So, its not every night I get to have a quiet dinner with a few drinks by myself, so for my last night in Denver, I decided to treat myself a little.
It was a good night. Not an outrageous night. I didn’t wake up missing a tooth or with a new tattoo. Yet, I would be lying if I said my head wasn’t protesting this morning. Rising out of bed, staring at my feet, there were two options. Option one: Pack, go downstairs, order some greasy breakfast and wear shades for the rest of the day. Option two: Pack, arrange a later check out, grab running shoes and a fresh bottle of water, and hit the road. You know me. I laced up.
Readers also know that I am routinely stuck indoors for my workouts thanks to weather and schedules. No such excuse today. It was sunny, 75, and no wind. Better yet, just 3-4 blocks from my hotel was the awesome Cherry Creek Trail with miles of path away from the cars. After the requisite getting lost for a few blocks, I finally picked up the trail. It wouldn’t be Denver without tons of cyclist and runners out and about, and I had had plenty of company.
One of the things I love about running is how it gives you an up close and personal experience with neighborhoods. On today’s run, I started off dwarfed by the towering skyscrapers of downtown Denver. The rumble of cars nearby provided a constant hum over my footsteps. After about three miles, I was out in condo/shopping mall land; it was amazing to see how many expensive condos had bikes on their tiny balconies. After about another three miles, I was passing through a neighborhood of tiny homes packed side by side; their owners proudly carving out small gardens where they could. After a few more miles, I couldn’t even see a tall building. The rumble of cars was minimal. Instead, the sounds of bugs whizzing through the air and the water from the creek were my soundtrack. Running truly is the best way to experience a city.
After about 8 miles out, I turned around. I grinned as I saw a sign welcoming me to the City of Denver. Despite my indulgences from the night before, I was feeling great after the first few miles of the run. I took some water every 20 minutes, and that seemed to be all I needed. Sure, the last two miles or so in the city somewhat hurt, but it could have been a lot worse. Finished up 17 miles, all with a comfortable 9:15 pace.
Another interesting thing today was that despite the relative open sky, my Garmin wasnt able to lock a GPS signal until almost half the run was over. At first, I was cursing Garmin between breaths, but this actually may be a sign of mercy from the running gods. After yesterdays poor 5k performance, I was beating myself up pretty bad about getting faster. Sure, I need to work on my speed. This morning though, it was beautiful to just RUN. No pacing, no intervals. Just the feel of the wind on my face (and chest…it was a shirtless day…had to work on those horrible tan lines) and the sound of the city.
So, now its back to Montana, and the land of TAPER. If I remember my schedule correctly, today was my last long run before the Ironman. I do have a four hour ride tomorrow, but frankly speaking, that is nothing after that 6 hour ordeal earlier in the week. I have two goals over the next three weeks before the race. Dont get sick. Dont get fat. Oh…and stop drinking. Plenty of beer after the finish.