"Just Keep Running" - Day 3 mantra
Miles 60-89 ; outside of Kremmling, CO to Silverthorne, CO
I awake at 5:15am again, got dressed, put on sunscreen, had a glass of Water with Nuun Active, Pop Tarts and we were out the door by 6. Our campsite was only 10 minutes away from where I left off the day before, so I got many early morning miles in before it got too warm. The big problem with starting so early? It was extremely foggy. Tayler went live on Facebook when I began my segment and I remember receiving MANY messages that morning asking if I was "ok" because of the fog! Ha. I survived ; )
This was the first morning where I started to feel a bit of fatigue. I didn't sleep too well the night before and my feet were definitely pretty swollen/ pads of my feet were enlarged. Before I began, I was already ready for the day to be over with! The first 5 miles flew by with the fog surrounding me in and a nice little pit-stop behind some bushes to relieve myself of the coffee I this morning (#noshame). I met the crew, had a Honey Stinger gel and some coconut water and let them know that there would be a section coming up that had no shoulder over a windy curvy bridge (just past cow creek campground entrance). Another 3 miles, they met me and let me "ride along" that 1 mile stretch and dropped me off just past the bridge.
This next section I also knew would be a bit difficult (if there were traffic) because there's cliffs on the side of the road and it's pretty curvy. Traffic was picking up as we were getting closer to Memorial Day and at one point, there was no where for oncoming traffic to go so I had to get off the road and managed to stumble right into a giant pile of mud. It had stormed the night before and my sneaker sunk right in. Before I had time to pull it out, mud had encased my sneakers and a moment later, I had successfully freed my shoes (but not without at least a nice extra pound of mud stuck to it).
At this point, I really had to get back in the game mentally. I felt defeated and traffic was heavy (they were going well-above the 55 mph speed limit, I'm sure) and the sun had come out and it was HOT. My foot felt so heavy and I knew I had around a mile to go before I would see that lovely jeep and be able to switch my sneakers. It was a longgggg 1 mile. You'd think that after traveling 70+ miles, one mile wouldn't seem so long, but I honestly never thought it would come. I walked/ jogged that mile trying to kick off the mud and hug the white line to force traffic to go around me (I found this was the best strategy to get cars to move over, but it didn't always work). Finally, the jeep was in sight! I switched my socks and shoes, had some banana and an s-cap (salt caps - these were my savoir when running long in the heat they helped keep the swelling in my fingers down) and some pretzels. I reapplied sunscreen and mentally prepared for the next 3 mile section. I was ready to get this day over with.
I started to run again after leaving the jeep (around mile 11 or so), but felt a tightness in the front part of my left shin. No stretching could release it. I never let myself think that I wouldn't finish the day or my segment, but immediately started brainstorming what may be producing this pain and how I can make it better. I knew that I would be tackling the hardest section of my segment tomorrow and accepted that walking off the shoulder (with the tilt of the road) would be my best bet to subside the pain for the remaining miles of the day. I hardly ever walked during my training (only really if I just was "over it" and ready be done with the day), so accepting that the next 10+ miles I would be mainly walking was definitely hard to swollow, BUT I thought of all the bonuses of walking - I would be able to look around more, take in the scenery, talk more with the horses beside the road, take pictures and rest my body to be ready for the next 4 days of running. After listing-off all the positive aspects of this, I was content with my plan to take it slower and just get to Silverthorne (where there is a Dunkin Donuts and I could celebrate with an iced coffee)!
As the middle miles ticked by, I kept up with meeting the road crew every 3 miles to eat something (pb & j / pretzels / s-caps / coconut water / ginger ale). The traffic started to subside and I got more excited as I knew I was nearing the end point of my day (to just get into the town, however far in I didn't know). I passed by the Blue River and listened to the raging water. I kept hoping to see a bald eagle, but no luck today! The clouds started to get really dark and a few sprinkles helped wash off the sweat that had piled up on me over the morning. I knew I had around 5-6 miles left and that seemed do-able. I left the road crew around mile 22 and was informed that I would get pass by the halfway point of my section shortly! That was REALLY exciting to hit it after just 3 days of running.
I met the crew at mile 24.5 and let them know to meet me in around 3 miles (this would be my cool down). It was shortly after I left them that the clouds cleared, but the wind REALLY picked up. A tractor trailer blew by me and my visor flew off onto the side of the road. Ugh. That was pretty terrible, but with less than 3 miles left I didn't even care. I was going to hit my goal and with a mile left to go I hit the Silverthorne town limit sign! Victory! I wanted to run that last mile because I was so excited, but reeled myself in and knew that walking the remaining mile would set myself up for success tomorrow and the next few days (where it'd be DOWNHILL).
I managed to get in 27.2 miles for the day and finished just before mile marker 89 of my segment. My overall pace was much slower than I wanted, but I hit my goal of getting to town (along with also gaining 1, 812' of elevation) so that's all that mattered. Tayler met me at the finish of my segment with an Iced Coffee (she was so amazing) and that was sooo needed after the day I had. We were around an hour from the RV campsite (still back in Kremmling), so we got Chipotle and then made the trek back.
An hour of stretching, foam rolling, shin strengthening exercises, and the best shower in the world (it was actually just a mediocre shower, but felt amazing after being soaked in sweat for the past 6 hours) refreshed me. I settled in for a nap and a feeling of accomplishment washed over me. I had reached my goal destination for the day and overcame some mentally challenges. I knew at this point, that I was going to make it to Denver. Alex and Stella made the 50-minute drive down to meet me after dinner and visit for a bit. This was nice to kinda just feel "normal" for the evening and take a break from the grind of relay-life. He brought along some more tart cherry extract for me and took home my already large pile of laundry. I went to bed again around 8:30pm and fell fast asleep. Excited/ nervous to tackle Loveland Pass the next day!