Day One – Buena Vista
Today’s first stage not only kicked off the 2010 Gore-Tex TransRockies Run, it inaugurated an experiment in social running we call, “Run a Day With Dean.” Since we have Dean Karnazes in the field, we saddled him with an unusual task: instead of running with a friend or colleague from The North Face, he’s running with a rotating cast of journalists, promotion winners and even a Gore employee.
Beth Risdon, 43, batted leadoff today. Beth is a prolific and popular blogger whose site, www.shutup-and-run.com, announces itself with a distance runner’s mantra: “It really is mind over matter. No excuses. Just do it!”
And today, on the first stage of the Gore-Tex TransRockies Run, Risdon had a chance to do just that: suck it up and chase one of ultrarunning’s biggest names over 20.4 miles of Colorado high country.
Now, Beth is a talented runner. Taking up serious running a scant two years ago thanks to the enticing marketing cause of Team In Training, she took to marathoning like a fish to water, qualifying for Boston in just her second marathon. But the stage presented a special challenge even for a strong runner: it was her first trail race.
“I never even really run on the trails,” said the Longmont resident, who nonetheless followed the sculpted UltraMarathon Man around the course for a credible time of 4:35:36. “She did great,” noted Karnazes at the finish, though it should be noted that Dean sported no visible sweat even on this 90-degree day.
Beth wasn’t faring too poorly either, surrounded as she was by her beautiful and excited family: husband Ken and children Sam, 12, and Emma, 9. In fact, the whole family was excited.
“We’re huge Dean fans,” said Beth, “My son has read all his books and we just find him to be a real inspiration.” Getting to run with Dean, then, was a meaningful surprise.
Before the race, Beth blogged, “About 36 hours from now I will be running out of the small mountain town of Buena Vista, Colorado with Dean Karnazes for the first stage of the Gore-Tex TransRockies Run. I will be giggling like as school girl all a-twitter (at least that’s what Shana said I should do). I will be trying to act like I’m not tired as we head up the first 7 mile stretch which goes from 8,000 feet to 9,300 feet.”
In the afterglow of the finish, Beth was no less excited. “I only heard from the race about three weeks ago,” she said, “You should have seen me the day I found out – I was just incredibly excited, and he was SO great to run with.”
If you haven’t had a chance to check out Beth’s blog, head on over there. She’s as good with words as she is running, and the blog is filled with fun, earthy posts (sample entry: “Knock on wood, the ass feels pretty great today.”)
Once she has a chance to cool her legs in the Arkansas River, Beth is heading over to the campsite, where she and her family will eat dinner with Dean and, she said, hit him up for a bit more: “We brought Sharpies and a bunch of stuff for him to autograph!”