Is this Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler”? Whyyyy? ~ Rach
Some days, you just need to bail on the planned training and go have an adventure. Fortunately for me, I don’t have anything on the horizon in terms of “A” races so abandoning my plans for a solo tempo/repeat run to join a couple of Twitter acquaintances (George Zack and Tim Waggoner) for a very early long run was a fairly easy ditch. Certainly, had this opportunity arisen in the course of a specific training cycle, I would have had to think about it a bit more.
The plan: Meet at 4:00am, run for 3-4 hours on snowpacked dirt roads around Wondervu, enjoy the celestial show of the lunar eclipse.
My alarm went off at 3:00 and I hopped out of bed, ready to get my run on. It was about 18° with only a slight breeze when I slipped out into the night for a short drive to Tim Waggoner’s house in Wondervu. Tim is a coach and all-around kickass athlete who is gunning for the Leadman competition this year. A burly goal but if anyone is capable of accomplishing this feat, I am confident Tim can rock it. He finished 6th in the ’10 LT100 (about 5 hours in front of me) and has a strong Tri background which will help him immeasurably when it comes to the grueling Leadman competition.
After some confusion regarding the exact location of Tim’s house (I spazzed and didn’t store his info in my phone, stupidly relying on the expectation of a cell signal in the mountains), I managed to pull up an old email to get his house number and pulled up just as George arrived from the valley. We quickly donned our gear and started running just after 4:00.
George’s summer racing revolves around the Pike’s Peak Marathon where he has finished as high as 6th place as well as other races at a variety of distances (up to 100 miles). So needless to say, I was in fast company on this early morning adventure.
Tim had a 21-mile loop mapped out and we managed to make pretty good time during the early miles. The moon was bright enough that back-up lighting was only necessary on occasion and we were treated to an eclipse that won’t be visible again in the Western U.S. until April of 2014. Overall, we kept a conversational pace and just enjoyed the early morning running. Tim planned our route to top-out with a fantastic view of the Indian Peaks hoping to coincide with the full eclipse and sunrise. We were a bit early to get the full effect and winds had picked up to the point where standing around for 20-30 minutes would have been ill-advised so we stopped briefly for a peek then continued on our way.
In the end, we cut the overall distance down to 17 miles and then George added some bonus mileage. I needed to get home to get ready to see Gounod’s Faust on the Met Opera HD broadcast with Rach but it was fantastic to get in a solid run before most people are even waking up. Seeing the eclipse was a treat as well. Sometimes the best plans are those that have been abandoned.