I'm starting to get super excited about my trip to Colorado this weekend to crew for my friend Noah as he runs the Leadville 100 trail race. My flight to Denver leaves late Thursday afternoon and then it looks to be a couple of hours up the hill from there to Leadville.
I'm looking forward to reconnecting with Noah as I haven't seen him since my wedding last year. At the time he was living in Chicago but then started a new company called Quorum Robotics, things took off and he moved to San Francisco a few months ago.
Noah and I go back 15 years to when we started working tech support at my company. We both completed our first Chicago Marathons that year and have been long-distance running partners ever since. He's always been so supportive of my running and in turn I've really derived a lot of motivation from him because of his determination and his ability to will himself through anything, which is why I think his run this weekend will be a very successful one.
He's also an interesting guy. When we started working together, Noah had been out of college for a year and was living in Chicago, which meant he had a two-hour commute (each way) ever day. He spent his time on the train reading about networking and it wasn't long before he became our company's network administrator. About a year later, he left to attend the University of Southern California to earn his PhD, and before this year had made a career in the research field.
He only started running ultramarathons when he moved to San Francisco, but like always, he will be well prepared and ready to go. I have to admit that I'm a little nervous about stepping my game up like that, too, but I think I'm ready. Looks like all of that basketball coaching may have paid of after all!
One thing I'm looking forward to doing is acting as a pacer during some of the race. The event allows pacers after 50 miles, so I'll jump in and run a few miles here and there. I've never done any trail running and have never run at altitude, so it should be fun!
Actually, my biggest challenge is figuring out what to pack! The low temperatures in Leadville are supposed to be somewhere between 35-40 degrees, with highs in the 60s somewhere, but I'm sure it will get much hotter when we are in valleys or lower elevations. It will be weird to think of wearing a hat and gloves and then a couple of hours later being in shorts!
Oh well, this is my first trip to Colorado and I'm looking forward to all it has to offer. I've watched a few YouTube videos some participants have made and they are so cool! Seeing Noah (and the other runners) cross the finish like will be very exciting.
*And another thing! Two things, really. If you watched my Periscope video from yesterday (you can follow me at letsrun4ever), you'd know that I cleared a bit mental hurdle on Sunday night when I ran 10.3 miles. It was the first time I had gone that far since the Indy Mini, and it went very well as I had an average pace per mile of 10:28.
No matter how many times you have run more than 10 miles -- whether in training or racing -- if you don't do it for a while it can become a daunting thing again. I've run more than 10 miles probably 100 times or more in my career, but it's still a big hurdle if I'm not doing it regularly. Doing so on Sunday, and running well in the process, was a nice springboard to the next few weeks when I start adding more and more distance.
The other thing is that my training paces have been slowly going down over the last 2-3 weeks. Remember a few weeks ago I mentioned my blood pressure medication and how the fact it contained a beta blocker was possibly a reason as to why I hadn't been running well? I was off the medication for about a week when I went back to my doctor. She is keeping me off any blood pressure meds as my BP is lower than it has been (yay!).
I asked her if I had to go back on anything in the future if we could make sure it wasn't a beta blocker, and when she asked why I told her that I felt like it was possible what I was taking was killing my running. She immediately agreed! Or, in her actual words: "That would do it".
So after my good run on Sunday I went out Tuesday for a 4-miler and when I ran my first mile in 10:06 (usually it's in the 10:30-10:40 range) I knew I was onto something. I finished the run with a 9:39 average pace and ran the last two miles at about a 9:10 clip. There were some hills in there and I never thought I was pressing all that hard, which is a great feeling. I'm planning on running a 5K on Labor Day weekend, maybe a sub-28 is in my future!
See you in Colorado!