There are 4 cool things in this photo. First up is the Hokas. These Mafates helped me cruise through 13.7 of hills (just a hair under 4000 feet to be exact) and fog. The medal on the far right is for completing today's race, Rocky Ridge. The coaster in the middle is the prize for finishing 4 of the toughest Brazen half marathons out there plus Rocky Ridge. Finally, the patch on the far left is the special Pete tribute, courtesy of two of the nicest ladies in the running community, Karen Peterson and Angela Abbey. For those who don't know, I lost one of my best running friends recently. Pete Mingwah was my fellow Marathon Maniac and Titanium Beast Brother. He suffered a brain aneurysm and died at the young age of 42. I know you love your trails, Pete. Thanks for watching over me today. I ran strong and confident, and I'm feeling awesome. This is one of the sweetest finishes of my running career. I'm still on runner's high.
|Complete with war paint too!|
Additionally, I am very proud to announce that I nailed the Brazen Racing Ultra-Half Series! To earn this bad ass coaster, I had to complete four of the nine races in series, plus the Rocky Ridge Half Marathon. These five races aren't easy. According to Brazen Racing, "our toughest half marathons measure at least a little (and sometime more than just a little) longer than 13.1 miles. What really makes them "ultra", however is the the serious ascents and descents and variety of tough trails you have to run to finish them. While flat half marathons are always a challenge, these "ultra half marathons" take it to another level!"
The sweetest part is that I finished the toughest course of the series with the best finish time. Look at the elevation for Rocky Ridge and then compare my finish times with the other races from earlier this year. You will see the drastic improvement.
I came into this race feeling confident. It's no secret that Endorphin Dude and trails don't mix, but for the first time ever, I felt no anxiety heading into this non-road race. I have been training hard and I am sporting a new pair of Hokas on my feet. I took the one hour early start because I did not want to jeopardize my chances of taking home that coaster.
I started out with pack and by mile three zoomed off. Typically, when I take the Brazen early start, the usual suspects would pass me up by mile five or six. Not the case today! I didn't see the first runner until mile 8 and it wasn't until mile 10 and a half that Jonesy, Sanford, and all the other top five age division winners passed me! When I saw Jonesy, I immediately assumed that he was having a bad day because it took so long for him to catch up to me. The reality was that I was having an incredible race. It got cold out there and the mountain we had to climb in the final two miles almost broke my spirit. I just kept going and going. When I saw the giant Brazen Racing inflatable arch, I ran down that hill with a huge smile on my face.
|You think I do this for my health? Heck no! I run because I get to party with all these awesome peeps. It really is one big social event!|
I ran Rocky Ridge strong and proud. Crossing that finish line was simply euphoric. I am in the best shape of my adult life and every day I keep getting faster, stronger, and fitter. Completing 52 marathons in 52 weeks last year was quite a feat, but my accomplishments this year have been even more epic. I have PR'ed on all distances, earned my first 100 mile belt buckle, and developed a confidence in myself that will take me even further. Hard work really does pay off.