In January I got an out-of-the-blue email from Jamil Coury asking me to join his new Run Steep Get High Mountain Running Team, with the focus of competing in the inaugural US Skyrunner Series. I said sure and decided to give both the Sky plus Vertical Kilometer distances a whirl. In the ensuing months I developed a decent fitness base, as well as a foot issue.
Since the end of June, plantar fasciitis has precluded me training the way I envisioned. However, it was my goal to do every race in the series (in the midst of completing our local Run Flagstaff Summer Series), so I resolved to do so, even if it meant being less competitive. I decided to show up.
July 19th brought me to Silverton for the 37th annual Kendall Mountain Run, hosted by Aravaipa Running (co-race directors Nick and Jamil Coury). The 12.05 mile race course took us from 9,291’ up to 13,023' (a solid 3,853' of climbing), with a scramble the last quarter mile or so, before descending the same route back to town. If it's any indication of the caliber of athletes who showed up for this series kickoff, Erica Baron (five-time Pikes Peak Marathon champ) came in 3rd. I hung on for 4th. I was pretty humbled by the experience (the rough terrain was not what I imagined!) and questioned whether I was cut out for this (thanks again Claire Lears, for the post-race encouragement).
|Happy to win my age division after Erica got bumped out for being in the top three overall|
|Trying to keep pace with Stevie's pep (photo courtesy of Ryan Krisch)|
|One of two Saturday trips to Copper Summit (thanks to Drew at Vertical Runner of Breckenridge for this photo)|
|Stevie had a bachelorette party in Vail to tend to (hence her absence in this picture)|
|Post-race R & R is the best|
|Thank you Ryan Krisch for sharing your photos!|
|Vertical Runner of Breckenridge provided phenomenal support! (and pics!)|
|Summertime in Leadville is even better with Finnley Ann|
|Post-hot tub view from my friend Annie's deck after the Vertical K|
|It was a L-O-N-G way up (photo thanks to Pete Beck)|
|You'd be smiling too if you were almost done...I can't remember a more wobbly homestretch|
|A welcome sight!|
|Honored to be in the company of such decorated runners (google Nicole!)|
|It's ideal when your family brings you to Old Faithful post-race|
|This buffalo was making a statement about time and the silliness of it all|
|First visit to Mt. Rainier National Park did not disappoint|
|So focused on reaching the top that I didn't notice Mt. Rainier till I was running back in the opposite direction after picking up my pack at the nearby aid station, when another runner called out, "Don't forget to the look at the mountain!"|
|Photographer Glenn Tachiyama graciously offered up his photographic magic|
|Earlier-on, an extended stretch in the deep forest (miles) was every bit as steep - here we could at least see the end|
|Oh man, it was taking so long to reach the top...|
|Each race has its own flair|
I wouldn't be able to participate at all if it weren't for Dr. Kym Wilkens of Wilkens Sports Chiropractic, Active Release Techniques, and Graston who has been helping me sort out bunched up muscles, Monica Coplea for healing massage therapy, my core team of Drs. AJ and Wes Gregg at HYPO2 who have kept me running year-round despite injuries, and my wonderful supervisor Joanne Keene who believes in an active lifestyle and taking time off to pursue one's passions.
How great that all we have to do is show up.