"Determine Your Own Destiny"- mantra for Day # 1
After getting through all of my emotions beginning my relay, when I took off my emotions definitely didn't subside right away. My run began on the Yampa River Core Trail (where I run all the time), so it didn't feel "real" yet. It was really nice to run on the trail at 8am rather than 5 or 6 in the morning! Alex ended up meeting me around the first mile marker or so on the trail and helped me get my emotions under check! Now that I was finally emotionally ready for the day, I popped in my headphones and turned on my Day 1 playlist on my iPod Nano. An older gentleman met me around mile 3 on the core trail and asked if I was Stacy. He was wearing an Orange Army hat and said how thankful he was for what I was doing. He was so grateful and his spirit really helped me that entire day. I kept thinking how much bigger this thing was than what I was doing and it gave me chills! Just before I left the trail, my co-workers met me around mile 4 with the Point6 flag and that was amazing. They are so great.
Shortly afterwards, I crossed over Highway 40 and waved goodbye to Steamboat and I started heading towards Rabbit Ears Pass. There was a small amount of construction before I got to the Pass, but they let me run right by (staying on the shoulder). I had mentioned to the Road Crew to meet me just before the pass started (around mile 7 or so) and I had a Honey Stinger Strawberry Kiwi gel and some water (plus more sunscreen). Rob, part of the road crew, wanted to join me on my Rabbit Ears climb so we both began our climb up the pass.
I had originally wanted to run on this part, but I also really love the challenge of something new so I'm glad I saved it for this day (the accomplishment was really that much sweeter). The climb really started to get pretty steep, but with my fresh legs I thought it was actually easier than I anticipated. The road crew met me at mile 12 (typically met me every 3-5 miles, I would let them know when I'd like to see them next) and every time we'd meet, they would expect me to eat and drink something. They helped me refill my water bottles (I had one filled with Nuun Performance mixed with coconut water and another one filled with water).
The weather felt amazing and as we kept climbing, the temperatures remained in the 60s *perfect*. When it started to get pretty difficult, I'd focus on leaning into the hill, engaging my core, and kicking back my elbows (thanks to Steamboat Pilates for giving me key words to focus on my form ; ) ...). I met the road crew one more time another 5 miles (around mile 17) before I crested the top of the Pass. I remember battling with two road bikers next to me and thought that I was thankful to be running with my legs rather than struggling with two wheels right before we both got to the top!
The amount of relief when I got to the top of the pass was incredible. There was still some snow and it was so beautiful. Traffic was pretty light for a Monday morning and I really tried to savor every memory and the beauty of Routt County. I crossed over into Summit County and was very thankful for that new outdoor restroom they put in (perfect spot to stop). This was around mile 22 and I was feeling great/ ready to start descending. I had a half of a banana and some La Croix (I love fizzy drinks during the later miles in a long run). It was shortly after this point, where I crossed my first path with the Continental Divide Trail. I think this is why this segment is so cool (also I'm pretty obsessed with all the National Scenic Trails, so I could be the only one who thinks this is so neat).
I had the crew meet me 3 more miles ahead just incase I started to feel crappy, but when I saw them I started the insane downhill descent and was loving it. I had another gel and some coconut water and La Croix and told them that I'll do 3 more miles and then call it a day. That got me down Rabbit Ears Pass and pass the slightly scary narrow shoulder turns (which luckily it wasn't too terrible- I had hit around mile 28 at this point and started my walking cool down). I finished off the day with 28.7 miles and gained 3, 983'! My overall pace with the over mile cool down and the insane climb was 11:49 min/mi, which I'm pretty happy with!
We finished around 2pm and headed back to the RV Park in Steamboat (which was slightly weird to be headed back to town after "leaving it"). I had a clementine and finished off my La Croix on the drive back. Once we got to the RV, I immediately began my stretching and foam rolling. I typically took around 45-50 minutes each day doing this and I think it was the main reason why I never got overly sore. I started with rolling (they had a yoga mat & roller on the RV so I didn't have to bring my own), then proceeded with a few yoga poses (toes pose, reverse shin stretch, pigeon pose, figure 4 --> I'll do a post later about my 3 favorite exercises), then finished it off with 15-20 minutes of my legs up the wall (normally a great time to relax and catch up on social media).
The "room" that was where I slept had so many inspirational posters and I couldn't believe I was finally here and doing this! I felt so cool to look at all the inspiring quotes on the walls and really felt like I was a part of something *bigger*. I looked in awe at these things every morning and evening.
The road crew was responsible for cooking for me (which is really awkward for me and I never got used to...they were so sweet!), so I had some andouille sausages and pasta with butter and also tart cherry extract (I brought this with me) and coconut water. I showered (...ALWAYS the best shower ever after running 25+ miles) then grabbed my book and sat outside to check in with my mom and read a bit. Alex and Stella ended up stopping by after work to say hi and we did a short walk. I had a giant peanut butter and jelly before bed.
I was in bed by 7:30pm every night (ha), took a melatonin, and fell asleep by 8:30pm. My wake up the next morning would be 5:15 to be out the door by 6am! What a great day to say that I conquered (up and over) Rabbit Ears Pass!