"Step by Step and the Thing is Done"~ Day 4 mantra
Miles 89-116. Silverthorne -> up & over Loveland Pass -> CDT bike path
We left the RV park at 6am again (I guess you can say that I'm a creature of habit.... ; ) .....) and I began my run in the heart of Silverthorne at 6:50 in the morning. I was so EXCITED / nervous / anxious about tackling Loveland Pass! I had dreamed about cresting over the top of the pass basically since I began training for the relay, so I was ready to get there. I taped my shin with KT Tape and it felt 100% better than the day before. My feet weren't swollen and when I woke up, I honestly felt like I didn't even do anything the day prior - I was really thankful that I took it easy on day 3 and think it really set me up for success for the remaining days of the relay.
Rob was my crew for the day and he met me at the 5 mile marker. I had some coconut water, a banana, and a honey stinger caffeinated strawberry kiwi gel. We were looking over the Dillion Reservoir and it was so beautiful. I was surprised at how much traffic there was early this morning and it definitely made it a bit more slow-going when I had to wait for all of the street lights in town itself. Once I got past the Reservoir, I started heading uphill towards Keystone Resort. Traffic started to clear up and I just remember thinking how beautiful it was and how strong I felt on the uphill climb already. I was getting excited!
My next check-in point was just before the base of Loveland Pass (just past Keystone Resort), a bit before mile 10. The crew normally tried to meet me at my requested mileage check-points, but they also found safe spots to pull off and sometimes it didn't always equate to exactly 3 or 5 miles. Safety first! I had half of a peanut butter-and-jelly sandwich, reapplied sunscreen, took an s-tab, and some water then I was off! I had been listening to podcasts, but wanted to switch over to my playlist on my nano to get pumped up. I turned it on and found out it was dead. Womp. Womp. Oh well! More opportunities to see and experience and really take in the scenery around me.
The climb began and I knew it would continue for the next 7 or so miles. I was ready.
I had Rob meet me every 3 miles just so I can check in and make sure I was well-hydrated. I was climbing to almost 12,000' today! The next stop I had a pickle (soooo tasty - they quickly became my "go to" snack over the next 3 days), some pretzels, ginger ale, and coconut water. I headed on my way and continued to climb. I remember looking around and thinking how beautiful it was. Traffic was light and small snow piles started to make an appearance. Creeks were raging and the sound of the water was so beautiful and peaceful. There was hardly a cloud in the sky. I knew I would be approaching A-Basin Ski Resort by mile 14 or so and was excited to still see skiers on the mountain!
Rob had parked the car off to the side of the road and ran down to meet me just before I came up to A-Basin. Because the pass had really started to get pretty steep, I had switched to running .25 miles / walking .25 miles. The switch really helped push me along and made me feel like I was moving faster than I would be if I were just walking. It was so fun to still see the ski lifts going and at this point, I could look up and see at least 2-3 switchback that I'd be climbing to! The jeep was parked around mile 15 and I knew I had less than 3 miles to go before I hit the summit! This was my moment. I was ready and told Rob I'd meet him up at the top.
A biker passed by me (going down) and I thought how much faster I'd be if I were running down rather than up! By the last mile, my quads were burning a bit so I switched to fast hiking and embraced the GIANT snowbanks around me. I was above tree line and was so happy. I thought back to my training runs on ice and long runs on the treadmill and couldn't believe I was finally doing this!
The last 1/4 mile or so I could see the summit and also saw people just walking around on the snow/ taking photos/ enjoying a snack. It was just past 11am and I couldn't stop smiling.
I felt like one of those children in a candy store - just in awe of everything around them.
I got to the top and I'm pretty sure I pumped my fists. F*CK YES! I thought to myself. I DID IT! I proved everyone wrong who thought that getting up Loveland Pass seemed impossible. I came all the way from Steamboat on my own two legs. This was the moment that I will always cherish. This was the moment where my confidence soared and my body honestly surprised myself. I never truly wanted to believe that I would get over the pass until I actually did it because I dislike being let-down, but now it was real- I did it!
Rob took some photos of me with the Loveland Pass sign, I had some water and a banana and an s-cap and asked him to meet me 5 miles down (it was all downhill from here)! I remember soaring down and loving the downhill. These were some of my fastest miles. They felt incredible. I met him around mile 22.5 and knew I wanted to get maybe 2-3 more miles in then a cool-down. It turned out that the next part I would go on the the bike path and he wouldn't be able to meet me until 5 more miles on the other side of the path. I said that was OK and I'd run 3 more miles and then do a 2 mile walking cool down.
The beginning part of the path was SO quiet. I ran through some snow patches and hurdled over some downed trees. It was a bit eerie to think that I wasn't meeting anyone and I also *hoped* I wouldn't come across any animals. I was also thankful for the quietness because I could go pee behind some bushes without worrying about a car passing by. It was nice to be off the main highway finally. I soared through 3 miles (it was still pretty downhill) and kept on running. It was only with a little under 1/2 mile left that I finally told my body that I should really walk or else I'd be pretty stiff for the ride back to the campsite. The temperature was perfect (low 60's in the high country) and I was so excited! Only 3 days left (2 days left of longer runs).
Because it was Memorial Day weekend, the crew had a lot of trouble finding a campsite (they don't book the sites ahead of time) and we ended up staying in Breckenridge (around 30 minutes away from where I stopped for the day), which was fine because it was so beautiful there! I refueled with a burger for lunch (along with my tart cherry extract/ water mix) and did my shin exercises/ foam rolling/ stretching before laying down for a nap for the afternoon.
I was really looking forward to seeing my mom tomorrow and couldn't believe that Day 4 was done. I slept really well that night knowing all that I had accomplished thus far ; )
I climbed 3, 555' and ran a total of 27.5 miles at 12:16 pace (which I'm pretty happy with considering the amount of elevation I gained)!