Saturday, May 03, 2008

Collegiate Peaks 25-mile Trail Run Race Report

I debated for a moment whether to call this a race report. It's not really a race for me, after all. not really. But then I decided that, most of the time, it's a race not to be last. So, I'll go with that.

This race, in Bueno Vista, Colorado (and you must, you MUST pronounce it "BEYOONA Vista" to the locals, because I guess it sounds Hispanic or something otherwise...)

Anyway. This race was well-run, with a well-marked course and super nice voluteers (aren't they always?) BUT it was a difficult race for several reasons.

First, it was 28 degrees at the start. My new rule: If you're comfortable at the start, you're overdressed. I wore several lightweight layers: a wicking thermal l/s shit from REI, the kick-ass shirt that you get from signing up for this race, my favorite Brooks hoodie with built-in mitties. I carried a small pack with some carbo-pro 1200 and assorted sundries, like TP, bandaids, advil, eye drops, and a water bottle. The race provided HEED and assorted trail foods, aid stations between 4 and 6 miles apart. For breakfast, I had 2 quaker oatmeal-to-go bars, some coffee, and some Hydrade.

This is one tough course. Over 4000 feet of climbing, much of it over ATV-torn very sandy ground and a couple of wet stream crossings. Also, high altitude and I do not get along. The race started at over 8000 feet above sea level, and before long, I was breathless and bitchy, which gave way to despair as I settled to a very dark place

E.g., I hate everyone. I hate colorado. I hate mountains. I hate people on ATVs. I hate sand. I hate that bird. Stupid bird. I hate that rock. Stupid rock.


Why, oh why did I think I could do this. I can't. I'm too out of shape, I'm too heavy, and I'm not trained enough

And eventually,

I suck.

One thing I did try was what Doc suggested: deliberately hyperventilate, just a little, before climbing those hills. So for most of the race I went up the hills breathing deep and fast, trying o get as much oxygen and trying to ignore my rapidly swelling fingers and hands.
Here's my annotated course profile:

I managed to catch and pass a few people at the end, so I think there were a half dozen or so people behind me.

My goal for the day: Finish the 25-mile trail run about 7 hours or so, and don't be last.

My results: finishing time was about 7:02 or so, and I wasn't last. So, go me.
Dontacha JUST love those feet?
I'm a dirty girl, all right.
I got to finish with Sweet Baboo, who was gentlemanly enough to let me go first and officially "beat" him. He does that sometimes.

Then I got an egg-salad sandwitch loaded with veggies and it was the best egg salad sandwitch EVAR.
Then I had a little Ben and Jerry's and it was the best Ben and Jerry's EVAR.
Then I had some Lays chips and--you guessed it.
The best.
Sweet Baboo and I were running together because of an incident on the trail. He started out and, of course, wound up well ahead of me pretty quickly. I was perhaps 3rd or 4th from last. So I was surprised when, just after the 2nd aid station, around mile 11 or so to see Sweet Baboo hauling ass up the hill toward me.
"You on your way back already?" I asked, surprised, since his original plan was to finish the 25 mile run, then backtrack and do the course backwards, which is the 50-mile course.

"NO - THERE'S A RUNNER DOWN AND I'M GOING TO GET HELP!" He shouted this breathlesslessly and red-faced as he tore up the hill past me.

After a while, a search and rescue car passed me. Or maybe Sweet Baboo caught up to me first. I don't remember.
From what we heard, the guy didn't make it. He may have taken his last look at life facing the snowy-peaks of the Rocky Mountains. I don't have the details yet.

So that's it about that run, I guess. Bittersweet.
I suppose that, if I were to go suddenly, I'd like it to be on a beautiful day, in a beautiful place, with perhaps my last thoughts being about the cold drink I'm going to have at the finish, surrounding by like-minded people.



  1. I think you are right Misty, that is a good spot to go and yet bittersweet.

    Congrats on your race! You did it!!

    I do the same thing..I go to those negative dark spots and it is now one of my race goals to not beat myself up. I am trying so hard to be nicer to myself. It's a process though.

  2. How many pink leopards were killed to make your gaiters? Or whatever the heck they are?

    I'm just askin'....

