Friday, June 17, 2011


I was hoping to get pictures from my friend to put in the post...but they haven't arrived here's the Steamboat Marathon post with a few "borrowed" pictures...

I loved my time in Steamboat...awesome friends, wonderful food and great shopping.  Now about that marathon...

With the help of my friends Kari, Nancy and Beth, I finished the Steamboat Marathon.  I was thankful for crossing the finish line and not being pulled (I was well past the 5:30 cut off), for my friends' support and well as the ice cold wet towels at the end of the race (all races should have these).  I did not meet my time goals - not one of them! I also didn't meet the mental goals which was to not to think about unproductive things, like quitting or how hot it was or how difficult it was to breathe.  What a mess.  

Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. 
Failure is delay, not defeat. 
It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. 
Failure is something we can avoid only by
saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing. 
Denis Waitley

I'm treating the Steamboat Marathon as a wake-up call and taking a detour.  I will not start the 50 miler on July 16th.  I'm not even sure about the 50km.  I think my running would be better served if I focused more on getting a little faster. I traded volume for speed work - and this is the second year in a row I've made this mistake.  Right now, I want to focus on a few half-marathoners and then a late fall marathon.  I can go long.  I don't need my confidence to be built in that department.  I need to have more confidence and frankly peace of mind around cut-offs.  I will never be "speedy" but I need to be speedier.  I think I can get back to the 50 mile mission in time for a 2012 spring race.  So hopefully you all will stick around for that and whatever happens in between!

I have to say this is one of the hardest race reports to write.  I was thoroughly disgusted with myself.  But enough with the pity party, right? 

Pre-Race: I went up on Friday afternoon with my co-pace group leader Nancy.  Beth arrived on Saturday morning.  It really was a nice weekend away with a race stuck in the middle.  We shopped.  We ate.  We picked up our packets.  And we ate.  If ever in Steamboat, I'd recommend all these places:  Mambo's (you must try the Shrimp Linguini); Cugino's (the marinara sauce was amazing); Creekside Cafe (eggs benedict - not until the morning after the race!); and the Boathouse Pub (sweet views of the Yampa and a great bison burger).  Race day morning, Beth dropped us off at the finish to catch the bus to the start.  She was turned out to be the most excellent sherpa!  Nancy and Liz got to the half-marathon bus (after a little challenge with a bib that was left back at the hotel - Beth to the rescue!) and I hopped on the marathon bus.  The start was not cold.  I hate when the start isn't cold because temperatures can only go UP!  I chatted with a few fellow RER folks before the race.  On time, off we went.

Miles 1 - 6:   Executed the 5:10 pacing plan.  It was a beautiful thing.  And so were the views.  Even though at about Mile 5, I knew I couldn't sustain it.  If you think Steamboat is a downhill race, think again.  There were two notable uphills in this section alone, but my Races2Remember pace band accomodated this...

Mile 7 - 18:  The problem with executing the 5:10 pacing plan is that I am not yet a 5:10 marathoner.  Mile 7 came along and I knew I was in trouble.  I started out way too fast and now I had many miles to go.  It was really hard to catch my breath, and I'm not sure if it was simply the elevation or my allergies (everything was blooming) or my asthma or a little bit of all of the above.  Of course I didn't have my inhaler with me - it was back in the hotel room.  About a mile from each aid station, I made up my mind to quit.  And then the lovely volunteers (I have to say they were AWESOME!) would lift my spirits up and I went on.  I was in last place during this stretch.  My place on the course was magnified by a course volunteer's vehicle that followed behind me, picking up the mile markers as I passed them.  I could hear the truck's brakes...Yes, I had my own personal stalker which just magnified the feelings of defeat.  Yes, I was a mess.  Occasionally though a truck would pass me and honk in encouragement, give me the thumbs up sign or shout "Go Team Beef."  (I wore a Team Beef Colorado shirt for some of my cattlemen clients...).

