy, Gonzo Inn is available for "the other half", BUT it's Oct 19th. Is that too close to NYC to do the race and 2 big days of road biking?? Let me know!

  2. "Oh, hell, it's a go." That's the Kathy I know and love! :) You will do great; you've got several weeks of solid training you can put in.

    I didn't know about the boob....so sorry. I feel so out of the loop. I'm so incredibly glad all is okay now. We'll have to celebrate! :)


    1. I think so, if not - meh, always training for the next wacky scheme!!
      I know, it really wasn't one of my favorite topics of conversation. Don't be sorry at all - no need to worry people unnecessarily. I agree, there's always a good reason for more celebrating!

  3. Whoah-I just came across this. I ran the same race and you aren't joking about the wind! The tailwind at the end was great. By the time we got on the highway shoulder, I was done. AND I am also running the CO marathon. Crazy! I have one more half in Denver in a couple weeks just to help with the training and I am so ready for the marathon to be here!

  4. Glad your tests came back good. That's scary.

    That looks like a beautiful place to race and it's great you got to race with a good friend.

  5. So glad your tests came back benign, how stressful to deal with!
    This looks like a beautiful place for a run, great job pulling through even when you weren't feeling it!

  6. what a FUN weekend!! great, easy going company, same sleep schedule (ahem...waking up at 12am), same taste is food (pancakes!!) and same geeky taste in podcasts...can't ask for much more than that, eh?? oh yeah and a little bit of running thrown in there too!!! :D