The Insider #3

By Colleen Cooke

Phew!  Now THAT was a challenging but PHENOMENAL day!  The 24-mile course was absolutely brilliant with the most amazing scenery.  In fact, today, I was wishing you all could see what I am seeing each day- some type of virtual reality scenario, but even that probably wouldn’t do justice to the power of the Colorado Rockies.  It’s hard to believe that each day gets more scenic, more beautiful, more amazing, and I live in this state.

I am feeling a need to update you on some of the folks I mentioned earlier in the week; The Texas boys seemed to have acclimated quite well and are still moving forward (quite quickly I might add); HerbaLife team is still totally rocking the mountains and cruising in style, and the estrogen power of the trail yesterday continued once again as those two female teams I ran with yesterday are still absolute pistols.  SO IMPRESSED with them!

Though my “team” name is ‘Flying Solo’ I did have a wonderful eight miles of running with a dear friend from Boulder, Mr. Adam Chase (aka “one of the cool kids” because he’s FAST).  Unfortunately, his teammate was taken with bronchitis so at control station #1, he and I teamed up.  If any of you know Adam, you know his high energy and fitness levels so on top of the Colorado Trail I told him (very politely) – “you can go ahead and do what makes you feel better for the day”.  He took my queue and jaunted off and left me as team Flying Solo.   For some reason I ALWAYS struggle on the Colorado Trail, and today was no different.  However, I rebounded well and finished strong.  And would you believe I passed up Money on the trail?  Sorry, mom and dad, but there just wasn’t enough Money to slow down for.  Maybe tomorrow…

You know what?  I regret to report that I didn’t tear up at all today.  And for some silly reason just that thought makes me sort of sad.  Not to say I didn’t have what I have termed “Colorado Moments” – these are moments of splendor and amazement as if I am in a postcard or calendar- but just no tears.  Bummer.  I’m going to have to work on that tomorrow (let’s just hope they’re tears of joy and not tears of pain because my quads are HURTING after today).  However, my quads are in good company as everyone seems to be hobbling a bit more after today’s stage.

There was “team icing” again in the river near our campsite, and the sweetest part about it’s location was that it was right by the final left hand turn on course that lead to the finish line so all the runners soaking could cheer for the runners going by.  And we’re at that point in our journey where everyone is starting to know everyone so we can shout out, “Good job, Michelle!”, “Way to go, Dan!”  I know it helped me when I ran by that point to hear people from the river yelling “YEA!  Colleen!  Nice work!”  Truth?  I was just so thrilled to see something to soak my legs in that I have no idea who even cheered for me, but no matter because it’s always great to hear your name shouted out.  After my heavenly river soak, I enjoyed my walk back to camp with Tom, who is one of the frontrunners of this race – Cool bloke from England that Tom.  (Check it out I had brushings with TWO “cool kids” today… look out I just might be asked to eat at their table for lunch soon- SWEET).

Wait.  I remember.  I DID tear up today.  I was sitting by the campfire enjoying a chat with other runners about electrolyte replacement from the awesome owner of SaltStick, when Carl from GORE-TEX was finishing and everyone from GORE-TEX and some other runners all got up to cheer Carl and his partner, Jen, through the finish.  (Yep, tearing again just recalling that moment).  So, who is Carl and why was everyone so excited to see him finish?  Carl works for GORE and last year volunteered for the event and at that time was in the process of making some significant lifestyle changes to improve his health.  After losing some serious weight, Carl returned this year as a competitor and EVERYONE in the camp loves him and is completely inspired by him.  Are you seeing an “inspirational” theme developing here?  Each runner here has a “story” and as each day develops we all get closer and the family grows.  There is a definite camp vibe brewing that I can’t help but say, “is so TransRockies”.

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