Mile 18 - 23: I knew at this point I was not going to quit, which was a relief.  Why couldn't I commit to finishing earlier on?  Anyhow, things were heating up, so much so it felt like the earth was on fire.  I passed a runner who I kept in my sights the entire time.  She and I became Facebook friends after the race.  She has such a positive spirit!  I had mixed feelings about passing her  - joyous that I wasn't last anymore but sad because well I didn't want to pass the heavy torch onto any other soul.  My focus now was to get up and over a long hill so that I could meet up with my friends Beth, Nancy and Kari.  Beth drove out and spotted me at around mile 21 or 22, so she could then report back to the crew. 

Mile 23 - 26.2:  These miles flew by.  Kari and Nancy got me to the finish line.  Nancy even made me hit a downhill hard.  Kari and Nancy had both finished the half-marathon and I couldn't believe they were out there again - in temperatures that were in the eighties!  And while the course volunteers were taking down the Finish Line banner and had packed away the medals (they mailed me one and I got it yesterday!), the timing mats were down, and I crossed the Finish so that my pathetic time could be recorded for posterity.  Great.  (read: sarcasm).  OK, maybe the pity party isn't over yet...

So what comes next?  I'm a little burned out.  Two races in a month can do that to me.  So the week after the marathon, I relaxed...and now just getting back into a more regular running routine.  And as the dust has settled, I am even more certain that getting a little faster is in order.   This is a three-pronged plan:  #1: follow-through on weekly speed work; #2: lose some weight; and #3: get a grip on my asthma. 

#1 is not just physical work but a mental gut-check.  Everyone at speed work is faster than I.  It's likely this doesn't matter to them.  So I need to suck it up and work hard on the hills, plyos, fartleks and intervals - whatever else Coach has in mind.  Not only is there a physical benefit, but there is a mental benefit. 

#2: I like my body.  For the first time ever I can say that, no matter what the scale says.  However, if I were lighter, I would see some speed and recovery benefits.  Working with my trainer on nutrition will be the key to this - so this past Wednesday, I started sending her my food logs again.  She can be brutal with the no processed foods.  I don't even think I eat all that many...but it is always good to have someone to be accountable to.

#3: figure out how best to use my inhaler so that I can breathe and allow myself to run without that roadblock.  My asthma could be allergy related.  But I really feel it when I run...and I really hate to rely upon an inhaler.  But guess what?  Ignoring it doesn't work.  Recently, I've read a lot about how and when to take it before runs.  I need to do some trial and error to see what works best for me instead of hoping it goes away. 

So that's my not so exciting race report and comments about next steps.  I recommend Steamboat as a race.   Rolling green hills, awesome volunteers and aid stations.  The course takes you alongside the Elk River - I'm not sure there is a more beautiful road race, except maybe for the Canyonlands Half in Moab.  Maybe next year I can tackle it again - wiser, stronger and faster!

Happy Running!



  1. Laura - I am sorry that the day didn't go as you had hoped. But, it may be a spring board to becoming a better overall runner in realizing that it might be good to focus on shorter runs/races temporarily and build a little more strength and speed. After muscling up on those things, you can gradually work back up to the longer events - you will have a stronger base to build upon and you will probably enjoy them more rather than just suffering through. To me, it's more about having fun and it's not so fun and can be very discouraging when I am just trying to survive. So a few positives - a potentially new and fresh start and approach to your running, you had a beautiful weather weekend, and a fabulous time with friends! Sounds good to me! Have a wonderful weekend!

  2. Hey! I just wanted to say that your post was very refreshing. I love your honesty and willingness to share so openly. Denis Waitley is very correct, we don't fail if we are learning, we only fail if we quit.

    I am experimenting with my training for my 2nd marathon this coming October. I lost a lot of speed training for my first so I am trying to balance enough miles with intervals/speed work once a week. I'm also having to incorporate hills/trails for the Tough Mudder in Sep.

    I look forward to reading more from you!