By Colleen Cooke
Today was a day trail runners dream of – perfect blue and cloudless sky, with views that were unbelievable and a route that climbed over all types of terrain. This was the first morning we woke with ice on our tents, so our early temps were quite chilly, and I actually kept my new Windstopper jacket on the entire climb to the top. (Quick side note: I won my jacket the other night by telling the on-course videographer why I love Windstopper. Have I mentioned how generous Gore is?).
There is so much cool swag at this event – every night something gets presented to everyone, which is a nice little perk to keep us tired runners motivated. What was my answer to “why I love Windstopper”? I told them I hated Windstopper because it works too well and no hottie will come by and offer me his jacket or arms if I’m already warm. That’s all it took and now I am the proud owner of a super-sweet running jacket that I know will get me through the miles.
So today’s adventure took us up an even more challenging climb than Hope Pass and a super sketchy decent. But again the views from the top were more than spectacular. But not to worry because I took my first BIG, and I mean BIG stumble and mimicked a head-first slide into third. The good news is the umpire ruled me safe. This was by far one of my most stellar falls where I just caught my foot on a rock and went straight down. Guess I just wanted to leave a part of myself on the trail, and THAT I did. I quickly got up after my knee, hands, and right side of my face took a healthy blow, dusted off and thought, “cool, I have blood dripping down my knee and on my hand. Now I look tough”.
I was able to run fine which was a good thing. And guess what, gang? I had a descending partner today, because I met up with another woman whose partner opted out of today’s stage due to altitude issues. Julie, from Wisconsin, has been running since she was a kid and also competed in college, so needless to say she was a stud and I was certainly happy for her company.
Besides the amazing views, we also enjoyed some super sweet creek crossings, one of which lasted ½ mile down the mountain. We literally ran down a river for a half a mile! How cool is THAT? If I haven’t said it yet, TransRockies is THE coolest thing I have ever done!
My teary-eyed moment for today? Sitting here writing this blog and thinking how neat it is that the event staff and volunteers are all starting the cheer for us by name. This is TransRockies, folks, and that’s what happens here. And I truly can’t convey through words how my heart feels about this event and these people. You just have to experience it yourself.
The “icing river” today was beyond freezing and it HURT to stay in there five minutes, but most of us braved it again. My thought process that kept me in there was: temporary pain now will mean a little less pain tomorrow. It’s funny – everyone is starting to come up with their own mantras to keep them running. The ones I am still using (because they worked so well last year) are: “Thank you, sir, may I have another” and “Pain is temporary,” or my favorite, “This is only exercise-induced discomfort.”
There are only two days left on this epic journey through the brilliant Rockies of Colorado, and it’s the time when I start getting sad when the running day is over (oops – tears again)… This thought process also helps me survive each day because instead of thinking, “ugh, 10 more miles”, I get to think, “ONLY 10 more miles.” We probably have two of our tougher days ahead of us but the funny thing is – most people seem to be getting more energized. There is something about the beauty of trails that can only be described as magical. When your personal energy may be low,all you need to do is take a deep breath of mountain air, look around at the Aspens, see the snow-capped peaks in the distance and all is right with the world again.
If you never plan to challenge yourself with this phenomenal, amazing, breath-taking, beautiful experience, I do hope you find your own TransRockies because it is life-changing and life-giving! But if you do – registration opens October 1st!!