Well it didn’t quite start in God’s country infact it was quite the opposite. I got off work at 4, pack and I’m ready to go, but where’s David? Our plane leaves at 6:15, it is now 5:00 on Friday in rush hour and still no David. I was practically in tears, already looking for another flight or another marathon, but nothing is available. Uh oh, what are we going to do now? We miraculously made our flight with not one minute to spare. They almost didn’t let us on the plane. Thank you God and thank you United!
We fly into Denver, of course our plane was delayed so we had to sprint to our connecting flight to Grand Junction, Colorado. Good thing we are runners. We get to the plane and realize David left his cell phone and keys at the TSA security check point. Go David! The plane waits and we are off.
We made it in at midnight and need to get up at 4:45, this is my life?! WOW. Well at least I had 4 hours of sleep this time, better than last weekend. So I am thinking the race starts at 7, so we have a nice leisurely breakfast, get to the starting line and realize the marathon started at 6:30. I took a deep breath and thankfully the kind race director says I can still run, so off I go without a bib number.
I am all alone somewhere in the middle of nowhere, but it was beautiful and I had my road ID in case I took a wrong turn so I was good to go. I was running along the Colorado River. Even though I was all alone, the race course was well marked and I knew which way to turn. I am at a mile 2 and I see some guy running in the wrong direction towards me. Oh, it’s David. Aww he has my bib number for me and he even brought me safety pins. Yeah!! Thank you David. Bib #1000, I like it. There were less than 50 people in the marathon, 350 total in the 5k, 10K, half marathon and full. This marathon did not have timing chips. Too bad I didn’t start on time, I may have won my age group, not for my time, but because I was the only one in it.
A big giant hill greets me at mile 4 and with my stomach acting up, the thin air and the fact that I had 22 miles and 47 marathons to go I decided to walk the hill. I finally caught up with a nice lady named Ingrid. She was awesome, probably about mid 60’s and run/walking the marathon and doing an ultra next weekend. She rocks. She told me to go ahead so I did and “Yay” I wasn’t last anymore, not that it matters but Thank you Ingrid!
So I am running along in God’s Country amazing views, finally running free and happy. Then I see the signs: Winery this way….> Marathon…> that way. Why? Decisions decisions. That was such a tease. I continued on and passed a few more people, turn around at 13.1 and head back.
I finished over 5 hours today, but I didn’t care. I dedicated this race to a friend of a friend who lost his battle to Pancreatic Cancer last week. It was all about Spirit.
After I finished, we ran right into the Colorado River. Me and David sat on a rock and he told his story about the Grand Canyon, it was a long story and we sat in the river for over 40 minutes. My body thanked me for that.
We didn’t have time for the wineries, but while waiting for our taxi we met Skip. Skip is about 67 years old with a straw hat on his head and straggly beard but some serious runner legs. Very athletic looking. Come to find out this is Skip Hamilton, a legend. He won Leadville 100 in the 80’s , not once but four times. He told us war stories of him and Prefontane, Frank Shorter and test shoes from Bill Bowerman. His title was passed to a Tarahumara runner and Skip couldn’t have been more pleased to pass it on to him.
It’s time to go home. Grand Junction Airport is like night and day compared to rush hour traffic at LAX. It was the most laid back airport I had ever seen. David and I stretched on the floor in the carpeted lobby with funny looks from people but we didn’t’ care. We arrive into Phoenix, have dinner, play on facebook and take off for L.A.
Touch down in Los Angeles at 10pm Saturday night. We are home, we pick up Jessie (my dog) and life is good. I am turning off all alarm clocks. What a gift. That was the most intense 24 hours ever. Wait did that really just happen? I think it did, I have the medal to show for it, new friends and have now made a decision to dedicate each marathon to someone who has been affected by Pancreatic Cancer. If you know someone, let me know. I will run for them. I will run for you.