Hurry up. Wave number 1 is starting. Smile. Photo. Strip off the long sleeve and scurry under the rope to join the other 175 runners in the first group. Uphill - go! Adrenaline, surge. Gasp. Straight uphill. Breathe deeper. Okay, the hill wins, power hike. This I can do. 2 miles up. Altitude. Whoa. Breathe. Where are all the colors? This is the Goldenleaf half marathon. There! A shock of gold. This is what I came for. Beautiful. Switchbacks down. Flip the duckbill hat backwards. Views of the valley. Again, this is what I came for. Keep breathing, we are high. Push a bit to get past a few pony tails that scurried up the early 2 miles while I was walking. Gasping. This hurts. Fill the chest cavity as full as possible. Recover. Keep pace. Dude keeps breathing down my neck. Why won't he pass? Fall into stride with the next colorful group of shirts. Quick feet, keep them dry. Passing on the right. Quick steps. "Good work!" Move ahead, open up the stride. Okay maybe not that much, the hamstrings are still tight. Goodness it takes a while for an ultrarunner to warm up. Tricky footing, keep cadence. Every step is a good step. Focus. Breathe. Mile marker signs tacked to the aspens, good chance to check the pace. Can I break two hours? More downhill on the second half... it's possible. Another hit of calories. No water. I forgot my cup, dang it. I need to remember that cup like I remember my shoes. Steep down. Passing on the left. Whoops, divot, cut right too soon. "Sorry, sorry, sorry!" Down, down, down. Make up time. Breathe. Work on turnover. Take in the meadows. A little more gold. I love this feeling! Movement. Running. Music in my ears, dirt under my feet. Love. A few less shirts to chase. Pavement. Bridges. Cheers. Cowbells. Getting closer. Last meandering trail. Gravel. Louder cheers. Colorful pop-up tents. Mats across the trail. Name announced. Pronounced wrong, but I know that is me. Glance at the clock. Stop the watch. Smile. Breathe.
439 female finishers
318 male finishers