by Lisa Butler
Buena Vista, CO
May 6, 2006
The drive up to Buena Vista was gloriously beautiful despite foggy and sometimes rainy weather. I saw two herd of Elk, a rainbow, two snow squalls, and got all the way into Buena Vista without seeing the mountains.
I got to the check-in at the Buena Vista Community Center, picked up my packet, smelled the pasta dinner (which Gordon and Ted said was much better than last year) and opted for Pizza Works. A pineapple, feta, and mushroom pizza sounded so much better than spaghetti. I opted for the version without the jalepenos out of concern for those who might be running behind me on Saturday.
After dinner, I checked in at the KOA campground. They had reserved their best electricity-only site for me because the couple who run the KOA were impressed by the runners. I later heard they made special accommodations for a couple of other runners and even loaned them a coffee maker. They gave me a site sheltered on 3 sides by rock formations and trees so that the wind wouldn’t bother me with the storm that had been coming and going all day. It was beginning to rain already. I set up my mattress with electric blanket and my down comforter. Got out my running gear and laid it out on the top of the running box in the front seat. Then I went up to the rec room to sit by the fire for ½ hr before turning in. I went to bed before the last of the light had been soaked out of the sky by the rain that sung me to sleep.
Morning came with the ring of the cell phone alarm and a faint light in the now cloudless sky. I pulled on all my running gear (warm from being in the bed with the electric blanket) and plugged in my ten-dollar hot pot to boil water for the French press coffee and oatmeal. Blast! I’d forgotten a spoon. I made the oatmeal liquid enough to drink on the way up to the bathhouse. Then I headed into Buena Vista to find parking near the race and finalize things.
The race started at 6:30 on the dot. The sky, as noted, was clear and the wind was non-existent. I dressed lightly though it would still prove too heavy by the end of the day. I met up with most of the Team CRUD folks and began the run with Gordon and Judy. We had fun teasing Gordon that he’d missed his fashion calling by not wearing the flaming (mountain bike style) shorts worn by the girl in front of us. She was also wearing wetsocks instead of running shoes – ouch! Gordon said he didn’t plan to flame out so they wouldn’t have been appropriate for him. Turns out he was right and she finished hours behind him.
It seemed we were on the road for a long time. I was glad to have missed the year when they change the course due to snow and it followed the road and railroad tracks the whole way. Ted was hanging near the back to take it “smart and easy” with only seven weeks to go before Western States. We took the chance to catch up on news and chat for a while before he finally had to stretch his legs beyond my tiny strides and took off. I was running well with only a few pauses to gasp at the scenery. Hard to run with such breathtaking views! The Collegiates were not snow covered but were streaked with snow against a bright blue sky. Early in the race, low clouds hovered at timberline exposing the peaks above. Later the clouds were high, capping the mountains and blowing in with what looked like snow and rain.
I took a small detour behind some trees and saw Gordon pass me just before the 14 mile aid station. I hung on him for a while but somewhere along the trail a short time later I was hit by something that was not happy in my tummy. Not sure if I ate something earlier in the week (surely not the pineapple pizza) or if it was the potato chips at the aid station but I dashed behind some rocks so that any people with sympathetic tummies wouldn’t be adversely affected. When I came back out, Judy was in front of me. I wanted to catch her but every time I sped up my tummy slowed me down. Water was hard to get down so I sipped gently. If I could have kept after it, I could probably have caught up to Judy because she had some trouble with leg cramps for the first time all year. Still, she finished well ahead of me. About ¼ mile from the end I asked another runner clad in all-black if it was too late for us to reconsider wearing all black in the warm sun. Still a better choice than the two girls I saw beet red with sunburn from mid-thigh on down.
I got to see Paul Smith, John Genet, Larry DeWitt, and Ted headed back out. Somewhere I missed Harry and perhaps a couple of others. I finished up the run and stood around visiting with Gordon and Jonathan and his lovely wife, and later Keith, at the end. I didn’t dare sit for fear I’d tighten up before the drive home. I did win a stellar door prize – a sunglasses holder that won’t fit my visor. Finally, I headed back home. Once on the road, I decided to skip the shower at KOA and headed back to Springs for a leisurely shower at home, a fifteen minute nap with Harley and then a short trip out to get a Vietnamese noodle bowl for dinner.
Next year, I’ll train more.