Rolled into Pueblo 10 minutes before bib pick-up ended.  Landscape more reminiscent of New Mexico than the Rockies.  Former steel town (one old smokestack remains)…Spanish just as prevalent as English.  LOVE the diversity of our state – Eastern Plains to the Rockies, canyon walls of the Western Slope, red clay of Pueblo.  Colorful Colorado.

Only 2 ½ hours from home but decided to hotel before tomorrow’s marathon…close 5 minute walk away.  Still full from my Deli lunch, night-walked the City downtown before setting my morning wake-up buzz.  Last shuttle bus depart: 7:30am, late 9am marathon Start.

Woke Sunday to sunshine, forecast low 60’s – ‘bout 15 degrees cooler than Friday’s unseasonal high.  No specific time goal today, training focus [has] been on leg strength: Wyoming’s Bighorn 50 in June.  PR speed will come later.

Hour+ wait before the day’s start.  Met up with fellow 50-Stater Dave Bell, introduced myself to 3 other Maniacs.  No matter how remote the run, our community’s well represented/we’re a tight knit group.  Even in far-away Russia, I connected with 4 fellow Maniacs.

2:04 2nd Half – STRONG!

First race with a watch, have resisted for years.  HUGE adventure planned in March, needing an easy way to log my daily mileage.  (Thanks Bro, lovin’ my 2014 Christmas gift!)

Race Start.  Easy 10+ minute pace, still chatting with my 50 State friend …decided to use today as a training run.  Beautiful weather, why not?  Trekked entirely on bike path.  First few miles in Lake Pueblo State Park.  (in my opinion) Left too early, nothing crazy scenic in Pueblo.

Never been one to run & talk, never felt it possible.  STRONG today – consistent training paying off. Easy, comfortable 2:35 first Half (one of my slowest starts ever).  Hung with Dave thru mile 14. Quickened my step, said our goodbyes & I took off.  Checked the watch: 8:35 mile.  Goal: every mile under 9 minutes.  Electrolytes & water at each aid station.  No walk at mile 18.  No slog at 20.

2:35 first Half – dude, we were way way back.  Didn’t catch another runner ‘til mile 19…but then I kept ticking them off.  Guy in a red cap, girl in pink tights, 2 couples running together.  But where’s the Newton kid?  (First 5-6 miles Dave & I traded leads with the ‘Newton kid’.  Guy shared my shoe love, Boulder’s local Newton Running Company.  Been running in Newtons since early 2015.)

Series of loops, miles 18 to 23 – spotted ‘Newton kid’ on my left…at least a mile half lead.  Older lean lady-Ironman tattoo, woman wearing a North Carolina cap, my first Maniac.  Mile 24 – 9:03 mile.  Dug deep to drop pace under 9 again.  No pills, no puking – that was last year.  Mental transformation.

Mile 25: Blue Newton shoes in sight.  No walking, he’s not given in.  If I want it, I’ve gotta catch him soon.  Mile 26: I’m still a body length back.  Breathing hard, been pushing for too long…too late in a race.  Finish line ahead.  Held my breath, swallowed hard.  Sprinting, I didn’t look back.

Marathon #82 – my strongest 2nd Half in years…a 2:04 – after running 13+ miles.  Laid in the grass & panted.  Stretched, up in 5.  Shook hands with fellow runners, congratulated their achievement.

BIG day for me.  Not my finish time…but HOW I finished – at least 5 more miles left in the tank.  FAAANNNTASTIC!

On track for 100 – next weekend: Fort Worth’s Cowtown Marathon, everything’s bigger in Texas 🙂

 

Keenan Haga

Pueblo Marathon and Half – Marathon – Pueblo, CO Feb 19, 2017

Overall: 57     4:39:24

 

 

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