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Brian and I (here on the front porch at my grandparent's farm with Louie) left Antioch, Illinois on 08/19/2016, in fact I picked him up at work and we drove to St. Louis and stayed at Union Station in a beautiful hotel there! Our next stop was my parent’s farm in southern central Missouri. On Monday 08/22/2016 we headed out to Durango, Colorado by way of the Eastern Plains of Colorado. My grandparents both had farm ranches in the plains, Mom’s folks in Kit Carson and Dad’s in Wild Horse (that is the actual name, no kidding) and I wanted to visit them both. After a night at a hotel in Eads, Colorado, me and my husband headed out to do the farm tours, and it was a great trip down memory lane, but that belongs in another blog!!! Finally we were bound for Durango, a 7 hour drive from Wild Horse and we arrived and checked into our hotel on 08/23/2016. In the next few days, we bummed around downtown Durango, went to Mesa Verde, hiked the Colorado Trail and carb loaded!!! Friday, the day before the race, our big project was to pick up the race packet. We had already scoped out the bank and knew where we were going so we headed out and got it and then spent the rest of the day walking around taking pictures of puppies and eating (carb loading day)!!! For breakfast we ate at the hotel, then I had a bagel with cream cheese, then I had a caprese style crepe from a food truck on a corner…seriously! It was a food truck and it was wonderful!!! Then we went back to the hotel where we relaxed a bit and later we had dinner at a really nice Italian place with outdoor seating that was off the main drag and in a really sweet little neighborhood. To bed early was the plan for tonight, but I slept very little, I’m always too excited and in the case of this run I was really worried because I had been having back pain again and the altitude was still kicking my ass. We get up early and do the usual: shower, grease up feet and dress, poop, eat a banana 2 hours before the race and go to Ska Brewing where they are going to bus us to Hesperus. Brian intended to come along with me, but the bus wasn’t coming back, so unless he wanted to run back to Ska with me, I had to leave my security blanket behind. Bummer, I like having him there, he calms me down. I had packed a backpack of what I needed the day before so I was ready either way. I rode the first bus, got in the line for the potty, did my business and then stretched, loaded up my water, put in my fizz (stuff in my water that has electrolytes for altitude running) and got back in the potty line. Did my business again, put on my phone and water bottles; threw my bag in the van to take it back to Ska and started. The first 3 ½ miles were great! The scenery was beautiful and then we hit an uphill and it was steep! I made it to the top, but had to walk, I just couldn’t breathe! I got it together for a while until the 7 mile mark when we had a steady uphill for more than a mile. I walked and stopped and rested for this stretch, then I got a good patch of downhill and I ran that, but at the bottom I had to walk and try to breathe again. At about 11, I had no choice but to walk, then I had a little energy and ran part of 12, but the uphill at the end was just more than my lungs could take, so I walked for the very first time in 32 races across the finish line!!! It was horrible that I had to do it, but the other choice was pass out and be dragged across the finish line, hahaha!!! As time has passed since the race, I have come to terms with the fact that altitude and my very low blood pressure do not mix. I just can’t do it, ok, so I will have to choose wisely in the future of my remaining 18 races, is all!

I tried to hang around the finish line and join in the finish line festivities, but even the free and very large beer in my trophy mug wasn’t doing it. We went back to the hotel and I lay down for a few minutes, while Brian found something to do. After about 30 minutes I was feeling pretty good and I got up and showered and got dressed and we went on a quest for food!!! I had a nice salad and drank a lot of water and started to feel like myself. We hit a couple of shops and I even managed to buy 4 new outfits at this really cool boutique, not expensive either. Retail therapy after a less than fulfilling race, just what the doctor ordered!!! The remainder of that day we walked around and took more photos of puppies and grocery stocked the cooler for the ride home. Sleep came easily that night from sheer exhaustion and we got up early, ate our last breakfast in Durango and headed out with the goal of hitting North Platte, Nebraska for the night. We drove through the mountains, skirted north of Denver and continued on in a Northeasterly direction towards that cut out corner of Nebraska. This part of Colorado is equally as exciting as the Eastern plains and we saw thousands of prairie dogs, they are funny little things! Nebraska was almost as exciting as Colorado and from the truck I booked a Fairfield Inn in North Platte. We were hungry and quite frankly tired of eating out of the cooler. After settling in the room we relaxed and watched a little mindless TV so that Brian could get the room to stop moving, it happens when you drive as much as he has. I found a restaurant across the parking lot from the hotel that had some really good Yelp reviews, this is North Platte, so my expectations weren’t high…however…WOW!!! Get this, we drive 1300 miles to Durango Colorado, a tourist area with tons of dining choices and the two best meals that we had were the crepes from the food truck and this parking lot restaurant in North Platte, Nebraska!! We had blackened Mahi Mahi, with rice and stir fried vegies and shrimp scampi with pesto pasta, SO GOOD!!! Don’t get me wrong, virtually every meal we had on the trip was good, with the exception of Brian’s hamburger in Eads, but these two meals stood out as EXCELLENT!!! We got up early the next morning and ate our last breakfast on the road and were home by 7 pm. It was a fantastic trip, we thoroughly enjoyed all the scenery, we were able to get 83% of the 7th book in the Outlander Series read (I read out loud to Brian while he drives with accents and character voices so he knows who is talking) it makes the time go really fast and another race done and DONE!!!

My stats…Durango, Colorado, number 32 in the quest, 259 of 450 total racers, Time 2:21:48, Pace 10:49, 148 of 288 women, 15 of 31 in my age group…but here is the part that makes me feel just a little bit better…of the 14 women in my age group that finished ahead of me, all but one were locals and used to the altitude, me and some chick from Rochester, Minnesota, elevation 1030 ft were the ones that really suffered!!! And for the record, Antioch, Illinois’s elevation is 748 ft. Next race, South Carolina in October!!!

(with my prize beer stein)

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