    I'm so behind the times in trail fashion.

    Go you. Well done.

    Yes, I've found in all my races there's a time that I slip into the "Bite Me Zone" aka BMZ where I'm mad at everything. It gets comical watching it appear sometimes.

  3. Go you indeed!!

    Bittersweet, but well done and hard fought.

  4. You are so right about Buena Vista locals! 25mile trail run starting at 7k- you're being too modest. That's awesome!

  5. It's always upsetting to hear about someone not making it like that when they were out doing something fun and healthy. Better than dying alone, in pain and with tubes sticking out of you in a hospital, though. Or so I would think.

  6. Wow on all different levels! Someone died????That is awful.
    And good for you for sticking it out on a tough course!
    Also-do you like the carbo pro 1200?

  7. Nice job to you on the race, that's awesome.

    That's so sad about the runner dying. As you said, I guess it might be a perfect way to go, but still tragic for his family and friends.

  8. Congrats on the run, very very awesome! :)

  9. How sad for that guy, bless your Sweet Baboo for being there for him. But as I told my Roybee, if I happen to die at the finish line of a marathon or on a course, know that I died doing something I loved.

    It sounds like you had a great race, despite the attitudinal issues. You finished vertically! Can't beat that!

    I'm a dirty girl too. I love her gaiters!

  10. Congrats on finishing, especially at that altitude. That is awful about that guy that didn't make it.

  11. May I say how impressed I am that you even do that kind of stuff?? 25 miles at high altitude is nothing to sneeze at. It takes a lot of courage to just show up.

    Wanted to thank you also for your encouragement for my first Run for the Zoo 5K - finished in 34:38 and managed to run the entire time so I was pretty happy! Looking forward to doing it again.

    Thanks for being such an inspiration!

    (And just in case this pops up with my hubby's name again, this is Betsy.)

  12. Anonymous11:49 PM

    I've been reading your blog for a while, and I have to say that sometimes it feels like I am reading about me. The issues you have with your bike, the negative crap that goes on in your head - ME!

    The difference is though, that I'm so impressed with the events you do. I am always so negative about myself and my abilities, and here you are just going out and giving it a go anyway! I get scared off by "athletes" and don't feel like I can push myself to the next level.

    You are a true inspiration to many.

    PS - Sweet Baboo is awesome - what a horrible thing to happen at your race, but like you said, I would rather "go" that way, than miserably.

    Keep up the awesome work, and you never know, you might even get me entered into something completely off the wall yet!

  13. Sorry to hear about what happened at the race..

    Great run/race out there under tough conditions. Gotta luv the gaitors, i got several pairs myself..

  14. Anonymous8:44 AM

    nicely done...that altitude would take my breath away!

  15. Anonymous9:46 AM

    Well, if that just isn't the measure of man. He sacrifices himself for another, still finishes the race, and takes a moment to be a sweet husband.

    You married a real winner, Misty.

  16. Nice race. Completely agree with all the hate filled thoughts during the run. You are looking smaller by the way.

  17. Congrats!!! That sounds hard core! Great scenery in the pictures. I love your running dialogue though... we can all relate.

  18. Here's the info on the gentleman who passed away in the race,

    "A long-distance runner who died competing in southern Colorado has been identified as John J. Marini of Littleton.

    The Chaffee County Coroner's Office said this morning that Marini, 59, died of a heart attack.

    Marini, who had been a distance runner for many years, was competing Saturday in the Collegiate Peaks Trail Run near Buena Vista when he collapsed."


    Nice work on the run, way to go. Indeed, a tough, tough course. I got yanked around mm 35 ... oh well, another day.

  19. Just a quick work. John Marini was a friend and an absolutely great guy. Always ready with a smile and kind word. One of the friendliest fellows you could ever meet. He loved to train outdoors and did so all of the time. While we were not close, I understand he was or is a H.S. teacher. I suppose this would be exactly the way he would want to go, but he went way, way too soon.

  20. Thanks for letting us know that, Clark. Sweet baboo wrote a brief tribute to your friend; if you need the link let me know.

  21. well damn, I wish I had been paying closer attention. I would have loved to gone up to cheer you on!


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