Snowshank Redemption

Flash back to 2001.  I had just started running (away from things) and realized that not only do people run outdoors vs. on the treadmill, but they actually organize races for people who aren't in High School or College.  If you're lucky, some of them even serve beer.  My first ever race was "Run the Rock" in Castle Rock, Colorado in 2001.  Seven years before I discovered marathon'ing and ten years before I discovered triathlons.

I made two mistakes that day; 1)  I nearly missed the turnaround for the 5K racers and added an extra 20' running with the 10K runners. 2)  I left before all the post race hoopla.  Little did I realize that I came in 2nd in my age group.  I had to swing by the Chamber of Commerce office the next week when I realized I missed my moment in the sun.  The tiny little trophy has been moved twice, lost a wing (that I glued back on,) and has a spot in my Boston Shrine in my office. 

I was shut out on podiums until my third place at the Steamboat Marathon in 2010.  Based on that trajectory, my next running placement would be in 2019.  "Patience grasshopper."

Which brings us to 2012 and this last weekend.  I wouldn't say I have a "chip on my shoulder," but 2011 was an off year for many reasons so I came into 2012 with renewed vigor to get back to my fast winning ways.  I took time off last summer to rest, and get hooked on triathlons and started this year with a new training plan.  The FIRST training plan based on the book,  "Run Less, Run Faster."  How could you go wrong with a title like that?  Since reading the book and starting the plan, I'm starting to buy into the program and also looking for their sequels, "Eat More, Weigh Less" and "Less Work, More Sex."

While my (knock on wood,) Femoral Acetabular Impingment pain seems to be under control, I seem to have wrestled more than I should with winter flu bugs.  Stress, travel, and heavy training don't really go well together and as a result, my body has been feeling pretty puny lately to the point of visiting the Dr. this last Friday.  When they don't know what it is, they call it a virus, and tell you, "don't be such a puss and call me if you don't feel any better in two weeks."  Thanks Doc.

Despite better judgement (consistent problem of mine,) I signed up for the Snowman Stampede 5 mile race on Saturday.  Color me stupid, but I hadn't been in a pure running race for ten months (Boston Marathon last April,) had been training for two months, and wanted to see if FIRST was paying off.  Colorado Runner Magazine sponsored two races; a five and ten miler.  Knowing I had traveled that week (weak,) still feeling flu'ish and needing to tack on my long miles, I opt'ed for the five miler.

The Snowman Stampede hubbed out of Littleton's Hudson Gardens which offered some cross country terrain around the Gardens and a scenic route along the Platte River.  A slight "home court advantage" in that the race was only 15 minutes from home and I've certainly run the river route plenty of times.  There wasn't much snow at the Snowman, but temperatures were brisk (sub-freezing) for the race--is it Spring yet?  My goal for the race was to run sub 35 minutes (or sub 7 minute mile pace.)  Aggressive considering the flu, but not considering the last six weeks of speed work.

Random stranger took my prize pic.  She had a large thumb.

I clearly thought I was running Yasso's or a one mile race as my first two miles were 6:34 and 6:38 pace miles.  I settled into a seven minute mile in the third and was starting to feel weak in the last two miles logging 7:10 and 7:07 minute miles.  My head was throbbing and thought about barfing for a minute after the finish, but settled for water and the runner's buffett of bagels, oranges and bananas.  As they began to post results on the folding table, I was curious to see how I compared to the other old guys.  Must be a typo...first?  I scanned and read it again thinking it might be different, but it still held.  Podium, hardware, bling, cash prize, and schwing.

No trophy, but my first "First" and a cash prize ($25 Gift Certificate at Runner's Roost.)  Considering I had no business racing that day, I'll take it.  I am also pretty content with the first chapter in my running redemption year.  The "Snowshank Redemption."


  1. Ty - just tremendous! Many congratulations. At our age I think we have to take the good races, PR's and any AG awards whenever and wherever we find them.

    They don't come along all that often, all we can do is continue to work hard, train smart and hope that it all comes together for us on race day.

    You are an inspiration TY - way to go Sir!

  2. hey! congrats! i love the snowshank redemption. lol imagine if you were in prime shape...


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